News highlights for September 7, 2010

CisionPoint news monitoring provides this small sampling of the university's daily news coverage. Click headline to read full text via Cision or link directly to the online article where available. For questions or comments about this service, or to add or delete a name from the mailing list, please contact Gerry Everding.

The Telegraph (UK)

Comet impact did not cause mammoths to die out, say scientists

Scientists recently put forward the idea that a comet was behind the extinctions after tiny crystals of carbon, known as nanodiamonds, were found in 12,900 year old sediment layers. But scientists now claim to have disproved the controversial theory after questioning a key piece of evidence used to support the comet impact idea. Researchers at Washington University in St Louis and Royal Hollway University of London have found that these carbon crystals are not diamonds at all and are in fact clumps of another form of carbon known as graphene, which commonly forms in sediments. Link to Article

New York Times

Research upends traditional thinking on study habits

Every September, millions of parents try a kind of psychological witchcraft, to transform their summer-glazed campers into fall students. Advice is cheap and all too familiar, yet there are effective approaches to learning, at least for those who are motivated. In recent years, cognitive scientists have shown that a few simple techniques can reliably improve what matters most: how much a student learns from studying. Henry L. Roediger III, a psychologist at Washington University in St. Louis, is among researchers included in the discussion. Link to Article


American political science association 2010 annual meeting; panel discussion coverage


WUSTL congressional expert Steven S. Smith participated in two C-SPAN-broadcast roundtable discussion forums this week at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association. Smith was among experts commenting in a Sept. 3 forum on proposals for changing Senate rules limit use of filibusters. Panelists talked about the impact of the filibuster on the legislative process, possible rule changes, and reforms for the amendment process. Smith also participated in a Sept. 2 forum on President Obama and the Democratic Congress. Political scientists spoke about the Obama administration’s legislative agenda and how the Democratic Congress responded to it. Among the topics they addressed were the level of partisanship in both houses of Congress, major legislation considered during the 111th Congress, and legislative procedures.
Link to Online Video / Filibuster

Link to Online Video / Obama and Democratic Congress

Counter Punch

Behind the scenes of the 2009 Iranian elections

Fatemeh Keshavarz, chair of the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literature at Washington University, offers an essay analyzing Iranian political issues simmering since a year ago when millions of Iranians marched on the streets calling Iran’s 2009 election a military coup carried out by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRG) to keep Ahmadinejad in power and continue the IRG’s military and economic control of the country. Link to Article

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN)

NIH ramps up human microbiome project

The National Institutes of Health today announced it has awarded approximately $42 million to expand the scope of eight demonstration projects designed to link changes in the human microbiome to health and disease. Phillip I. Tarr, M.D., Washington University School of Medicine, receives $5.2 million over three years for a digestive tract study. He will examine the potential connection between the intestinal microbiome and the development of neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis, a gastrointestinal disorder in premature infants, in which portions of the bowel undergo tissue death. Link to Article

R & D Magazine

Casing the joint

Dr. Paul Allen, along with colleagues at the Washington University School of Medicine and Pfizer, have developed a novel mouse model for rheumatoid arthritis research. The study, published in the September 2010 issue of The American Journal of Pathology, describes a chronic yet synchronized animal model of rheumatoid arthritis (KRN-CTM). The model presents a novel opportunity for investigators to study specific pathways and mechanisms involved in both the early and chronic phases of disease, thereby enabling the validation of targets and biopharmaceuticals for rheumatoid arthritis patients.” Link to Article

Kansas City Star

Students support giving undocumented people path to citizenship via education

Myrna Orozco, an illegal alien, has lived in the United States since 1994 when at age 4 she fled with her mother from violence in the northern Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez. Orozco, who once had dreams of attending Washington University in St. Louis, is among several Kansas City-area, illegal alien college students profiled in a story about proposed federal legislation known as the DREAM Act — Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors. It would allow undocumented students to legally stay and study in the U.S. temporarily and eventually, if they met mandated conditions, obtain permanent status. Link to Article

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Police arrest man for crimes against students

Clayton police arrested a man Monday night who could be responsible for a series of crimes against college students. Police believe the assailant robbed two Washington University students the day before. The University City and Washington University police departments said the robbery of two Washington University students happened about 2:45 a.m. Sunday at Big Bend and Lindell boulevards. The robber displayed a gun and demanded wallets and cell phones, university police said. Washington University issued a crime alert after the robbery of its students on Sunday. Link to Article

See also Fox2 News, KMOV, KSDK

News in higher education

San Francisco Chronicle

CARD Act helps protect college students from piling up debt

With increasing frequency, Americans are being warned to eliminate debt in what is considered the new normal. The Obama Administration passed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure [CARD] Act of 2009 attempting to remove the sometimes consumer-unfriendly terms that keep Americans from getting out of debt. As part of this bill, extensive overhaul was done to protect college-age students from piling up debt as they enter the workforce. The Chronicle summarizes six items of the bill that should be welcome news to students and their parents. Link to Article

New York Times

Essay:The end of tenure?

In tough economic times, it’s easy to gin up anger against elites. In recent months, a more unlikely privileged group has found itself in the cross hairs: tenured professors.

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The Chronicle of Higher Education
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