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Today's News: Wednesday, April 4, 2012


U of M to further consider year-round schedule
University of Minnesota officials are considering a year-round academic calendar, a move that could improve the university's finances — while saving students money. The move comes at the urging of university President Eric Kaler, who said it would allow the U of M use its facilities more efficiently and bring in more revenue.
Minnesota Public Radio
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New screening determines chances of pregnancy
Plenty of women talk about their biological clock. Now there's a new way women can actually find out if it's running out… The University of Minnesota Physicians Reproductive Medicine Center began offering a brand new service on Tuesday for women who hope to eventually have children. It's called the BioClock Baby Plan fertility assessment.
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Study: Maltreatment Leads to Lower IQ in Kids
A study conducted at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota has found that children who were exposed to interpersonal trauma, like witnessing domestic violence, are likely to have lower IQ scores.

Minnesota's geothermal-power potential is greater than thought, study finds
A new study has found that geothermal heat is closer to the surface in Minnesota and in much greater supply than previous studies had found — more than enough to generate electricity without burning coal or natural gas. John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune  writes that the study, conducted by the Natural Resources Research Institute of the University of Minnesota Duluth and the University of North Dakota, shows powerful potential for electric generation.

15 Years Later, WCCO Visits 2 Cochlear Implant Patients
In high school, fitting in is difficult enough. Many teenagers just want to be like “everyone else” and not to be labeled as “different.” But imagine navigating those years without sound… The Rochester Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota Medical Center report that their teams each place cochlear implants in about 100 patients a year, and each hospital has placed approximately 1,000 cochlear implants to date.
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The Values of Switchgrass as an Alternative Fuel
With rising gas prices and global temperatures, corn-based ethanol seemed to promise a bright energy future. Now, as corn's dark side becomes ever clearer, switchgrass offers a better alternative as well as a first step to restoring the prairie that once blanketed this country's heartland… And according to David Tilman, an ecologist at the University of Minnesota, farming those soils has caused them to lose up to half of the enriching carbon they once had—to the atmosphere in the form of heat-trapping carbon dioxide.
Audubon Magazine

Business and Politics

House-Senate panel deadlocks on new University of Minnesota regent
A joint House and Senate higher education committee failed to recommend a candidate to fill a vacant seat on the University of Minnesota's Board of Regents. The committee deadlocked between two candidates - Thomas Devine and Robert Vogel - on Tuesday night, April 3.
Pioneer Press

Minnesota Public Radio

Star Tribune

University of Minnesota Gophers basketball: state Supreme Court will hear U's appeal of Jimmy Williams $1M award on May 3
The Minnesota Supreme Court has scheduled May 3 oral arguments to review a 2010 verdict awarding Jimmy Williams $1 million against the University of Minnesota after the athletic department withdrew an offer to join Tubby Smith's men's basketball coaching staff.
Pioneer Press

Group threatens MnSCU with lawsuit over education documents
A nonprofit group working to improve teacher effectiveness says it will sue Minnesota State Colleges and Universities if the system doesn't turn over requested documents… The University of Minnesota has said it will turn over the documents, but wants to charge $300 an hour to complete the request.
Pioneer Press

Farmers wait for crop insurance dates to begin 2012 planting
Record March warmth had many Minnesotans wondering why it felt like May. March 17, 2012 set a new record for the earliest 80 degree F temperature ever for March… “Many locations, including the Twin Cities, are on pace to set a new record for the warmest month of March in history,” said Mark Seeley, University of Minnesota Extension climatologist.
Farm and Ranch Guide

People and Lifestyle

Why Helping Others Makes Us Happy
Helping our fellow man has long been seen as an altruistic behavioral model. But it turns out that more selfish motives—pleasing friends, doing what you want—are more successful causes of effective volunteering... "On one hand, it's striking that volunteering even occurs," says Mark Snyder, a psychologist and head of the Center for the Study of the Individual and Society at the University of Minnesota.
U.S. News and World Report

New food rules felt on the farms
Most of the turkey growers that Minnesota veterinarian Jill Nezworski works with mix antibiotics into their birds' feed only to cope with disease -- quelling a cough outbreak or easing a bout of avian diarrhea… "You can clearly say that in the next couple of years there will be an impact on the availability of antibiotics [for animals]," said Jeff Bender, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Animal Health and Food Safety.
Star Tribune

Pests get an early start bugging us
The mild winter was a boon for insects and plant diseases, which are getting a jump on making our lives miserable… The timing can be a problem when it comes to ticks, said Jeff Hahn, an entomologist with the University of Minnesota Extension.
Star Tribune

'Pink slime' in your meat? Labels to tell you, USDA says
As consumers clamor for more transparency about the beef product dubbed “pink slime,” federal agriculture officials have agreed to allow several meat producers to list the stuff on package labels… Some experts, such as Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and a professor at the University of Minnesota, say LFTB may actually make ground beef a little better.

University of Minnesota says there will be no riot repeats
They say history repeats itself. University of Minnesota officials hope that's only half-true. While, they'd love for the Gopher men's hockey team to win another national championship, they don't want to have rioting in the streets, again.
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Geeks Doing Good: The Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge
If you decided to devote 24 straight hours of your day job skills for a cause you really believed in, what would it take to keep you going?.. If that all sounds mighty fine, you would have been in nerdy nirvana at the recent Overnight Website Challenge, an annual event organized by The Nerdery, a custom interactive development company based in Bloomington. Held on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota, this was the fifth annual event in the Twin Cities.
The Line

Arboretum raises admission fee to $12
Tulips, daffodils and other spring flowers are blooming early at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, thanks to this year's balmy spring. If you want to visit, plan to spend more than last year. As of April 1, the daily admission fee is now $12, up from $9… Higher operating costs and state funding cuts to the University of Minnesota also are a factor.
Star Tribune

Ending student expulsions: Minneapolis Public Schools, Legal Rights Center partner for restorative justice
Legal Rights Center director Michael Friedman wants schools to exchange the punitive for the transformative. What he wants to end is a system of suspensions and expulsions that takes students away from instructional time and does little to improve behavior or academics — a system that is viewed by many as racist… In 2010, the University of Minnesota started monitoring students who completed conferencing. The study is young, so researchers are still collecting data.
Twin Cities Daily Planet

Commentary and Opinion

Students get cheated, on many levels
That time of year has arrived when high school seniors and their families huddle with college admission offers and make the tough decision about which school is best… I've been following tuition trends a bit longer than most, though, because I'm a professor of chemistry at the University of Minnesota… Christopher J. Cramer is a chemistry professor at the University of Minnesota.
Star Tribune

How Facebook built its legal defense against Yahoo
Two researchers from Dutch electronics group Philips, a professor at New York University, an independent inventor in San Jose – and a certain Mark Zuckerberg. These are some of the people whose assembled brainpower Facebook has drawn on to defend itself against Yahoo’s patent infringement case… A professor at NYU, Alexander Tuzhilin, is listed as the inventor on three of the patents Facebook is relying on. In two cases Gediminas Adomavicius, formerly of NYU and now a professor at the University of Minnesota, is also shown as co-inventor.
Financial Times

Welfare 'reform' bills: Suspecting all to catch a few, while harming many
The 18th century rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Sanz observed that “some people act as if they are exempt from giving to 100 people seeking assistance in the event that one might be a fraud.” His comment is incredibly relevant today, as our Minnesota Legislature deliberates on a group of bills circulating under the misleading label of “Welfare Reform 2.0.”… If we truly want good government, we should urge our legislators to heed the “Cost/Benefit Hunger Impact Study” (Sept., 2010) conducted by the Food Industry Center of the University of Minnesota, underwritten by the Target Corporation.

Updates and Events

Let’s Beat the Bed Bugs
A seminar to help beat bed bugs kicked off in Duluth. The University of Minnesota put on the seminar to help schools, hospitals and homeowners identify and fight bed bugs.
KQDS Northern Minnesota

Forum at UMD covers future of coal-fired electricity
Environmental and public action groups are sponsoring a forum on energy at the University of Minnesota Duluth next week, focusing on Minnesota Power’s ongoing review on whether to shut down its oldest coal-fired power plants.
Duluth News Tribune

2012 Minnesota Varsity Showcase Artists
We're delighted to announce the 2012 Showcase Artists for Minnesota Varsity… A panel of celebrity judges including Stephen Copes, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra concertmaster… and Judy Sagen, adjunct faculty, University of Minnesota School of Music.
Minnesota Public Radio