Feb. 13-26, 2004
Vol. 34, Issue 3
Back Issues
A Bold Plan
Turner: ‘The journey continues’
Raising the Bar
Headlines @ U.Va.
Research yields insight into working families
Team designs computer model to predict pathways of blood vessels
Yvonne Hubbard levels the playing field
Board discusses diversity, tuition and more
Faculty Actions
‘Traditions of Exemplary Women’
U.Va. Health System reaches out to uninsured
Linda Layne discusses pregnancy, feminism and health
Poet-critic Alan Williamson here as Rea Visiting Writer
‘Dada DJ’ and friends spin the vinyl Feb. 17
Manned Mars missions on the horizon

Headlines @ U.Va.

Companies should come clean with employees
Richmond-based GE Insurance is undergoing big change as it prepares to spin off from General Electric, in the wake of several mergers over the years and changes in the industry itself. Longtime employees are being laid off and asked to re-apply for other jobs. The situation has created a lot of hard feelings and some charges of age discrimination. The key to managing such upheaval, says Darden professor Alec Horniman, is honest communication. “Most people can stand almost any truth,” he said. “What they can’t stand is being treated as if they are not worthy of other people’s truth.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch, Jan. 29

Scholars clinging to paper?
It’s been roughly a decade since history professor Edward L. Ayers launched his “Valley of the Shadow Project,” a pioneering effort to bring history’s primary sources to the Web. The project has won great acclaim, but to Ayers’ chagrin, few humanists have followed in his footsteps. He blames university administrators who fail to invest in or reward such scholarship. “Young scholars who dream of new kinds of scholarship can read the situation: Steer clear of the major technological change of our time. Play it safe. Stick to paper,” he lamented, concluding, “The last decade, in short, has seen a global revolution of unprecedented speed and reach in the creation and transmission of knowledge. It remains to be seen if scholarship has a role in that revolution or will be merely a bystander.”
Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 30

Law professor battles for prisoner’s rights
Should a U.S. citizen captured with Taliban fighters in Afghanistan be treated any differently than foreign nationals? Yes, says U.Va. law professor Rosa Ehrenreich Brooks, who supported Yaser Esam Hamdi’s push to obtain legal counsel, which soon will reach the U.S. Supreme Court. The military has been holding Hamdi as an “enemy combatant” and denying him access to a lawyer. The Bush administration recently reversed itself and allowed Hamdi to meet with a lawyer — not because it had changed its mind on the issue, but because Hamdi’s intelligence value had been exhausted, a spokesman said. “Once again, the Pentagon is saying they’re letting him see the lawyer as a favor rather than because he has any right to do so,” Brooks said. “That’s pretty troubling.”
Washington Post, Jan. 31

Advertisers probe consumers’ brains
It’s called “neuromarketing,” and the adjectives being used to describe it include “Orwellian,” “exploitative” and “coercive.” A new wave in marketing has researchers using MRI technology to find which parts of the brain “light up” when presented with marketing messages, allowing advertisers to tailor their messages to consumers’ true preferences. “It kind of distorts the marketplace,” said Jonathan Moreno, director of U.Va.’s Center for Bioethics. “There’s supposed to be a level playing field between a buyer and a seller. But [with neuromarketing], there isn’t an opportunity for the consumer to create a screen against the information. It violates the notion that it’s possible for the buyer to beware.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Feb. 1

Hajj deaths require new thinking
An estimated 1.9 million pilgrims recently descended upon Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, to take part in the “hajj” — a pilgrimage all Muslims must make at least once in their lifetimes. The crush of people often results in injuries and death, and has led some to call for changes, even in theological interpretation. This year, 251 pilgrims died as a crowd surged to participate in a stoning-the-devil ritual, in which pilgrims hurl rocks at pillars depicting Satan. “This is a meaningless destruction of life in the performance of a symbolic ritual,” declared U.Va. religious studies professor Abdulaziz Sachedina. He called for theological acceptance of performing the ritual in places other than the traditional site.
Toronto Globe and Mail, Feb. 3


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