SMU Department of Economics

Boston Review: Africa Calling — Can mobile phones make a miracle?

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SMU economist Isaac M. Mbiti has seen in his native Kenya how cell phone use in Africa is booming. He and Jenny C. Aker, Tufts University, wrote about the phenomenal growth of cell phones — and their impact — in the March/April 2010 issue of the Boston Review.

Cell phones can do only so much, say the researchers. Many Africans still struggle in poverty and still lack reliable electricity, clean drinking water, education or access to roads.

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Appendicitis linked to flu-like virus outbreaks

flu%20virus%2Clorez.jpgThe research of SMU faculty Thomas B. Fomby and Wayne A. Woodward has been published in the January issue of the journal Archives of Surgery. Fomby is a professor and chairman of the Department of Economics and Woodward is a professor in the Department of Statistical Science.

The research described in the article “Association of Viral Infection and Appendicitis” looks at the relationship between appendicitis and seasonal viral infections. The scientists reviewed 36 years of hospital discharge data and concluded there is a relationship to a flu-like virus.
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Biodiversity: Some species may always be endangered

graywolfcredittracybrooksmissionwolf72dpi.jpgOnce hunted to near-extermination, the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf reached an important milestone recently. With a population estimated at 1,500, the wolf re-established itself in the Yellowstone National Park area, and in March 2008 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed it from protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Almost immediately, hunters began petitioning the state offices of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming for permits to hunt the wolves, perhaps down to as little as 20 percent of their current numbers in some areas. Such a weighty issue begs the questions: How much hunting is safe for a given species? How many gray wolves can die before the species loses its chance at recovery?
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