April 2009 blog archives
Story by Nancy Moen | Photo by Shane Epping
An antidote is on the way to counter a case of spring fever that hit the College of Veterinary Medicine.
In a show of mass support for geekiness, the college has declared Friday, May 1, Nerd Appreciation Day. Students, faculty and staff will celebrate Assistant Professor Tim Evans’ selection as a Nerd of Mizzou by donning his attire of choice - Hawaiian-print shirts.
An e-mail from Tracey Berry, director of external relations, invited all veterinary medicine “nerds and wanna-be nerds” to participate. She urged attendees to individualize their costumes through accessories such as suspenders, high-water pants, pocket protectors and taped-up broken eyeglasses. A group photograph of the brightly bedecked geeks will be taken in front of the Veterinary Medicine Building at 1:15 p.m.
Individual sections in the college are planning Hawaiian-theme refreshments, and “aloha” music is expected to permeate gathering spots. Evans says he hopes the May Day event becomes an annual nerd celebration to showcase outstanding student research.
He also hopes some pineapple upside-down cake is included.
The ultra-mod Scandinavian vibe of the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) has caught the attention of Mid-American chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA).
This month RJI won a gold award in the education and research category at IIDA’s Mid America Design Awards.
The Kansas City firm SFS Architecture designed the interior of the building, which houses a high-tech futures lab and demonstration center; lecture and meeting rooms; an enticingly hip library; and gleefully futuristic constructions employing much glass, chrome and modern color sensibility.
Take a virtual tour.
Story by Ryan Gavin
At least seven Mizzou football players will be joining the NFL this fall. During this weekend’s NFL Draft, Tigers procured spots on pro teams across the country.
Receiver Jeremy Maclin and defensive tackle Ziggy Hood went in the first round to Philadelphia at No. 19 and Pittsburgh at No. 32, respectively. Maclin joins an Eagles team that was a win away from the Super Bowl last season, while Hood joins the defending champion Steelers.
Safety William Moore went to Atlanta in the second round. The Falcons lost in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs last year and are expected to contend again this season. Tight end Chase Coffman went to the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round. There he will be in the same division as Mizzou’s former All-American tight end, Martin Rucker (Cleveland Browns).
Lineman Colin Brown was taken with the third pick in the fifth round, going to his childhood favorite team, the Kansas City Chiefs. Defensive end Stryker Sulak will be used as a pass rusher with the Oakland Raiders, who took him in the sixth round.
Chase Daniel, who owns nearly every Mizzou quarterbacking record, signed as a free agent with the Washington Redskins. Other Tigers are free to sign with any team and could do so within the following weeks or months leading up to or during NFL training camps.
Photos by Shane Epping
Mizzou couldn’t have custom-ordered a more perfect Earth Day.
The sun shined over an impeccable green Francis Quadrangle in Wednesday’s 75-degree weather. Inside Jesse Hall, hundreds of energy-conscious leaders in business, government and nonprofit agencies milled about at the Missouri Energy Summit.
T. Boone Pickens was the keynote speaker Wednesday at the Missouri Energy Summit.
The summit’s main attraction was T. Boone Pickens, billionaire Texas oilman and creator of the Pickens Plan for harnessing all-American, clean energy and weaning the United States of foreign oil.
The content of Pickens’ presentation to a packed Jesse Auditorium audience was familiar to any Pickens follower and eye-opening to any newcomer.
Pickens predicts that if Americans don’t change our ways immediately, at the rate the country is going, 10 years from now the United States will be importing 75 percent of its oil — mostly from unstable, non-ally nations — and paying $300 a barrel for it.
On the other hand, if current house bill H.R. 1835: New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act of 2009 passes, the country will be on its way to enacting the first step in the plan: using natural gas to fuel large vehicles.
The 80-year-old Pickens easily charmed his audience. Mizzou and Oklahoma State football talk dominated opening remarks. A microphone mishap led to an anecdote about accidentally sitting on a mic at another presentation and quipping, “Well, you can say that for the first 10 minutes he was talking out of his ass.” The transition to the question-and-answer session invited a frog-kissing joke, with the punch line “Talking frogs are worth a hell of a lot more than Texas oilmen these days.” After the keynote address, Pickens sloughed off his entourage to sign books and chat with an Oklahoma college football player recently drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.
Jacob Kerner, a sophomore at Columbia College who plans to transfer to MU, asks Pickens for advice about what to study.
Pickens both recruited young people from the audience and offered them some perspective. Talking at a graduation once, he said, he rhetorically proposed trading places with any of the graduates; a youngster would take Pickens’ jet, ranch, billions of dollars and eight decades of wisdom, and Pickens would take what he or she had. “What you have is a future.”
T. Boone Pickens talks to the press after his address, among university leaders such as University of Missouri System President Gary Forsee.
In talking with both the public and the press, Pickens occasionally fielded questions, challenges and devil’s advocates. He insisted he’s open to any pragmatic American solution to the energy problem but has little patience for further delays in implementing solutions. For naysayers Pickens has these words: “What’s your plan?”
Read Mizzou Wire’s interview with Pickens.
To learn more and/or join the Pickens Plan Army, visit the Pickens Plan site.
Two decades after the first experiments in the nuclear-energy technology known as cold fusion were presented and then dismissed, scientists around the world continue the research and claim to be on the path to generating clean, renewable, inexpensive energy.
The award-winning CBS television news magazine show 60 Minutes recently reported on the trend in “Cold Fusion is Hot Again,” a piece that aired Sunday, April 19. For expert advice, 60 Minutes turned to Mizzou’s own Vice Chancellor Rob Duncan.
Vice Chancellor Rob Duncan leads a panel discussion about energy infrastructure during the Missouri Energy Summit. Photo by Shane Epping.
“With so many open questions, 60 Minutes wanted to find out whether cold fusion is more than a tempest in a teapot,” correspondent Scott Pelley said. “So 60 Minutes asked the American Physical Society, the top physics organization in America, to recommend an independent scientist. They gave us Rob Duncan, vice chancellor of research at the University of Missouri and an expert in measuring energy.”
Duncan traveled to Israel to evaluate the work being done at the lab Energetics Technologies. What did he conclude? Watch the full report.
Want to learn more? Hear Duncan speak this week during the University of Missouri System’s Missouri Energy Summit.
The CBS television news-magazine show 60 Minutes has called on the scientific expertise of Rob Duncan, MU’s vice chancellor for research.
In “Cold Fusion is Hot Again,” Scott Pelley reports on new research results in the emerging field of low-energy nuclear reactions, which some scientists believe could lead to breakthroughs in energy production. Pelley interviewed Duncan for the report, which airs at 6 p.m. Central time Sunday, April 19.
Duncan will present a synopsis of the 60 Minutes program at the University of Missouri System’s Missouri Energy Summit, to be held April 22-23.
First presented in 1989 by physicists Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, cold fusion is nuclear fusion taking place at or near room temperatures. The Fleischmann and Pons reports were dismissed when the scientists’ experiments could not be replicated. Now, 20 years later, interest in cold fusion — along with its possibilities for producing inexpensive and abundant energy — has resurfaced.
Duncan, who joined MU in September 2008, is an expert in low-temperature physics. Formerly chief operating officer of the New Mexico Consortium and founding director of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Duncan has conducted research that will provide critical information for future NASA missions.
Duncan holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate in physics from the University of California-Santa Barbara. He has taught at the University of New Mexico (UNM) and the California Institute of Technology, and he served as an associated dean at UNM.
Tune in to CBS Sunday to watch the report.
Highlights from MU’s International Education Week
The Chancellor’s Global Issues Forum. Photo by Shane Epping.
So far International Education Week has been all about appreciation — in two forms.
- Through awards ceremonies, Mizzou has shown appreciation for students, faculty and staff who contribute to the internationalization of the university.
- Through awareness-raising educational events, members of the Mizzou community are gaining greater appreciation for the role they play as global citizens in what is still one of the most prosperous nations in the world.
During the Tuesday afternoon Chancellor’s Global Issues Forum, students, staff members and international scholars received the first International Engagement Awards for global-perspective-building work on campus and abroad.
International Engagement Award winner Na Yang with Provost Brian Foster. Photo by Shane Epping.
Outstanding Student Contribution
- Ta Boonseng
- Sampath Devaram
- Daniel Huaco
- Na Yang
Outstanding Staff Contribution
Wednesday marked the wrap-up of the International Center’s 2008-09 Study-Abroad Photo Contest. The work of the winners and the other 25 finalists will be on display in Ellis Library throughout June.
A Dominican Father (Santiago, Dominican Republic). Photo by Christie Pautler.
- 1st Place (Cross-Cultural Moments) - A Camel Ride in the Desert by Jedediah McKee
- 1st Place (Landscapes) - Picture Perfect by Amy Ward
- 1st Place (Portraits) - A Homecoming by Anne Flaker
- Best in Show (Portraits) - A Dominican Father by Christie Pautler
Feed the world
Douglas Casson Coutts, a senior adviser for the United Nations World Food Programme, visited Mizzou Tuesday to talk to students about careers in humanitarian and development work and to lead a discussion about world hunger as part of the Chancellor’s Global Issues Forum.
Douglas Casson Coutts of the World Food Programme. Photo by Shane Epping.
During the forum, Coutts, who currently is developing an undergraduate course on world hunger at Auburn University in Alabama, shared some perspective-broadening statistics:
- Every day 25,000 people die from hunger or hunger-related causes.
- Though the world produces more than enough food to feed the 6 billion people on the planet, nearly 963 million people don’t have enough to eat.
- The top 1.5 billion people control 75 percent of the world’s income, while 1 billion people live on $1 a day and spend $.70 of it on food.
- Only 1 percent of the people in the world are college-educated, which puts Tuesday’s audience in an unusual position.
What can we do?
Mizzou is one of 87 members of Universities Fighting World Hunger, an organization that works toward hunger awareness and consciousness-raising, fund-raising, advocacy and academic initiatives to help reduce global poverty and malnutrition. As a land-grant research university in an agricultural state, Mizzou is positioned to make a difference.
“The land-grant tradition is very special. When the land-grant system was set up, it was focused on extension and giving back,” Coutts said. “What I’m here to do is to point out the privilege you have as one person out of a hundred who has a college education.”
Check out the organization’s site to learn how to help reduce hunger in Missouri and across the globe.
Mi Amor (Alicante, Spain). Photograph by Jamie Rowe: “My host brother, Iker, watching un paso during La semana Santa.”
Studying abroad makes for some pretty great photo ops.
The MU International Center has collected more than 100 photos from Mizzou students who took part in international programs during the 2007-08 school year, studying on six different continents.
Three faculty judges have narrowed down those submissions to 25 finalists in the Study Abroad Photo Contest.
The winning photograph will be announced Wednesday, April 15, as part of International Education Week at MU.
The Missouri Students Association has adopted a referendum to protect the rights of transgender students at Mizzou.
Last week students voted in favor of adding “gender identity and expression” to the MSA’s non-discrimination clause. The referendum passed with 82 percent of the vote, representing 2,297 of 2,780 voting students.
For more information about the campaign, visit the Include Me MU blog.
Learn more about Mizzou’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center.
Story by Lisa Bruce
For best-selling author David Sedaris, the tip jar changed everything.
On a book tour, Sedaris’ ATM card stopped working. He decided to put out a tip jar. Not that he really needed the money, but everyone has a tip jar these days.
“Then I got greedy and almost ruined everything,” Sedaris said, reading from a piece he’s been working on for a literary festival in Italy. The theme? The seven deadly sins. Sedaris chose greed.
Sedaris made $292 in Las Vegas and $394 in Anchorage. In another town, he claims, a 10-year-old girl brought him a jar of change — her life’s savings — for a tip. Sedaris says he sent her to the bookstore counter to have the coins turned to paper currency.
Tips, rather than the crowd, became the measure of success. “Cities I used to enjoy visiting I now considered cheap,” said Sedaris.
David Sedaris always wanted to be an author — to tour, meet fans and sign books. And the best-selling humorist spent hours in the rotunda of Jesse Hall, before and after his sold-out performance on Wednesday night, signing his books. It’s one of his trademarks.
Sedaris — a slight man in a striped shirt, pink tie and slacks — held a pencil in his right hand while he spoke. He later told an audience member he marks passages where the audience laughs.
And the audience did laugh — at stories of an Australian waiter talking to a kookaburra “the way you would talk to a child with a switchblade in his hand” and of a pretentious American houseguest (Sedaris and his partner live in France) who didn’t like that Sedaris had named the wild rabbits in his yard French words that meant “tile” and “unemployment.” (The name he chose for another rabbit, inspired by the houseguest, is unprintable.) Sedaris confessed to the audience that he and his partner, Hugh, have a division of labor: “He replaces plaster in the attic. I take dried-up bees and dress them armored suits of tinfoil.”
As the evening drew to an end, Sedaris took questions from the audience. One member asked whether he embellished real life for his stories — in particular the little girl with her coin offering for a tip. Sedaris intimated that he’d told the truth, but it’s hard to know for sure.
Any best-selling author willing to sit for hours signing books and meeting people can’t be that greedy, can he?
In a time when funds are scarce, MU researchers can get more grant money, thanks to the family of a University of Missouri founder.
The Black Studies Program is accepting applications for up to $500 in research support through the James S. Rollins Slavery Atonement Endowment for Black Studies at MU. In 2007, descendants of Rollins created the endowment to support research, primarily at the graduate level, that relates to “slavery, race relations, civil rights or African American culture.”
Applicants should submit to the Slavery Atonement Endowment, c/o Black Studies Program, 313 Gentry Hall, University of Missouri, 65211:
- a one-page curriculum vitae;
- a 500-750-word research proposal with a timeline for completion;
- a bibliography up to two pages;
- a budget; and
- a letter of recommendation from someone familiar with the research agenda.
Applications from all MU academic disciplines are welcome. Research based on primary sources and leading to the presentation or publication of findings gets preference.
Submission deadline: May 1, 2009
Awards notification: May 22, 2009
For more information, call 573-882-6229.
Learn more about the James S. Rollins Slavery Atonement Endowment.
Learn more about black history and black studies at Mizzou.
Mizzou men’s basketball coach Mike Anderson has been named Co-Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Anderson led the Tigers to a school-record 31 wins, a perfect home record, a Big 12 Conference tournament title and a trip to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament - the farthest a Mizzou men’s basketball team has ever advanced.
Mizzou was picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 in the preseason poll but finished the season ranked No. 8 nationally in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. The 15-win improvement from last season’s 16-16 record was the largest in Mizzou history, and the award from the NABC was the first coaching award to go to Mizzou since Norm Stewart won the Associated Press Coach of the Year honor in 1994.
Anderson split the award with former Memphis and current Kentucky coach John Calipari. Calipari’s Tigers finished the season 33-4 but lost to Mizzou in the Sweet 16.
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MU Bookstore hosts campus authors celebration
About 30 members of MU’s faculty, staff and student body will celebrate their most recent accomplishments in publishing from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 9, at University Bookstore. A reception there honors domestic trade or university press books published between April 2008 and April 2009.
“The event is very informal,” says Michelle Mazza Froese, public relations manager for Student and Auxiliary Services. “Our goal is not necessarily to sell books but to bring people together. It’s a meet-and-greet where families are welcome.”
A diversity of books — ranging from photo documentation of a small Missouri town to medical research to poems by Missouri’s first poet laureate — will be available for purchase and author inscriptions.
2009 marks the sixth anniversary of the event. “We rely on faculty members to tell us about their publications, but we know we’re just scratching the surface,” Froese says.
Story by Lisa Bruce | Photo by Shane Epping
Sex. Hooking up. Relationships. Drinking too much. What is normal? Why does he/she do that? Is there a double standard? Who perpetuates it?
These provocative questions had fans queued up early outside the locked doors of Jesse Auditorium to grab general-admission seats - and talk about all these things with Dr. Drew, host of the syndicated radio show “Loveline” and VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab” and “Sober House.”
Andrew Hasson, a 22-year-old technical theater student from Stephens College, calls Dr. Drew a “generational thing.” Hasson started listening to “Loveline” when he was 12 years old, and he seemed to be the norm for the audience. About half the floor of the auditorium filled with mostly college-age students—many of whom mentioned listening to Dr. Drew through their teenage years.
Dr. Drew Pinsky, a board-certified internist and addiction specialist, is a professor at the University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine. The Department of Student Activities and MSA Speakers Committee sponsored his appearance at Jesse Auditorium last night.
Dr. Drew was a third-year medical student at USC in the early 1980s when he was recruited to be the medical “expert” on a fledgling program that aired on Los Angeles’s KROQ on Sundays from midnight to 3 a.m. The sole purpose of the show was to satisfy an FCC requirement for community-service programming. People called in to talk about sex and relationships. “Loveline” was born.
The show started before HIV was officially identified, but Dr. Drew was seeing the effects in patients.
“I could see what was coming,” he said. “I had a powerful instinct that this was important.”
Dr. Drew depends on that instinct, and he encouraged the audience to do the same - in sex, relationships and life: “Trust your instincts. They’re good. They’re healthy.”
He engaged the audience in a two-hour conversation, asking as many questions as he answered. Some of the things he shared:
- On college men and women: “We are never further apart biologically than we are at that age.”
- On women’s magazines: “Don’t buy them, OK? They’re pathological.”
On Gardasil vaccination for human papillomavirus (HPV causes 70 percent of cervical cancer and 90 percent of genital warts): “Get the vaccination. More than 20,000 women a year die from diseases preventable by the vaccine.” It’s available at MU Student Health.
On Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, which he watched on the plane to St. Louis: He cried. And was shocked when a condom malfunction did not cause the characters to seek the Morning After Pill.
- On a young woman’s distress that her boyfriend tried to convince her to have sex because it was “just a physical thing”: “He was honest and didn’t manipulate you. He told you something profound about where he was at.”
- On men slipping into perpetual-friend status with women: Take some action; declare yourself early, or you get trapped in perpetual-friend land. “Men behave like lions watching antelopes.”
- On the Morning After Pill: “Keep it around like a fire extinguisher.”
- On science: “Science is science. It’s how things work. It is not a point of view. “
As he wrapped up the night, someone brought up a running prank call from the show that referred to a Mason Jar. Dr. Drew brought the conversation around to instinct again, saying he can usually spot a fake call because his instincts kick in: “I use my body like an antenna.”
Dr. Drew just released The Mirror Effect, a new book out about celebrities and narcissism. He has a new show on sexual addiction coming out soon on VH-1.
Mizzou basketball coach Mike Anderson, fresh off leading the Tigers to the Elite 8 in the NCAA tournament, agreed on a new seven-year contract that guarantees him $1.55 million and could reach $2.2 million in incentives.
“I am excited to remain here at Missouri,” Anderson said in a release. “We are looking forward to the future of this program and can’t wait to continue building on the success of this past season.”
During the 2008-09 season, Mizzou finished 31-7 - a record for most wins in a season - and won the Big 12 tournament for the first time. The trip to the Elite 8 was as far as the Tigers have ever made it in the NCAA tournament. All of these accomplishments indicated the program was headed in the right direction.
“We are excited coach Anderson is going to be at the University of Missouri for a long time,” athletic director Mike Alden said in the release. “He’s done a tremendous job rebuilding our basketball tradition and is poised to lead our program to new heights in the coming years.”
Because the contract is longer than five years, it has to be approved by the University of Missouri System Board of Curators, who meet in Rolla on Thursday and Friday. Upon approval, Anderson - sought by both Memphis and Georgia - will officially be a Tiger through the 2015-16 season.