Archive - 2007
Today Lipscomb University announced that it's planning to build a "green" housing complex on campus. From The Tennessean
Construction of an $8.2 million, 50,000-square-foot apartment-style complex with several environmentally-friendly features will begin Dec. 5 at Lipscomb University.
The housing, the first new student residences since 1983, is expected to open next fall and accommodate 168 students.
Don Johnson, facilities director, said the complex will be built with:
• geothermal heating and cooling
• low-emission paints and stains
• low-flow toilets, showers and kitchen faucets
• energy-efficient light fixtures
• native plant landscaping
When Lisa and I were at Lipscomb 1990-1994 we started aluminum and paper recycling programs on campus. I don't know how long that lasted after we graduated...not long, I assume. I'm glad to see Lipscomb going green, though Lisa isn't very impressed: "sounds only light green to me......would be more impressed with solar or wind energy usage"
By the way, on November 6 Mark Elrod issued a challenge to Harding, ACU, Lipscomb, Pepperdine, and Freed-Hardeman to make the list of 10 greenest colleges in America, and 3 weeks later Lipscomb responds. Now that's what I call influence. ;-)
This comes on the heels of another green announcement from Lipscomb, but Elrod probably can't claim credit for that. Also from The Tennessean:
Lipscomb University will offer the state's first degrees in environmental sustainability, university officials announced Thursday.
Through its newly-established Institute for Sustainable Practice, the school will offer a bachelor's degree in sustainability and a master's of business administration with a concentration in sustainability in 2008, Lipscomb spokeswoman Janel Shoun said.
The institute will also host the Summit for a Sustainable Tennessee, a meeting between environmental groups Tennessee Environmental Council and Tennessee Conservation Voters, Nov. 15-16.
Friday we went to Ford Field in downtown Detroit to watch Midland play Detroit Martin Luther King in the division 2 state finals. The news story is here.
We weren't expecting much ahead of time when we saw the size of the Crusader's team. We were pleasantly surprised when Midland took a 14-0 lead and played quite well in the first half. They eventually led 21-7 before everything fell apart. A couple interceptions returned for touchdowns and the Chemics' inability to stop the Crusaders led to a 47-21 final that conformed to our expectations much more than the first half did. The state finals is always a big deal, but this was especially so because it was the first time a team from the Detroit Public School League won the state title.
Here is some video
and some photos
1) Studies show that overweight people have a lower death rate than people who are normal weight, underweight, or obese. The research is summarized in a recent article in the NY Times by Gina Kolata: link
...overweight people have a lower death rate because they are much less likely to die from a grab bag of diseases that includes Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, infections and lung disease. And that lower risk is not counteracted by increased risks of dying from any other disease, including cancer, diabetes or heart disease.
The researchers also confirmed that obese people and people whose weights are below normal have higher death rates than people of normal weight.
Critics of the research argue that "Health extends far beyond mortality rates" and that "...excess weight makes it more difficult to move about and impairs the quality of life." But we're talking about overweight here, not obese. The struggle to maintain normal weight is such a struggle for so many...trying exercise regularly...trying to watch what we eat. I suspect that a bit less pressure in that area wouldn't be a bad thing for "quality of life."
2) Bringing up politics over Thanksgiving dinner may be a good idea. In an opinion piece in the LA Times, Josiah Bunting III summarizes some recent research: link. A test that gauged college students' "civic literacy", focusing "...on American history, government, international relations and economics."
The students who did the best on the test were those who came from homes where the parents were both college graduates, were still married and living together, spoke English to their children...The most significant factor...was frequent family discussion of current events and history.
3) There does appear to be a racial genetic component to intelligence. William Saletan discusses the issue in Slate: link
Tests do show an IQ deficit, not just for Africans relative to Europeans, but for Europeans relative to Asians. Economic and cultural theories have failed to explain most of the pattern, and there's strong preliminary evidence that part of it is genetic. It's time to prepare for the possibility that equality of intelligence, in the sense of racial averages on tests, will turn out not to be true.
Among white Americans, the average IQ, as of a decade or so ago, was 103. Among Asian-Americans, it was 106. Among Jewish Americans, it was 113. Among Latino Americans, it was 89. Among African-Americans, it was 85. Around the world, studies find the same general pattern: whites 100, East Asians 106, sub-Sarahan Africans 70. One IQ table shows 113 in Hong Kong, 110 in Japan, and 100 in Britain. White populations in Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States score closer to one another than to the worldwide black average. It's been that way for at least a century.
Remember, these are averages, and all groups overlap. You can't deduce an individual's intelligence from her ethnicity. The only thing you can reasonably infer is that anyone who presumes to rate your IQ based on the color of your skin is probably dumber than you are.
How could genes cause an IQ advantage? The simplest pathway is head size. I thought head measurement had been discredited as Eurocentric pseudoscience. I was wrong. In fact, it's been bolstered by MRI. On average, Asian-American kids have bigger brains than white American kids, who in turn have bigger brains than black American kids. This is true even though the order of body size and weight runs in the other direction. The pattern holds true throughout the world and persists at death, as measured by brain weight.
4) The death penalty saves lives, at least according to economists who have been studying the data. Adam Liptak discusses the issue in an article in the NY Times: link
According to roughly a dozen recent studies, executions save lives. For each inmate put to death, the studies say, 3 to 18 murders are prevented.
The effect is most pronounced, according to some studies, in Texas and other states that execute condemned inmates relatively often and relatively quickly.
The studies, performed by economists in the past decade, compare the number of executions in different jurisdictions with homicide rates over time — while trying to eliminate the effects of crime rates, conviction rates and other factors — and say that murder rates tend to fall as executions rise. One influential study looked at 3,054 counties over two decades.
“I personally am opposed to the death penalty,” said H. Naci Mocan, an economist at Louisiana State University and an author of a study finding that each execution saves five lives. “But my research shows that there is a deterrent effect.”
I wouldn't be surprised if some of the conclusions described above continue to evolve and go in different directions in the coming decades as more data are collected and analyzed...but I always find it interesting when studies buck conventional wisdom.