George Mason in the News

Posted: December 22, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage George Mason received Dec. 18-20.

Sunday, Dec. 18, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Bankruptcy Reform a Boon

“The reform law’s implementation in October caused a temporary spike in bankruptcy filings that will hurt MBNA’s short-term profits but should reduce future bankruptcy filings, the company said in its quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Todd Zywicki, a George Mason University law professor who favors the law, testified to a Senate committee that credit-card companies would receive an additional $3 billion each year with its passage.”

Sunday, Dec. 18, USA Today

This Is the Google Side of Your Brain

“As more people find themselves spending much of the day within arm’s reach – or even pocket’s reach – of something that can tap into the Internet, search engine Google quickly is taking the place of not only a trip to the library, but also a call home to Mom, a recipe box, the phone book and neighborly advice. James Olds, a professor of computational neuroscience at George Mason University in Virginia, says he often feels his ‘brain would fry’ if he had to keep one more fact in it. To him, Google is a way to ‘off-load’ everything he doesn’t have to keep front and center in his brain for work.”

Monday, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News)

The Sweet Smell of … Happiness?

“Don’t worry, be happy. That’s the take-home message from a major new review of studies on the downstream benefits of personal happiness. The new review should help change psychologists’ view of the happiness/success relationship, said James Maddux, professor and director of the clinical psychologist training program at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Va. ‘It pulls all the research together in a very compelling way,’ said Maddux, who specializes in the study of ‘positive psychology.’ He and Lyubomirsky agreed that ‘happy’ doesn’t mean empty-headed cheerfulness. ‘The research isn’t saying that happy people are naive Pollyannas, and it’s not saying that being happy is incompatible with – on occasion – being critical and cynical, sad or angry,’ he said. ‘That’s just part of being a healthy, emotionally well-rounded human being.’”

Monday, Dec. 19, Indian Express-New Delhi

Magic or religion? Product Differentiation in the New Age Market

“Everyone needs a miracle. And the miracle service providers are two – magic and religion. Because practitioners and believers of magical activities, which include crystals, Vaastu, Feng Shui, palmistry, cards, and so on, try and turn processes into Truths, magic is often likened to religion. But the two, as a brilliantly-written recent paper by Eli Berman of the University of California and Laurence R. Iannaccone of George Mason University, argues, are different (what’s new?), and how (that’s what).

In ‘Religious Extremism: The Good, the Bad, and the Deadly,’ the authors differentiate between the two: ‘Religion consists of beliefs, practices, and institutions that relate to one or more supernatural beings. Magic, by contrast, consists of beliefs, practices, and institutions that concern impersonal supernatural forces.’”

Tuesday, Dec. 20, San Diego Tribune

UCSD Professor Sees Economic Self-Interest as a Motivation for Terrorism

“While most economists spend their days mulling the fluctuations of the dollar, or extracting meaning from Alan Greenspan’s latest utterance, Eli Berman spends his trying to decipher the motivations of a suicide bomber. ‘I think he is brilliant, and very creative,’ said Laurence Iannaccone, a George Mason University professor who has worked in this small corner of economics since the 1980s and who co-wrote two papers with Berman. ‘He is not happy to do conventional work, or add a little to a well-developed area,’ Iannaccone said. ‘He asks really big questions about areas that we know very little about.’”

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