News highlights for January 20, 2011

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.

Science News
Tallying the caloric cost of an all-nighter

Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder calculate that a full night of sleep helps the body conserve as much energy as is in a glass of warm milk. Recently, scientists had dismissed energy conservation as sleep’s most important mission. “Sure, there’s energy savings, but it’s not worth much. It’s a hot dog bun or a cup of milk’s worth,” says Paul Shaw, a neurobiologist at Washington University in St. Louis who was not involved in the current research. “But small differences can have large consequences,’” he adds.
 Link to Article See also Discovery News, 
Wired Science

Architectural Record

Newsmaker: Fumihiko Maki

During his many decades practicing architecture, Fumihiko Maki has accrued an impressive collection of awards, including the Pritzker Prize (1993) and Japan’s Praemium Imperiale (1999). Now, the American Institute of Architects has announced that this year’s Gold Medal will honor the esteemed architect, known for such projects as the MIT Media Lab and the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University. Link to Article

The MedGuru

Alcoholism may lead to delayed, short-lived marriages

Adding more to the health hazards of the intake of alcohol, the latest study findings warn that alcohol dependence may negatively affect marriage and lead to early separation. Lead researcher Dr Mary Waldron, an assistant professor at the Indiana University School of Education in Bloomington, and also of the Midwest Alcoholism Research Center, Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, and colleagues noticed in their study that alcohol dependence was strongly associated with later marriage and earlier separation. Researchers found that problem drinkers were more likely to get married later in life, and less likely to have a successful, long-lasting marriage. Link to Article See also Medical News Today

Past Horizons / Adventures in archaeology

Neanderthals and early modern humans had same lifespan

A new study by a anthropologist Erik Trinkaus of Washington University in St. Louis suggests life expectancy was probably the same for early modern and late archaic humans and did not factor in the extinction of Neanderthals. It has been suggested that early hominins might have had a shorter life expectancy than early modern humans, with our lineage ultimately outnumbering Neanderthals, contributing to their demise. Trinkaus examined the fossil record to assess adult mortality for both groups, and found that the proportions of 20 to 40 year old adults versus adults older than 40, were about the same for early modern humans and Neanderthals. Link to Article

Birmingham Times (Birmingham, AL)
Insurance to cover HPV vaccine in Birmingham

All new health insurance plans now must cover vaccines that protect women from HPV, a sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer. The new requirement went into effect on Jan. 8, the result of health care reforms. Dr. Lauren Arnold, a researcher at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, said vaccination at an early age is best, even if the teen is not sexually active: “Parents think that it is not relevant yet for their children but the point of the vaccine is to protect you from the disease before you are exposed to it.” Link to Article

The Indianapolis Recorder
 (Indianapolis, IN)
Better food labels make healthy eating simpler

Nutrition labels on food can be hard to find, confusing or even misleading. A new report recommends that labeling focus on the four worst ingredients: calories, saturated fat, trans fat-and sodium (salt). “The idea is to make it easier for consumers to make healthy choices without having to pick up the package, turn it over and read a bunch of numbers,” said Matthew W. Kreuter, Ph.D., who heads the Health Communication Research Laboratory at Washington University in St. Louis.
 Link to Article

Related news release

St. Louis American

Diversity program yields new vice provost at Wash. U.

The best time to be born as an African American in the United States was 1965, said Adrienne D. Davis, the William M. Van Cleve Professor of Law at Washington University. And that just happens to be the year she was born. “Some people wonder about my racial optimism,” Davis said. “I was bred in this important moment when the nation was really open to this possibility of racial equality.” Washington University found the perfect position for Davis to let that optimism of racial and gender equality enhance its campus. Beginning Feb. 1, Davis will become the university’s vice provost, a new position in which Davis will help the university’s seven schools reach their diversity goals. And that includes recruitment. Link to Article

St. Louis Beacon

Take Five: Historian Adam Arenson on St. Louis and the Civil War

Adam Arenson takes a fresh look at the pivotal role played by St. Louisans who stood at the crossroads of 19th-century America, both geographically and politically, in his new book: “The Great Heart of the Republic: St. Louis and the Cultural Civil War” (Harvard University Press). Arenson says he came to understand the Civil War history of St. Louis as an outsider and that allowed me to view certain

events — like the establishment of Washington University — through a different lens. He places the establishment of Washington University amid the firestorm of nativism. Link to Article See also previous story in St. Louis Beacon (St. Louis, MO)

Oxy-Coal is hot at Washington University

Ameren, the largest St Louis area electric utility, produces 85% of its electricity from coal. Fortunately, the Advanced Coal and Energy Research Lab at Washington University in St Louis is working to make coal burning more friendly to the environment. The objective of oxy-coal is to create a pure carbon dioxide stream that can be sequestered deep within the earth. See the slideshow and video for a more complete description of the Oxy-Coal process. Link to Article Related news release

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Owl watcher keeps eyes on pair in Forest Park

Forest Park may not be where visitors expect to see great horned owls perched in the treetops, but they are there. Visitors are also likely to spot Mark Glenshaw watching the owls. In the daytime, Glenshaw, 38, works in audiovisual and information technology support at Washington University. However, he spends as many as five nights a week observing a mated pair of great horned owls in the territory they inhabit in the park. Link to Article

Daily RFT

Gerald Early weighs in on new-style Huck Finn

Gerald Early, a professor at Washington University and one of the nation’s most prominent scholars of African-American studies, has weighed in on the controversial proposal for a new version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that replaces the word “nigger” with “slave.” “We change texts all the time,” Early said. “People do not have to accept it, and they can show their displeasure by simply not buying and reading this abridgment.” Link to Article

News in Higher Education

San Jose Mercury News

Stanford ponders the return of ROTC after nearly four decades

Since the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) ended at Stanford in 1973, students in the military program have had to travel to other schools to get their military training, squeezing in classes in Navigation or Leadership Training alongside calculus, literature and other courses that comprise a well-rounded liberal arts education. But a renewal of ROTC at Stanford and other elite universities is now under consideration, suggesting a reconciliation of two cultures that had grown far apart. Link to Article

USA Today

Report: First two years of college show small gains

Nearly half of the nation’s undergraduates show almost no gains in learning in their first two years of college, in large part because colleges don’t make academics a priority, a new report shows. Instructors tend to be more focused on their own faculty research than teaching younger students, who in turn are more tuned in to their social lives, according to the report, based on a book titled Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses.

Link to Article See also Huffington Post, ABC News (video), CBS Moneywatch, Agence France Presse

New York Times

University of Alabama provost is sued over faculty shootings

The spouses of two people killed at a faculty meeting at the University of Alabama in Huntsville last year have filed wrongful death lawsuits against the university provost. They contend that he violated a safety policy he helped write and should have done more to protect the faculty after Amy Bishop, a professor who is accused of killing three colleagues in the shooting, had been denied academic tenure and was viewed as increasingly unstable and threatening. The university, in a statement, promised a vigorous defense and said Ms. Bishop alone was responsible for the shootings, which also wounded three people. Link to Article

Bloomberg News

Geithner says tuition tax credit will help 9.4 million families

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said today that 9.4 million American families will benefit this year from a tax credit designed to ease the cost of college tuition and fees. “For parents and students struggling to pay rising tuition bills, or pay off mounting student debt, this partially refundable tax credit will make a real difference,” Geithner said. Link to Article

For additional higher education news (subscription may be required):
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Inside Higher Ed
University Business

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