George Mason in the News

Posted: September 8, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national and international news coverage George Mason received during the past week.

September 2006, Psychology Today

Cultivating Curiosity

“Curious people are used to being joshed for their obsessions – monikers like ‘band geek’ and ‘bookworm’ are a way of saying, ‘Just relax, already!’ According to a new study by Todd Kashdan of George Mason University, however, the unusually curious often have the last laugh. Kashdan asked students how much they agreed with statements such as, ‘When I am actively interested in something, it takes a great deal to interrupt me.’ People who exhibit high levels of curiosity, he found, experience higher levels of satisfaction with life than their more disengaged peers. While the less curious derive more pleasure from hedonistic behaviors such as sex and drinking, curious people report finding a greater sense of meaning in life, which is a better predictor of sustainable, lasting happiness.”

Sunday, Sept. 3, Associated Press

Making Sense of Political Accusations Can Confuse Voters

“Illegal donations. Improper meetings. Questionable contracts. Accusations of wrongdoing by elected officials have been flying for months, but figuring out which ones have merit and which are campaign ploys can leave most voters flummoxed. What is happening in Wisconsin is not unique, said James Conant, a professor of government and politics at George Mason University. Political parties at the state level believe the way to run a campaign is to attack the opponent, Conant said. Recent high-profile national cases out of Washington, D.C., have fueled the focus on scandals, he said.”

Monday, Sept. 4, USA Today

A Digital Snapshot of 9/11 Takes Shape on the Internet

“When Mark Permann slipped on his Polar S610 heart monitor for a morning run across the Brooklyn Bridge on Sept. 11, 2001, the watchlike device recorded more than the beating of his heart. A fever chart created from the monitor’s data shows Permann’s heart rate spiking when he heard and saw airplanes hit the World Trade Center…After sharing the chart with friends, Permann, now 36, uploaded the image to the September 11 Digital Archive in August 2002. Permann’s heart rate chart is one of more than 150,000 pieces of history uploaded to the Digital Archive, an online collection of photos, stories, e-mails, video clips and animations. The pioneer project is collecting history not through traditional oral interviews and written documents but with bits and bytes. ‘We’ve ended up collecting things that are more of a private nature, things you’d find not so much on the Web, but on people’s hard drives,’ says Tom Scheinfeldt, assistant director of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.”

Tuesday, Sept. 5, Los Angeles Times

Christian Coalition Is Splintering

“When Congress was debating bills on embryonic stem-cell research and same-sex marriage back in May, an e-mail from the Christian Coalition of America appeared in activists’ inboxes. ‘Christian Coalition Announces Support for “Net Neutrality” to Prevent Giant Phone and Cable Companies From Discriminating Against Web Sites,’ it said. For John W. Giles, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, the e-mail was yet another sign that the famous political powerhouse of the religious right had strayed from its founding mission: defending marriage, strengthening the family and protecting unborn human life. ‘Today, the Christian Coalition is a shell of its former self,’ said Mark J. Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University. ‘It has been and gone as a force in American politics.'”

Tuesday, Sept. 5, Washington Post

For Conservative Muslims, Goal of Isolation a Challenge

“The kind of Islam practiced at Dar-us-Salaam, known as Salafism, once had a significant foothold among area Muslims, in large part because of an aggressive missionary effort by the government of Saudi Arabia. Salafism and its strict Saudi version, known as Wahhabism, struck a chord with many Muslim immigrants who took a dim view of the United States’ sexually saturated pop culture and who were ambivalent about participating in a secular political system. It was also attractive to young Muslims searching for a more ‘authentic’ Islam than what their Westernized immigrant parents offered. ‘Salafi teachings begin to be more attractive to more Muslims as a defensive response,’ said Peter Mandaville, an assistant professor in George Mason University’s Public and International Affairs Department. ‘In the face of this new global war on Islam, they are saying, we will hold fast and emphasize anew the fundamental tenets of our faith.'”

Wednesday, Sept. 6, BBC News Online

Google Opens Up 200 Years of News

“Web giant Google is further expanding its online empire with the launch of the Google News Archive Search. The web-based tool allows users to explore existing digitized newspaper articles and more recent online content, spanning the last 200 years. ‘I’m strongly in favor of the democratization of access to historical documents, but also cautious about how much information Google now controls,’ said Professor Roy Rosenzweig, a historian from the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University in the U.S. He says that increasingly the model of how we access information and what information we have access to is changing, as public archives such as libraries are replaced by private companies. But, he says, he is ‘extremely excited’ about Google’s latest offering. ‘As a scholar and historian I want as much information as possible, accessible to as many people as possible at the least cost, and the extent to which Google is doing that is compelling.'”

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