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Archive for January, 2011

The week that was … and will be

January 16th, 2011 by David Ruth

I didn’t get much of a chance to update my Twitter, Facebook or blog this week. We had two newsworthy pieces of research to promote at Rice, along with a few media advisories, an expert who was commenting on the Tucson tragedy and meetings that are producing work for the weeks ahead. First the work stuff, then the more personal fun stuff.

Media pitches from the week

Rice breakthrough: blood vessels for lab-grown tissues
Researchers from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine have broken one of the major roadblocks on the path to growing transplantable tissue in the lab: They’ve found a way to grow the blood vessels and capillaries needed to keep tissues alive. Read the release here. See a few stories at Popular Science and Houston Chronicle (.pdf). Check out the time-lapse video below too.

Tragedy in Tucson

Rice historian and CBS-TV presidential historian Douglas Brinkley was interviewed about the Tucson tragedy on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, CNN and C-SPAN’s Washington Journal.

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, here’s a synopsis of that horrible tragedy (via Wikipedia):

On January 8, 2011, Giffords was shot in the head outside a Safeway grocery store in Casas Adobes, Arizona, during her first “Congress on Your Corner” gathering of the year. Twenty people were shot, of whom six died, when a man ran up to the crowd and began firing. The suspect, identified as Jared Lee Loughner was detained by bystanders until he was taken into police custody. Federal officials charged Loughner on the next day with killing federal government employees, attempting to assassinate a member of Congress and attempting to kill federal employees.

Andy Barron, Rice University research

Courtesy of Futurity.org

Rice University discovery greatly improves common disinfectant

A simple technique to make a common virus-killing material significantly more effective is a breakthrough from the Rice University labs of Andrew Barron and Qilin Li. Read the release here.

Futurity, a website that posts the top new research from American universities, had better art than us. Check out our posting there. And bookmark www.Futurity.org. It’s an awesome news source for breaking science discoveries.

Follow Futurity on Twitter if that’s your thing: @FuturityNews.

Reed Hastings

Reed Hastings

Netflix CEO to speak at Rice University Jan. 19.

I wrote up and issued a media advisory announcing that the Founder and CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, will be on campus next week to discuss supporting K-12 education funding. Who knew that Hastings use to be the Education Commissioner of California? Not me.

I’m a  new but loyal Netflix online download fan, so I’ll probably check out his presentation. Check out the release here.

A couple of side items from this week

I will be working on a news media and social media project to promote awareness of the HERE Project at Rice. Professor Anthony Pinn is leading a class on Religion and Hip Hop. His co-teacher this semester is famed rapper Bun B. We’ll be writing something up this week and shooting a brief video. I’ll post it here when it goes out. More on HERE Project here, Bun B here and one of Bun’s videos below. Enjoy.

Lunching with our smart students

As a Martel College associate at Rice, I visit with students over the lunch hour in the servery. It’s a great opportunity for Rice faculty and staff just to sit down and have a chat. I try to go to Martel once a week. This week I got over there twice. On the latter visit, I had lunch with three students. Two were civil engineering students, one from Texas and the other from Orlando. The other student was Sam McGuffie. McGuffie was a blue-chip high school running back from Texas who went to the U of Michigan his freshmen year. After two concussions and family matters, he transferred to Rice — I’m not sharing things that I haven’t already read in the sports pages. Good kid. He might be most famous for his hurdling of defensive players when he was a highschooler and received national attention. He’s built like a brickhouse. … Check out the video that made him known to college recruiters.

A couple of bullet points

I learned that I’ll be traveling to DC in February for the AAAS conference and media relations work.Final Four

I confirmed with my buddy and Pearlander Chuck Pool in Rice Athletics that I’ll be helping them out with the NCAA men’s Final Four (being played in Houston’s Reliant Stadium) this spring. More on this later.

Teaser: Can I duplicate the Big Ten Plus conference model and bring it to the CUSA conference? Only two or three people will understand this. The answer in the next two weeks.

I’m hoping that me and the family will be making a road trip from Houston to Dallas/Ft. Worth and Minneapolis this June or July to visit with family and friends.

Ian and Tamara are doing well. Tamara spent some great quality time with her father recently. Ian finished his semester finals this past week (yeah it seems late, but it was finals week), and he has baseball tryouts in two weeks. Ian is a Sophomore at Pearland Dawson and holding great grades — we couldn’t be prouder. He’s a better student than I ever was.

Pearland Texas

Pearland, Texas

… I’ll try to spend more time on my community Facebook fan page www.facebook.com/PearlandTexas. I’m going to try to create a new Pearland events calendar. How to do it and find enough time to do it right will be the struggle. I’m open to ideas of how to accept and disseminate the information.

The Pearland page now has more than 3,700 fans. It all started when I was doing research for a news release for Utpal Dholakia’s research on Facebook marketing. You can read the release here. I’ve done zero marketing or promotion. The site has grown by word of mouth and linking by fans.

It’s rainy and 64 degrees. Patriots and Jets on TV, and I owe Ian a rematch in Tiger Woods Wii Golf.

There’s the mind dump. Until later in the week or next weekend.

Poker-faced professions take toll on employees

January 11th, 2011 by David Ruth

Poker-faced professions take toll on employees

Employees who have to maintain a neutral disposition while they are on the clock tend to spend more energy to meet that requirement; therefore, they have less energy to devote to work tasks, according to new research from Rice University, the University of Toronto and Purdue University.

The researchers found that workers who must avoid appearing either overly positive or negative — such as journalists, health care professionals, social workers, lawyers and law enforcement officers — suppress expressions of emotion more than workers in other service-oriented professions, where the expression of positive emotions is called for.

“Our study shows that emotion suppression takes a toll on people,” said Daniel Beal, assistant professor of psychology at Rice and co-author of the study. “It takes energy to suppress emotions, so it’s not surprising that workers who must remain neutral are often more rundown or show greater levels of burnout. The more energy you spend controlling your emotions, the less energy you have to devote to the task at hand.”


Rice ranks in Top 10 for media momentum since 2007

January 11th, 2011 by David Ruth

I found out today that Rice is ranked #10 in media momentum since 2007! These results are a gold star for Rice’s media relations team. We amped up our proactive media relations work at around that time. Congrats to our team!

In a nutshell, the Global Language Monitor, an Austin-based media analytics company that documents, analyzes and tracks trends in language the world over, with a particular emphasis upon Global English, issued the following results about universities who have had the most media increase for citations from 2007-2010.

1. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
2. Miami University-Oxford
3. Lehigh University
4. Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo
5. University of California-Irvine
6. CUNY-Queens
7. Georgetown University
8. Mills College
9. University of Denver
10. Rice University

To see results for other catagories released today, visit http://www.languagemonitor.com/college-rankings/.

A logo change isn’t keeping D. Ruth from drinking a Starbucks

January 6th, 2011 by David Ruth

I really don’t understand the meaning of the Starbucks logo to begin with, so a minor change like dropping its name and the word “coffee” isn’t going to keep D. Ruth from getting himself a stiff Pike’s grande. Here’s what I’m working on today. Thanks to team member Jessica Stark for the research and scribing!

Rice U. research shows Starbucks’ logo redesign could prove beneficial to company
Despite mixed US consumer reaction, it’s a good move as company expands in Asia, researcher says

HOUSTON — (Jan. 6, 2011) — Despite U.S. consumers’ threats of protests in response to the redesigned Starbucks logo unveiled yesterday, the new look may be a smart move in the long run as the coffee company expands into Asian markets, according to a Rice University researcher who has studied consumer reaction to logos.


Pitch of the day: Rice historian Douglas Brinkley turns attention to preservation of Alaskan frontier in new book

January 5th, 2011 by David Ruth

Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley has written a new account of the 80-year struggle over what to do with the more than half a million square miles of rugged, sparsely populated territory known as Alaska. Douglas Brinkley portrait

“The Quiet World: Saving Alaska’s Wilderness Kingdom, 1879-1960” (Harper Collins) recounts the efforts of environmentalists and the federal government to contain the excesses of the fur, timber, coal, fishing and oil industries in the territory, which became the 49th state in 1959.