George Mason in the News

Posted: June 22, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage George Mason recently received.

Thursday, June 14, Economist

Vote for Me, Dimwit

“Anyone who follows an election campaign too closely will sometimes get the feeling that politicians think voters are idiots. A new book says they are. Or rather, Bryan Caplan, an economics professor at George Mason University, makes the slightly politer claim that voters systematically favor irrational policies. In a democracy, rational politicians give them what they (irrationally) want. In ‘The Myth of the Rational Voter,’ Mr. Caplan explains why this happens, why it matters and what we can do about it.”

Friday, June 15, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Stage Preview: Davis, Unseam’d Reintroduce Timely Drama by Calderon

“With Rick Davis’ staging of ‘The Constant Prince’ for Unseam’d Shakespeare Company, he wants to reintroduce us to one of the world’s great playwrights while dramatizing the clash of Christian and Muslim and suggesting the possibility of transcending sectarian passions. ‘Two great cultures clashing with ferocity’ is what attracted him to ‘Constant Prince,’ Davis says. He wants us to take to heart the respect a Catholic playwright in mid-Inquisition could show for the Muslim adversary. In 1991, Davis settled into the fullest combination of academic and practical theater at George Mason University, where he has been chair of the theater department, but also artistic director of its professional company, Theater of the First Amendment, and its very active Center for the Arts. So he teaches, directs and produces. But ‘I’m still a dramaturg at heart,’ he says. He believes dramaturgy is the best training for linking theater theory and practice, ‘as long as you keep your hands dirty.’”

Saturday, June 16, New York Times

Can a Vision Save All of Africa?

“In the West, and especially in corporate America, malaria has become the disease du jour. I don’t mean that cynically; it’s just a fact. Because malaria has largely been eradicated in the developed world, we in the West have ignored the fact that it has continued to ravage Africa, particularly its children. But then the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation began to focus on it, and the United Nations made it one of the lynchpins in its calls to end third world poverty. The current issue of Vanity Fair, ‘guest edited’ by Bono, is devoted to Africa and has plenty of references to malaria. Included is a lengthy profile of the passionate, charismatic 52-year-old Columbia economist Jeffrey Sachs. ‘Messianic,’ the article called him. But that same vision, which is inexorably linked to malaria, but is much larger than that, has caused some mainstream economists to say that while Mr. Sachs means well, he is peddling a dream that will always be just that: a dream. ‘I think he is improving the lives of many people,’ said Tyler Cowen, an economics professor at George Mason University. ‘But what he is doing is much oversold.’ Mr. Cowen does not believe that Mr. Sachs’s work in Africa will endure.”

Tuesday, June 19, Washington Post

GMU Student’s ‘Pong’ Makeover Is, Like, Wild

“It takes some serious math to make something this trippy. To create a video game that’s sort of like playing Ping-Pong while floating in melted lollipops, George Mason University student Stephen Taylor spent more than a year wrestling through algorithms, fluid dynamics and computer coding. Taylor created a version of ‘Pong,’ one of the earliest and most iconic video games, a dead-simple screen with a ball blipping between two paddles — and made it psychedelic. Creepy electronica music rises to a crescendo as colors swirl around the liquid current. ‘Plasma Pong’ was named one of the top five indie games by the influential tech site ‘It’s extraordinary,’ said Zoran Duric, a professor of computer sciences at GMU. ‘He’s taken some of the stuff he’s learned at school, combined it with imagination and talents. That is tremendous.’”

Thursday, June 21, Chicago Tribune

Who’s Afraid of Mergers?

“It’s widely accepted that one of the crucial functions of government is to protect against monopolists and cartels. Bill Clinton’s Justice Department tried to break up Microsoft before it enslaved us all, but the feds got far less than they wanted. Microsoft, however, has found out that even a virtual monopoly doesn’t guarantee prosperity. Despite controlling more than 90 percent of the market for computer operating systems, the company’s stock price has been flat for the last decade — while Apple, which has only a tiny share, has skyrocketed in value since 2003. Meanwhile, other companies, notably Google, have trounced the Big Meanie in other areas. Over the last decade, says Thomas Hazlett, a professor of law and economics at George Mason University, ‘Microsoft has seen its market position erode, and it has virtually nothing to do with the antitrust case.’”

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