In an article published last week, Governing Magazine explored participation in the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), Republican Governors Association (RGA) and National Governors Association (RGA), and how it is increasingly becoming a proving ground for governors seeking higher office.
Political Science Professor Thomas Schaller is quoted in the article when describing Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s leadership role with the DGA. He says O’Malley “used the platform very well,” and “it gave him reason to take positions on national issues, especially inequality and poverty.”
While leading a governors association can be a good platform to develop a policy portfolio and weigh in on key policy issues, Schaller says success “really depends upon what that chair does with the opportunity.”
You can read the full article in Governing Magazine here.
Folger Theatre announced on its “Production Diary” blog last week that Richard III has been extended and will now run at the theatre through March 16. English Associate Professor Michele Osherow worked closely on the production of Richard III as dramaturg and sat down for an interview to discuss her role.
In a Q&A published on the Folger Theatre blog, Osherow notes the role of dramaturg can vary depending on the production. “In a general sense, the dramaturg is thought of as ‘the scholar in the rehearsal room,’” Osherow said. “The scholarship I’ll bring to a Folger project can range from literary criticism to historical information.”
Osherow further discussed her role as always focusing on what makes the play stronger by discussing concepts with the director, mastering the history of the play and providing materials to help artists involved in the production.
“Listening carefully and being open-minded is very important. At the same time, it’s my job, I think, to ask a lot of questions about choices and concepts, to interrogate how they serve the play,” she added.
You can read the full interview in Folger Theatre’s blog here.
In an interview published February 8 in The Wall Street Journal, Manil Suri, mathematics professor and affiliate professor of Asian studies, commented on a recent Indian Supreme Court ruling that reinstates a 19th-century law criminalizing homosexual acts (Section 377), he commented on gay activism in India, and he described his personal experiences growing up in Mumbai, among other topics. Below is an excerpt from the interview in which Suri described how the gay community has changed over the last several years in Mumbai:
When I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, there was no community to speak of. Then, through the years, an underground movement slowly started to peek out—the private parties on the roof decks of suburban hotels, the upstairs bar at Gokul’s (in south Mumbai) which was unofficially colonized, the gay disco scene which became increasingly prominent. What’s most heartening to see is that the emphasis on sex is abating in favour of love—people are entering relationships, trying to create a vibrant gay culture.
You can read the full interview in The Wall Street Journal here.
Suri has also been presenting interdisciplinary talks at other campuses across the country. On Wednesday, February 12, he presented the Arcus Lecture at UC Berkley College of Environmental Design. The lecture examined the intersection of urban studies with diversity issues, particularly LGBTQ diversity and how such intersections are explored in his book, “The City of Devi.” More information can be found here.
On Thursday, March 6, Suri will be presenting the Director’s Visiting Scholar Lecture on math and fiction at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. More information on that event can be found here.
Most scientist accept the RNA world hypothesis, which states that RNA was the first biological molecule due to its ability to copy itself and pass along genetic traits. However, Nicholas Hud, a chemist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, wasn’t convinced.
A recent article in WIRED, courtesy of Quanta Magazine, discusses Hud’s experiment with the building blocks of RNA. The experiment made a breakthrough with the discovery of a chemical recipe that points to the existence of a molecule that might pre-date RNA.
Quanta interviewed Stephen Freeland, director of UMBC’s interdiscipinary studies program, for the article. “In my opinion, nothing like this has been seen before,” Dr. Freeland said, before going on to say that the experiment leads to conceptual progress, even if it did not use the exact components of the unknown molecule.
Read the entire article at WIRED.com.
Maryland State Delegate Heather Mizeur is considered a long shot to win the Democratic nomination for governor. But in a story that aired on WYPR Wednesday, February 12, Mizeur said she’s confident given her strong army of volunteers despite running against two candidates with more name recognition and money.
Public Policy Professor and Chair Donald Norris was interviewed for the story and commented on Mizeur’s prospects in the race. He said there is no chance she can win because her campaign doesn’t have the finances or statewide recognition to overcome Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Attorney General Douglas Gansler.
“It is impossible in that situation,” Norris said, “going up against two well known, well-funded candidates for her to win unless both candidates are in a head on collision with each other and they both die.”
You can listen to the full story on WYPR here.
An article published February 9 in The Daily Beast titled “What Military Base Shootings Reveal about the Mental Health Debate“ examines if better mental health screening can prevent future tragedies from occurring.
Psychology Associate Professor Jason Schiffman was interviewed for the story and is currently a staff member at Maryland’s Center for Excellence on Early Intervention for Serious Mental Illness. In the article, he argues early treatment for people experiencing symptoms of psychosis and schizophrenia can help prevent them from causing harm to themselves or others.
“Studies show one in 5 people in their early phases of psychosis will have a suicide attempt, which is a really high number,” Schiffman said. He is working with his team of researchers to identify young people with psychosis in order to help them get on a path towards leading a life they want to live.
“They may not have the full symptoms of psychosis, such as delusions, or beliefs held onto tenaciously despite evidence to the contrary. They may not be hearing voices or believe the FBI has planted a microchip in their tooth,” Schiffman explains. “But a lot of times people who eventually develop psychosis have anxiety symptoms early on. They suffer from distress that they can’t exactly explain.”
In the article, Schiffman also points to other countries such as Norway and Australia which dedicate money and resources to reducing stigma associated with mental illness.
“In Norway, mental health concerns are not considered something you have to hide or something that makes you a bad person,” said Schiffman. “In Australia, they approach young people from a community-oriented perspective. Mental health centers are kind of like YMCAs, where young people are playing pool, talking, not stigmatized into hiding who they are.”
You can read the full article in The Daily Beast here.
Decisions on how to use land are influenced by environmental, economic, political and cultural factors. Because of these various factors, it is difficult to understand how decisions made at the local level affect changes in land-use on a global scale.
A new article in PLOS ONE by Nicholas Magliocca, a computational research associate at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) and former UMBC postdoc, Daniel G. Brown of University of Michigan and Erle C. Ellis of UMBC’s Department of Geography and Environmental Systems addresses these issues.
The article describes how the authors used an agent-based model as a virtual laboratory to explore how land-use decisions in test sites in the U.S., Laos and China were influenced by global and local processes. The researchers found the model outcomes confirmed that population, environmental factors and market influences shaped land-use decisions across various land systems. Read the article at plosone.org, and a summary on the SESYNC blog.
In a recent article in The New York Times blog “The New Old Age,” author Paula Span wrote about the Office of Inspector General’s report on Medicare payments for vacuum pumps. The report stated Medicare was paying “grossly excessive” prices for the devices.
Ann Christine Frankowksi, senior research scientist for UMBC’s Center for Aging Studies in the department of sociology and anthropology, was quoted in the article commenting on ageist perceptions of sexuality.
“The general concept is that older people are asexual, that they don’t have, or shouldn’t have, any thoughts about sex,” said Frankowski, whose research has included sexual behavior and policies in assisted living. “There’s a bias against it.”
You can read the full article in The New York Times here.
The photography exhibition currently on display in the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery, N. Jay Jaffee Photographs from Public to Personal, 1947-1997, received praise this week in the Baltimore Sun.
The review discusses the personal background and career of Jaffee, in relation to his “visceral” and “compelling” photographs of New York City life. The author Tim Smith states that, “N. Jay Jaffee might not be among the best known American photographers of the 20th century, but a sizable and engrossing exhibit of his works at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, makes it obvious that he deserves much wider recognition.”
Read “UMBC presents exhibit of N. Jay Jaffee photos: New Yorker had keen eye for scenes of the city and its people” at the Baltimore Sun‘s website.
N. Jay Jaffee Photographs from Public to Personal, 1947-1997 is on display in the Library gallery though Sunday, March 23. Learn more at our Arts and Culture Calendar.
MFA candidate and Shriver Peaceworker Fellow, Charlotte Keniston was featured this week in the National Peace Corps Association blog. The article, “Returned Volunteer Takes on Food Deserts of Baltimore,” discusses an ongoing project by Keniston that tackles food challenges in Baltimore. Keniston cites her Peace Corps experience in Guatemala and her involvement as a Shriver Fellow as a major influence in her work saying, “While in Guatemala, I spent a lot of time cooking and eating with people. I learned that healthy food doesn’t just nourish the body, but growing food and eating it together can also nourish the community . . . The conversations I had in weekly Peaceworker sessions challenged me to view my neighborhood through a ‘Peace Corps’ lens- to see the possibility for positive change.”
Learn more about Keniston’s work, including her A Full Plate project — in which Baltimore area participants “discuss what food means to them in relation to their families, their communities, their health, power, place and spirituality” – at her website. Her work will be on display in the 2014 MFA Thesis Exhibition at the CADVC this April.