Mason in the News

Posted: March 14, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national and international news coverage Mason recently received.

Thursday, March 6, Toronto Star

Democrat Duel a Boon for McCain

“There will be questions now about whether Barack Obama has a glass jaw, because Hillary Clinton has argued all along that she can take the best punch from the Republicans and has, in fact, absorbed a flurry of blows for years and is still standing. It is the Clinton maneuvering with super delegates and the two disenfranchised states that is ‘the most explosive’ situation for the party, said Mark Rozell, a political analyst at Virginia’s George Mason University. ‘If Clinton wins this without winning the pledged delegate count and by using the super delegates, it may be a legitimate way to win, but it will be perceived by Obama supporters as a stolen election. You will see Democrats protesting at the convention and sitting on their hands at election time.’”

Sunday, March 9, New York Times

The Faculty Is Remote, but Not Detached

“Because of the Internet, distance learning in higher education has come a long way since correspondence courses were sent through the mail. And technology like web streaming has made online learning more like a real classroom experience. As colleges increase their web-based offerings, demand is growing for online teachers. That is bringing new job opportunities but also some concerns. Stephen Ruth, professor of public policy and technology management at George Mason University, said that while online classes could be very effective, they were ‘not on par, in my opinion, with traditional classes at top-tier universities.’ One reason is that ‘the general ambience of the class provides a better experience,’ he said.”

Monday, March 10, Forbes

Top 10 Up-and-Coming Tech Cities

“Where will the next Silicon Valley spring up? Philip Auerswald, professor of public policy at George Mason University, knows where to look. He surveyed regional innovation trends across the United States and cobbled a list of up-and-coming tech centers. Auerswald concentrated on specific pockets of science — including advanced materials, nano-crystals and quantum dots, polymers and plastics, micro-systems and cell microbiology — that most experts consider today’s most promising frontiers of innovation. He then looked for important relationships among patents within each one. The most important patents are generally referenced by other inventors in the field when they file for their own patents; lesser patents garner fewer citations. The greater the increase in the number of important patents in a given city, the higher it ranked on Auerswald’s list. The results may surprise you.”

Monday, March 10, Washington Post

Despite Setbacks, Kettler Is Confident Prince William Project’s Time Will Come

“Perhaps nowhere else in the Washington region has the real estate slowdown come to roost more than Prince William County. And yet developer Robert C. Kettler continues to have faith in the slumping eastern corridor of the county. Kettler, head of the development firm that bears his family name, won approval during the recent housing boom for a plan to transform the area into an upscale Potomac River community featuring a luxury town center, 4,000 homes and a 400-slip marina. And then the subprime-mortgage crisis hit and momentum stalled. ‘As the process slows, it is quite possible Prince William County will never get back to where it wanted to go because as it waits, the old image of the area, old forces like lower-cost development, will reemerge and other places will have gained on them,’ said Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University.”

Tuesday, March 11, New York Times

A Boy Named Sue, and a Theory of Names

“Studies showed that children with odd names got worse grades and were less popular than other classmates in elementary school. In college they were more likely to flunk out or become ‘psychoneurotic.’ Other researchers found that children with unusual names were more likely to have poorer and less educated parents, handicaps that explained their problems in school. Martin Ford and other psychologists reported, after controlling for race and ethnicity, that children with unusual names did as well as others in school. ‘Names only have a significant influence when that is the only thing you know about the person,’ said Ford, a developmental psychologist at George Mason University. ‘Add a picture, and the impact of the name recedes. Add information about personality, motivation and ability, and the impact of the name shrinks to minimal significance.’”

Wednesday, March 12, New York Times

Oldfangled Interaction Gains Steam

“As museums add online exhibitions and try to envelop visitors in virtual worlds, some are also taking steps to reinvent themselves as communities — places where people engage with one another, not just with computers. Not all efforts at creating dialogues are that successful. When it opened in 2004, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati set up a ‘Dialogue Zone’ where visitors could express reactions to the narratives of slavery and resistance they had just encountered. ‘We wanted to encourage people of different backgrounds and different points of view to talk to each other,’ said Spencer Crew, a former president of the museum who is now a history professor at George Mason University. However, the notion of having visitors congregate and have heartfelt conversations didn’t pan out, Crew said. ‘Facilitators had to come out of the space and really try and engage people and bring them in.’”

Thursday, March 13, Wall Street Journal

Gauging Value in Real Estate as Prices Slide

“In this battered housing market, choosing the right neighborhood is more important than ever. Some six million Americans are expected to buy a house this year. All are contemplating what may be the most significant purchase of their lives at a time when no one is certain how much lower prices might go. Neighborhoods with significant numbers of foreclosures also typically suffer weaker housing prices. In Herndon, Va., an otherwise desirable metropolitan Washington community, ‘there are pockets of town where foreclosures are a problem, and that is undercutting prices’ of nearby homes, says Stephen Fuller, director for the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University. ‘A couple blocks west or north, and you don’t find that problem.’”

Thursday, March 13, Washington Post

Culmore Center Extends Reach

“Culmore Family Resource Center is stepping up to the challenge of its changing community by launching a drop-in health center and literacy classes for native Spanish speakers. The expansion of services at the community center, long a pillar of support for low-income and immigrant families in Fairfax County, includes new computer classes for adults and a choir for children. The literacy program is aimed at helping adult native Spanish speakers read and write proficiently in their own language, so they will be better prepared to learn English, said Lisa Rabin, an associate professor of Spanish at George Mason University. Classes have been taught by 25 college students.”

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