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UTA In The News — Thursday, January 2, 2014

Thursday, January 2, 2014

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Compulsive consumerism

Rachel Croson, dean of the UT Arlington College of Business, talked with KERA 90.1 FM about compulsive consumerism for the news station’s series One Crisis Away. Croson said: “There is this kind of belief that these trappings of wealth, big houses, big cars, kinds of things, are also a signal of your quality. And so then you end up in this position where you have to have them in order to signal that you are a hard worker, a good employee, whatever it happens to be.”

Research taking flight

Experts at the UT Arlington Research Institute will participate in FAA-supported research led by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi for unmanned aerial systems, a project that will help advance the U.S. drone industry, the Houston Chronicle, the Bryan-College Station Eagle and other news sites reported. A news release about the project mentioned UT Arlington’s involvement and was published on several websites.

A Dallas Morning News story on the FAA’s announcement of drone test sites at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and in five other states included comment from UT Arlington communication professors Andrew Clark and Mark Tremayne. The two have studied privacy rights and intrusion issues related to drone use. “In Texas … we’re pretty clear what rights you have below, but not really clear what rights you have above.”

New leaders take charge

UT Arlington President Vistasp Karbhari was highlighted in a Star-Telegram story about new leaders for several North Texas universities in 2013. Karbhari said he is focused on student success, partnerships to recruit more top high school scholars and attracting top educators and researchers to the University. “Our end goal is being one of the best of the best,” Karbhari said.

Coding contest win

A team of UT Arlington undergraduate engineering students took first place and a $10,000 prize in an AT&T “It Can Wait” coding contest by creating an app that discourages texting and driving, the Star-Telegram reported. The team — none of them had taken smart phone programming courses — beat out 25 teams in the second annual AT&T Coding Competition that took place during a 12-week period. The Dallas Morning News also reported on the team’s win.

Farm plowing ahead

The University of Texas at Arlington and a West Dallas-based nonprofit group are plowing ahead with plans for a community farm near the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, The Dallas Morning News reported. The goal: Provide healthy food, jobs, education and more in an area of modest incomes and emerging development minutes from downtown. The nonprofit would provide land for the farm. UT Arlington architecture students would design the site and structures, plus create a master plan for the entire property. And both parties would collaborate on fundraising and organization.

A Dallas Morning News editorial called the community farm concept significant for West Dallas because it would provide healthy fruits and vegetables and a handful of jobs for a community that needs both. Youngsters could learn about agriculture, nutrition and economics, as well as valuable life skills like leadership, teamwork and responsibility, the newspaper said. And the project would be in the heart of La Bajada, a mostly Hispanic community that residents have worked successfully to protect from large-scale redevelopment.

Review says research lacking

A paper in the journal Neuropsychology Review shows that computerized neurocognitive testing for concussions, while widely used in amateur and professional sports, is not supported by research that proves its effectiveness, PscyhCentral and BioNews Texas reported. Jacob Resch, director of the Brain Injury Laboratory at The University of Texas at Arlington, is lead author on the review, which updates a 2005 look at the available research on computerized neurocognitive testing.

Water testing continues

KFDX/NBC 3 in Wichita Falls reported that researchers from UT Arlington and UT Austin will be testing water in Montague County to see if chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing are making their way into groundwater in Montague County.

Enzymes explored

A UT Arlington chemist doing National Science Foundation-funded research on enzymes that regulate human biology has uncovered characteristics that could be used to identify predisposition to conditions such as heart disease, diabetic ulcers and some types of cancer, Health reported. Brad Pierce, an assistant professor of chemistry/biochemistry, recently led a team that examined an oxygen utilizing iron enzyme called cysteine dioxygenase or CDO, which is found in high levels within heart, liver, and brain tissues.

Scandal for Turkish politics

Brent Sasley, a UT Arlington associate professor of political science, wrote about the corruption scandals in Turkey and what it means for Turkish institutions for the The Washington Post’s The Monkey Cage blog. Sasley wrote that the current Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has damaged the country’s political institutions by removing all institutional limitations on his power.

Trouble with anti-bullying programs

In a story about moral intelligence and public school bullying, American Thinker cited a study by Seokjin Jeong, a UT Arlington assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice, that found anti-bullying programs, either intervention or prevention, do not work.

New fuel method

Fuel and Open Fuel noted that a method for creating methanol using CO2 and sunlight, developed at The University of Texas at Arlington, uses very little electrical power and can be "scaled up to an industrial scale to allow some of the CO2 emitted from electrical power plants to be captured and converted into" methanol. This would make electric cars even greener because the CO2 generated for electricity is captured and used.

Redevelopment equals business

The $15 million redevelopment of Buffalo Bayou led to a fourfold increase in the number of business in the area, according to a landscape architecture study from UT Arlington, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Bus service meets goal

UT Arlington was mentioned in a Dallas Morning News story about the Legislature’s influence over transportation in 2013. The Metro ArlingtonXpress nearly reached its projected demand of 300 weekday boardings in November. About 40 percent of the riders are University of Texas at Arlington students who live in the Dallas or Fort Worth transit agencies’ service areas.

Critic is notable

On its list of 2013’s most notable moments in arts and culture, D Magazine’s Frontburner wrote of its ninth place selection: The Dallas Morning News, with help from The University of Texas at Arlington, hires Mark Lamster as their architecture critic.