Felipe Filomeno, Political Science, Op-Ed in the Council on Hemispheric Affairs

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs, based in Washington, D.C., recently published an op-ed by Felipe Filomeno, an Assistant Professor of Political Science, about recent events in Brazilian politics.

In the column, Filomeno argues that the tight victory of President Dilma Rousseff in her bid for another term and the election of a more conservative parliament signal the exhaustion of Lulismo as a mode of governing and strategy of national development. He writes that the Workers’ Party (PT) now faces the challenge of forging new connections with the civil society to promote progressive changes in a context of economic difficulties and political polarization.

“Now, either the PT will be able to turn the difficult elections of 2014 into a ‘labor pain’ from which a new social pact for development could emerge, or it will see a revitalized President Rousseff immobilized in the face of stronger conservative forces waiting for a new ‘interrupted construction,’” Filomeno writes.

To read the full column titled “Brazilian Elections: Labor Pain?” click here.

Robert Provine, Psychology, in Vox and on Today.com

In an article published October 31 on Vox.com, Psychology Professor Robert Provine was quoted extensively about his research on hiccups and the evolution of behavior. He discussed how there’s little scientific knowledge about hiccups and how they are difficult to study.

Robert Provine

“We still don’t know what hiccups do, and our cure for them hasn’t improved since Plato,” said Provine. “You can’t just go into the lab and ask someone to hiccup for you.”

Provine also discussed holding breath as a possible cure for intractable hiccups. “You’re blocking the motor pattern as well as leading to a buildup of carbon dioxide,” he said.

In an article published on Today.com discussing a recent episode of “The Tonight Show” in which Bradley Cooper and Jimmy Fallon couldn’t control their laughter throughout a ten-minute interview, Provine was quoted from a 2010 interview he participated in with NBC News.

“All laughter is unconscious,” he said. “You do not choose to laugh the way you choose to speak.” The article also cites Provine by stating: “And laughter and humor aren’t as closely tied as people might think. Babies laugh without understanding a joke or that knowing that pratfalls are hilarious, according to Provine.”

To read full versions of both articles, click below:
The mysterious science of hiccups: Why we get them and how to stop them (Vox)
This is why Jimmy Fallon and Bradley Cooper couldn’t stop giggling (Today.com)

UMBC Political Science and Public Policy Faculty Provide National, State, and Local Election Analysis

Tom SchallerSeveral UMBC faculty have been in the news providing 2014 midterm election analysis. Thomas Schaller, Professor and Chair of the Political Science Department, appeared on MSNBC’s “All in with Chris Hayes,” to analyze the election results and discuss how Republican control in Congress could affect legislation in the future. In addition, Schaller co-wrote a column for Politico Magazine before the election in which he discussed pre-election polls of Latino voters and how they could have an affect in predicting the outcome in Colorado’s Senate race. Schaller was quoted in a Washington Post story before the election discussing how the Maryland gubernatorial race turned unexpectedly close in the days leading up to Election Day.

Donald Norris UMBCDonald Norris, Professor and Chair of Public Policy, provided live election night analysis on WJZ-TV. To watch a clip of Norris discussing the Maryland governor’s race and candidate campaign strategy, click here. The day before the election, Norris also appeared on WJZ discussing how voter turnout could affect the race. Norris was interviewed by the Washington Post and commented on how political attitudes nationwide could have affected the election outcome in Maryland. He also discussed gerrymandering and its affect on Maryland congressional races. In the Baltimore Sun, Norris commented on the importance of Baltimore County in the election. In Politico Magazine, Norris talked about campaign strategies in the governor’s race.

Tyson King-MeadowsTyson King-Meadows, Chair of the Africana Studies Department and Associate Professor of Political Science, co-authored a report on black voter turnout and how it could affect several key Senate and gubernatorial races across the country. King-Meadows and his colleague received extensive media coverage for their findings.

Roy Meyers (UMBC)Political Science Professor Roy Meyers wrote an op-ed published on MarylandReporter.com discussing the outcome of the Maryland gubernatorial election. He wrote that “pocketbook” issues were most important in the race, and little scrutiny given to candidate policies made citizens lose out on critical information and may have had a strong impact on the results of the race.

On Thursday, November 13, Schaller and Norris are participating in a Post Election Forum at UMBC along with Washington Post Political Reporter John Wagner. The event takes place at 4:00 p.m. in the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery.

For a complete list of election analysis coverage by UMBC faculty, click below.

Thomas Schaller:
Obstruction works: Why compromise isn’t on the horizon (MSNBC)
Getting Latinos Wrong (Politico Magazine)
Maryland Governor’s Race has Turned Unexpectedly Tight (Washington Post)

Donald Norris:
Martin O’Malley’s First Presidential Primary (Politico Magazine)
UMBC Analyst Discusses Today’s Elections (WJZ)
UMBC Students Talk about Md. Gubernatorial Race (WJZ)
Hogan won Maryland Governor’s Race by Seizing the Message of the Campaign (Washington Post)
In Maryland’s eight congressional races, incumbents face little competition (Washington Post) 
Candidates hope to pry ‘soft’ supporters off the couch (Baltimore Sun)

Tyson King-Meadows:
Tyson King-Meadows, Africana Studies and Political Science, Co-Authors Report on Black Voter Turnout and the 2014 Midterm Elections

Roy Meyers:
Maryland citizens were the biggest losers (MarylandReporter.com)

Penny Rheingans on Tech Firms Offering Egg Freezing as a Benefit

Penny Rheingans, a professor in computer science and electrical engineering, talks with the BBC about the benefit that some tech companies are now offering women — paying for female employees to freeze eggs.

Rheingans tell the BBC, “my initial reaction is negative.”

She says that the companies are suggesting that, “their culture and work expectations might be incompatible with raising a family.”

Furthermore, she says, “they’re saying to women that they should wait to have those babies until the company is done with their technically productive years.”

Listen to the complete interview

From Antarctica to the Chesapeake

In the Chesapeake Bay Quarterly, published by the Maryland Sea Grant program a recent article discusses seal level rise due to the melting of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.

Antarctica is, in many ways, the king of the cryosphere. Greenland is melting at a faster rate, but the southern continent holds a lot more ice, says Christopher Shuman, a geoscientist at the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, a collaboration between the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. In total, there’s enough ice on Antarctica to raise the world’s oceans by more than 200 feet.

“That’s what makes it the 800-pound gorilla compared to the more rapidly changing parts of the cryosphere,” Shuman says.


Shuman is no stranger to the Mid Atlantic.

The geoscientist grew up in the Philadelphia area and spent family vacations in his grandparents’ cabin on the Elk River near Cecilton, Maryland. Today, some of his cousins own the house. Like so many other property owners in Maryland, they’ve seen the handiwork of rising waters. These days, when a big storm hits the Chesapeake, waves often wash over the family’s dock.

“It’s a special place to us,” Shuman says. “It’s also a pretty good vantage point for appreciating the world that’s evolving around us.”

In recent years, scientists have learned more about the role that Antarctica will play in this evolving world. Their research points to big losses in the years to come.


Read the entire story

Clifford Murphy, American Studies, in the Washington Post

In a recent article published in The Conversation and The Washington Post, American Studies Lecturer Clifford Murphy wrote about his research documenting New England’s country music history and traditions in order to understand how the region once home to a robust country music culture merely sixty years ago now has a much different country music scene.

Yankee Twang

“In short, the arrival of television compromised the profit margins of radio, replacing live musicians with disc jockeys. Meanwhile, the country music industry consolidated in Nashville, where country format radio was born,” Murphy wrote. He discussed the culture shift away from “the people” to more centralized commercial broadcasts and how the concept has extended into other spheres of regional American life.

Murphy, who is Program Director of Folk & Traditional Arts at the Maryland State Arts Council, turned his research into a new book titled Yankee Twang, which was published this month by University of Illinois Press. For more information, click here. To read Murphy’s full article titled “Country pop is having a moment in the Northeast. But its soaring popularity is threatening to kill regional music,” click here.

George Derek Musgrove, History, in the New York Times

On October 30, the New York Times published an article about the Washington, D.C. mayoral election and how changing demographics in the District could affect the race. The article notes that a surge of roughly 80,000 new voters in the District in recent years could make the election outcome less certain than many expect.

Derek Musgrove

George Derek Musgrove ’97, history, associate professor of history, was interviewed for the article. The excerpt from the story can be found below:

“This race has a fascinating set of circumstances,” said George Derek Musgrove, a historian at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who is writing a book on race and democracy in the District of Columbia.

Chief among them, Professor Musgrove said, is the shrinking black population in this city of about 650,000 people. It declined 11 percent from 2001 to 2011, while the white population increased by 31 percent, and the Asian population increased, too.

“No one knows how many new residents will vote, or in what numbers,” Professor Musgrove said.

Further, he said, residents, particularly the poor, have looked at the record of the past three administrations on the key issues of education and affordable housing and seen little progress. “Folks don’t quite know if Muriel Bowser can deal with those two problems, so there is a critical mass of people who are willing to try something new.”

To read the complete article, click here.