George Mason in the News

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

Following are highlights of national news coverage George Mason recently received.

Tuesday, Nov. 14, Nature

Was Life on Earth Inevitable?

“The appearance of life on Earth seems to face so many obstacles — sourcing the right ingredients, for example, and arranging them into living things (while being bombarded by meteorites) — that scientists often feel forced to regard it as almost miraculous. Now two U.S. researchers suggest that, on the contrary, it may have been inevitable. They argue that life was the necessary consequence of available energy built up by geological processes on the early Earth. In other words, say biologist Harold Morowitz of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and physicist Eric Smith of New Mexico’s Santa Fe Institute, the geological environment ‘forced life into existence.’”

Friday, Nov. 24, US Fed News

VOA News: Electronics Companies Battle for Share of Holiday Consumer Market

“The holiday season is here in the United States. For many, it is a time for seeing family and friends, and exchanging gifts. But in the electronics business, the holiday season means war, as industry giants battle for consumer dollars. The PS3 sells for approximately $600 in the U.S. A high price tag, yet gaming experts say Sony is losing $300 per console because of the high definition video technology and delays in putting the product out on the market. Despite Sony’s short-term losses, Jean-Pierre Auffret, director of Technology Management Programs at George Mason University, says Sony had to look long-term, and put the console out now. ‘Having the games available, having a broad range of games, for a broad set of ages. By having the Play Station on the market, it encourages publishers to develop games for them.’”

Monday, Nov. 27, Computerworld

DOD Report to Detail Dangers of Foreign Software

“A U.S. Department of Defense task force early next year plans to warn the Pentagon of a growing threat to national security from adversaries who could insert malicious code in software developed overseas. ‘This is a very big deal,’ said Paul Strassmann, a professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and a former CIO at the Pentagon. ‘The fundamental issue is that one day, under conditions where we will badly need communications, we will have a denial of service and have billion-dollar weapons unable to function.’”

Monday, Nov. 27, Washington Post

After Class, the Parent Becomes the Pupil

“Her daughter Rachel is a kindergartner in Fairfax County. But that was Cindy Wade in the cafeteria at Island Creek Elementary School one recent evening for a mathematics lesson with Froot Loops and colored pasta. Wade, a lawyer who’s taking a break to raise her children, and other parents crowded around a table as teacher Brooke Harris encouraged them to have their children practice forming simple patterns at home by lining up bits of pasta or cereal. Seminars such as the one at Island Creek are multiplying as schools call on parents to reinforce what children learn in the classroom. Seeking every possible edge to improve standardized test scores used to rate their schools, many educators say it’s no longer enough to encourage parents to read with their children or make sure homework is finished. Penelope M. Earley, director of the Center for Education Policy at George Mason University, said research shows that students perform better if parents are involved in their studies. And she said schools are working harder to give parents detailed guidance on how to help. ‘With all the accountability demands, it’s necessary to involve parents in more specific ways,’ Earley said. ‘I think schools are being more deliberate.’”

Tuesday, Nov. 28, Forbes

When Is Being Good Not Good Enough?

“Being good, it seems, is never good enough. Companies like Starbucks are renowned for doing well by their employees and for trading fairly with coffee farmers around the world. So why is the coffee chain hitting a bitter note with the anti-poverty and human rights group Oxfam International? According to Oxfam, Starbucks had a hand in the Ethiopian government’s recently failed attempt to trademark two of the nation’s coffee bean names, Harar and Sidamo. Russell Roberts, an economist at George Mason University, goes as far as to say it is ‘immoral’ for companies to use shareholders’ money to pay for corporate social responsibility programs. He, like most critics of CSR, takes his cue from a 1970 article published by the late economist Milton Friedman in the New York Times. Its title says it all: ‘The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits.’”

Write to at