George Mason in the News

Posted: September 28, 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, Sept. 20, Wall Street Journal

Emerging Markets and Oil Bubble Up

“Now that the fallout from the downturn of the housing-loan market has prompted the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates, the race is on to find the next bubble. Emerging markets are a popular answer. Stock markets around the world rallied in response to the Fed’s half-percentage-point cut on Tuesday, with shares in emerging markets — generally defined as countries that have modest incomes but are growing fast — posting the biggest gains. Investors’ enthusiasm to get in early on the next bubble may come down to human nature. In market experiments conducted by Vernon Smith, a George Mason University professor who shared in the 2002 Nobel Prize for economics, participants invested in a dividend-paying ‘stock’ with a clear fundamental value and a bubble invariably formed. If the experiment was repeated, the bubble would form again — and participants would say they were surprised they couldn’t get out before the collapse.”

Friday, Sept. 21, NPR: Morning Edition

Tracking How Consumers Use ‘Inner Economist’

Tyler Cowen, director of the Mercatus Center and professor of economics at George Mason, was interviewed by Steve Inskeep on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” Cowen responded to questions pertaining to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposals to pay schoolchildren for good attendance and pay parents for showing up at parent-teacher conferences. ‘Not everything can be bought and sold,’ Cowen said. ‘We don’t buy and sell all the decisions in families. Usually it’s better for children to feel an obligation to go to school and get good grades. And by paying them, it becomes a matter of choice rather than a matter of feeling they simply ought to do it. There is literature on what you can pay children to do, and there’s a lot of evidence from experiments that it’s often counterproductive to try to pay them. In my family, my wife and I, we tried to pay our daughter to do the dishes, and within a few days she stopped doing them altogether. She viewed the payment as a means of controlling her.’”

Sunday, Sept. 23, Washington Post

What Makes Up My Mind?

“The mystery of consciousness. It’s one of the biggest unknowns, right up there with the origin of life. But it’s under a multi-pronged assault by scientists, who vow to crack the code of the mind in the same way that they are deciphering the human genome. It’s all very exciting, with the one catch that no one can really agree on what the mind is. Jim Olds, who directs George Mason University’s Krasnow Institute, a think tank devoted to the study of the mind, says of his field, ‘We’re waiting for our Einstein.’ Earlier this year, Olds gathered a bunch of big thinkers at George Mason for a two-day conference on the mind. He and his allies want the federal government to invest $4 billion in an initiative that would be called the ‘Decade of the Mind.’ This would be a follow-up to a 1990s program called the ‘Decade of the Brain,’ which brought increased attention to neuroscience. The new initiative would be an attempt to take science into a realm previously explored only by philosophers, theologians and mountaintop yogis. ‘Brain science is an exhaustive collection of facts without a theory,’ Olds says. ‘This is for the nation as a whole to invest in one of the fundamental intellectual questions of what it is to be a human being.’”

Monday, Sept. 24, Washington Post

Va. GOP Seizes on ‘Red-Hot’ Concern

“Candidates across the state, particularly in the increasingly diverse Northern Virginia suburbs, are hearing multiple sides of the immigration issue during visits to neighborhoods, fairs and community meetings. How they respond could help determine the outcome of the Nov. 6 elections for all 140 House and Senate seats. Heightened interest in the issue has prompted a surge of proposals by Virginia Republican leaders. Hardly a week goes by without a candidate announcing an ‘action plan’ on immigration: FitzSimmonds’s brochure, for example, spells out a five-point plan. ‘Republicans feel that [immigration] is a real opportunity for them to mobilize their base constituency, especially at a time when the Republican grass roots are so dispirited,’ said Mark Rozell, a political science professor at George Mason University.”

Tuesday, Sept. 25, Seattle Times

Salesmanship Joins Science in Struggle against Disease

“At the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C., a malaria-prevention group funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation hosted lunch recently for 35 African ambassadors and a special guest, South African pop singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka. On the menu was an unusual pitch: Urging diplomats to make a disease killing people in their countries a higher priority for resources and public attention. A first step in that strategy is convincing Africans that getting malaria isn’t inevitable. Yet an intense focus on specific diseases is no silver bullet for African countries with a host of fundamental problems, some experts say. ‘The best long-term solution to malaria is for a country to become wealthy,’ said Tyler Cowen, economics professor at George Mason University. Malaria kills more than a million people a year, about 90 percent of them African children, and it sickens many more. Caused by a mosquito-borne parasite, the disease is so common in Africa that many people who survive it as children get it several times throughout their lives, causing repeated misery and economic hardship.”

Thursday, Sept. 27, Chicago Sun-Times

Troops Fire on Monks

“Myanmar security forces opened fire on Buddhist monks and other pro-democracy demonstrators Wednesday for the first time in a month of anti-government protests, killing at least one. Some reports said the dead included monks, who are widely revered in Myanmar, and the emergence of such martyr figures could stoke public anger. John Dale [sociology professor] of George Mason University said it was surprising the military held back this long. ‘Now that it’s turned violent, there’s high risk activity,’ Dale said. ‘The regime signaled they are sincerely prepared to use violence.’”

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