George Mason in the News

Posted: February 2, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

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

Tuesday, Jan. 9, CNN International

Sarah L. Sweetman, director of student services for New Century College and PhD student in cultural studies, was interviewed for CNN International’s “Your World Today” regarding China’s new policies for determining eligibility of foreign couples to adopt children born in China.

Friday, Jan. 26, USA Today

Flight Delays Hint at Troubled System

“The FAA last year began a program that delays only flights that should not take off because of bad weather. Previously, the agency delayed hundreds more flights that weren’t even headed toward bad weather. The agency aggressively imposed restrictions on delay-prone airports such as Chicago’s O’Hare and New York’s LaGuardia. In recent years, both airports would gum up after airlines scheduled more flights per hour than runways could handle. Now, the FAA limits flights to keep operations smooth. The improvements have been incremental. Without new technology that allows planes to fly closer together and expansion of overstressed airports, many experts fear that the system is headed for bigger delays. ‘The system is trying to fix itself with all sorts of Band-Aids,’ said George Donohue, a former FAA official who teaches at George Mason University. ‘Ultimately the system is going to burst.’ The FAA is attempting to design a new air-traffic system that would scrap ground-based radars in favor of satellite navigation, allowing an increase in air traffic.”

Saturday, Jan. 27, Calgary Herald (Canada)

Black Democrats Hedge Their Support for Obama

“Obama’s father was a black Kenyan immigrant; his mother a white woman from Kansas. He was raised not on the streets of urban America, but in the more exotic locales of Hawaii and Indonesia. He attended Harvard law school before moving to Illinois and becoming active in politics on the south side of Chicago. ‘There are people who are going to say, ‘Oh well, he’s not really black.’ It’s a kind of stupid cheap shot,’ says Roger Wilkins, a professor of history and American culture at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. ‘It’s a label that gets put on black politicians who don’t spend enough time in the black barber shops or the black nightclubs. It is a pretty nebulous concept which translates into, ‘I really don’t trust this fellow’s fidelity to the black cause.’”

Saturday, Jan. 27, Boston Globe

She’s Gone, but Alice Is with Him More Than Ever

“Calvin Trillin’s ‘About Alice,’ his short tribute to his wife, who died in 2001, is funny and hasn’t a maudlin note. Trillin, 71, was in Boston last week for interviews and book- signings. ‘They moved in pretty sophisticated New York settings,’ recalls Roger Wilkins, a historian at George Mason University who was on The New York Times editorial board in the 1970s. ‘The new modes of life ushered in by the ’60s were still significant forces, but Alice and Bud were so old-fashioned. They really loved each other. The rest of us were getting divorced or having affairs, but not them. They didn’t flirt, they didn’t play around. It was real true love between two people who were smart and hip, and it was lovely to see.’”

Sunday, Jan. 28, La Tercera (Chile)

Positive Psychology Academically Important in Many Countries

Todd Kashdan, assistant professor of psychology, told La Tercera that incorporating Positive Psychology in a curriculum is vital for young people ‘in a society where we have thousands of so-called experts telling us how we should act and who often contradict each other. This is why it is necessary, at some level, to control the quality to assure that we’re communicating good information that you know is correct.’ In his opinion, the best quality control, in this case, is science.”

Wednesday, Jan. 31, New York Times

You Want Innovation? Offer a Prize

“Prizes began to be replaced by grants that awarded money upfront. Some of this was for good reason. As science became more advanced, scientists often needed to buy expensive equipment and hire a staff before having any chance of making a discovery. But grants also became popular for a less worthy reason: they made life easier for the government bureaucrats who oversaw them and for the scientists who received them. Robin Hanson, an economist at George Mason University who has studied the history of prizes, points out that they create a lot of uncertainty – about who will receive money and when a government will have to pay it. Grants, on the other hand, allow a patron (and the scientists advising that patron) to choose who gets the money. ‘Bureaucracies like a steady flow of money, not uncertainty,’ said Mr. Hanson, who worked as a physicist at NASA before becoming an economist. ‘But prizes are often more effective if what you want is scientific progress.’”

Wednesday, Jan. 31, Orlando Sentinel

Orlando Uses YouTube to Show Good Officers, Find Bad Guys

“Orlando police are turning the tables on their critics. The cops are ticked off about a video posted on labeled ‘Police Brutality.’ It shows dark, shaky cell-phone footage of an officer shoving a suspect to the ground and handcuffing him. So now police are using the same video site to send their own message. The department is posting video clips about the good things their officers do, such as donating blood, getting guns off the streets and helping people battle car thieves. YouTube’s popularity in law enforcement could continue to grow, said Stephen Mastrofski, director of the Administration of Justice program at George Mason University in the Washington, D.C., area. ‘I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it takes off and a lot of police departments take advantage of it for improving their image or catching suspects,’ said Mastrofski, who also warned that a worldwide audience can confuse the search for a suspect by generating bad leads.”

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