Mason in the News

Posted: August 24, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage Mason recently received.

Saturday, Aug. 18, The Independent (UK)

Whales and Dolphins Endangered by Wind Farms

“The growth in offshore wind farms — a central part of the government’s fight against global warming — poses a potentially devastating threat to whales and dolphins, a report says. Noise during construction can be heard by marine creatures in shallow water up to 80 kilometers away. The report, the Conservation of British Cetaceans, warns that the government is doing too little to control the effects of noise pollution. The report’s lead author, Chris Parsons of George Mason University in Virginia, said, ‘One of the problems with the noise issue is the myriad conflicts of interest. Many of the supposed independent scientists have received substantive funding, either directly or indirectly, for their organizations from the major producers of noise pollution.’”

Sunday, Aug. 19, Washington Post

Local and Lurid: Read All about It

“If you’re compiling a list of local scandals and the people behind them (and, really, how can you resist?), it quickly becomes clear that the Washington area is a capital region in more ways than one. From Deborah Jeane Palfrey and Jack Abramoff, to Robert Hanssen and Marion Barry, there’s no shortage of colorful characters whose deeds have set local, and even international, tongues wagging. As it has been around the globe and throughout time, ‘wherever you’ve got a lot of money and power concentrated, you’re going to find somebody to abuse it,’ notes Zachary Schrag, historian and assistant professor of history at George Mason University. No wonder Washington is such a hotbed of hanky-panky.”

Tuesday, Aug. 21, Chronicle of Higher Education

Debating the Viability of Terrorism-Prediction Markets

“In a recent interview [PDF] with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, W. Kip Viscusi, a professor at Vanderbilt University Law School, said it is difficult to assess the likelihood of a terrorist attack or how deadly it is going to be. Bryan Caplan calls Viscusi one of the most famous risk analysts, which is why he is dismayed by Viscusi’s response. ‘I am frankly puzzled,’ Caplan writes at EconLog. Citing the work of John Mueller, Caplan argues that we have a long experience with terrorism, which has ‘shown it to be an extremely small problem in the broad scheme of things. How much longer does Viscusi want to wait before he’ll conclude that the risk is very low?’ Caplan, a professor of economics at George Mason University, favors the establishment of a prediction market to help assess the likelihood of a terrorist attack.”

Thursday, Aug. 23, Washington Post

Massacre at Virginia Tech Prompts Security Upgrades at Local Colleges

“Students and faculty returning to George Mason University this fall will move less freely around campus as a result of new security measures adopted since the mass shootings at Virginia Tech in April. When classes resume Monday, academic buildings will be locked during non-business hours. Dormitories will have key-card systems. More university police officers will regularly patrol [George Mason University’s] campuses. And a new notification system will allow students and faculty to receive emergency text messages on computers and cellphones. ‘The efforts that have been made at Mason coincide with our fundamental mission of not only providing students with the best possible education they can get but also an environment in which they can pursue their educational goals safely,’ said Dan Walsch, a university spokesman. [George Mason University] President Alan Merten said the new measures are essential to ensuring security, but he also said he is mindful of not wanting to create a chilling effect on the open atmosphere required of a university. ‘The issues of openness and security are ones our entire nation has been struggling with since September 11, 2001,’ Merten wrote in a recent description of the new security measures. ‘A healthy balance between the two can be made so long as it is not done under an umbrella of fear.’”

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