Mon 14 Dec | The Providence Journal

Sonya Gurwitt on need for greater transparency in climate finance

Brown junior Sonya Gurwitt wrote an op-ed about the need for greater transparency in climate financing reporting. "Once the money has been pledged, then what?" wrote Gurwitt of the U.N. climate talks. "How will we know if donor countries follow through with their promises of financial support? How will we know exactly where the money goes and if it has done any good?"
Mon 14 Dec | Marketplace

Financial markets awash in uncertainty

David Wyss, adjunct professor of economics, comments on an article about the volatile condition of the financial market ahead of Wednesday's Federal Reserve meeting. Despite low oil prices and all of the uncertainty, Wyss says he expects the Feds to raise interest rates on Wednesday.
Mon 14 Dec | WNPR

Study Sees Key Role for Child Care Workers in Curbing Obesity

Kim Gans, adjunct professor of behavioral and social sciences, comments on a study about the influence of family-based child care workers on childhood obesity, who play a large role in influencing healthy diets and physical activities. "We need to create policies to promote better nutrition and physical activity in child care homes and better communicate those policies with parents," Gans said. "We can teach providers to serve as role models, to encourage children to eat appropriately without forcing them."
Sun 13 Dec | St. Louis Public Radio

Bosnians on 20th anniversary of Peace Accord signing

An article about the ramifications of the Dayton Peace Accord on its 20th anniversary cites an essay by Peter Andreas, professor of international studies. Issues affecting the region include corruption, black markets, unemployment and continued ethnic strife. On the black market front, Andreas says the investment of black markeeters during the peace process led to black-market practices being etched into the economy of post-war Bosnia.
Sun 13 Dec | Society for Science & The Public

Bubbles may underlie trauma’s brain injury

A new Brown University led study is trying to find out whether pressure waves emitted by sudden shocks, such as collisions between football players, create bubbles in the brain which in turn cause the types of damage that lead to traumatic brain injury. Christian Franck, assistant professor of engineering, presented the team's findings on Nov. 23 at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society’s division of fluid dynamics.
Sun 13 Dec | The Boston Globe

What truly conservative foreign policy looks like

Stephen Kinzer, senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, discusses what conservative approaches to foreign policy should look like and examines what resulted of conservative Republicans who embraced anti-interventionist ideology. "Mainstream conservatism has joined the foreign policy consensus. By helping to push the United States into ambitious nation-building projects, its leaders have abandoned their movement's founding principles. A true conservative looks dubiously on foreign intervention," Kinzer wrote.
Sat 12 Dec | Public Radio International

Is there a connection between in utero chemical exposure and obesity?

Dr. Joseph Braun, assistant professor of epidemiology, commented on a study suggesting a link between common chemical exposure and obesity in childhood. “We don't know for certain that perfluorooctanoic acid or this class of perfluoroalkyl substances is responsible for the obesity epidemic,” said Braun, who is a co-author of the study. “Nor do we know if the broader class of chemical obesogens is responsible for the epidemic. However, we do know that some chemical exposures, some of which we suspect are obesogens, could increase an individual's risk for obesity or increase their body fat.”
Sat 12 Dec | The Boston Globe

Black, Latino students speak up about problems in Boston schools

Rosann Tung, a director at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, commented on an article about issues Boston public schools are facing. "What I am about to show you will make you mad,” Tung said. According to Tung’s report, just 22.1 percent of black males and 24.9 percent of Latino males in Boston scored proficient or higher on the English MCAS exams in elementary school, compared with 56.9 percent for white males and 48.5 percent for Asian males in the city.
Sat 12 Dec | Sampan

BPS Superintendent Chang speaks to Asian American community

Rosann Tung, director of research and policy at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, spoke about bilingual learning at a Boston Public Schools forum Dec. 12. “English language learners do fabulously,” Tung said. “When schools are staffed reflecting their students and they are culturally sensitive, the kids do better.”
Fri 11 Dec | The New York Times

Billions in Climate Aid Pledges Have 'Wild West' Accounting

In the world of climate finance, rich countries around the world are pledging more money to reach the goal of $100 billion per year by 2020. Actual contributions to help poorer nations address climate change are starkly different than the books show however, according to Romain Weikmans, postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Environmental Sciences, and Timmons Roberts, professor of environmental studies. "Developed countries inflate the figure; they count everything they can find," said Weikmans. Of the discrepancies, Roberts noted "Climate finance accounting is the wild west."
Fri 11 Dec | Bloomberg

Donald Trump Has America's CEOs Nervous and Very Quiet, for Now

Wendy Schiller, chair and professor of political science, comments on the lack of involvement from corporations following Donald Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. “Let’s say you do a lot of business in the Southeast. The first primary in South Carolina isn’t until February, so why not wait and see how he does?” she said in a phone interview. “Companies still have some time before they have to really go out on a limb and denounce Trump.”
Wed 9 Dec | WBUR

Hard Climate Bargaining In Paris

Timmons Roberts, professor of environmental studies and sociology, takes part in a discussion about the U.N. climate talks as the Paris conference come to a close.
Wed 9 Dec | Politico

Our best frenemy

Peter Andreas, professor of political science and international studies, comments on an article about Chinese cyber attacks and the development of the far eastern country. To be fair to China, theft has been a part of many nations’ development. During the 19th century, for example, American merchants benefited greatly from textile technology lifted from England, according to Andreas.
Wed 9 Dec | Science

The case of the disappearing postdocs

A stern warning nearly two decades ago from three prominent scientists, including Susan Gerbi, professor of biochemistry, that the limited number of career opportunities available for postdocs could deter young scientists from academic careers is beginning to come true. In a new article published in the FASEB Journal in October, "the number of biological and medical science postdoctorates at doctoral degree-granting institutions recently began to decline," the authors wrote. The continued loss of talented research personnel will harm the quality of biomedical research and create problems for academic institutions, Gerbi and the other authors suggested.
Wed 9 Dec | The Providence Journal

Mussolini and Trump travel same road of demagoguery

David I. Kertzer, professor of Italian studies and anthropology, comments on the similarities between Donald Trump and Benito Mussolini after the presidential candidate made remarks to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. Both men have employed similar tools by trying to instill fear, scapegoating a broad category of people and offering themselves as the all-knowing leaders — the only hopes for delivering a nation from an evil enemy, Kertzer says.
Wed 9 Dec | The New York Times

What Do Campus Protesters Really Want?

Brown senior Leah Pierson contributed to an article about the discrepancy between the demands student activists are calling for and the focus of the media's reporting. "The disconnect between what students were most commonly asking for and what the world actually heard has implications for both supporters and spectators of campus activism. Controversial demands can draw attention away from widely shared demands, focusing attention not on what’s agreed upon, but on what can be fought over," wrote Pierson and Emma Pierson, a Rhodes Scholar and Ph.D. student at Stanford University.
Wed 9 Dec | Yahoo! Real Estate

Some Experts Think the Housing Bubble Is Back

David Wyss, adjunct professor of economics, comments on an article about cities that are experiencing housing bubbles, which a few years ago left many Americans with upside-down mortgages. In addition to Seattle and San Francisco, Wyss added New York and Houston to the list and says it's more important to ask why homes are overpriced there.
Tue 8 Dec | PsychCentral

Home-Delivered Meals Can Reduce Loneliness in Seniors

Not only do home-delivered meals help ensure that the elderly receive nutritionally balanced meals, but a new Brown University study has found that regular home visits may reduce loneliness as well. “This continues to build the body of evidence that home-delivered meals provide more than nutrition and food security,” said Dr. Kali Thomas, the study lead author and assistant professor of health services, policy, and practice.
Tue 8 Dec | The Huffington Post

A New Marketing Measure: Psychological Distance

Elinor Amit, assistant professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences, discusses techniques marketers should employ to make environmentally friendly cars more attractive to buyers. "Studies show that a psychological factor that affects people's attitudes towards objects and events in the world, is how distant these objects and events seem to the individual, either in terms of time, location, and even socially," wrote Amit. For marketers looking to emphasize the pros of electric cars they might be better suited to using verbal platforms such as Twitter to get the message across, Amit advised.
Mon 7 Dec | The Providence Journal

Fighting heroin at the ACI

Josiah Rich, professor of medicine and epidemiology, discusses the statistics regarding opioid addition among prison populations and the possible causes. "Ultimately we should move to be more in line with the rest of the world and treat addiction as the medical disease it is, rather than as a crime," Rich wrote.
Mon 7 Dec | RI NPR

New Englanders Encouraged By Draft Climate Pact

Timmons Roberts, professor of environmental studies, comments on the importance of government officials role in the Paris climate negotiations. It’s valuable for legislators to hear from constituents who see the important role the U.S. government plays in reaching “an ambitious and equitable solution” in Paris, Roberts explains. “We really need it,” said Roberts. “This is a critical moment for climate change decision-making.”
Mon 7 Dec | The Boston Globe

Yoga brings dream of healing to cancer patients

Susan Kushner Resnick, visiting lecturer in English, writes an article about a free yoga program that helps women who have a history of breast cancer. The program was part of a dream Kristin Sinclair shared with her husband before she passed away in 2013, at 28.
Mon 7 Dec | Providence Business News

Five Questions With: Amy Salisbury

Amy Salisbury, associate professor of pediatrics, discussed recent findings from a study she authored about the neurological effects on newborns' whose mothers have been prescribed antidepressants. "The behaviors seen for infants exposed to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, also known as SSRIs, with and without a benzodiazepine drug, were more frequent startles and tremors with low or inconsistent motor tone," Salisbury explained. "The exposed infants also had increased irritability compared to infants who were not exposed. . . but may not be singled out as a problem since many infants can be irritable in the first month."
Sun 6 Dec | The Providence Journal

Political Scene in R.I.

In a round up of political news, Wendy Schiller, professor and chair of political science, commented on Gina Raimondo's recent video which celebrated her accomplishments during her first year in office. "She did local TV this [past] week and released this video, which seems in keeping with this day and age of social media," Schiller said of Raimondo's multi-pronged media strategy.
Sun 6 Dec | The Boston Globe

New England’s symbolic trees

Ted Widmer, visiting scholar in history, takes a historical approach to finding a symbolic image environmentalists can rally behind as climate negotiations take place in Paris.
Sat 5 Dec | The Providence Journal

Roundtable discussion on campaign finance reform

Wendy Schiller, professor and chair of political science, gave remarks at a panel Saturday afternoon that focused on efforts to reform campaign finance. Companies and organizations, she said, are “looking to buy something” from the politicians they spend on, such as policy changes. If those pushing for campaign finance reform connected the dots for voters and showed them how the companies that make contributions reap benefits, voters would become more engaged, she said.

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