Mon 17 Dec | Reuters

Mysticism, Internet Fuel 'Armageddon' Fears

Stephen Houston, professor of anthropology, comments on the December 21 end of the 13th bak'tun on the Mayan calendar, an event some are equating with the end of the world. Houston says too much has been made of the date. "I see it all as an expression of present day anxiety and not much more than that,'' Houston said.

Sun 16 Dec | The Independent (U.K.)

IoS Books of the Year 2012: Biography and memoir

There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe tops this year's list of best books. It "really is the book that we've been waiting for since 1967, and the start of the Biafran War. It is the first non-fiction account of that period from the author of the novel Things Fall Apart, and as such takes a measured, long view of a confusing and ultimately pretty futile conflict."

Sun 16 Dec | Bloomberg

Mind-Controlled Robotic Hand Allows Woman to Pour Water

Researchers at University of Pittsburgh have ben able to get a woman paralyzed from the neck down to move a robotic hand using her thoughts, aided by tiny electronic implants in her brain, scientists said. Cites similar research that came out of Brown in May. 

Fri 14 Dec | The Providence Journal

Right marijuana reform protects families first

Nick Zaller, associate professor of medicine, pens an op-ed on the protections that marijuana reform would offer families, including better education and prevention, treatment resources and a reduction in the influence of the black market. 

Fri 14 Dec | The Wall Street Journal

How to Make Indian Politics Honest

India's ruling government has been pilloried for a series of huge scams that have collectively cost the exchequer up to $60 billion, by some accounts. But, as Ashutosh Varshney, professor of political science, has reasoned, rapid growth in a largely poor, rural society is likely to be accompanied by rampant corruption. Drawing on precedents from 19th century America, the rise of South Korea under Park Chung-hee and modern day China, he argues that economic growth is a double-edged sword: while generating employment and expanding opportunity, it also creates ample room for graft.

Thu 13 Dec | Associated Press

Roger Williams U. joins other colleges in US making standardized admission tests optional

Roger Williams University has joined other colleges and universities nationwide to make standardized tests optional for college admissions. Bob Schaeffer, a spokesman for the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, a group that opposes many so-called "high stakes" testing, says none of the Ivy League colleges, including Brown University, has done away with the testing requirement.

Thu 13 Dec | Associated Press

Preservation society to acquire Brick School House

The Providence Preservation Society is acquiring the historic Brick School House from the city with the help of private grant. The Brick School House, built in 1769 and one of the first public schools in the U.S., was where members of Brown University’s governing board met in the 1770s to determine where to locate the college.

Thu 13 Dec | The Providence Journal

Prints from nature blur line between reality and fantasy

Bill Van Siclen reviews the Bell Gallery's current exhibition, “Simen Johan: Until the Kingdom Comes,” a display of a dozen or so large-scale photographs, in which snakes, sheep, birds and other animals convey eerily human-like emotions

Thu 13 Dec | New Haven Register

Yale Peabody Museum's 'Seasons of Change: Global Warming in Your Backyard'

A new exhibition opening at Yale Peabody Museum, "Seasons of Change: Global Warming in Your Backyard" is a traveling exhibition from Brown University’s Center for Environmental Studies and Clean Air-Cool Planet’s New England Science Center Collaborative. The family-friendly, interactive exhibit runs through Feb. 24. 

Thu 13 Dec | Slate

The Arguments for Gay Marriage Undermine Affirmative Action

An article on upcoming Supreme Court hearings on gay marriage and affirmative action in higher education notes that there has been no shift in the public opinion of young people in favor of affirmative action. "Even at the famously liberal Brown University, a recent poll found that students opposed the university’s considering race in admissions by 58 to 34 percent."

Thu 13 Dec | Scientific American

Blood Clots Are Ready for Their Close-Up

 Leopold Grinberg, senior research associate in applied mathematics, and an international team of researchers have used three of the world's fastest supercomputers to create a detailed and sophisticated model of clot formation in an aneurism. The computer simulations could offer a new way to test anticlotting medication and could be an alternative to cell cultures.

Wed 12 Dec | Prevention

100 Smartest Diet Tips Ever

A list of diet tips from the American Dietetic Association includes "Sitting at a computer may help slim you down," citing research out of Brown that found that people on online healthy weight loss programs who received weekly e-mail counseling lost more weight than those who received no counceling. 

Wed 12 Dec | WebMD

UV Nail Lamps Safe, Study Suggests

Widely used UV nail lamps are highly unlikely to cause skin cancer, even if used weekly for 250 years, a new study suggests. Martin Weinstock, professor of dermatology, and a colleague, measured the radiation from a 10-minute session under the lamps to determine their effects. 

Wed 12 Dec | The Root

Can Black Clergy Reframe AIDS Fight?

According to research released earlier this year by Amy Nunn, assistant professor of medicine, the role of black pastors could be pivotal to stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS. After discovering that there was no research on the attitudes of black pastors on the issue of AIDS and AIDS awareness, Nunn conducted interviews 38 black pastors and members of the clergy in Philadelphia and found they were more than willing to help. 

Wed 12 Dec | Providence Phoenix

A pollster critiques Nate Silver Survey Says

A Q&A with Michael Dimock, a pollster and associate director for research at the Pew Center for the People & the Press, who sketched the outlines of his critique against NY Times blogger Nate Silver during an appearance at Brown University's Taubman Center for Public Policy & American Institutions this week.

Wed 12 Dec | Providence Phoenix

Brown/Trinity Rep MFA’s Machinal

Bill Rodriguez reviews the latest production by the Brown University/Trinity Rep MFA theater programs, currently on stage in the Pell Chafee Performance Center through December 16. 

Wed 12 Dec | Slate

The Roger Williams Code

How a team of scholars from Brown decrypted a secret language — and discovered the last known work of the American theologian Roger Williams.

Wed 12 Dec | The Atlantic

How Home Food Delivery for the Elderly Strengthens Communities

A new study out of Brown University find that for every $25 more per person annually that states contribute to delivering meals to seniors, they can reduce the number of people in nursing homes who don't require most of the homes' services by one percent. 

Tue 11 Dec | Deccan Herald (India)

A sound system that lets bats see

Bats can broaden and narrow their “visual field” by modulating the frequency of the squeaks they use to navigate and find prey, according to new research. James Simmons, professor of biology, comments on the questions the study raises about how bats preceive their environment. 

Tue 11 Dec |

Marijuana as medicine?

North Carolina lawmakers could consider a bill to allow medicinal marijuana use with a doctor’s recommendation. While some opponents of legalizing the drug say that today's marijuana is much more potent than the drug of the 60s, 2002 Brown research found that no documented marijuana overdose deaths have been reported in medical literature.

Mon 10 Dec | Providence Business News

New officers installed at R.I. Medical Society

 At the annual meeting of the Rhode Island Medical Society, Alyn L. Adrain, clinical assistant professor of medicine, was elected president of the organization. The Charles L. Hill Award for contributions to the Medical Society was presented to Charles McDonald, chairman of the Department of Dermatology. 

Mon 10 Dec | Providence Business News

Students slow to master finances

Local educators say that many college students don't understand how to manage their finances. To combat this, both Brown and Johnson and Wales recently implemented new financial-literacy programs for their students based on founded concerns that graduates were leaving the schools ill-equipped to face their financial futures in a world of economic uncertainty.

Mon 10 Dec | Providence Business News

Colleges revamping core lessons

Many schools are reworking their core requirements to ensure that students are prepared for the competitive job market after graduation. Brown, which has an open curriculum in which students design their own set of core courses, reworked its writing requirement beginning with the class of 2015. Students now must demonstrate work on their writing at two different points in their time at Brown.

Mon 10 Dec |

Fashola Blames FG for Controversy Over Achebe's Civil War Memoir

At the Achebe Colloquium at Brown this weekend, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), blamed the Federal Government for the controversies that have trailed Professor Chinua Achebe's new literary work, There Was a Country, stating that it failed in its crucial duty as a repository of information, data, records and archives, since historical records are indispensable tools for policy development.

Mon 10 Dec | The Providence Journal

Their goal: Alternative to war on drugs

Dozens of experts gathered at a conference Saturday sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance and the Rhode Island Drug Policy Working Group. The one-day forum drew 300 policymakers, law-enforcement personnel and community advocates to Alumnae Hall at Brown University.

Mon 10 Dec | The Providence Journal

The psychology in the Petraeus morality play

 Lewis P. Lipsitt, professor emeritus of psychology, medical science and human development, pens an op-ed about the psychological phenomenon of doing something that one doesn’t “mean to” in light of recent scandal surrounding Gen. David Petraeus.

Mon 10 Dec | Yahoo! News

Want to Feel Better? Looking for Your Soul Mate? Just Follow Your Nose

An article on the emotions triggered by our sense of smell quote Rachel Herz, adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior, on the connection between sexual attraction and smell. "For heterosexual women, smell turns out to be the number one physical factor, as well as the most important social factor, aside from pleasantness. And this isn’t about avoiding a man who smells ‘bad’," she said, “but rather about being especially attracted to a man who smells ‘good’. "

Mon 10 Dec | The Telegraph (U.K.)

The ugly truth about body dysmorphic disorder

Katharine Phillips, professor of psychiatry and human behavior, comments on society's possible role in the occurrence of body dismorphic disorder (BDD). "It’s possible that the rate of BDD is increasing as women get bombarded with media images of perfection. Lots of studies have shown that the more you see images of perfection around you, and the more you compare yourself with those images, the worse you tend to feel about yourself."

Sun 9 Dec | The Providence Journal

New legislators head for orientation

The 24 newly elected General Assembly members will get their first official taste of the State House on Tuesday, when they participate in an all-day orientation session, which will include a policy workshop and lunch on the Brown University campus.