"O" E-Clips: highlights of media coverage involving the UO and its faculty and staff
UO E-Clips is a daily report prepared by the Office of Communications (http://comm.uoregon.edu) summarizing current news coverage of the University of Oregon.
Media mentions for March 29
Terra Daily: Resistance at individual and societal levels must be recognized and treated before real action can be taken to effectively address threats facing the planet from human-caused contributions to climate change. That's the message to this week's Planet Under Pressure Conference by a group of speakers led by Kari Marie Norgaard, professor of sociology and environmental studies at the University of Oregon. In a news briefing Monday, Norgaard discussed her paper and issues her group will address in a conference session on Wednesday. Scientists from multiple disciplines from around the world are at the conference to assess where they stand before the June 4-6 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro - also known as "Rio+20" since it is occurring 20 years after 1992's Rio Earth Summit that drew officials from 172 governments. "We find a profound misfit between dire scientific predictions of ongoing and future climate changes and scientific assessments of needed emissions reductions on the one hand, and weak political, social or policy response on the other," Norgaard said.
PublicCEO.com: Before I was Editor of PublicCEO, I was an independent contractor. As Editor of PublicCEO, I certainly work at and operate a very small business. And as it turns out, as both an independent contractor or as a small businessman trying to make ends meet, I am part of a growing and important segment of the California economy. Dr. Philip Romero, a professor of Finance at the University of Oregon and former Chief Economist for the California Governor's Office, released a new study on independent contractors on Tuesday. The study not only addressed the positive impact that independent contractors have on the California economy, but the study investigated the veracity of some of the common attacks on the use of contractors.
Reuters, appearing on Yahoo! News Canada: U.S. college admissions officers on Wednesday welcomed new rules aimed at deterring cheating on entrance exams, but continued to raise concerns about fraud, especially among foreign applicants. The new regulations require students taking the SAT and ACT, the two most widely used college entrance exams in the United States, to provide a photo of themselves when they register. Test proctors will be asked to check those photos against identification cards students present when they check in for the exams - and against the students themselves. ... Instead, TOEFL proctors take a photo of every student as he or she sits for the exam. If a student takes the test more than once and shows remarkable improvement, the pictures from each sitting are compared to rule out fraud. But there's no way to catch a student who pays someone to take the test for him the first time he registers. "It's an issue that many of us are dealing with and I don't think we've come up with the best solution," said Brian Henley, director of admissions at the University of Oregon, where foreign students make up 8 percent of the student body. Henley said he has noticed a big jump in TOEFL scores among this year's applicants, which "may be due to more effective language training in China" -- or to "increased fraud," he said. "It's really hard to know," Henley said. He urged test administrators to improve security but acknowledged it may be impractical to require photo IDs or photo registrations in many impoverished or war-torn countries.
The Austin Chronicle: As it turns out, Mills is not the only one who's using the medium of choreography to probe the depths of the Holocaust this month. The work of Chorus Austin -- one of those community partners in this year's Light -- is moving, too. "Ballet Austin made the initial invitation to Chorus Austin to be a collaborator in the larger project," says Artistic Director and Conductor Ryan Heller, who didn't have to think twice about saying yes. The result: In Remembrance, a concert this Saturday at Congregation Agudas Achim with Rabbi Neil Blumofe as soloist. The concert's details were left in Heller's hands, who knew immediately that he wanted to commission a cornerstone piece for the event. He also knew without hesitation whom to call: Robert Kyr, professor of composition and theory at the University of Oregon and featured composer of Conspirare's highly acclaimed Renaissance & Response festival last year. "I knew I wanted to talk with Rob about this piece for Chorus Austin's chamber choir, the Austin Vocal Arts Ensemble," Heller recalls. The resulting collaboration between the two has yielded The Unutterable, a bold and provocative new multimedia work that hits its composer close to home. "The Unutterable is deeply personal for me," Kyr explains by email. "My mother was in the Red Cross immediately following World War II and was assigned to duty in Germany, where she was one of the first Americans to witness the atrocities of the camps. She was an administrative assistant and took notes for top military officials as they moved through the rooms of the camps and were told about the horrors that had occurred there. She transcribed the notes into reports that became part of classified archives; and later, she was assigned to do the same for facilities where biological and chemical weapons (including nerve gas) were developed.
Eugene Weekly: Eugene doesn't have to let dirty coal trains come through town wafting lung-clogging dust in their wake, according to a coalition of environmental and environmental justice groups. Beyond Toxics, No Coal Eugene and the UO's Climate Justice League have teamed up to craft a ballot measure that would buck federal and state law to stand up against Big Coal. The proposed November ballot measure "creates a city ordinance that empowers the local authorities to stop coal trains from coming through Eugene," says Zach Stark-MacMillan of No Coal Eugene. ... A draft of the proposed ordinance calls it the "Eugene Community Bill of Rights" and cites the Declaration of Independence: "whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government." It says the U.S. and the state have failed to protect the public trust so "the people of Eugene find it necessary to act on their own behalf." The draft ordinance calls the "transportation of coal through the municipality" a violation of the right of the residents and ecosystems of Eugene to a healthy, natural climate.
Late mentions for March 28
Science Codex: Based on a recent study, University of Missouri and Oregon researchers believe a legal definition for what constitutes "cruelty-free" labeled products should be determined and manufacturers should be required to abide by the legal use of the label. Many consumers intentionally buy products manufactured in ways that do not exploit child labor or cause minimal harm to animals or the environment. Many businesses, such as shampoo, cosmetic, fragrance and pharmaceutical companies, use the term cruelty-free to attract buyers, giving consumers the impression that no animal testing was used while manufacturing and testing the products. However, that is not always the case. ... During the study, Lee and lead author Kim Sheehan, a professor in the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, conducted an online survey asking participants about their knowledge of cruelty-free labeled products. The participants were then given information from a New York Times article describing the ambiguous nature of cruelty-free labeled products. ... "Our study shows that consumers rely on their own personal moral values to make decisions," Sheehan said. "If the product information consumers receive is misleading, then they are not able to make important decisions in ways that they would consider morally correct. Creating a legal standard to define terms like cruelty-free will aid consumers in making the best decisions for themselves and their families."
Dayton Business Journal: A hypothetical average Ohio family of four would be making $12,000 more a year today if Ohio had adopted a right-to-work law in 1977, concludes a report released Wednesday by the conservative Buckeye Institute. The institute supports a drive by several conservative groups to collect signatures for a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to prohibit unions from collecting representation fees from workers who don't join. ... Amy Hanauer, of Cleveland-based Policy Matters Ohio, suggested the work of a Vedder critic, Gordon Lafer of the University of Oregon. His own study on right-to-work laws indicates that they have no effect on job growth, are a minor factor on attracting new employers and actually lower wages and likelihood of employees receiving benefits.