Thu 24 Aug | Discover

Can this ancient Babylonian tablet improve modern math?

Researchers in Australia say an ancient Babylonian tablet that’s considered the world’s oldest trigonometric table was a far more powerful tool than it’s given credit for. The article notes that Brown mathematics historian Otto Neugebauer was the first to offer insights into the purpose of the tablet. Neugebauer's theory was that the phone sized tablet contained solutions to the equation a2 + b2 = c2, which suggested at the time that Babylonians, not the Greeks, were the pioneers of trigonometry.
Thu 24 Aug | International Business Times

Millennials' best chances of climbing the ladder, according to two recent studies

John Friedman, an associate professor economics at Brown, commented on the recent study he co-athoured that focused on college access and upward mobility. “You should go to Harvard if you can — you don’t need researchers to tell you that,” he said. But for high school juniors and seniors who aren’t getting into the Ivy League and perhaps have a plethora of similar, middle-tier options, he added, “Some of those schools are going to be better than others, even if they say in the rankings, in the U.S. News and World Report, that they all look the same.”
Wed 23 Aug | The Providence Journal

Herbert Rakatansky: Music’s amazing power to soothe

Herbert Rakatansky, a clinical professor emeritus of medicine at Brown University, wrote an op-ed about the power of music to soothe patients. Rakatansky recalls the time he spent with a terminally ill patient named Gregg (not his real name).
Tue 22 Aug | CNN

The financial cost of 16 years in Afghanistan

With President Trump recently announcing beefing up military efforts in Afghanistan, CNN cited estimates on the current war tally that began in 2001. One estimate from the Cost of War Project at Brown University notes the 16-year war surpassed $4 trillion, and will likely increase with the new announcement.
Mon 21 Aug | RI NPR

Thousands catch glimpse of solar eclipse

Across New England, people gathered in droves Monday to witness a partial eclipse. A long line snaked through Brown University's College Green just before 2 o'clock in the afternoon, as onlookers waited for the chance to see the eclipse through a telescope.
Wed 16 Aug | The Guardian

Teen drug overdose rate in US rose 20% in 2015 after years of decline

Traci Green, a professor in the Warren Alpert Medical School, commented on recent findings indicating a spike in teenage suicides in 2015 after seven years of decline. Green said the findings reflect “a very messy use environment” in which heroin may be tainted with the synthetic opioid fentanyl, fentanyl may be pressed into illegal pills, and users may mix drugs such as opioids and benzodiazepines
Tue 15 Aug | Fortune

Elon Musk is wrong again. AI isn’t more dangerous than North Korea

Michael L. Littman, professor of computer science at Brown University, wrote an op-ed explaining why Elon Musk apocalyptic warning about artificial intelligence is wrong. Littman's comments come after Musk warned that artificial intelligence is more dangerous than the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.
Tue 15 Aug | Medscape

Psychiatrist's appointment as US 'mental health czar' praised

Mental health organizations are applauding the U.S. Senate's recent confirmation of psychiatrist Elinore McCance-Katz as the first assistant secretary for mental health and substance use in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). McCance-Katz is currently a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University.
Tue 15 Aug | RI NPR

This I Believe Rhode Island: Fleeting Moments

In this edition of RINPR's "This I Believe Rhode Island," Christy Law Blanchard discusses the importance of memories. Blanchard is an associate director for communications and program development at the John Carter Brown Library.
Tue 15 Aug | Cardiology Advisor

Ischemic stroke incidence in men has dramatically decreased

The incidence of all strokes decreased over time in men, but not women, with the difference driven by a decrease in ischemic stroke, according to a study published in Neurology. One of the researchers, Tracy E. Madsen, is affiliated with the Warren Alpert Medical School.
Mon 14 Aug | CNN

Little evidence that marijuana helps chronic pain, PTSD, studies find

Jane Metrik, an associate professor at Brown University's School of Public Health, commented on new research that called into question the effectiveness of marijuana in treating patients with chronic pain or post-traumatic stress disorder. Metrik, who was not involved in the study, said the research is timely and well done.
Mon 14 Aug | Huffington Post

How much screen time is OK for kids?

Work by Brown researcher Richard Rende is cited in an op-ed about how much screen time is safe for children. Rende suggested that screen time can be dangerous for kids if it replaces activities that are known for healthy development.
Sat 12 Aug | Voice of America

Preparing students for professions with few jobs

Playwright and faculty member Paula Vogel is included in a Voice of America piece that examines how faculty support students and alumni seeking opportunities in industries in which jobs are not plentiful.
Fri 11 Aug | OZY

Interpolitical dating: the Romeo and Juliet story of our times?

Article by Rose McDermott, professor of international relations at Brown, who posits that the growing ability to choose our dating partners based partly on their political ideology, via dating websites and apps, may lead to an increasingly polarized body politic, with fewer chances for compromise.
Fri 11 Aug | The Providence Journal

Brown joins major national gene study

Two Brown scientists have joined colleagues in Vermont and Idaho in a major National Science Foundation project aimed at better understanding how gene mutations can affect an organism’s traits.
Thu 10 Aug | Smithsonian Magazine

A scholar follows a trail of dead mice and discovers a lesson in why museum collections matter

Article by American Studies Professor Steven Lubar, adapted from part of his new book "Inside the Lost Museum." The book looks at the history of Brown's Jenks Museum (which closed in 1915) as the lens through which to detail the valuable work that goes on in museums today: collecting, preserving, displaying, and studying art, artifacts and natural history specimens.
Thu 10 Aug | The Washington Post

U.S. investigating whether American diplomats were victims of sonic attack in Cuba

Article quotes Seth Horowitz, former professor of neuroscience at Brown University, who said that “there are no acoustic devices that can cause sudden onset hearing loss that the people involved could not hear,” and expressed skepticism about the State Department’s claims that American diplomats serving in Cuba may have been victims of an attack that damaged their hearing and caused other physical symptoms.
Thu 10 Aug | Wall Street Journal

Inside DARPA’s push to make artificial intelligence explain itself

A feature on what many say is a major obstacle to widespread adoption of artificial intelligence — teaching algorithms to explain their decision-making to humans — references work at Brown to create systems that can explain how AI tools designed to classify people’s activities in crowds, for example, can flag suspicious people.