This Week in the News…

Posted: August 30, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage George Mason received during the past week:

Saturday, August 24, New York Times

The Secular Society Gets Religion

Hugh Heclo, a professor of public affairs at George Mason University, points out that it was only in the 20th century that religion increasingly became a private matter…. His research, he said, has turned up polls showing that people are more willing to see religious views expressed by public officials and to see religion promoted by government than at any time since the 1970’s. ‘It’s not the old values debate of the culture wars,’ he continued, ‘but “What do we think are the grounds for deciding if something is right or wrong?” It’s inescapable if you’re representing a democracy in which people believe in God.’ Professor Heclo embraces the latest shift. ‘Religion is now in the public square,’ he said, ‘in that there is some divine truth we need to worry about as we charge forth into all these policy decisions about genetic engineering, man’s relation to the environment and obligations to end suffering around the world.'”

Sunday, August 25, Associated Press Newswires

Computer Security Experts Worry About Possibility of Cyber Attack

Sushil Jajodia spends his days thinking about things that would keep most of us awake at night. The director of the Center for Secure Information Systems at George Mason University believes that terrorists can turn the United States’ technological advancement against it, using our computers to wreak havoc on a scale comparable to the Sept. 11 attacks–and do so relatively easily. Worse, he’s convinced that too little is being done to protect against an assault in cyberspace. ‘What made 9/11 so destructive was that it was a coordinated attack,’ involving 18 hijackers, four airplanes and multiple targets, Jajodia noted. A similarly coordinated assault in cyberspace would be easier, he said. ‘They don’t have to risk their lives and they don’t have to be sophisticated or knowledgeable to launch an attack.'”

Monday, August 26, New York Times

The Poor Who Work, Yet Live With Desperation

“The program’s heart seems to lie with two of its other talking heads, a pair of conservative economists from George Mason University. Donald Boudreaux argues that the minimum wage itself should be abolished, leaving the law of supply and demand to set all salaries. His colleague Walter Williams notes sunnily that these workers can’t have it so bad if they own luxuries like televisions, telephones and microwaves. ‘Our poor are the most well-off poor in the entire world,’ he says.”

Tuesday, August 27, Newsbytes News Network

Tech’s Major Decline

“The Labor Department projects that software engineering will be the fastest-growing occupation between 2000 and 2010, with other computer-related industries trailing close behind. But in the short term that growth may slow, based on the changes among college students. For example, 900 of the 2,000-plus undergraduates studying information technology and engineering at George Mason University were computer science majors last year. This year the enrollment in that major is down to 800, although a newly created and more general information technology major has attracted 200 students. ‘Having it ease off for a while is a bit of a relief,’ said Lloyd Griffiths, dean of George Mason’s information technology and engineering school. ‘Particularly with the field as it has been, they don’t want to spend four years on something and then not get a job.'”

Wednesday, August 28, Israel Faxx

Psychologists Examine What Creates a Terrorist

Richard Rubenstein, a professor of conflict resolution at George Mason University in Virginia, says terrorism is usually not the result of one individual’s anger or hatred. ‘People are not born terrorists. And it does very little good to explain terrorism when it happens as acts of expressive acting out, acts of emotional passion, acts which are essentially irrational,’ Rubenstein said. Rubenstein says most terrorists identify themselves as members of a group or class of people who have been oppressed and humiliated by an outside power. He says often, the terrorism is the result of a desire to end that perceived oppression, but also a way to give more meaning to their lives.”

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