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T H E I N D E P E N D E N T D A I LY AT D U K E U N I V E R S I T Y The Chronicle THURSDAY, JANUARY 19, 2012 ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTH YEAR, ISSUE 79 WWW.DUKECHRONICLE.COM Chairs of debt commission outline plan by Margot Tuchler THE CHRONICLE of family history and finding out your own history, of your family and community,” Norris said in an interview. “There’s a story that’s in the history books, with a capital H, and then there’s a personal history.” Norris said she dived into her own family history after her uncle accidentally referred to a family secret, which revealed that her grandmother used to dress as Aunt Jemima and travel across America performing marketing demonstrations for Quaker Oats. Norris The United States’ debt will have drastic consequences unless policymakers take major steps to alter the current fiscal path, said the co-chairs of President Barack Obama’s bipartisan budget commission. Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, cochairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, discussed efforts to address the federal budget crisis Wednesday in a presentation titled “Decision Time: Bowles, Simpson and the Federal Budget.” Moderated by Phil Bennett, Eugene C. Patterson professor of the practice of journalism and public policy, the discussion outlined Bowles and Simpson’s plan to balance the budget by 2015. “I believe if Congress and the administration don’t wake up, we face the most predictable—and the most avoidable—economic crisis in history,” Bowles said. “The fiscal path we are on is not sustainable.” Obama appointed Bowles, former White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, and Simpson, former senator from Wyoming, as co-chairs of the 2010 commission, which was charged with generating policies that would balance the nation’s budget. Bennett, former managing editor of The Washington Post and current managing editor of Frontline, said that Bowles and Simpson have SEE NORRIS ON PAGE 4 SEE DEBT ON PAGE 4 ELYSIA SU/THE CHRONICLE Michele Norris, co-host of National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” speaks Wednesday evening in Reynolds Theater. Norris uncovers hidden racial histories by Charlie Haley THE CHRONICLE A National Public Radio host is pulling the race card—and she is doing it to illuminate the nature of race relations past and present. Michele Norris, co-host of NPR’s longest-running news program “All Things Considered,” spoke at Reynolds Theater Wednesday as part of the Race Card Project—a nationwide initiative accompanying her current book tour that asks fans and audiences alike to submit their thoughts on race in six words or less. “‘Underneath, we all taste like chickens,’” Norris read, noting that of out of thousands of submissions, this one-liner stands out as one of her favorites to date. In her remarks, Norris also discussed her recent book, “The Grace of Silence: A Memoir.” Norris’ lecture, sponsored by the Baldwin Scholars Program, focused on stories of Norris’ family members before the civil rights movement and what the radio host terms as the “hidden conversations on race.” “[I want to convey] the importance Scientists prove Caffeine intake may boost ability to split intelligence, study shows charge of electron by Ashley Mooney THE CHRONICLE by Yueran Zhang THE CHRONICLE A recent simulation by a group of physicists has proved that it is possible to split the charge of an electron in half. The researchers, including Matthew Hastings, associate professor of physics, used supercomputers to show that under certain conditions, a collection of particles could take on one half of the fundamental charge of an electron. This marks the first time that a collection of particles has been identified with partial properties of the fundamental particles, suggesting new lines of inquiry for condensed matter physics. The results were published by Hastings and his colleagues, Sergei Isakov of the University of Zurich and Roger Melko of the University of Waterloo in Canada, who are working the Large Dispelling any negative connotations of the phrase “coffee addict,” a recent local study shows that the substance might increase intelligence. Scientists have found that caffeine enhances nerve cell connections in the brain—synapses— which are scientifically considered to be the cellular basis for learning. Serena Dudek, a senior investigator in the Neurobiology Laboratory at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in the Research Triangle Park, said that although the findings are notable, the degree to which the study applies to humans is still unclear, given the biological differences between humans and the study’s test subjects: rats. “Effects of caffeine on memory in humans are SEE ELECTRON ON PAGE 10 Williams leads Blue Devils on the road, Page 5 SEE COFFEE ON PAGE 10 MELISSA YEO/CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO A recent local study shows that the consumption of caffeine can enhance the activity of synapses in the brain. ONTHERECORD “I wish I could talk to her, chew her out, ask her why. But I don’t even know if it’s illegal, what she did.” —Mia Lehrer in “A bad case of the willies.” See column page 8 DSG approves discount program, Page 3

Jan. 19, 2012 issue

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