Duke Digest — August 12, 2013

Duke Digest — August 12, 2013

In today’s issue:

  • RESEARCH: Seafood Menus offer glimpse into oceanic records
  • RESEARCH: Practice at “guesstimating” Can Speed Up Math Abilities
  • Scientists Develop Man-Made Material that Breaks, then Remakes to Become Stronger
  • OPINION: Sanford Professor on Youth Unemployment, Need for National Jobs Program
  • OPINION: Law Professor on Dodd-Frank and the Next Financial Meltdown
  • OPINION: Sanford Professor on Historical Impacts of Immigration Policies
  • COMMENTARY: Political Science Professor on NSF Cancelation of Politcal-Science Grant Cycle
  • Duke Alumni Begin Long Relay for Military Vets 

 

RESEARCH: SEAFOOD MENUS OFFER GLIMPSE INTO OCEANIC RECORDS
A team of researchers at Duke University recently released findings that help fill a 45-year gap in official records of wild fish populations in Hawaii’s fisheries. By analyzing 376 menus from 154 different restaurants in Hawaii, the team showed a shift in menu offerings between 1940 and 1959 paralleled a steep decline in inshore fish such as reef fish, jacks and bottom fish. “Market surveys and government statistics are the traditional sources for tracking fisheries. But when those records don’t exist, we have to be more creative. Here we found restaurant menus were a workable proxy that chronicled the rise and fall of fisheries,” said Kyle S. Van Houtan, adjunct assistant professor at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and leader of the Marine Turtle Assessment Program at NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center. The study was funded through a 2012 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Read More:
Reading Environmental Change Through Menus (today.duke.edu)

 

RESEARCH: Practice at “Guesstimating” Can Speed Up Math Ability
Elizabeth Brannon, Professor of Psychology, and Joonkoo Park, postdoctoral researcher, have published findings from a federally-funded study that suggest there’s a connection between how well a person does at an approximate number system and how skilled they become at the symbolic math they learn at school.

These findings could lead to developing games designed to hone approximate number sense in preschoolers might facilitate math learning. According to Brannon, the findings could point to the “the building blocks of mathematical thinking.”

 Read More:
Practice at ‘Guesstimating’ Can Speed Up Math Ability (today.duke.edu)

 

SCIENTISTS DEVELOP MAN-MADE MATERIAL THAT BREAKS, THEN REMAKES TO BECOME STRONGER
Scientists at Duke University have developed a new kind of man-made material that uses force-induced chemistry to make it stronger in response to stress, similar to how human muscles react to weight lifting. Scientists could one day use the stress-induced strength from these new materials to make better fluids such as engine oil, or soft-structure substances such as artificial heart valves. Materials like this wear out over time because of the repeated mechanical forces they experience during use. The research received funding from the Army Research Office, with additional support from the National Science Foundation.

Read More:
Materials Break, Then Remake, Bonds to Build Strength (today.duke.edu)

 

OPINION: SANFORD PROFESSOR ON YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT, NEED FOR NATIONAL JOBS PROGRAM
In an opinion piece for PBS News Hour, Professor of Public Policy and Chair of the Department of African and African American Studies, advocates for the creation of a National Investment Employment Corps as a solution to findings by the Northeastern University of 95 percent joblessness rate for teen black male dropouts. He writes: “This initiative would remove the threat of unemployment and provide a direct route to sustained full employment, particularly for those groups intensely struggling to find steady work: Young veterans, young people in general, blacks subjected to discrimination in employment, all high school dropouts, and especially black high school dropouts. While providing a particular benefit for those Americans in the most desperate straits, a universal job guarantee would benefit all Americans who could experience joblessness.”

Read More:
How to Guarantee a Job for Every American (pbs.org)

 

OPINION: LAW PROFESSOR ON DODD-FRANK AND THE NEXT FINANCIAL MELTDOWN
Ted Kaufman, Visiting Professor of the Practice at Duke Law School, in an opinion piece on Forbes.com wrote: “To prevent another meltdown, EU and U.S. regulators must work together to end universal (commercial plus investment) banks. Their political leaders and regulators seem ready. Ours do not.”

The piece was the latest entry in an 11-part series on the state and future on the state of financial institutions and regulations in the American economy.

Read More:
Dodd-Frank and the Next Financial Meltdown (forbes.com)

 

OPINION: SANFORD PROFESSOR ON HISTORICAL IMPACTS OF IMMIGRATION POLICIES
Stephen R. Kelly, visiting professor of the practice of public policy, is a retired American diplomat and the associate director of the Center for Canadian Studies at Duke University, in an opinion piece in the New York Times writes:

“Watching the free-for-all in Washington over immigration reform, it’s easy to conclude that an airtight border has always been our national goal…The trouble with this narrative, as I discovered when serving as the American consul general in Quebec City in the late 1990s, is that it flies in the face of our own history…our current obsession with border security is inconsistent with our history, undermines our economic vitality and is likely to fail.”

Read More:
Bonjour America! (sanford.duke.edu)

 

COMMENTARY: POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR ON NSF CANCELLATION OF POLITICAL-SCIENCE GRANT CYCLE
John Aldrich, Professor of Political Science, commented on the National Science Foundation’s recent announcement that they will not award new political science research funding for the remainder of 2013. Aldrich’s comments appeared on Nature.com, where he attributed the cancellation to the agencies struggles to interpret the stipulations of a funding law, passed earlier in the year that mandated all new funding be vital to national security.

Read More:
NSF cancels political-science grant cycle (nature.com)

 

DUKE ALUMNI BEGIN LONG RELAY FOR MILITARY VETS
A group of Duke alumni military veterans took off from Duke Chapel Sunday for a relay run called the Freedom 500 to the World Trade Center site in New York City. The run will raise money for The Mission Continues, an organization started by alumnus and veteran Eric Greitens that awards community service fellowships to post-9/11 veterans.

The planned route will bring the alumni to Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, August 14 at 8:00 am. The group will then run across the Memorial Bridge to the Lincoln Memorial at 10:00 am before making a visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to visit Wounded Warriors.

Read More:
Duke alumni soldiers to start 500-mile run from campus Aug. 11 (today.duke.edu)
The Freedom 500 (Facebook.com)