This Week in the News…

Posted: October 3, 2003 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:

Monday, Sept. 29, Kansas City Star

Smallpox Vaccine Could Prevent AIDS

“Could a smallpox shot protect you from the AIDS virus? It’s a tantalizing idea that scientists at George Mason University are studying. Early findings are very preliminary and based on lab tests of a small number of blood samples. But Ken Alibek, director of the university’s National Center for Biodefense, said the early results are encouraging. ‘This could result in some very important work,’ said Alibek, a former top scientist in the Soviet biological weapons program who came to the United States in 1992. If early results bear out, ‘this could be a great way to protect people,’ he said, because the vaccine has been safety-tested, is already in production and has been used successfully on a global scale to eradicate smallpox.”

Monday, Sept. 29, Mobile Register

Mobile Police Department Tracking Complaints

“Similarly, Precinct 1, which receives the most calls, has 81 officers assigned to it, the Police Department reported. Precinct 4, with the fewest calls for service, has 55 officers. The availability of police to render service can be judged by the number of officers on patrol and their time frame for responding to calls, said Stephen Mastrofski, director of the administration of justice department at George Mason University in Virginia. Mastrofski is a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee to Review Research on Police Policy and Practices.”

Monday, Sept. 29, Associated Press

Final Sniper Suspect Trials May Be Years Away

“Some of those issues could include complicated legal appeals, particularly if one or both are convicted and sentenced to death. In some states, such litigation takes six to nine years before a final resolution. That could encourage other jurisdictions to pursue their charges during the appeals process. ‘If they’ve already proven they’ve committed a crime in a particular case, the second and subsequent cases might be easier to prove,’ said Michael O’Neill, a professor who specializes in criminal law at George Mason University. O’Neill said either defendant might be willing to confess to other crimes once they are convicted, avoiding the need and expense of additional prosecutions. ‘You can’t put them to death more than once, so there could be a certain amount of pressure to determine whether a state’s resources are being properly spent,’ O’Neill said.”

Thursday, Oct. 2, The Washington Post

Fauquier Schools Given Grant for Teacher Training

“Officials of the U.S. Department of Education have announced that Fauquier County’s school system will share a nearly $1 million grant with six surrounding school districts and George Mason University to improve U.S. history programs. The federal money will fund a three-year program in which about a dozen county teachers attend professional development workshops led by local university professors and historians. Beginning next summer, teachers from the university and the seven school districts will attend workshops that require papers, research and online discussions with scholars and historians from George Mason and Stanford universities, the Smithsonian Institution and the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Southeast Washington.”

Friday, Oct. 3, Newsweek International

An Experimental Mind

“Experimental economics is the brainchild of an iconoclastic academic named Vernon Smith, who had an epiphany a half century ago that has since ‘changed the direction of economic science.’ Those were the words used by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences when it awarded Smith the Nobel Prize last year. With his silver ponytail and heavy Native American jewelry, Smith has shaken up establishment economists by proving that their theories are best tested not in their heads, where they are most at home, but with live experiments involving real people. Even before the Nobel, Smith’s ideas had spread through his preachings and those of his acolytes to transform the thinking of government, producing some of the most creative policy innovations of recent decades. Since the early 1970s experimental economists have changed the way the U.S. government sells wireless spectrum, packs a space probe, regulates the price of gas, allots airport landing slots and battles smog.”

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