In the 13th volume of "Best of Freshman Writing," seven of the 21 entries selected were written by Penn State Berks students from the 2007-2008 academic year.
"We are dealing with culture wars—the ability of the government to police our culture in terms of the language we use and the violence we see on television," Clay Calvert said last Wednesday at Research Unplugged.
Calvert, Penn State professor of First Amendment studies and co-director of the Pennsylvania Center for the First Amendment, discussed the Federal Communications Commission's efforts to remove indecent language and violence from the public airwaves with a crowd of concerned community members.
They are our neighbors, but how much do we know about the lifestyles and traditions of the Commonwealth's Anabaptist citizens? The Research Unplugged series joined WPSU's Common Ground Lobby Talks last week for a special event about the complex cultures of the Old Order Mennonite, Amish, and Brethren.
Five expert panelists participated in the lively conversation, which provided a historical context and a more accurate portrait of these often romanticized and misunderstood communities.
"Thirty years ago, the U.S. Surgeon General declared that we had conquered disease. Unfortunately, that statement was incorrect," biologist Eddie Holmes told a rapt audience at Research Unplugged last Wednesday afternoon. The discussion focused on where viruses—such as HIV, SARS, and avian flu—originate, how they emerge in human populations, and how they evolve and survive.
Rock 'n' roll hit the scene in 1956 like a burst out of the blue—or, more accurately "a burst out of the blues," explained Jerry Zolten to an electrified audience at last Wednesday's Research Unplugged event at the State College Downtown Theatre.
Twenty years ago, brutal tornadoes tore through small towns in unprecedented numbers. By 1989, the beginning of an ice age was fast approaching. Today, hurricanes are forming faster than we can name them in the Atlantic Ocean.
Ken Weiss, Evan Pugh Professor of Anthropology and Genetics, has held positions at the University of Texas, Stanford University, the University of Pittsburgh and Yale University. He is interested in the genetic basis of morphological traits and how these relate to and are guided by evolution. His work largely involves studies of human polymorphisms and the amount of variation in genes related to human phenotypes, including disease-related traits.
"How small is nano?" Akhlesh Lakhtakia asked students, faculty, and community members during the final session of the fall season of Research Unplugged. "Divide an inch into 25 pieces," he said. "Then divide each piece into one million pieces. Each of those pieces is one nanometer."
An environmental chemist by training, Brian Dempsey, professor of civil and environmental engineering, received degrees in both chemistry and interdisciplinary science as an undergraduate at the State University of New York, Brockport. Soon after graduation, he traveled to Honduras with the Peace Corps, where he developed a passion for teaching, which compelled him to seek additional science training in an applied field of expertise.
James Lantolf learned German, his fourth language, when he was 35. He picked it up during visits with his wife's family in Germany, where, for a while, his speaking skills confined him to a spot at the children's table. Raised in the United States in an Italian-speaking home, Lantolf learned English as a child. He later tackled Spanish in college. While studying in Mexico, Lantolf says, he was one of the few students whose language skills significantly improved, simply because he wasn't afraid to make mistakes.
"I was on the Security Council representing the United States," says Thomas Bonsaint, referring to his first brush with politics—a model United Nations in high school. "It was one of the primary spots—I loved it."
My whole life is about writing stories. Everything I see or do or think is a part of my work. "Carpet of Sand" came to me one morning when I woke up in our small trailer. We had been living there for six months or so, and, as with any home in Tucson, everything was covered with a thick layer of dust. I could see it in the air, particles floating on currents as I breathed, when I moved. I was overcome momentarily with a feeling of helplessness against the elements, and wanted to transfer this feeling to the page.
In the jumpy QuickTime Movie image on Jim Marden's computer screen, silvery waves precede the black figure of a stonefly as it pushes itself across the surface on the water, legs rigid, wings whirring.