Moon shakes

By John Monczunski

The 6.7-magnitude earthquake that jolted Hawaii this past October lasted about a minute, but on the moon a similar quake might continue shaking for several minutes, according to Clive Neal, ND associate professor of civil engineering and geological sciences.

“Most earthquakes last a minute or two. Shallow moonquakes can last up to 10 minutes,” says the Notre Dame geologist, who is part of a research team assessing quakes’ effect on any potential manned moon base.…

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Skin cancer defense

By John Monczunski

Each year some 1.3 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States. Unfortunately, the only way to protect yourself right now is by slathering on sunscreen or covering exposed skin. But scientists are working to develop improved “morning after” treatments to repair sun-damaged skin before it turns cancerous, and some recent research by Notre Dame Professor of Chemistry Olaf Wiest and his colleagues may significantly help that effort.…

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When news becomes old

By John Monczunski

If news is posted on the Internet, it is considered old after 36 hours, says Albert-Lászlo Barabási, Notre Dame professor of physics. With colleagues in Hungary, he conducted a study of how people acquire information from the web.

In an article published recently in the journal Physical Review E, the Notre Dame expert on complex networks and his co-authors report that within a day-and-a-half of an article’s posting, half of its total readership will have read it. While that may seem like a short shelf life, it’s much longer than the two to four hours conventional wisdom would predict.…

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A Way to Stop the Killing

By John Monczunski

The 1994 genocide in Rwanda that killed more than 800,000 people in three months undoubtedly was the most heartrending and frustrating tragedy to occur during Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s tenure as secretary-general of the United Nations. Sadly, that genocide was merely the latest then in a long line of ethnic cleansings and mass murders.…

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The Amazing World of Vittorio Hösle

By John Monczunski

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So here I am sitting at a table across from Vittorio Hösle in Grace Hall’s Café de Grasta, drinking a cup of coffee, wondering why he doesn’t intimidate me. Clearly he should. Several professors have told me that Hösle is hands down the smartest person they have ever encountered, “an extraordinary intellectual, the kind one meets once or twice in a lifetime,” in the words of Mark Roche, dean of arts and letters.…

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Biking Cambodia

By John Monczunski

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About two years ago Daniela Papi ’00 was bicycling over mountains and through rice paddies and jungles in Cambodia. “The original idea was to do it for fun,” the economics grad says. “Then it became, ‘Let’s bike across Cambodia and visit schools and raise funds and deliver school supplies.’”…

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The 7 billion year afterglow

By John Monczunski

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To the untutored eye the picture looks like a bunch of pencil dots and black blobs on a piece a paper with one faint dot circled in the center. To Peter Garnavich, who knows better, the image means the new $120 million Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) atop Arizona’s 10,700-foot Mount Graham will work as well or even better than scientists had hoped.…

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Computer game helps ADHD kids

By John Monczunski

The blinking images of a video game offer new hope for children suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) , according to a recent study led by Notre Dame psychologist Brad Gibson. The associate professor and his colleagues have confirmed an earlier Swedish study that memory exercises in the form of computer games can mitigate ADHD

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Blueprint for the yellow fever mosquito

By John Monczunski

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Notre Dame entomologist David Severson and his colleagues announced this spring that they have successfully mapped the DNA for Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that spreads yellow fever and dengue fever. The monumental feat took more than 95 scientists from 28 international institutions two-and-a-half years to accomplish.…

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Domers in the News

By John Monczunski

Tim Boyle ’77 recently made his Hollywood acting debut in the upcoming film The Final Season, a Hoosiers/Rudy-style movie starring Sean Astin about an Iowa high school baseball team. Boyle, president of the Cedar Rapids Convention and Visitors Bureau, had a few lines playing the father of the Astin character’s romantic interest in the film, which is set for an early fall release. Unfortunately, dashing any “best supporting actor” nominations he may have had, Boyle recently learned his scenes have been cut to shorten the movie’s running time. If you watch closely, you may still see him in the background of one scene. . . . Stephen J. Brogan ’77J.D., Jay Flaherty ’79 and John W. Glynn Jr. ’62

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It's Not Always a Death Sentence

By John Monczunski

Ever since I was a kid my plan has been to live forever, and—as the saying goes—so far my plan is working. Maybe that’s your plan, too. The problem is we both know there’s a flaw. Lately, with way too much regularity, I have begun to see dear friends, relatives and acquaintances my age and younger facing serious, life-threatening health problems.…

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Salting Away Greenhouse Gas

By John Monczunski

About 40 percent of all the carbon dioxide pollution produced in the United States today comes from the coal-fired power plants that make half the nation’s electricity. Currently, power companies aren’t required to remove CO2 from their smokestacks. If they were, conventional technology would add about 30 percent to your electric bill.…

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Keeping the Squad Cars Running

By John Monczunski

It’s not a good thing for law enforcement if police cruisers won’t cruise. With increasing regularity, that has been happening at the South Bend Police Department and other departments across the country. All too often squad cars are mysteriously becoming victims of dead batteries.

It turns out the culprit killing the cars is the copious amounts of high-tech crime-fighting gadgetry that have been installed in recent years. The typical police car may be fitted with as much as $20,000 worth of electronic gear, including a laptop computer, video camera, alarm, one or more two-way radios and a global positioning system. All these items cause a colossal drain on the car’s battery.…

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Sizing Up Eating Disorders

By John Monczunski

People naturally wonder how they stack up against the competition. It’s human nature. We do it to evaluate ourselves, and, if we believe we are “better” than others, to affirm ourselves. But if a young woman’s “sizing up” behavior is extensive and excessive, it may be a sign that she has a problem with anorexia or bulimia.…

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How to say 'home run' in Uzbek

By John Monczunski

If you miss the ball, it’s a strike. And if you strike the ball, it’s a hit. And if the pitcher misses the strike zone, it’s a ball.

But isn’t he throwing a ball always?

Ahhh . . . yeah. This is all very confusing, I know.

—Conversation at Coveleski Stadium

While the nuances of baseball may have gotten slightly lost in translation, most of the 55 foreign-language teachers from 20 countries seemed enjoy their foray into American culture at South Bend’s Coveleski Stadium.…

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Learning your math lessons too well

By John Monczunski

Okay class, solve this problem: 1+2+3=1+___. Pencils down. When you were 9 years old chances are you ignored the equal sign and added up all the numbers, arriving at the wrong answer of 7, or you added only the numbers to the left of the equal sign, incorrectly giving you 6, says Notre Dame cognitive psychologist Nicole McNeil. The equal sign would have been a mystery.…

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Learning your math lessons too well

By John Monczunski

Okay class, solve this problem: 1+2+3=1+ ___. Pencils down. When you were 9 years old chances are you ignored the equal sign and added up all the numbers, arriving at the wrong answer of 7, or you added only the numbers to the left of the equal sign, incorrectly giving you 6, says Notre Dame cognitive psychologist Nicole McNeil. The equal sign would have been a mystery.…

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The Living Library

By John Monczunski

At the dawn of the Digital Age, the seers looked deep into their virtual crystal balls and predicted the demise of the library. Who would need libraries when information could be delivered to a student’s or professor’s computer with a few keystrokes? Well, guess what? Rumors of the death of the library are, as they say, greatly exaggerated. The library—services and building—are more in demand today than ever.…

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The parties flip too

By John Monczunski

In the last presidential election John Kerry was accused of it, and now they say Mitt Romney is guilty. Their sin? The “issue flip” aka the “waffle.” For some reason, candidates are not supposed to alter their views on public policy matters. However, Notre Dame political scientist Christina Wolbrecht notes that historically political parties as well as individual politicians have changed their minds on issues time and again.…

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Good (and bad) political news for minorities

By John Monczunski

So here’s the good political news for minorities: Thanks to the federal Voting Rights Act, they have more representation today than ever. The bad news? They are still are woefully under-represented.

In a recently published study of the Voting Rights Act, Notre Dame Professor of Africana Studies and Political Science Dianne Pinderhughes and her colleagues found, for example, that while nonwhites comprised 31 percent of the U.S. population in 2000, less than 12 percent of the U.S. House of Representatives were from ethnic minorities.…

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Obama's dilemma

By John Monczunski

If Barack Obama becomes the Democratic candidate for president, would you vote for him?

If you are white and a black poll taker asks you that question, Notre Dame political scientist Darren Davis says 10 to 13 percent of you are likely to say “yes” and then vote for someone else. Public opinion researchers call such behavior the “social desirability effect”—when someone gives what they believe is the desired response rather than their true response—and it’s one of the things that make assessing the Illinois senator’s support so tricky.…

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Ring out the vote

By John Monczunski

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So your cell phone makes that funny little noise announcing an incoming text message, but when you flip to the screen: Surprise! It’s not your BFF Mary saying “hi 2 u” but some politician saying “vote 4 me.”

Welcome to Politics: The Next Generation. Text messaging is among the new methods gaining popularity with campaign organizations as they try to influence young voters, says David Nickerson, Notre Dame assistant professor of political science.…

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Domers in the News (Winter 2007–08)

By John Monczunski

Marathon runner Ryan Shay ’02 collapsed and died November 3 while competing in the U.S. Olympic team trials in New York City. An All-American track star at Notre Dame, Shay won the NCAA national title for 10,000 meters in 2001. After graduation he became a five-time national road-racing champion. Hundreds of mourners wearing blue-and-gold lapel ribbons with the ND logo attended his three-hour funeral in East Jordan, a tiny town in northern Michigan. Speaking at the funeral, Joe Piane, Shay’s ND coach, said “focus, discipline and sacrifice” were the words that best described the young athlete. . . . Rohan Gunaratna ’97

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GOP=God's Only Party?

By John Monczunski

David Campbell, Notre Dame associate professor of political science, is the editor of the essay collection A Matter of Faith: Religion in the 2004 Presidential Election (Brookings Institution Press), which examines the role of churches in the last election. Recently, we asked Campbell for his thoughts on religion in the current campaign.…

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Michiana money

By John Monczunski

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The idea behind Jackie Smith’s research spinoff is simple: “What happens in Michiana, stays in Michiana”—economically speaking. The Notre Dame associate professor of sociology, who studies world social movements, especially as they relate to economic globalization, recently started an ad hoc group to establish a “community currency” in northern Indiana.…

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A question of fertility

By John Monczunski

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Alan Johnson’s research is driven by a fundamental question: “Why this one and not that one?” The “this” and “that” are follicles, the structures that surround the eggs in the ovary. Specifically, the Notre Dame professor of biology is interested in learning why, at the time of ovulation, one particular follicle releases its egg while others don’t.…

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The adoption subsidy's surprise

By John Monczunski

Public policy decisions often have unintended consequences. In 1980, for instance, Congress passed the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act to encourage adoption of children from foster care, especially those with special needs. As an incentive, the law provided adopting families with an average monthly subsidy of $544 per child per month.…

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Power from pollution

By John Monczunski

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While working on a novel method to clean polluted water, Rob Nerenberg had a bright idea that could light up the country. The Notre Dame assistant professor of civil engineering realized that with a few easy tweaks his process could transform nearly every municipal wastewater treatment plant into a power plant.…

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That blue note sound

By John Monczunski

The so-called “blue notes” are what give the blues its distinctive sound, says Larry Dwyer, Notre Dame associate professional specialist of music and director of jazz studies. Blue notes are “bent” to a slightly lower pitch than those in the traditional European scale. They trace their origin to the original scales on which native African songs are based.…

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The mind of the blues

By John Monczunski

One of the ways in which the blues may help people psychologically is the way in which it deals with grief, says Notre Dame psychology Professor Scott Monroe, who studies depression. “It offers a way of sharing adversity and hardship without imparting the feeling that someone is merely complaining.”

Even though the English Renaissance philosopher and essayist never heard Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf or Bessie Smith, Monroe says Sir Francis Bacon understood the heart of the blues when he said: “But one thing is most admirable . . . which is that this communicating of a man’s self to his friend works two contrary effects; for it redoubleth joys and cutteth grief in half. For there is no man that imparteth his griefs to his friend, but he groweth the less.”…

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