George Mason in the News

Posted: March 16, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage Mason recently received.

Saturday, March 10, Channel 9 News

Eye on Washington

Michael Fauntroy, assistant professor in the School of Public Policy, appeared on the Channel 9 public affairs show, “Eye on Washington.” The show airs in about 20 markets around the country, including Boston, Buffalo, San Francisco and Tampa.

Saturday, March 10, Los Angeles Times

Washington, D.C., Gun Ban Bites the Dust

“A U.S. appeals court on Friday struck down a strict ban on owning firearms in the nation’s capital, setting the stage for the Supreme Court to rule on the scope of the 2nd Amendment and whether it expressly protects a person’s right to own a gun. ‘It basically forbids everyone from having a gun,’ said Nelson Lund, a law professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. New York and Chicago have similarly restrictive measures, he said.”

Sunday, March 11, Chicago Tribune

Youth Serves a Central Role

“As thousands of Chicagoans leave the city each year, a countervailing force is moving in: twentysomethings, whose growing presence in and near the city’s center is attracting companies to start or expand operations downtown. ‘Companies are finding that the key asset is no longer the highway interchange, coal vein or port,’ said Richard Florida, a professor of urban policy at George Mason University. ‘Now, it’s this educated, skilled, innovative talent. Companies are moving to be near the kind of people that Chicago is attracting in droves.’ Now, companies are chasing the skills and creativity of youthful workers who increasingly are gravitating toward cities replete with clubs, restaurants, museums and natural draws such as Lake Michigan, said Florida.”

Sunday, March 11, New York Times

Lotto Makes Sense, Even for Losers

“A 2002 nationwide survey found that lotteries are by far the most popular form of gambling, with some 66 percent of United States adults having played in the previous year, and 13 percent on a weekly basis. ‘The people who denigrate lottery players are like 10-year-olds who are disgusted by the idea of sex: they are numb to its pleasures, so they say it’s not rational,’ said Lloyd Cohen, a professor of law at George Mason University and author of an economic analysis, ‘Lotteries, Liberty and Legislatures,’ who is himself a gambler and a card counter. Dr. Cohen argues that lottery tickets are not an investment but a disposable consumer purchase, which changes the equation radically. Like a throwaway lifestyle magazine, lottery tickets engage transforming fantasies: a wine cellar, a pool, a vision of tropical blues and white sand. The difference is that the ticket can deliver. And as long as the fantasy is possible, even a negligible probability of winning becomes paradoxically reinforcing, Dr. Cohen said. ‘One is willing to pay hard cash that it be so real, so objective, that it is actually calculable – by someone, even if not oneself,’ he said.”

Monday, March 12, Dallas Morning News

Dealing with Workplace Interruptions

“The workplace has become a culture of interruption. If you can’t escape interruptions, can you join them by doing a task over and over to diminish their effect? ‘To reduce the negative consequences of an interruption, practice is not enough,’ said Deborah Boehm-Davis, who heads the psychology department at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. ‘If you practice the task alone, you will get better at that task, but you don’t get any better at doing the task in the presence of interruptions,’ she said. ‘To learn to deal with interruptions, you need to practice the task while being interrupted.’”

Thursday, March 15, Washington Post

Career-Changing Program Rewards the Desire to Teach

“Virginia is home to more than 1,500 ‘career switchers’ who have taken part in a program that trains working professionals to adapt their skills and experiences to the classroom. In the past two decades, nearly every state has developed initiatives to recruit workers to teach subjects with critical teacher shortages, such as math, foreign language, science and technology education. The programs make it easier for professionals to switch tracks to become teachers without having to start the required coursework from the beginning. Anastasia P. Samaras, coordinator of the Career Switcher Program at George Mason University, said the classes draw people from many backgrounds. She listed a few: ‘Chemists, biologists with PhDs . . . people who worked on the Hill, restaurant managers, retired military, rocket scientists . . . Earth scientists.’ Samaras said previous experience with deadlines, teamwork and accountability translate well to teaching. ‘These people are experts in their fields and really hit the ground running. They are really top candidates,’ she said. George Mason is one of nine institutions that train career switchers under the program.”

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