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Daily IU News Update

October 17, 2008

No small plans indeed
WE SAY McRobbie's State of the University speech reveals good management
Indiana Daily Student, Oct. 16 -- The speech was aimed at faculty and staff but should be of great interest to students as well. The tone was largely optimistic. In his address, President McRobbie spoke about the construction or planned construction of buildings throughout the University for business, information technology, life sciences and the arts, and the need to expand research. Full story.

TV: Next on Inside INdiana Business
Inside Indiana Business, Oct. 17 -- Indiana University President Michael McRobbie gave his first State of the University speech this week. Immediately after finishing that speech he sat down with Inside Indiana Business to discuss the challenging economy and its potential impact on the school and the future of the Indiana Innovation Alliance. Check for local broadcast times here.

From Old Vials, New Hints on Origin of Life
The New York Times, Oct. 16 -- A classic experiment exploring the origin of life has, more than a half-century later, yielded new results. In 1953, Stanley L. Miller, then a graduate student of Harold C. Urey at the University of Chicago, put ammonia, methane and hydrogen -- the gases believed to be in early Earth's atmosphere -- along with water in a sealed flask and applied electrical sparks to simulate the effects of lightning. A week later, amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, were generated out of the simple molecules. Enshrined in high school textbooks, the Miller-Urey experiment raised expectations that scientists could unravel the origins of life with simple chemistry experiments. After Dr. Miller's death in May last year, Dr. Jeffrey L. Bada of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, who had been one of Dr. Miller's graduate students, discovered cardboard boxes containing hundreds of vials of dried residues collected from the experiments conducted in 1953 and 1954.This spring, Adam P. Johnson, a graduate student at Indiana University who was visiting Dr. Bada's laboratory on an internship, jumped on the opportunity to work on the vials produced by an experiment he had read about in high school textbooks, although the historic material did not look remarkable. Full story.

Pump prices
Business Weekly, Oct. 17 -- A study by two Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne economists challenged the conventional wisdom that gasoline prices at the pump rise much faster than they fall in relation to changes in crude oil prices. And area consumers who have wondered if pump prices don't follow oil prices downward a little more quickly in Ohio than they do in some other parts of the country are about to have those suspicions confirmed. The gas-price study by Hedayeh Samavati and Nodir Adilov is scheduled to appear later this year in the Atlantic Economic Journal. Full story.

Jill Behrman 5K run/walk Saturday
Bloomington Herald-Times, Oct . 16 -- The race was named in memory of Jill Behrman, a former IU student killed in 2000. Organized by IU Campus Recreational Sports, where Behrman worked, and the Jill Behrman 5K Steering Committee, the annual run and one-mile walk will raise funds for the Jill Behrman Emerging Leader Scholarship and Jill's House, a temporary residence for patients undergoing outpatient cancer treatment at Bloomington's Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute. Full story.

IU voices in the news

ACORN Could be Tough Nut to Crack for Obama
Chicago Public Radio, Oct. 17 -- A controversy over bogus voter registration cards threatens to shut down early voting sites in Lake County, Indiana. It also has the potential to undermine Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's chances of winning the Hoosier state. Republicans are using the issue to cast doubt on Illinois' junior senator. Marjorie Hershey's a political science professor at Indiana University in Bloomington says Republicans are using the ACORN mess to another way to portray Obama as the riskier presidential choice. Full story.

More than 60,000 cast early ballots in first week
Chicago Tribune, Oct. 16 -- The large number of early votes so far is an indication that turnout on Nov. 4 could be huge, said Brian Vargus, a political science professor at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. "Turnout is high when people think races matter and they're close," he said. Full story.

INShape Indiana Focuses on School Wellness, Oct. 17 -- The Summit was also supported by gold sponsors Clarian Health and Kroger, silver sponsor IU Department of Kinesiology, and bronze sponsors Cook Medical and WFIU (103.7 FM). "Indiana University Bloomington is delighted to host the 2008 INShape Indiana Health Summit," said Karen Hanson, provost & executive vice president, Indiana University Bloomington. "We're honored to welcome representatives of Indiana's state government and leading experts on health and education from around the nation. We hope the summit will mark the beginning of an ongoing partnership - between school systems, educators, students, parents, and communities - to promote the healthy habits that help young Hoosiers to be successful in school and life." Full story.

Candidates differ on plan to reform health care
Post-Tribune, Oct. 17 -- On the issue of health care, John McCain and Barack Obama agree on one thing -- something needs to change. But which candidate's plan is better? Experts say there are potential positives and negatives with each of their prescriptions. But with both plans being vague on key aspects, and so much uncertainty over their feasibility, experts agree it's hard to determine how effective the candidates' medicine will be. Samuel Flint, assistant professor of Public Affairs at Indiana University Northwest in Gary, says that while the tax credit option could appeal to people without job-provided health insurance, it could also lead to more businesses dropping benefits packages, depending on individual consumer's reactions to the credit. And while he appreciates that the plan opens up discussion about tax benefits, he thinks lack of transparency in health-care costs could be a problem for average Americans. Full story.

From the Chronicle

Professors Found to Keep Political Views Quiet, but Students Detect Them
Politics in the classroom is a huge problem for American higher education. But it's not that there is too much of it. Actually, there is too little. That's the conclusion of a new book that takes on the long-running allegation by conservative critics that higher education is full of liberal professors who try to indoctrinate students. But the article about students, which was released to The Chronicle this week, says professors are not as successful at hiding their political beliefs as they might think. The study, by April Kelly-Woessner and Matthew Woessner, is called "I Think My Professor Is a Democrat: Considering Whether Students Recognize and React to Faculty Politics," and will be published in a forthcoming issue of P.S.: Political Science and Politics. Full story.

Moody's Foresees Short-Term Problems for Some Colleges
The nation's recent economic problems could have a significant effect on some colleges and universities, according to a report released on Thursday by Moody's Investors Service. Though Moody's maintains a long-term "stable outlook" for the higher-education sector, weak investment returns, pressures on families' ability to pay tuition, and other short-term financial disruptions could hurt some low-rated institutions, the report says. Full story.

Besting Bill Gates
Undergraduates at the University of Texas at Dallas recently found a quicker solution to a mathematical puzzle known as the pancake problem. Last improved upon in 1979 by a then-unknown Harvard University student named Bill Gates, the problem involves reorganizing a stack of pancakes to place them largest to smallest in ascending order in as few flips as possible.No real pancakes are actually tossed, but the simple metaphor for the complicated math equation is part of its allure, says I. Hal Sudborough, a professor of computer science and engineering and the adviser to the Dallas students. Their work has been accepted for publication in the journal Theoretical Computer Science. Full story.

Daily IU News Update is a short review of media coverage relating to IU administrative and student news, federal and state legislative policy, and trends and issues in higher education. Prepared by the IU Office of University Communications, the Daily IU News Update is not an all-inclusive gathering of news featuring IU faculty and staff. To subscribe to the Daily IU News Update list or to have your name removed, please contact Susan Williams, Office of University Communications,