Listen: Alexis McCrossen, History, Wasting time in America

BYU Radio

Originally Posted: November 24, 2015

Alexis McCrossen, a professor of U.S. social and cultural history, recently talked with “Top of Mind” host Julie Rose on BYUradio about time, including how we spend our leisure hours and how it influences our perception of others.

From the show: “Our relationship to time in America is complicated. It’s immensely valuable to us – ‘time is money,’ right? So we punish people by forcing them to spend time locked up. And we brag about how many hours we work and scoff at the Europeans who put in only 35 hours a week. Yet, we also spend massive amounts of money and time on leisure activities.”

McCrossen is the author of Marking Modern Times: Clocks, Watches and Other Timekeepers in American Life.


Meet the SMU professor and students behind the irreverent ‘Moby-Dick’ inspired card game ‘Dick’


Originally Posted: November 24, 2015

Admit it: When reading or discussing the classic novel Moby-Dick in high school or college, your mind went places. Maybe you vocalized the inappropriate jokes you were thinking of, getting an easy chuckle from your nearby friends. Or maybe you kept your thoughts to yourself, thinking that surely such lowbrow humor was not good enough for literature as great as this.

But Tim Cassedy, an English professor at SMU, thinks it’s OK to laugh at Moby-Dick. In fact, he thinks that’s the intent of the name.

“I genuinely believe that on some level there is a dick joke in the title of the book — hidden in plain sight,” Cassedy told me via e-mail. “I think the book frequently plays around with that meaning of ‘dick.’ Sperm whales really are named that because they have a white, waxy substance in their head that early mariners mistook for semen. They called that substance ‘spermaceti’ (which means whale sperm) or just ‘sperm.’ (It turns out to make excellent candles.) The book is full of moments where the whale meaning of sperm starts to blur over into the reproductive meaning — sometimes just to play with words, sometimes for comic effect, and sometimes as part of straining to articulate ideas that are difficult to put into words. Relevant chapters include 81, 94, and 95. The entirety of chapter 95 is about making a smock out of the foreskin removed from a sperm whale’s 6-foot-long penis. So.” READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, comments on article: Hillary Clinton Distances Herself From Obama on ISIS


Originally Posted: November 24, 2015

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is taking a different stance than President Obama on issues such as national security and terrorism, even if that means offending members of her own party, The Hill reports.

In an effort to combat ISIS, the Islamic terrorist group, Clinton said in a speech last week that the United States needs to “break the group’s momentum and then its back.”

The former secretary of state added that no-fly zones should be imposed over parts of Syria — a move that the Obama administration has refused to take.

Just one day ahead of the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, President Obama said that ISIS was “contained,” and has since received a vast amount of criticism.

In response, Clinton has not only drawn a sharper wedge in between herself and the president, but declared that ISIS “cannot be contained, it must be defeated.” READ MORE

English professor’s Moby-Dick inspired card game makes classic novel accessible in most unlikely of ways

SMU News

Originally Posted: November 23, 2015

The upcoming movie, The Heart of the Sea, promises to offer a classy, high-brow and potentially Oscar-worthy take on the whale hunt that inspired Henry Melville’s classic novel, Moby Dick. For folks who still giggle at the title there’s another way to enjoy Melville’s classic this winter: DICK, the card game, from the mind of SMU English Professor Tim Cassedy.

“Moby Dick is really, really funny,” Cassedy says. “You can downplay the irreverence and read the book as a very earnest story about American ruggedness and Ahab’s will and vengeance, and it is those things. But if you go into it knowing Melville is often kidding, it reads completely differently.”

DICK, the card game, exposes that humor.

In a concept familiar to anyone who’s played Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity, DICK is a humorous game of “complete the sentence.” Each turn, one player serves as a judge and asks their fellow players to submit cards that complete the sentence on one of the prompt cards, which contain phrases such as:

“Oh yeah? Well I graduated from the University of _______!” or, “Ted Cruz caused a stir today when he called a press conference to denounce ______.” READ MORE

Renee McDonald, Psychology, How Childhood Domestic Violence Impacts Us… Young and Old

Huffington Post

Originally Posted: November 17, 2015

The following is an excerpt from a Huffington Post article titled How Childhood Domestic Violence Impacts Us… Young and Old. READ MORE

……..”They don’t often connect the dots…”

This young woman is not alone. Dr. Renee McDonald, a leading researcher at Southern Methodist University said, “They often cannot connect the dots between what they experienced in their childhood homes and the challenges they face today.” Dr. McDonald was specifically talking about Childhood Domestic Violence. READ MORE

Daniel Millimet, Economics, 2015’s Best & Worst Texas Cities for Finding a Job


Originally Posted: November 2015

The following is an excerpt from WalletHub’s article 2015’s Best & Worst Texas Cities for Finding a Job, where Professor Daniel Milliment from the Department of Economics was interviewed as an expert. READ MORE

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Listen: Joshua Rovner, Tower Center, On the Paris attacks


Originally Posted: November 16, 2015

SMU’s Joshua Rovner, the John Goodwin Tower Distinguished Chair in International Politics & National Security Policy, talked with KLIF radio’s Amy Chodroff and Dave Williams, about the terrorists’ attacks in Paris last Friday and SMU students who are studying there. LISTEN

George Holden, Psychology, to speak at congressional briefing on corporal punishment in public schools


Originally Posted: November 13, 2015

SMU Professor and Psychology Department Chair George Holden will speak before a congressional briefing titled “Spare the Rod: Protect the Child” from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, in Washington D.C.

Holden, a leading expert on parenting, discipline and family, will participate in a panel designed to tackle the ongoing practice of corporal punishment in schools – which is still legal in 19 states, including Texas, though outlawed in Dallas and the state’s other metropolitan areas.

“There’s very limited research about the impact of corporal punishment in schools, but what research is available is focused on how much it’s used and to whom its used on,” Holden says. “It’s mostly used on minority students and students with disabilities.”

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Democrat from Florida, is hosting the briefing, which will be attended by congressional staffers. Hastings’ goal, says Holden, is to introduce a bill that will outlaw corporal punishment and paddling of children in schools.

Holden believes this is the second recent attempt to pass such a bill. In 2011, New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy introduced a bill called the “Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act,” which failed to make it out of committee.

The 19 states where corporal punishment in schools is still legal are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming.

At a Glance
What: SMU Professor and Psychology Department Chair George Holden speaks about corporal punishment in American public schools before a congressional briefing titled “Spare the Rod: Protect the Child” hosted by U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings.

Who’s invited: The event is free and open to the public.

When: 10-11:30 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 18

Where: Room 122, Cannon House Office Building, 1st and C Street, SE, Washington, D.C.


Psychology professors Thomas Ritz and Alicia Meuret awarded a $2 million NIH grant to help develop a pediatric asthma monitor

Originally published: November 3, 2015

DALLAS (SMU) – A pair of SMU psychology professors working with University of Marylanasthma-childd engineers have been awarded a National Institutes of Health grant that will bring nearly $2 million to their joint project to create a wearable device for pediatric asthma patients that helps them avoid asthma triggers.

The asthma device will monitor air quality (including pollen levels and temperature), carbon dioxide levels in the blood, physical activity, breathing, emotional states and other stimuli to identify each patient’s individual asthma triggers and alert them when conditions are ripe for an attack. The concept is similar to the glucose monitor that alerts diabetes patients when their blood sugar is low, but it also includes much more complex monitoring of the patients’ environment.

The device’s current iteration is a portable unit, but the Maryland team is miniaturizing it so that it can be worn as a vest.

SMU psychology professors Thomas Ritz and Alicia Meuret, have teamed up with University of Maryland Center for Advanced Sensor Technology professors Yordan Kostov, Xudong Ge and Govind Rao, which provides a natural extension of each team’s research. The University of Maryland team also includes environmental engineering researchers Chris Hennigan and electrical engineering researchers Ryan Robucci and Nilanjan Banerjee. READ MORE