Cal Jillson, Political Science, Deadline Looms for Texas Senate

KTRK News Radio

Originally Posted: May 18, 2015

The Texas Senate faces a Friday deadline much like the House did last week which killed many top-priority bills for both parties, such as raising the criminal age of responsibility, direct sales for Tesla and expanding gay rights.

No measure is completely dead, they can still be tacked onto other legislation. Those that failed include a bill prohibiting same-sex marriage licenses in Texas.

“Its up to the leadership of both the House and Senate to be sure the critical bills, like the budget and like tax cuts or border security, are considered even at the expense of lots of other important legislation,” says SMU political science professor Cal Jillson.

House Republicans were able to push through tighter restrictions for minors seeking an abortion along with other controversial bills.

“Graduating seniors in Texas high schools no longer have to pass 15 exams, no longer have to pass even five,” says Dr. Jillson. “The fracking ban has already been passed, but the bills that have not yet passed but must, the most important is the budget.”

If not in June, lawmakers know they’ll likely be back for special session.

“The Texas Supreme Court will likely order the Texas Legislature to provide more money to public schools, so the legislature will have to come into special session to consider how to comply,” says Jillson.

READ MORE

Alan Brown, Psychology, How to Remember Anything

Time.com

Originally Posted: May 9, 2015

The best way to pick a password or hiding spot you’ll remember is to choose one quickly because you want something that will return to mind quickly:
Via Why We Make Mistakes:

The key to picking a good hiding place is hiding place is making a quick connection between the thing being hidden and the place in which it is hidden, says Alan Brown. Brown is a professor at Southern Methodist University who has studied where and how people hide things. Not long ago he surveyed adults between the ages of eighteen and eighty-five, asking them all sorts of questions about where they hide things. Their answers have provided some illuminating differences. Older adults, for instance, typically hide jewelry from thieves, whereas younger adults tend to hide money from friends and relatives. And while the places they choose may vary, the successful strategies didn’t. One key to picking a good hiding place— or a good password: do it quickly. “I think the only successful way to do it—and this is true with both hiding places and passwords—you have to do it quickly,” said Brown.
Faces can be made more memorable by ignoring physical characteristics and focusing on personality traits. Does this person look trustworthy or likable? This makes your brain process the face more deeply, promoting learning.

Via Why We Make Mistakes:

They found that when faces are judged not by their surface details but for deeper emotional traits—like honesty or likability—the faces are subsequently better recognized than faces judged for physical features like hair or eyes. Why should traits be more memorable than features? Traits appear to require the brain to engage in a greater depth of processing; it takes more work to figure out whether someone has an honest face than it does to determine, say whether he’s got curly hair. And that greater effort seems to make the face stick in the memory. So strong is the effect that one of the leading researchers on face recognition once offered this advice: “If you want to remember a person’s face, try to make a number of difficult personal judgments his face when you are first meeting him.”

Is there a technique that works across the board for improving memory? You can improve recall of most anything by matching the context of where you learned it. READ MORE

Greg Brownderville – How to Make Up Your Mind (Hint: It Involves Reading Poetry) – TEDxSMU Inside SMU 2015

Originally Posted: April 30, 2015

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WATCH

Brownderville claims that poetry can make one’s mind an interesting place to live. He tells stories about his intense relationship with language, his early experiences of poetry, and his dad’s delight in funny-sounding words.

Greg Brownderville has published a book of poems titled Gust (Northwestern University Press/TriQuarterly, 2011) and a book of folkloristic poems titled Deep Down in the Delta (Butler Center Books, 2012). His third book, a collection of poems titled A Horse with Holes in It (LSU Press, Southern Messenger Poets series), is slated for release in fall 2016. Brownderville teaches Introduction to Creative Writing and upper-level poetry workshop.

www.gregbrownderville.com

Matthew Hornbach and Heather DeShon, both associate professors of geophysics featured in KERA article on earthquake findings

Associated Press and KERA News
Originally Posted: April 21, 2015

SMU Study Links Azle Earthquake Swarm To Natural Gas Drilling

What’s causing the Azle earthquakes? SMU researchers say that wastewater injection and saltwater extraction from natural gas wells is the most likely cause.

A study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications says researchers from Southern Methodist University and the U.S. Geological Survey monitored the shaking from nearly 30 small quakes west of Fort Worth from November 2013 to January 2014. The area hadn’t had any recorded quakes in 150 years.

The scientists say the shaking decreased when the volume of injections did. They have concluded that removing saltwater from the wells and injecting that wastewater back underground is “the most likely cause” for the swarm of quakes.

Other studies have made a connection between wastewater injections and a spike in earthquakes in Oklahoma and southern Kansas.

The state’s official seismologist has no plans for immediate action following the report. Craig Pearson said at a news conference Tuesday that he wouldn’t recommend that the Railroad Commission, the state’s oil and gas regulator, suspend activity at two wells the report’s authors identify as the source of the temblors in Azle. READ MORE

 

Dr. James K. Hopkins, History, Receives Inaugural SMU Second Century Faculty Career Award

Congratulations to Dr. Hopkins, Professor of History, Clements Department of History and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor, on receiving the first SMU Second Century Faculty Career Achievement Award. Professor Hopkins’ achievements exemplify a career of outstanding accomplishments in scholarship, teaching and sustained commitment to the University.

Read the official SMU press release.

Read more about Dr. Hopkins.

 

Brian Stump, Earth Sciences, key speaker at the 18th Honors Convocation

Outstanding achievement honored at SMU’s 2014-15 Awards Extravaganza, Honors Convocation.

Dedman College faculty, staff and students were recognized with teaching awards, service honors and the University’s highest commendation, the “M” Award, at the 2015 Awards Extravaganza Monday, April 13.

> Read the list of award winners from Honors Convocation 2015

On the same day, the University honored its best students at the 18th Honors Convocation. The address was delivered by Brian Stump, Claude C. Albritton Jr. Chair in Geological Sciences in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences.

An expert in seismic wave propagation and earthquake source theory, Stump has become well known in North Texas for his continuing research on the increasing occurrences of small earthquakes that have shaken the area since 2008. In November 2014, he was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for distinguished contributions to his field, particularly in the area of seismic monitoring in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. READ MORE

Congratulations to Dedman College faculty, staff and students who were recognized at the 2015 Awards Extravaganza on Monday, April 13.

Receiving the “M” Award, SMU’s most prestigious honor. Recipients include:

• Jill DeTemple, associate professor of religious studies
• Elizabeth Wheaton, senior lecturer in economics

The Willis M. Tate Award honors an outstanding faculty member who has been involved in student life. Recipients include:

• Jodi Cooley, associate professor of physics
• Stephen Sekula, assistant professor of physics
• Willard Spiegelman, Dwaine E. Hughes Jr. Distinguished Chair in English
• Brian Zoltowski, assistant professor of chemistry

Receiving the Extra Mile Awards, presented by Students for New Learning for graciousness and sensitivity to students with learning differences:

• Ian Harris, associate professor of statistical science

Read the full list of award winners.

Physicists tune Large Hadron Collider to find ‘sweet spot’ in high-energy proton smasher

Phys.org

Posted: April 15, 2015

Start up of the world’s largest science experiment is underway—with protons traveling in opposite directions at almost the speed of light in the deep underground tunnel called the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva.

As protons collide, physicists will peer into the resulting particle showers for new discoveries about the universe, said Ryszard Stroynowski, a collaborator on one of the collider’s key experiments and a professor in the Department of Physics at Southern Methodist University, Dallas.

“The hoopla and enthusiastic articles generated by discovery of the Higgs boson two years ago left an impression among many people that we have succeeded, we are done, we understand everything,” said Stroynowski, who is the senior member of SMU’s Large Hadron Collider team. “The reality is far from this. The only thing that we have found is that Higgs exist and therefore the Higgs mechanism of generating the mass of fundamental particles is possible.”

Read more: http://phys.org/news/2015-04-physicists-tune-large-hadron-collider.html#jCp

Cal Jillson, Political Science, to speak at Austin College this week on his book Lone Star Tarnished

North Texas e-News

Sherman, Texas — Austin College’s annual Public Administration Symposium will feature the presentation “Lone Star Tarnished” by political expert Cal Jillson, sharing ideas from his book Lone Star Tarnished: A Critical Look at Texas Politics and Public Policy. The lecture Friday, April 10 at 11:00 a.m. in Hoxie Thompson Auditorium of Sherman Hall is free and open to the public.

Following the lecture, The Texas Tribune will host a panel in Mabee Hall on “Texas Transportation: The Next Five Years.” Panelists will include Deirdre Delisi, former chair of the Texas Transportation Commission; Clay Jenkins, Dallas County judge; Ambassador Ron Kirk, Former U.S. trade representative and Dallas mayor; and State Representative Larry Phillips, R-Sherman. Evan Smith, CEO and editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune will moderate. READ MORE

Department of English and Ethnic Studies Program co-sponsor musical tribute to African American author-activist Margaret Walker Alexander on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Members of the SMU community are invited to a free performance of “For My People: A New Musical Work” on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 7 p.m. at the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, Clarence Muse Café Theater, 1309 Canton Street, Dallas.

Celebrating the centennial of the birth of acclaimed African American poet-scholar-activist Margaret Walker Alexander (1915-1998), the event will feature the opus’ author, Randy Klein, joined by Aurelia Williams and the Heart and Soul Singers performing in honor of SMU’s first sponsorship of the annual College Language Association (CLA) convention (April 8-11 in Dallas).

Co-sponsors of the musical tribute are SMU’s Department of English and Ethnic Studies Program in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences along with the University’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, in partnership with the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, the College Language Association and Dr. Maryemma Graham of the University of Kansas.

“This is not only CLA’s 75th convention and the centennial of Dr. Margaret Walker Alexander’s birth, but it’s also the centennial of SMU’s opening,” says CLA host committee chair Darryl Dickson-Carr, associate professor of English in SMU’s Dedman College. READ MORE

Greg Brownderville, English, Arkansas Poet

KUAR-UALR Public Radio

News & Culture for Arkansas

Originally Posted: April 1, 2015

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On this episode of Arts & Letters, we sit down with poet and folklorist Greg Brownderville, who hails from Pumpkin Bend, Arkansas. He is the author of Deep Down in the Delta: Folktales and Poems (Butler Center Books, 2011) and Gust (Northwestern University/TriQuarterly, 2011).

A deep felt sense of place persists throughout much of his work, which incorporates the images, stories, songs and landscape of the Arkansas Delta where he grew up. Brownderville is currently assistant professor of English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. LISTEN