George Mason in the News

Posted: August 12, 2005 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.

Friday, Aug. 5, San Francisco Chronicle

Voting Rights Act

“In the 1970s, a series of court rulings held that gerrymandering districts to prevent minorities from having enough concentration to vote as a bloc and elect their own representatives violated the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. Dozens of ‘majority-minority districts’ were created with concentrations of various racial groups high enough that minorities were almost sure to be elected. ‘The conventional wisdom is that it has helped Republicans in the South, because it has forced (Southern states) to inefficiently distribute Democrats by packing minorities into majority-minority districts,’ said Michael McDonald, an assistant professor of government and politics at George Mason University in Virginia and an expert on the Voting Rights Act.”

Sunday, Aug. 7, MSNBC

GMU Prof Secures $550K for Disaster-Mapping Firm

Sean Gorman, a research assistant professor at GMU, co-founded FortiusOne in June and closed on $550,000 in venture capital in July. The company maps the ways terrorist attacks and other disasters could disrupt the country’s critical infrastructure. Gorman’s dissertation research used publicly available information to map every significant piece of infrastructure in the United States—communications networks, power grids, etc.—and reported in great detail where breakdowns in the systems would be most catastrophic. He shared his early findings with Department of Homeland Security officials, who immediately wanted to classify the research. Now, the company’s only revenue comes from a DHS project, and Gorman sits on a task force of the agency’s Homeland Security Advisory Council. ‘It’s kind of been a long and circuitous road in many senses,’ Gorman says of his work with DHS. ‘A lot of people have come and asked us to brief them on what we’re doing.’”

Sunday, Aug. 7, Concord Monitor (New Hampshire)

No Sun Belt for Me! I’m Coming Back Home

“Not only are the best jobs not coming to the Northeast, but the best employees are leaving, too. The putative remedies for the ‘brain drain’ are public policies to attract the so-called ‘creative class.’ Such policies are based on George Mason University Professor Richard Florida’s theory, which posits that the key to reversing urban decline is to attract the right kinds of young people—namely homosexuals, ethnic minorities and bohemians—who will in turn inject touches of flair and diversity to tired old towns.”

Monday, Aug. 8, Washington Times

Transportation Funding Aims To Ease Congestion

“The six-year, $286.4 billion transportation bill approved by Congress before the Aug. recess could provide some relief for weary motorists. ‘If people are under the impression that in five to 10 years it will be a major improvement, they will be disappointed,’ said Stephen Fuller, co-director of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis. ‘Just look at the Springfield Interchange project. By the time that gets done after 10 years of construction, the increased demand will have erased the benefit. Metro money is critical because there are no new alignments for highways,’ Mr. Fuller said. ‘Other than finishing the Fairfax County Parkway, there is no place to put new roads [in Northern Virginia]. Anything that takes cars off highways and gives commuters options is a benefit.’”

Monday, Aug. 8, CNET

FCC Schizo on DSL, Wiretapping

“In a pair of decisions on Friday, the commissioners voted to veer in two radically different directions: deregulating DSL lines while simultaneously imposing onerous wiretapping requirements on broadband providers. Economists have long realized that the best way to ensure a healthy marketplace is not by adding more government regulations but by relaxing them—thus permitting Verizon, SBC and so on to reap the benefits of upgrading copper networks. Russell Roberts, who teaches economics at George Mason University, offers this analogy: ‘Let’s say I’m Southwest Airlines and I’m going to commission an airplane from Boeing that lets passengers stack more carry-ons in the overhead compartments. I want to order 100 of these planes. But I’m told that if I’m not using them at all times, United can borrow them. That affects my willingness to invest in an uncertain future.’”

Tuesday, Aug. 9, ZDNet

Feds Fund VoIP Tapping Research

“The federal government is funding the development of a prototype surveillance tool by George Mason University researchers who have discovered a novel way to trace Internet phone conversations. ‘From a privacy advocate’s point of view, this is an attack on privacy,’ Xinyuan Wang, an assistant professor of software engineering and principal investigator, said Tuesday. ‘From a police point of view, this is a way to trace things.’ A paper co-authored by Wang and fellow George Mason researchers Shiping Chen and Sushil Jajodia describing their results is scheduled to be presented at a computer security conference in November.”

Write to at