Thu 20 Dec | BBC

Phosphorus overuse in Amazonia

Phosphorus is an essential element in fertilisers that increase the yields of crops. Much of it is wasted and ends up in the sea. Recently more and more phosphorus is being added to fields in Amazonia that have been turned from pasture to growing soybeans. Stephen Porder, assistant professor of biology, has studied what happens to the phosphorus in that region. 

Wed 19 Dec | The Providence Journal

Empire, Ocean states share pension tensions

Both Rhode Island and New York have recently seen the creation of business-backed groups which spend money to support a prominent Democrat’s push for public pension changes. Wendy Schiller, associate professor of political science, says that those behind the groups are young Democrats “committed to Democratic principles and programs but pragmatic about how much money government will have to spend."

Wed 19 Dec | The Wall Street Journal

State's Strict Laws at Odds With a Culture of Weapons

In the wake of Friday's Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school shooting, lawmakersare debating whether gun laws in the state should be strengthened. Some say doing so wouldn't necessarily be effective, because nearby states such as New Hampshire and Vermont have weaker laws. The article cites a Brown University study in 2011 that showed widespread transfers of weapons from states with weak laws to ones with strong laws.

Tue 18 Dec | Asbury Park Press

Rhetoric about diversity not matched by reality

The growing geographical divide in New Jersey between urban communities, “first” suburbs and newer suburbs calls into question any notion that ours is a state that has left class and racial segregation behind. Cites 2010 research from the American Communities Project at Brown University that showed that among those metropolitan areas with the largest black populations in the nation, Newark ranked third for both black-white and Latino-white segregation levels.

Tue 18 Dec | Providence Phoenix

Fantasy, reality, and the in-between

A round-up of the area's best art shows includes a mini retrospective of video installations by Megan and Murray McMillan at the Granoff Center; "Rolemodelplaytime" at the Bell Gallery; and "My dad is Li Gang!" also at the Bell Gallery. 

Mon 17 Dec | Public Radio International

University students rally to get endowments out of fossil fuels

A number of college students across the country, including a group at Brown, are trying to convince the administrators running their endowments that for the good of everyone, they need to stop investing in fossil fuel companies. In November, activist Bill McKibben greeted a sold-out crowd at Brown to talk about the cause.

Mon 17 Dec | Providence Business News

Clinica Esperanza receives $40K from Blue Cross for walk-in center

The Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic received a $40,000 grant from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island to help fund its new walk-in Cheer clinic. The Cheer clinic is supported by volunteer efforts of medical and nursing students from Brown University and the University of Rhode Island as well as other health care providers throughout the state.

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.