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Daily Herald the Brown

vol. cxlv, no. 7 | Thursday, February 4, 2010 | Serving the community daily since 1891

U. doctors return to Haiti after quake By Sarah Forman Contributing Writer

In the weeks since the Jan. 12 earthquake, several University-affiliated physicians have gone to Haiti, providing first-wave emergency care, while those on campus continue to raise funds to support relief efforts. Six members of the Brown community — five faculty members and one local nurse and midwife — traveled to Haiti after the quake, according to the University’s Haiti relief Web site, and three have since returned. “It was total chaos,” Amos Charles, clinical associate professor of medicine, said of the week he spent in Haiti immediately after the earthquake. “You had patients with everything.” Charles, a Haitian pulmonologist who does not perform surgeries in the U.S., exercised only an administrative role at the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince, organizing the massive number of patients into units that doctors could manage. “You stand in the middle of all that as a physician, and you say ‘I cannot help,’ ” Charles said. Because doctors could not process the many

By Qian Yin Contributing Writer

A salmonella outbreak affecting people in 42 states has been linked to the ground black pepper used by a Rhode Island meat-curing company, according to Annemarie Beardsworth, spokeswoman for the Rhode Island Department of Health.

METRO

Courtesy of Stephen Sullivan

While those remaining on campus raised funds for earthquake victims, some physicians traveled to Haiti. For more photos, visit blogdailyherald.com.

patients constantly streaming from the five operating rooms at the hospital, Charles created a postoperative unit to create order. After Charles placed patients into beds, the three aftershocks that took

place while he was there interrupted his work. Patients “ran out of the unit” during each of the aftershocks, afraid to be under a roof during the seismic activity, he said. After each shock, some patients

would refuse to come back inside, and he needed to completely reorganize the system. Post-traumatic stress affected many patients, causcontinued on page 5

Geology team brr-ings back rocks from Antarctica By Brielle Friedman Contributing Writer

Courtesy of S.J. Wolfe

S.J. Wolfe has already archived over 1,200 mummy parts remaining in the U.S.

Mummy buff unwraps secrets at John Hay

Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Mass., is currently working on a comprehensive database of all the Anthropodermic books are not all Egyptian mummies and mummy the Hay has to offer by way of ec- parts that remain in the U.S. The centric collection pieces, as indepen- database has around 1,249 entries, dent researcher Wolfe said, and S.J. Wolfe found. represents about FEATURE Nestled among the 550 individuals. Each entry in the database covJohn Hay Library’s rare book collections is an 1859 broadside printed on ers 25 categories, including the sex paper made of processed mummy of the mummy, when it was first imwrappings. ported into the U.S. and the museum Wolfe, a senior cataloguer and continued on page 6 serials specialist at the American

inside

By Anna Andreeva Staff Writer

News.....1–6 Metro.....7–8 Spor ts...9 Editorial..10 Opinion...11 Today........12

www.browndailyherald.com

R.I. meat source of outbreak

A team of seven geologists returned last month from a three-month trip in Antarctica after collecting more than two tons of rock samples. The group hopes to understand climate conditions and climate change in Antarctica and apply that knowledge to climate change on Mars after analyzing the samples. The research team consisted of two groups, led by Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences Michael Wyatt and Professor of Geological Sciences James Head. Although the two groups used different research approaches, Wyatt said both groups were concerned with climate change. Wyatt said his group focused on how climate change affects the mineralogy of rock composition while Head’s team focused on the physical landscapes of this region, specifically the role water has played in creating its unique landscape. “By understanding how all these things operate in Antarctica, we’re not only trying to better understand Earth and Earth’s climate, but also how all that can be applied

to a better understanding of conditions on Mars,” Wyatt said. By using spectrometers, instruments that measure the reflected light that bounces off rocks, Wyatt and his team were able to analyze what most people would call a “bunch of squiggly lines.” These samples will then be compared to those from geological libraries back at Brown in order to determine their mineralogy. “It’s a very rewarding experience just to be able to get there,” Wyatt said. “Professionally and personally, it affects you in a very positive way.” Wyatt said safety was always the group’s first priority. “It’s a harsh place and can be difficult and stressful,” he said, adding it was important that everyone had the proper training beforehand. The group used the Cave — the computer science department’s immersive virtual reality facility — extensively during the year’s planning of the trip. The trip’s location, the Antarctic Dry Valleys, was chosen because it is the “the coldest, most dry, windiest place on Earth,” wrote James continued on page 6

Last week, tests on pepper samples taken from the plant found the same strain of salmonella associated with the national outbreak, Beardsworth said. Daniele Inc., a company based in Pascoag, R.I., sells to retailers throughout the country, including leading stores such as Costco and Wal-Mart, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Daniele Inc. voluntarily recalled 1.2 million pounds of pepper-coated salami on Jan. 23. This Sunday, the company added 17,000 pounds of Italian sausage products to the recall list, according to an FSIS news release. The expanded recall followed positive salmonella test results in a cured-salami product in Illinois, Beardsworth said. The recall included three other food items, also pepper-coated, that are not distributed in Rhode Island, she said. The salmonella outbreak started on July 4, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. As of Feb. 2, the CDC had confirmed 207 cases of the infection, including two in Rhode Island. The infected individuals range from infants to 93-year-olds, and no deaths have been reported. Though the pepper samples tested positive for salmonella, the state health department is in the process of determining if the pathogen originated at the meat company or a New York-based spice distributor, Beardsworth said. Daniele Inc. bought the pepper from Brooklyn’s Wholesome Spice, which bought it from an importer, Beardsworth said. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is in the process of tracing back the supply train, she said. “The company’s goal right now is to take prudent, proactive measures to do everything possible to remove any products that do not meet our high standards for quality and taste,” Daniele wrote in a statement on its Web site last week.

Metro, 7

Sports, 9

Post- goes live

zip cars New nonprofit aims to bring 10,000 electric cars to Rhode Island by 2015

Ice king Athlete of the week Jack Maclellan ‘12 talks about life on the ice.

Post- magazine shakes its hips, smacks its lips, and takes a shot of Jager to Moby Dick

195 Angell Street, Providence, Rhode Island

herald@browndailyherald.com


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THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

C ampus N EWS news in brief

Optimization company receives grant Dynadec — an optimization company founded in 2007 by Professor of Computer Science Pascal Van Hentenryck — recently received $350,000 in funding from the Slater Technology Fund, one of the initial partners in the company’s formation. The money will be key in the development and growth Courtesy of Pascal Van Hentenryck of Dynadec as a company, Professor of Computer Science said Van Hentenryck, who is Pascal Van Hentenryck an expert in optimization, the process of maximizing efficiency and minimizing waste within a company’s economic constraints. He added that the grant would fund expansion of Dynadec’s sales force, development of its products and growth of the sales process to establish long-term relations with their customer base. Slater Technology Fund typically provides investment for promising technology-based enterprises in Rhode Island, according to its Web site. “Dynadec looks at developing solutions for customers to maximize profit and corporate solutions,” said Robert Williams, vice president of sales and marketing for Dynadec. He added that Dynadec’s clients are often large corporations working in sectors like consumer goods, transportation, logistics and energy. “We are in the business of manufacturing and using optimization software,” Van Hentenryck said. Dynadec essentially looks at helping companies make better decisions, match tasks and minimize time and logistics, helping to solve “complex problems they cannot do by hand,” he said. While Dynadec does use a software program, the task of optimization still “requires a lot of skills and understanding of the complex workings of the software,” said Van Hentenryck. Thus, Dynadec works with its client companies, talking with them to see where they need optimization and typically helping to solve problems they have not seen before, he said. — Casey Bleho

sudoku

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Satisfied? Frustrated? Delighted? Angry? diamondsandcoal.com

Compactor puts the squeeze on waste By Warren Jin Contributing Writer

A new gray and black BigBelly Solar Compactor arrived on Dec. 18 in front of the Sharpe Refectory. The compactor outside the Ratty is the first such receptacle on campus, which was installed as a collaboration between the Brown EcoReps program and Facilities Management. Slightly larger than the average trash can, it uses solar power to compact trash to as little as one-fifth of its original volume, allowing it to be emptied less frequently and giving it a much larger capacity to hold trash, according to Vice President for Facilities Management Stephen Maiorisi. In addition to compacting trash, the compactor can send an e-mail to an administrator when it is full, allowing it to be emptied promptly, he said. The unit is expected to yield a 50 to 70 percent reduction in collection activities associated with the trash can and will pay for itself within one to two years, Maiorisi said. He said the compactor has been functioning well so far, but will see its first big test when the weather gets warmer. “People, especially in the spring, were taking a lot of food and eating outside,” Maiorisi said. Maiorisi said he hopes that the new machine will also alleviate the trash overflow problems that have occurred in the past. If effective in that goal, Facilities plans to install more of the compactors throughout campus “in areas with heavy use,” Maiorisi said. “It allows our grounds crew to be more productive,” he said. “It’ll definitely pay for itself.” Kai Morrell ’11, coordinator of EcoReps, said the group had thought about getting a compactor for Brown after hearing about successful installations at college campuses such as Harvard and Stanford. A big push to get a trash compactor on campus came from Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron, who saw similar trash compactors while visiting Trinity College in Dublin last summer and made the suggestion to Maiorisi.

Nick Sinnott-Armstrong / Herald

The new trash can outside the Sharpe Refectory uses solar power to compact trash.

The installation of a solar trash compactor is part of a general push by Facilities and EcoReps to make Brown more energy-efficient. As part of this effort, Facilities has plans of installing photovoltaic cells on the GeoChem Building. “We’re always looking at new technologies,” Maiorisi said. Facilities has also been exploring less high-tech ways to reduce consumption, such as organizing awareness campaigns. There are plans for holding a campus-wide competition among dorms to reduce energy consumption later this year, said Ginger Gritzo, energy and environmental programs coordinator for Facilities. “You could throw all the money in the world at a building,” Gritzo said. “But at a certain point, people just need to get involved with their behaviors.”

Project SPEAK

Daily Herald the Brown

Editorial Phone: 401.351.3372 | Business Phone: 401.351.3260 George Miller, President Claire Kiely, Vice President

Katie Koh, Treasurer Chaz Kelsh, Secretary

The Brown Daily Herald (USPS 067.740) is an independent newspaper serving the Brown University community daily since 1891. It is published Monday through Friday during the academic year, excluding vacations, once during Commencement, once during Orientation and once in July by The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. Single copy free for each members of the community. POSTMASTER please send corrections to P.O. Box 2538, Providence, RI 02906. Periodicals postage paid at Providence, R.I. Offices are located at 195 Angell St., Providence, R.I. E-mail herald@browndailyherald.com. World Wide Web: http://www.browndailyherald.com. Subscription prices: $319 one year daily, $139 one semester daily. Copyright 2010 by The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. All rights reserved.

Though many students have seen the new receptacle, some are not completely sure what it does. “I knew it was there, but I didn’t know it was a trash compactor,” said Kara Kaufman ’12. “It’s good to know that the University is doing its best to stay at the edge of technology,” said Okezie Nwoka ’11. “I thought it was a donation box for Haiti,” said Christina Skonberg ’12. After learning of the machine’s benefits, she added, “For Facilities, I think it’s a great idea because they have some of the hardest jobs ever.” BigBelly Solar, founded in 2003, has already sold solar compactors to cities including Philadelphia, which expects to save more than $1 million annually through its 500 solar compactors, according to the BigBelly Web site.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

C ampus N EWS

“It’s nice to see a horse that was abused in the past is now able to be loved.” — Equestrian team junior captain Allegra Aron ’11

Equestrian team shows neigh-borly side By Sara Luxenberg Contributing Writer

While many students sat at home catching re-runs of “Jersey Shore,” members of the equestrian team devoted part of their winter break to training for the spring and volunteering with a horse rescue project in Florida. Eighteen of the team’s 35 members headed south for four days to ride in Wellington and volunteer in Loxahatchee with Pure Thoughts, Inc. Horse and Foal Rescue. After arriving on Jan. 18 and training the following day, the group began their volunteer efforts on Jan. 20 at Victoria McCullough’s Triumph Project stables in Wellington. McCullough has been a donor and supporter of the team “for several years,” said senior captain Rachel Griffith ’10. While the team has trained in Florida over winter break longer than Griffith has been at Brown, last year was the first that they did volunteer work while they were there. McCullough invited the team to get involved with these projects, Griffith said. While the team was at the Triumph Project, McCullough “explained a lot about her mission” to rehabilitate horses that would otherwise have been slaughtered, Griffith said. She added that the team also “visited the horses” that the organization has rescued. After introducing the team to the horses at the Triumph Project, McCullough took the riders the next day to the Triumph Project’s sister rescue, Pure Thoughts. The Triumph Project rehabilitates abused and injured horses to be used for competition. Pure Thoughts offers horse adoption for a wide range of needs, such as “someone who just wants a companion, a horse to take trail-riding or a family horse,” Griffith said. “Even if horses don’t have a future as a riding horse, they have a future as a pasture pet, or living with us,” said Brad Gaver, co-founder of Pure Thoughts. Both organizations find abused and neglected horses “from all different backgrounds,” Griffith said. “A lot of the horses are racehorses,” she added. “They’re put into training really young, they race very hard. It’s very strenuous.” As a result, many of these horses become too injured to race, and “end up at slaughter auctions,” said junior captain Allegra Aron ’11. Horses

Courtesy of Rachel Griffith

Colleen Brogan ’10 was one of 18 members of Brown’s equestrian team who participated in a community service trip over break.

other than racehorses are brought to slaughter auctions, too. Many of these are “older horses that people no longer want or horses that have injuries,” Aron said. “With the economy being so bad, many (racehorses) are going to slaughter,” Griffith said. Pure Thoughts attempts to save these horses from being slaughtered by going to the auctions, purchasing the horses and restoring their health so they can be ridden again, Griffith said. Rehabilitation could take “anywhere from a month to years,” Gaver said, depending on the severity of the horse’s condition. The equestrian team helped out at Pure Thoughts after their Thursday morning training session Jan. 21. “They had between 20 and 40 horses” that were fully rehabilitated and ready to be adopted, Griffith said. The team’s job was to “prepare them for the Web site” by bathing, grooming and photographing them, she said. In addition to finding new homes for rehabilitated show horses, McCullough’s mission at Triumph Project is about “making it easier for the (rescue) projects to work together, and really helping grassroots projects get more resources,” Griffith said. The most difficult obstacle in

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rehabilitating horses is not about improving the physical or emotional condition of the horses, Gaver said. “The biggest challenge, honestly, is financial. We can handle pretty much every case we’ve had thrown at us, but it’s just about paying for some of the procedures that need to be done,” he said. Pure Thoughts operates completely on donations and grants. Typically, those who adopt horses from Pure Thoughts live locally in Florida, Gaver said. However, one of their horses found a home with the equestrian team. One pony, named Yahzi, had been neglected and was rescued by Pure Thoughts, Griffith said. “Now he’s actually one of our really safe beginner horses.” Yahzi even competed in the “walk-trot” portion of a competition hosted by Brown this past October, she added. Horses at Pure Thoughts “look just like any other horses,” Griffith said, adding that it is hard to tell that they were once abused or neglected. “Most of them were pretty friendly and pretty resilient,” she said. The horses at Pure Thoughts “are really sweet and well cared for,” Aron said, adding, “It’s nice to see a horse that was abused in the past now able to be loved.”

news in brief

Mentoring program receives $62,000 in grants Last month, Chase Community Giving, a corporate philanthropy program, awarded two grants totaling $62,000 to ReadySetLaunch, a college mentoring program for underprivileged students. ReadySetLaunch, founded by freshmen at Brown and Yale last year, “provides college advising to students around the country from disadvantaged backgrounds who cannot afford professional college counselors,” according to a recent press release from the group. Maya Bretzius ’12, co-founder of Brown’s chapter, said the group is still deciding how to use the grant. “Since ReadySetLaunch is a program which uses the Internet to connect its mentors and mentees, the money will most likely go toward providing mentees with webcams or basic laptops,” Bretzius said. “Potentially, it will be used to subsidize college visits and SAT and ACT testing for the students.” Victor Vu ’12, the Brown chapter’s other co-founder, said mentoring “is immediately gratifying, and the new means of communication which are now available to us make a wider population of students accessible.” “The program is a reminder not to discredit technology; it is a tool to serve,” Bretzius said. Chase Community Giving held an online poll open to all Facebook users to select grant recipients — and Bretzius and Vu used their familiarity with the Internet to their advantage. The team campaigned on Facebook and AIM to garner votes for the grant, Bretzius said. — Liz Kelley


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THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

C ampus N EWS

Thursday, February 4, 2010

“You can’t faze me, you can’t put me off balance.” — Bryan Knapp GS

For graduate student, a seven-year search for survival By Brian Mastroianni Features Editor

Bryan Knapp GS sees two things on his refrigerator door when he enters his kitchen: pictures of his three-year-old son Lincoln, and a list of foods and beverages that he can and cannot consume. The list is necessary because Knapp has Alport syndrome — a hereditary kidney disease — and since his 2003 diagnosis, has been on a low-potassium and low-sodium diet. “I’m on meds and the renal diet. The goal is to slow down degeneration, and hopefully get a transplant,” Knapp said, while sitting in the living room of the East Side apartment he shares with his wife, Katie Silberman ’94. “I’m now at 10 to 11 percent kidney function. Most people where I’m at would be on dialysis.” Knapp’s hearing aids are the only noticeable outward signs of his condition. The 42-year-old remains active by walking his daily commute from his home near Brown Stadium to the University’s central campus, where he is studying American history. Approachable and warm, Knapp talks about his health problems in a calm, self-deprecating manner. “I’m not on dialysis, and I’m relatively healthy. I do get really tired on some days and I’m basically deaf,” Knapp said. “I can feel the strain, and it is harder to concentrate.”

Silberman — who currently works for the national nonprofit Science and Environmental Health Network — and Knapp are expecting their second child in March, and both said they hope to find an organ donor in the near future. Their main motivation is to ensure that their children have a father. “There’s something about having a small child that takes you out of yourself,” Silberman said. Searching for a match Knapp has been on long national and state-wide waiting lists for a transplant for seven years. “It all depends on what blood type someone is. That determines how long they need to wait,” said Bette Hopkins Senecal, the nurse manager for transplants at Rhode Island Hospital. Knapp’s brother is willing to donate his kidney, but does not have the matching blood type. “It’s stressful for patients because they obviously don’t know when they’ll hear about a match. The average wait is three to five years,” Senecal said. Because of the long and frustrating wait, the couple has taken the search for a donor into their own hands. They have been using the Web to get the word out to potential donors, through Facebook, Twitter and their Web page, “Make Bryan Healthy.”

But so far, the search has only led to dead ends. “One thing that is really challenging about being in this situation is the ups and downs. People mean well, they’ll get tested, but then see what it means to be a donor and do not pursue it,” Silberman said. Silberman said 10 potential donors have gone through the testing process, with no positive results. Any potential donor would have to match Knapp’s type-O blood. Silberman said the donor would have to have health insurance — though Knapp’s University-sponsored health insurance would cover the charges — and be healthy. A few times, Knapp and Silberman have gotten their hopes up — only to be disappointed. In one instance the couple heard about an Orthodox Jewish woman in Brooklyn who helped recruit organ donors. Placing a notice in a temple bulletin, the couple received a response from the woman, who said she knew of an Orthodox rabbi who would be willing to donate his kidney. The plan fell through when he learned that Knapp was not Jewish — though Silberman is. The high cost of health Knapp said his doctors have told him that some of the indicators for Alport syndrome probably showed themselves as early as at two years

of age. It wasn’t until he began losing his hearing that Knapp sought advice from his physicians. “I kept wondering, ‘why can’t I hear?’ I kept coming to loose ends, and got different answers from different people. I finally went to a new doctor in Oakland who noticed that my creatine levels spiked. That’s when I was diagnosed with Alport syndrome,” Knapp said. Alport syndrome is considered a rare disease, said Sharon Lagas, president of the Alport Syndrome Foundation. It is caused by a defect in collagen follicles, affecting the kidneys, ears, eyes and sometimes the esophagus, she said. The dead ends and misdiagnoses that Knapp experienced occur too frequently, Lagas said. With medical testing like skin biopsies, Lagas said she can’t give a reason why the disease is so often misdiagnosed. “Health insurance is a big part of our story,” Silberman said. While Knapp worked on his master’s degree in history at Washington University in St. Louis, the couple was covered by the school’s health insurance plan, which only partly covered Knapp’s various doctor’s appointments and tests. The couple found themselves often moving through a tangle of red tape, at one point hiring a health insurance investigator to help them sort through what Silberman called “our insurance mess.” “It got to be where we were paying $16,000 a year, which is so crazy,” Silberman said. To help figure out the complexities of paying for such high health care costs, Knapp said he and Silberman became “the middlemen, dealing with insurance companies on the phone. We were the brokers between these huge organizations and it was impossible — no one would negotiate.” When looking for an institution where Knapp could complete his doctoral work and be covered by a more attractive health insurance

plan, the couple looked to Brown. “We looked for places that had better plans, and Brown had it. They even covered my hearing aids,” Knapp said. While the Brown plan is significantly better than what the couple had in St. Louis, they still have to pay “hundreds and hundreds of dollars each month,” Silberman said. Knapp said the stress of finding proper health care is something that could lead him to become “something of a health care reform agitator.” Silberman agrees the problems with health insurance are a strain, but sees her family’s story as just “a shred of the problem.” She said the couple’s struggle with insurance is all the result of capitalism, with “50 million Americans living the story we’re living.” Hopeful for the future Despite the uncertainty of finding a donor soon — even if Knapp’s kidneys fail, he will still survive by being put on dialysis — Knapp remains hopeful that everything will work out. “I see myself getting a transplant during a summer or winter break. It would be hard for me to take a long break, since now I have steam. My work at Wash U. leaves me a year ahead of my cohort.” In their apartment, with their son napping in the other room, the couple is calm and self-assured. “You can’t faze me, you can’t put me off balance,” Knapp says confidently. Silberman looks to him, her words flowing directly from his. “You adapt to what life gives you.” “I’m not afraid to die. I love what I do, and I’m doing it,” Knapp says. “I need to get a job for Lincoln and the baby. I need to be there for my kids.” Knapp looks to his wife as she gives him an affectionate smile. “I don’t feel sorry for myself. I put it in a box and put it away on a shelf.”


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THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

C ampus N EWS

Thursday, February 4, 2010

“Don’t get casual. Get the vaccine.” — Health Services Director Edward Wheeler

After earthquake, physicians felt a need to return to Haiti continued from page 1 ing them to panic at anything earthquake-related, Charles said. He once caused a loud noise when he moved a bed, and several patients got up and ran from the building. About an hour-and-a-half drive from Port-au-Prince, at a 25-year-old Partners in Health hospital in Cange, Assistant Professors of Surgery Stephen Sullivan and Helena Taylor faced much better conditions. The married couple, who specialize in plastic surgery, were in Haiti from Jan. 16 to 23, performing surgeries on “a whole mix of patients, well over 200,” according to Sullivan. He said the “surgical conditions there were not terrible,” and that his group was able to operate on crushed and broken extremities, repair bones and perform amputations without a single patient death from surgical complications. “All of us need to function under the premise that we would provide the same quality of care there as we do in the U.S.,” Taylor said, explaining that even though she saw more patients in Haiti than she normally does in Providence, she still strove for a high success rate. Conversely, Charles said, “Some of the people (in Port-au-Prince) were there for five days and hadn’t eaten.” While Charles was in Haiti, he slept outside every night, since

Courtesy of Stephen Sullivan

Physicians affiliated with Brown working hard at Haitian hospitals to aid quake victims.

there were no safe buildings available to him in the city. The doctors had strong connections to Haiti before the earthquake. Charles was born and raised there, and he has family who still lives there. One of Charles’ more distant relatives was killed in the earthquake. Sullivan had spent a year in Haiti with Partners in Health. “To me, it’s sort of a second home,” he said. All three said they felt compelled to travel to Haiti and provide services as soon as they heard of the

research in brief

Prof’s study: If you want to avoid hangover, pick vodka over bourbon Bourbon is likely to cause worse hangovers than vodka, though both are equally likely to impair cognitive functions in the morning, according to a new study by Professor of Community Health Damaris Rohsenow. The study, to be published in the March issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, points to the amounts of “congeners,” toxic organic compounds used in fermentation and found in bourbon, as significant to the degree of hangover. Though congeners only appear in very small quantities in alcoholic beverages, bourbon contains 37 times the amount of congeners as vodka, according to the study. According to a press release from the journal, the researchers recruited 95 heavy drinkers aged 21 to 33 who did not have any history of alcohol abuse and paid them to sleep several nights at their labs at Boston University. The participants would drink the minimum amount of bourbon or vodka needed to induce a hangover on one night, and consume a placebo another night. Rohsenow said the researchers studied the sleep patterns of the participants and asked them to fill out an acute hangover scale — rating the severity of their hangovers — once their blood alcohol levels had returned to normal. The researchers then asked the participants to take several cognitive tests requiring vigilant attention and quick, accurate decision-making, Rohsenow said. According to Rohsenow, participants ranked the bourbon hangovers as worse, but performance in cognitive tests was equally hindered regardless of beverage. Rohsenow also said many participants did not realize that their cognitive performance was diminished. “People were not aware that their performance was impaired the next morning,” Rohsenow said, adding that this held true even for the 25 to 30 percent of heavy drinkers who claim to not experience hangovers. “Many times, people cannot judge their own ability to be safe,” Rohsenow said. — Anish Gonchigar

crisis. “It was fairly obvious that we had to go,” Taylor said. The University supported their efforts, though Charles said that when he left on Jan. 16, the situation was still too chaotic for Brown to provide systematized support. Sullivan and Taylor, though, departed for Haiti with surgical supplies donated from the Brown community, and their contracts allow them to spend a week in Haiti every three months, Sullivan said. Matthew Gutmann, vice presi-

dent for international affairs and co-chair of the Haiti Crisis Response Committee, said the Brown community has been putting forth great effort to support Haiti. “There is so much desire to help,” he said. Recent fundraising events at Brown have netted thousands of dollars for relief efforts, including $2,600 raised for Partners in Health at Saturday’s open mic, The Herald reported Monday. The fraternity Zeta Delta Xi threw a “Pulp Friction” party the same night. About

300 people came, raising $1,300, Daniel Oviedo ’10, the fraternity’s president, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. The Brown community has a long-standing connection to Haiti, which might leave it better poised to continue its strong commitment to Haiti in the coming months, Gutmann said. Brown’s two-year Haitian Creole program is unique, since few universities offer the language. Visiting Lecturer in Latin American Studies Patrick Sylvain, who teaches those courses, is working on a textbook for the language. The Alpert Medical School has pre-existing exchange programs with Haiti, which Gutmann said might expand to include bringing more Haitian medical students to Providence for rounds. Gutmann said that he hopes interest in Haiti continues in the coming months, and he underscored the attempts his committee is making to “keep Brown involved long-term.” “I am concerned that it’s not going to be on the front page anymore,” Gutmann said. Even if community interest in Haiti wanes, Charles, Sullivan and Taylor plan to continue their work in Haiti — all three have trips planned to go back. Charles leaves for the Dominican Republic Feb. 7 and plans to cross the border into Haiti with a group of medical students.

Brown leads in H1N1 vaccination rate By Bradley Silverman Contributing Writer

Brown has the highest rate of H1N1 vaccination among Rhode Island universities and colleges, according to a campus-wide e-mail from Health Services Director Edward Wheeler on Feb. 1. The e-mail noted that barely any students sought treatment for influenza-like illnesses over winter break and outlined step-by-step instructions on how to obtain a free vaccination at Health Services. In total, 2,447 out of 7,190 eligible students received a vaccination before the vacation, according to Wheeler — a vaccination rate of about 34 percent. According to data provided to Health Services by the Rhode Island Department of Health, this is higher than any other school in the state, he said. Before winter break, Health Services only distributed vaccines to those who were 24 and under, Wheeler said. This restriction has since been lifted, raising the number of eligible students above the 7,190 previously considered eligible. “Anyone can be vaccinated now,”

Wheeler said. The H1N1 vaccine was first made available by Health Services to students on Dec. 4, said Lynn DuPont, associate director of Health Services. Through Dec. 19, 749 students reported flu-like symptoms, she said. These students registered with FluWeb, a service of the Health Services Web site that lets sick students report their illnesses and receive assistance with health care and missed classes. “Anyone who has influenza-like symptoms was presumed to have H1N1,” she said. “Every student who was on that list we can call back in 24 to 48 hours to check up on.” Since Dec. 9, however, there have been virtually no additional reports — “just one, maybe two,” she said. Within a day of the Feb. 1 email, an additional 104 students had signed up to receive a vaccine, according to DuPont. Five were vaccinated on Monday, while 12 to 15 were scheduled to receive a vaccination on Tuesday, she said. Both Thursday and next Tuesday, additional Health Ser vices nurses will be assisting with the

vaccinations, DuPont said, adding that the department hopes to vaccinate 50 to 75 students a day. She encouraged unvaccinated students to come on one of those days. Wilson Baer ’13 said he received the vaccine early last December, adding that the procedure was easy — after filling out some medical paperwork, he was given the shot and asked to wait several minutes before leaving to make sure that there were no ill effects. The experience was over in ten minutes, he said. “I knew it was safe, and it was the best thing to do,” Baer said. “It just seemed like a good idea.” Ultimately, the school hopes to vaccinate an additional 1,000 students in the upcoming weeks, Wheeler said. “We’d like everyone to get it, but if 500 to 1,000 did, we’d be happy,” he said. He strongly encouraged all students to get vaccinated, noting that by doing so, they protect others as well as themselves from the H1N1 virus, as they become unable to spread it. “Don’t get casual,” he said. “Get the vaccine.”

www.blogdailyherald.com


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THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

C ampus N EWS

Thursday, February 4, 2010

“You just do it. You say yes and you go.” — Mark Salvatore GS, on traveling to Antarctica

Hay book uses mummy wrappings as paper continued from page 1

Courtesy of Chaz Firestone

The Antarctic Dry Valleys are known as some of the driest and windiest places on Earth.

Scientists see Mars in Antarctic landscape continued from page 1 Dickson, a research analyst in the geology department, in an e-mail to The Herald. He wrote that the Valleys are the best and closest model scientists have for the surface on Mars. “There are specific processes that happen there that don’t occur elsewhere on Earth,” he wrote. Dickson said his group built two time-lapse camera stations to monitor changes on the surface at the site

and storms that pass through the Dry Valleys. He said the cameras were also able to monitor the flow of water on the surface through the course of the Antarctic summer, a phenomenon that scientists think might be similar to what is happening on Mars. Mark Salvatore GS, one of the two graduate students who went on the trip, said he had no hesitations about going despite the expedition’s remote location. “It was a

no-brainer,” he said. Salvatore said the support from the University and from professors for trips such as this was a major reason he chose Brown as the place to pursue his graduate degree. “Going to Antarctica for three months is not a typical learning experience,” Salvatore said. But he added that an opportunity like this rarely comes around, and when it does, “You just do it. You say yes, and you go.”

in which it is currently located. While the database is not currently available online, Wolfe said she hopes to post the information on the Web. Ten years ago, Wolfe began collecting information on Egyptian mummies imported to the U.S. after coming across references to 19th-century American paper allegedly made of mummy wrappings. This prompted her to write the book “Mummies in Nineteenth Century America: Ancient Egyptians as Artifacts,” which was published in 2009. “I would take a week off and do nothing but divide (information from the database) into a hundred (articles) a page … That’s how the book was written — from little snippets of information,” Wolfe said. She began to organize the material she found online and in newspapers into sets of databases in order to facilitate her research. After posting a request for information on a rare book listserv, Wolfe was contacted by Richard Noble, rare book cataloguer at the Hay. Noble alerted Wolfe to the presence of a broadside printed on paper made from mummy wrappings in the library’s collections. “This was a smoking gun,” Wolfe said. “The broadside was the key,” until “we found supporting evidence,” she said. The broadside in question is entitled “Hymn: for the bi-centennial anniversary of the settlement of Norwich, Conn.” and was printed by the Chelsea Manufacturing Company, Noble said. “Mummy paper was once thought of as a myth, or an urban

legend,” Wolfe said. She said the broadside is the first document referencing the use of mummy wrappings for paper that she has come across in her research. Since her discovery at the Hay, Wolfe has found multiple paper mills in Maine that in the 19th century produced paper from mummy wrappings. The mummies were stripped of their wrappings and the linen rags were washed before being processed, she said. “This whole 19th-century attitude is incomprehensible to us — we’re so into preservation now,” Wolfe said. Some mummies were “hacked at with axes and knives,” she said, to separate the linen wrappings from the bodies. Wolfe described herself as a self-taught Egyptologist, and said her fascination with Ancient Egypt began when she was as young as three or four. Wolfe visited an art museum in Springfield, Mass., and for the first time, saw a mummy’s outer coffin. Wolfe said the biggest challenge to conducting her research is acquiring data. “Because I’m not affiliated with a university or a doctoral program, it has been hard to get information,” she said. Very little detailed work documenting the circulation of mummies around the U.S. had been done prior to her project, and museum curators do not always cooperate with requests for information, she said. Wolfe said she intends to continue building the database as she uncovers more information — her book was just a starting point, she said. “What I would dearly love to do is produce a field book of mummies in American museums.”


Metro The Brown Daily Herald

Hungry? Let us help you out. Ratty vs. V-Dub, every day at blogdailyherald.com Thursday, February 4, 2010 | Page 7

R.I. to help offset high costs of low temperatures Not killing the electric car in R.I.

By Talia Kagan Senior Staff Writer

Rhode Island winters are always cold, but this year’s high costs of heating oil, coupled with high statewide unemployment, have added an extra chill. Federal and state officials have allocated additional funding recently to low-income families to cover energy costs. The state’s average cost of heating oil per gallon spiked in early January, after three weeks of moderately stable prices, according to data from the Office of Energy Resources Web site. The price of heating oil increased by 28 cents per gallon the first two weeks of January, an increase of over 10 percent. Though prices have steadily decreased in the past three weeks — and are now equivalent to rates from late November — increased costs still hit Rhode Island families hard, according to data released Friday by the Office of Energy Resources. The spike was not limited to Rhode Island, but had a particularly strong effect on the Ocean State due to the high proportion of residents that rely on oil for heat. About 42 percent of Rhode Island homes rely on heating oil, compared to a national average of just 9 percent, according to the office. Additional federal funding for lowincome energy assistance programs will help cover state residents struggling to pay heating oil, natural gas or electric bills this winter. This federal funding is not a response to high oil heating costs, but will provide additional support to Rhode Island families. Federal funds hit home

The federal government released additional contingency funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program two weeks ago, allocating roughly $4 million to Rhode Island, according to a press release from the office of Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I. This money comes in addition to the $29.6 million of program funding allocated to the state for the current fiscal year, according to the press release. The federal program, which funds state assistance to help low-income families pay their energy bills, offers qualifying Rhode Island residents monetary support during the winter season for their gas, oil or electricity payments, said Andrew Kostrzewa ’08, a project manager at the energy office. The general award amount is $675, but awards are not guaranteed to applicants since they are dependent on the program’s total funds, he said. In Rhode Island, a four-person household with a combined annual income of less than $49,945 qualifies for assistance from the program. Participation in the program is 10 percent higher this year than last year at the same time, according to data provided by Kostrzewa. Though he attributed the increase in applications to the energy program in part to a “colder January,” Kostrzewa said the “numberone factor is unemployment.” Two years ago, the state unemployment rate during the winter season was 6.2 percent, according to data from the Office of Energy Resources. Last year, that number jumped to 9.8 percent, and this year it stands at nearly 13 percent. Residents who have been forced to live off savings during the recession are now running short on long-term fi-

nances, Kostrzewa said. While over 33,000 families participated in the program last year, Kostrzewa estimated that 60,000 that have not applied could qualify for assistance. He cited pride as one potential reason eligible residents might not apply. But some residents simply don’t know about the program, said Maggie Rogers P’12, board member of the George Wiley Center, a statewide community organizing group. “There’s not enough public education,” she said. “We’ve got people calling (the George Wiley Center) every day asking where they can get assistance for oil,” Rogers said. A short-term rise in the cost of heating oil is also unlikely to change LIHEAP application numbers because those residents who know about the program will have already applied, Kostrzewa said. Rather, it is primarily middle-class families paying for their own oil who are affected by changes in heating oil costs, he said. Beyond oil But even with these options for low-income energy cost assistance, the heat is still off in some local homes. The “number of shutoffs has been terrible” for those who rely on natural gas and electric heat, Rogers said. LIHEAP-eligible residents are legally protected from shut-offs of natural gas or electricity from Nov.1 to April 15. But come April 15, it’s “what we call open season” on families who are unable to pay off the debt they have accumulated, Rogers said. “There are all kinds of public

health and safety ramifications to (the) lack of utilities,” she said. She cited the use of candles and unsafe extension cords running from neighboring homes as examples of measures that people turn to when the heat is off. “What we really need to do is rein in rate increases,” she said. “The system is clearly broken.” Though heating oil costs may make headlines, gas and electric rates — unaffected by oil costs — have been rising for years, Rogers said. On Tuesday, the Public Utilities Commission will announce a possible increase in electricity rates, she said. Low-income families who spend a greater proportion of their income on heating and utilities, are hit hardest by rising energy costs, said Arthur Handy, D-Dist. 18, who represents Cranston. The average Rhode Island resident spends about 4 percent of household income on utilities, whereas “people with lower income can be spending potentially 50 percent of their income” on such costs, Handy said. He is currently proposing a bill to fix home energy burdens at 6 to 8 percent of the combined income of qualifying residents. Other energy assistance programs exist to help low-income residents. Narragansett Electric, a local division of the National Grid energy company, provides a discount rate for low-income residents. For those who do not qualify for LIHEAP funding but still require assistance, the Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund provides a limited number of one-time $500 grants, according to its Web site.

By Max Godnick Senior Staff Writer

Project Get Ready, a national nonprofit initiative to promote the usage of plug-in electric vehicles, announced on Jan. 21 that it would add Rhode Island to its list of pilot sites. Rhode Island, the first entire state to become a pilot site, joins Houston, Indianapolis, Denver and Toronto. The project aims to convert 2 percent of each pilot site’s registered vehicles to plug-in electric vehicles within five years. For Rhode Island, this would mean registering about 10,000 of the cars by 2015, said Al Dahlberg, the project’s Rhode Island coordinator and director of state and community relations at Brown. “We are starting to get charge spots built at institutions and companies around the state,” he said. “We have also been working with municipalities on expedited permitting and educating inspectors about charge spot locations.” Brown has already developed a close relationship with the project, Dahlberg said. “Several students have been involved, and we hope to see more student interest the more this initiative is publicized,” he said, adding that several professors have attended meetings as well. Among the students who have gotten involved with the project is Yonatan Dolgin ’10, who serves as the co-chair of the organization’s team tasked with promoting the plug-in continued on page 8


Page 8

M etro

THE BROWN DAILY HERALD

Thursday, February 4, 2010

“This isn’t like North Dakota.” — Al Dahlberg, Rhode Island coordinator for Project Get Ready

Fate of waterfront under debate R.I. turns state on

By Caitlin Trujillo Senior Staff Writer

Rhode Island’s Coastal Resource Management Council denied a request from the city Department of Planning and Development Wednesday that would have changed the water classification of the waters in front of the former Shooters nightclub site, according to a press release issued by the Fox Point Neighborhood Association. John Rousseau, the association’s executive secretary, said changing the water classification would allow a developer to build on the Shooters site without showing how the construction would impact the waterfront. The site has been a point of contention between the community residents and developers, Rousseau said, as many Fox Point residents are concerned the site will be used

to build a condominium or other sites that would not be for public use. According to Rousseau, changing the water classification from a Type 6, industrial waterfronts use, to a Type 4, multipurpose use, would allow for a condominium complex to be constructed. Instead, the neighborhood association wants to see the site turned into a public marina. “Most medium-sized cities on a bay or ocean have a public waterfront,” Rousseau said. “Providence does not.” But according to Robert Azar, the Department of Planning and Development’s director of current planning, Type 6 waters do not allow for the establishment of a public marina. “Without that change, the vision those neighborhood folks have for that site can’t be realized,” Azar said.

The request to change the water type classification was submitted Jan. 20 by Thomas Deller, director of the planning department. In the proposal, Deller wrote that the idea to change the classification for the Shooters site was a logical extension of a previous request to change the nearby site of India Point to a Type 4 classification. Azar said the proposed change to the Shooters site was “more compatible with the comprehensive plan vision.” Rousseau, however, said the Shooters site marina could operate as a Type 6 because it had been a marina in the past. Azar said the planning department would continue to work with the Coastal Resource Management Council and city residents and strive to “serve the broadest public interest.” The issue of the land will be readdressed at a Feb. 23 City Plan Commission meeting.

with its electric cars continued from page 7 cars to individuals. “There are great educational opportunities. There’s lots of research to be done,” Dolgin said. “This can range from finding out what is the best way to reach consumers in Rhode Island to looking at the sociological and psychological impacts of driving electric vehicles to understanding the distance you need between driving and public charging stations.” Brown already has a small fleet of electric vehicles that are used for Facilities Management, and both Dolgin and Dahlberg noted the possibility of installing charging stations on campus. Project Get Ready was developed as an initiative of the Rocky Mountain Institute in October 2008, Dahlberg said. In order to get Rhode Island approved as a pilot site, Dahlberg and other community stakeholders gained the political approval of Mayor David Cicilline ’83 and House Majority Leader Gordon Fox, D-Dist. 4. Following approval, organizers underwent a strategic planning process to develop a plan to meet

the Rocky Mountain Institute’s goals, Dahlberg said. Now the project must implement the plan, he added. “Within 18 to 24 months, almost every major automaker is rolling out a plug-in electric vehicle and we have to make sure that we do all the background work necessary to make sure these vehicles are welcomed,” Dahlberg said. “This involves several tactics,” he said. “These can be broken down into consumer awareness initiatives, working with fleet managers and informing them about these vehicles and their financial and environmental benefits and working to build the necessary infrastructure.” Dahlberg said he has a positive outlook for Project Get Ready and the future of Rhode Island’s plug-in electric vehicles, especially given some of Rhode Island’s “unique” qualities. Rhode Islanders drive short distances and tend to stay in the state, he said, reducing concerns about the prevalence of charging stations and long-term personal investment. “This isn’t like North Dakota,” he noted. “People generally don’t drive long distances in Rhode Island.”

C YC L E O F T H E S E A S O N S

Nick Sinnott-Armstrong / Herald

A dusting of snow covers a bike early Wednesday morning.


SportsTHURSDAY The Brown Daily Herald

Thursday, February 4, 2010 | Page 9

athlete of the week

s p o rt s i n b r i e f

Ivy League News of the Break

Forward Jack Maclellan ’12 keeps cool By Dan Alexander Sports Editor

No. 25 Cornell men’s basketball nearly slays Goliath in non-conference, is now Goliath in conference Cornell destroyed Harvard, 86-50, in a battle of the Ivy League unbeatens last Saturday. The Big Red are 4-0 in the Ivy League, and haven’t won a conference game by fewer than 21 points this season. After defeating Harvard, Cornell moved into the ESPN/USA Today top 25 to earn a ranking for the first time in 59 years, making the Big Red the first ranked Ivy team since Princeton in 1998. On Jan. 6, The Big Red made the SportsCenter highlights by nearly defeating No. 1 Kansas on the Jayhawks’ home court. Cornell led with less than 50 seconds left, but Kansas ultimately won, 71-66. Penn basketball coach fired Penn Head Coach and former Brown Head Coach Glen Miller was fired on Dec. 14 after a 0-7 start with the Quakers. Assistant Coach Jerome Allen stepped in as the interim head coach. The once-perennial powerhouse posted the worst nonconference record of any team in the Ivy League. Dartmouth basketball coach resigns, reportedly after player revolt Dartmouth basketball Head Coach Terry Dunn resigned on Jan. 8, just one day before the Big Green opened its Ivy League schedule against Harvard. According to Fox Sports, Dunn had to step down after his entire team threatened to walk off the court. But Dartmouth captain Robby Pride contradicted the report. “There was no player revolt, but the details are staying in-house,” he told the Boston Globe. Dartmouth is the only team still without an Ivy win. Cornell football coach leaves for Duke Cornell Head Coach Jim Knowles resigned on Dec. 23 to accept a position as the defensive coordinator at Duke. Cornell wrestler dies Adam Frey, a 23-year-old wrestler for Cornell, died Dec. 26 after a 21-month fight against cancer. ­— Dan Alexander

Skiing rebounds with win in giant slalom, fourth-place finish in slalom The skiing team bounced back from a rough outing with two strong finishes last weekend. The team took first place this past Friday and posted a solid fourth-place finish in slalom on Saturday. In contrast to last weekend, “I think we just really put team skiing first,” said Kia Mosenthal ’12. “We went into it as a team and not individual skiers.” Mosenthal had a strong weekend, coming in second in giant slalom. Emily Simmons ’12 finished close behind, in fifth place. Krista Consiglio ’11 had the third-best time for the placing Bears, taking 11th out of 65. “It’s definitely a morale boost,” Mosenthal said. “Knowing we have the ability to win races is a good feeling.” In slalom, Mosenthal again posted the best time for the Bears with a fourth-place finish, and Consiglio tied for eighth. Despite finishing first and fourth in the two events, the Bears still sit in fourth place in the ECSC MacConnell Division. “It doesn’t really matter if we win the division,” said Head Coach Michael LeBlanc. “This is the first weekend when all the top five girls have finished. It’s just huge. I hope they can build on that.” — Ashley McDonnell

Jack Maclellan ’12 scored a goal in both of the men’s hockey games last weekend — the 4-3 win over Rensselaer and the 2-2 tie with No. 18 Union. He was also on the penalty kill which held Union scoreless the final 1:54 of overtime to preserve the tie. Though Maclellan scored only one goal in the first eight games of the season, he has been a consistent scorer since. He lit the lamp in eight of the Bears’ last 13 games. The center has 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) in 20 games this season. He leads the team in shooting percentage and is tied for first in goals and plus/minus. For his goal-scoring and penalty-killing last weekend, Maclellan has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week. Herald: You have been playing some of your best hockey lately. What’s the secret? Maclellan: I think it’s just a confidence thing. I think that I used to have a lot of confidence, and then I think that I lost a lot of it last year in a bad season where things didn’t really go well. And so I think the fresh start this year with the new coaching staff (has given me) a clean slate. How did you start playing hockey? One of my neighbors was signing up. He was my best friend, and his parents were signing him up, and I really wanted to play. But neither of my parents were hockey people. My dad competed in judo at the national spectrum. Have you ever tried judo? I think that he took me along, because he taught it in the city in Toronto when I was still young — like 5, 6, 7. ... I think it would be pretty cool, but no, I never got into it. If you threw down the gloves with your dad right now, who would win the fight? Oh, I’d win. (Pause.) No, that’s a lie. He’d probably win. A lot of the hockey players have nicknames. Does the team

Jonathan Bateman / Herald

Forward Jack Maclellan ’12 has scored in eight of the last 13 games.

have any nicknames for you? I’ve got a few, but the one that the boys call me a lot is kind of ridiculous. But it’s “Le” (pronounced “Uhl”). Everybody’s got their own variation of it. But it just transformed from like Jack, to Jack-O, to Yack-O, to Yackle, to Cole, to Le — somehow. Who has the best nickname on the team? Ah, there are some good ones. Hair-bone (Harry Zolnierczyk ’11), Food (Hunter Thunell ’10). Everybody’s kind of got a nickname spun off of their name. Why do you guys all give each other nicknames? I just think we’re kind of goofballs. All of the hockey players are really, really tight compared to most sports. I know that a lot of teams are really, really tight. But from what I’ve seen and heard and everything, I just think that hockey players have somehow — between the 20 to 30 guys on the team, there are just such close friendships. So I think we just give each other a hard time and ev-

erybody takes it the right way. Do you guys ever give the coaches a hard time like you do to each other? Yeah, in the past it wasn’t as easy to. But these coaches are so — they’re just unreal guys. I didn’t really get to know my old coaches on a really personal level. But, Whittet (Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94), Whitey (Assistant Coach Mark White), Keefer (Assistant Coach Jerry Keefe), it’s almost like they’re a part of the team in a different way than the old coaches — not in the sense that they’re a bunch of kids on the team. I mean, they have their respect from everybody. But they’re also so much more involved with all of us and stuff like that. And Whittet’s always joking around with us, so I think some guys are pretty hesitant to joke around with him. But, somebody like Harry, Harry will chirp him — either to his face or behind his back. How about you? No, I try to play it pretty cool. I just want to stay on his good side.


Editorial & Letters The Brown Daily Herald

Page 10 | Thursday, February 4, 2010

l e t t e r to t h e e d i to r

China studies a growing discipline for students and faculty at Brown To the Editor: Many thanks to Sarah Yu ’11 for her thoughtful column (“Our say in academics,” Feb. 2) regarding student involvement in curricular matters, especially those relating to international studies. Either I didn’t express myself well or Yu may have missed part of my comments, so let me try again. Since I was appointed vice president for international affairs last September, among my top priorities has been working with departments, the Watson Institute and the Dean of the Faculty to “deepen the bench” with respect to China studies at Brown. Simply put, we already have wonderful China studies faculty, and we want more. My comments in the talk Yu attended were not meant to imply

that students were alone or mainly responsible for any lack of specific programs our course offerings. I said that one of the best things about being a faculty member at Brown is the extent to which students can be relied on to help develop all aspects of our curriculum with faculty and administrators. And the invitation still stands: Please contact me — gutmann@ brown.edu — as well as the Dean of the College with any and all ideas for strengthening international studies at Brown.

Matthew Gutmann Vice President for International Affairs Feb. 2

RICHARD STEIN AND PAUL TRAN

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This January, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges unsurprisingly reaffirmed Brown’s status as an accredited institution. The team of NEASC evaluators praised Brown as “one of the premiere educational institutions in the United States,” but NEASC’s Jan. 8 letter informing President Simmons of the reaccreditation did contain several reminders of areas for improvement. In particular, the letter encouraged the University to implement a “systematic and broad-based approach to the assessment of student learning.” Measuring student learning outcomes is undoubtedly an essential task for any institution whose primary mission is education. Yet, in responding to NEASC’s call for enhanced tracking of student learning, Brown faces two distinct challenges. First, the notion of a learning outcome is somewhat vague. Does it imply that students have acquired a knowledge base, skill set or some combination of the two? Second, in the absence of academic requirements, Brown cannot point to a universal standard of learning that applies to the entire student body. In spite of these challenges, we believe that the University’s efforts to improve tracking of student learning have been laudable. In an interview with the editorial page board, Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron highlighted several new measures, many of which were initially suggested by the 2008 Task Force on Undergraduate Education. In the absence of a mandatory writing requirement — a hallmark at some other universities — the administration is placing added emphasis on students’ written work. In 2008, the University developed 24 new firstyear seminars, which will give freshmen additional opportunities to work closely with professors on adjusting to college-level writing. Starting next fall, all writing-intensive courses will be labeled in the course catalogue with a “W,” which will which will offer additional guidance to students looking to improve as writers. The “W” designation effectively emphasizes written work without infringing on students’ curricular freedom.

The College Curriculum Council is also in the process of undertaking a department-by-department review of undergraduate programs. As part of the review, departments will be asked to define what knowledge and skills students are expected to obtain by graduation, and in turn justify their concentration requirements. Because of Brown’s open curriculum, focusing the review at the department level seems to be the most effective way to get a detailed idea of students’ learning experiences. The University has also introduced the Advising SideKick, an online system that will provide space for students to upload work, concentration forms and other written exchanges with advisors. The online portfolio will track students’ intellectual progression and create a more cogent academic narrative in the context of the open curriculum. We applaud the University’s newest efforts to understand student achievement, but we also have some suggestions to add. An emphasis on writing is important, but quantitative skills should not be overlooked. Many concentrations, including sociology, political science and psychology, have statistics requirements. The University should evaluate the effectiveness of statistics classes and ensure that students are being equipped with the tools they need to conduct independent research and analysis. In addition, we are curious how learning at Brown carries over to graduate studies. The University should establish a formal mechanism to solicit feedback from alums who have gone on to pursue advanced degrees elsewhere. This feedback will provide an additional view on the effectiveness of Brown’s undergraduate curriculum. The NEASC report makes clear that Brown has a lot to be proud of. We are especially glad that the University is not resting on its laurels and is addressing NEASC’s suggestions head-on. Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board. Send comments to editorials@browndailyherald.com.

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Opinions The Brown Daily Herald

Thursday, February 4, 2010| Page 11

The importance of being earnest ANTHONY BADAMI Opinions Columnist I must thank a friend who recently encouraged me to seek out a salient university document that I had treated, at best, with indifference. This noteworthy piece of text is the oft-disputed Brown University mission statement. From what I am told, it received considerable revision in the past two decades, taking on an ever-slimmer form at the onset of Ruth Simmons’ tenure. The statement itself is rather drifting. Lofty charges of “discovering” and “communicating” global knowledge pervade the paragraph. But this is to be expected. One phrase I find noteworthy is the University’s responsibility to prepare “students to discharge the offices of life with usefulness and reputation.” Note, then, the word choice: Students must enter this world with utility and repute in mind and at heart. Well, Brunonians, I have to say, no problem here with that sentiment. Do Brown students, necessarily, have to posture themselves so selflessly? Is social activism comprised of a search for individual purpose as well as an endeavor for greater contribution? Can reputation be an impetus for change, for progress, for good? To the last question, yes. Absolutely. I hope by the end of this column you see the munificence that can arise from selfishness, the generosity of self-serving and self-reproach. No, I am not taking the Ayn Rand pit leap

into solipsism. Rather, I am asking student activists at Brown to take pride in their fundamental provocations for action. I refer, of course, to those lovely propulsions known as guilt, enmity and egocentrism. One benefit from the 21st century’s technological revolution has not been the “flattening” of the economic world (as the piestained Thomas Friedman has peddled), but the recalibration of the way we understand human rights. Increased transparency globally induces political and social communities to adopt similar conceptions of justice, digni-

serves the collective interest. We have heard this tune before. Reading Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments reveals the “impartial spectator” individuals feel compelled to impress. (I myself have begun to please this ghostly observer every time I recycle when no one’s looking.) Yes, it has a “real world” impact, but, more importantly, it gives you reason to pat yourself on the back. And why shouldn’t it? If your actions can be rationalized to benefit the greater good, then feeling a vague sense of self-impor-

I hope by the end of this column you see the munificence that can arise from selfishness, the generosity of self-serving and self-reproach.

ty and liberty. Obviously, this claim contains more nuances. But there is no denying that the human rights discussion since the end of World War II, incorporating the perhaps overly determined U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has drastically shifted. The real beauty of seeing our social activism projects in this proper light is the illumination of a global system of interconnectedness and interdependence. It has become a hard-won reality that acting in one’s own self-interest (a self entirely accountable to the philanthropic purviews of one’s peers)

tance when pursuing such action is not a fault. Indeed, it could be the fuel keeping the humanitarian engine going. As I stated before, pure, unadulterated hatred can be a fine motivator as well. For instance, it brings a sickening bubbling to my stomach when I think about Christian fundamentalists attempting to override secular science in my Midwestern neighbor state, the wondrous world of Kansas. So be it if this is the catalyst I need to work against their banning of evolution in classrooms, filling young, impressionable minds with junk science. With a bit of coffee, I cannot think of

a better way to acclimate myself to the new morning. Take another drive, that ever-present burden best served by our parents — guilt. The recent American response to Haiti’s earthquake has been astonishing. The assistance from cell phone donations alone has been substantial. But why? Well, I postulate that the poverty porn that has been inundating our television screens has driven our citizens to find some way to assuage their guilt. Strikingly, it has been towards a place and people Americans know little to nothing about. (“Is Haiti in Africa?”) If only we could direct that kind of guilt towards other communities that require its precipitations every day. The Haiti relief stands as an example of extreme solidarity and kindness, but also of glaring and sustained neglect. If I could provide you with my take-home point, it would be this. Garner your feelings, hatred, guilt, anger and fear, whatever they may be. Understand them, pick them apart and then utilize them. Denying these underlying factors will only result in an inauthentic or opaque “communication” and “discovery,” a symbolic betrayal of the University mission. To serve Brown’s mission statement is to recognize our own egocentrism and to act on it. Yes, the Nobel Prize would be a feather in our cap. But for many of us, pleasing the impartial spectator, domineering and autocratic as it is, would be satisfying enough.

Anthony Badami ’11 is a political theory concentrator from Kansas City, Mo. He can be reached at anthony_badami@brown.edu.

Plastic or plastic? ALYSSA RATLEDGE Opinions Editor

Last Friday afternoon found me at the Brown Bookstore, searching for that elusive species of textbook which has a “love me, I’m marginally less expensive” used sticker without six thousand markers’ worth of unnecessary highlighting. The bookstore’s Web site had lured me in with the promise that the price of one of my books was lower there than on any of my usual online haunts. This might have been true if they’d had any used copies. Instead, they had only new ones, with prices in the triple digits. At some point after I stopped hyperventilating over the cost of my statistics textbook, which comes to a mere 28 cents per page, I went to pay. I cried a little inside as I handed over my debit card, but once it was over, I discovered something even more perplexing than textbook markup: I was required to take a plastic bag. When the girl working the cash register pulled out a bag for me, I picked my textbook up off the counter before she could grab it. “Oh, I don’t need a bag,” I told her. “I only have one book, and my bag’s right over there in the bag check.” She took the textbook back from me. “No. We have to give you one.” “What?” I glanced down at the book in her

hands. “But I don’t need a bag.” “Well, we have to give you one. It’s the rule.” She smiled politely, as though I were a small child incapable of understanding the rule. She did not even look over my shoulder to see how much I was holding up the line. “Why?” I persisted. “It’s the rule.” She handed me my lone book, wrapped up in a giant plastic Brown Bookstore bag. “Have a nice day.” And just like that, I became the accidental

I had, mistakenly it seems, been under the impression that the cloth bag gimmick of yester-semester had a dual purpose: to advertise the Brown Bookstore, and to encourage the use of reusable bags in an effort to save the environment. Apparently the latter is only true of purchases made outside of the bookstore. When we shop for textbooks, we must take a plastic bag, no matter how unnecessary it is. I’m sure I don’t need to remind Brown

Once it was over, I discovered something even more perplexing than textbook markup: I was required to take a plastic bag.

owner of too much polyethylene. The girl at the cash register next to me had it even worse: She’d brought her Brown Bookstore cloth bag, the kind with the green recycling symbols that they gave out a few semesters ago to all the students who paid more than 300 dollars for textbooks. Yet she too had to take her new books home in a plastic bag. She, like I, seemed bewildered by the requirement to take a plastic bag when we had planned ahead for the very purpose of not taking one.

students of the negative impact that plastic bags can have on the environment. From manufacture, where they consume natural gas resources, to landfill, where they’ll lie for millennia without breaking down, plastic bags are a ubiquitous, if sometimes necessary, evil of the modern world. Reusable cloth bags — such as the ones the bookstore passed out — make a great alternative. The Brown Bookstore must agree, or they’d never have bothered giving them out in the first place. I’m sure they don’t want us to think that the green

recycling symbol on their bags is a lie. I understand the reason why we’re pushed — nay, required — to take plastic bags: Inside mine were paper insert advertisements for acne cream and magazine subscriptions. These advertisers choose our bookstore because they hope we’ll break out of our textbook haze and think, “Hey, why study statistics when I could get 12 issues of Vogue for only 15 bucks?” But if I’m just going to throw away — er, recycle — those ads anyway, it’s frivolous to hand them to me in a glossy Brown Bookstore bag. And my choice hardly cuts down on the thousands of other captive students who want plastic bags, and will still get the ads. Brown is full of groups working to reduce, sometimes forcibly, our campus’s environmental impact, from eliminating plastic water bottles to replacing regular light bulbs with fluorescents. The University itself is now a signatory to the Sustainable Campus Charter. Yet when I undertake my individual responsibility to be an environmentally conscious, ethical consumer, I can’t. I still have to take that plastic bag. Even if I don’t want it. Even if I don’t need it. Aren’t you glad Brown is green?

Alyssa Ratledge ’11 thinks an equally pressing environmental issue is the amount of cold air that seeps in through her Grad Center window.


Today The Brown Daily Herald

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Trash compactor arrives at Ratty

R.I. looks to an electric future

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to day

to m o r r o w

36 / 16

35 / 19

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Page 12

t h e n e w s i n i m ag e s

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5

2 c a l e n da r

TODAY, FEBRUARY 4

tomorrow, February 5

4:00 P.M. — Steven Wilkinson, “Explaining Partition Violence,” Joukowsky Forum

9 a.m. — Science Center Opening, Sciences Library

comics Cabernet Voltaire | Abe Pressman

ALL DAY — Iraq & Syria Photography Exhibition: “Tomorrow, God Willing,” List Building

5:00 p.m. — MLK Jr. Lecture: Tavis Smiley, Salomon 101

menu Sharpe Refectory

Verney-Woolley Dining Hall

Lunch — Vegan Tofu Pups, Grilled Ham and Swiss Sandwich

Lunch — Hot Roast Beef on French Bread, Risotto alla Parmigiana, Cream Cheese Brownies

Dinner — Roast Turkey with Sauce, Cheese and Corn Strata, Stuffing, Curried Chicken Salad

Dot Comic | Ethan Mitra and Brendan Hainline

Dinner — Lemon Broiled Chicken, Black and White Pudding Cake

crossword Excelsior | Kevin Grubb

Hippomaniac | Mat Becker

STW | Jingtao Huang

Thursday, February 4, 2010  

The February 4, 2010 issue of the Brown Daily Herald

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