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April 2009 Media Mentions


Thursday, April 30, 2009

The New York Times highlighted G.K. Surya Prakash, George Olah of chemistry and Alain Goeppert in a story on turning carbon dioxide into fuel.

Los Angeles Times quoted Manuel Pastor of geography and American studies and ethnicity about how the recession is hitting immigrant workers harder than non-immigrant ones

Associated Press featured a study co-authored by Manuel Pastor of geography and American studies and ethnicity on the disproportionate number of minorities living in areas with high air pollution levels. Milwaukee is one of the 10 worst cities in the country when it comes to this problem, according to the widely carried story.

Pasadena Star-News quoted Karen Sternheimer of sociology about public fear regarding swine flu.


Friday, April 29, 2009


The Detroit News featured a study co-authored by Manuel Pastor of geography and American studies and ethnicity on the disproportionate number of minorities living in areas with high levels of air pollution. The study is one of the first efforts to correlate toxic emissions from factories with the ethnic and economic makeup of areas around them, the article reported.

Thursday, April 28, 2009

San Francisco Chronicle highlighted Kevin Starr of history, who was recently honored with a Distinguished Leadership Award by the American Ireland Fund for his contributions to arts, culture and education. Starr, California’s state librarian emeritus, has written about the state in a dozen books. “His best quality is the ability to take facts that nobody has joined together and create a new narrative,” said accountant Wade Hughan at an American Ireland Fund gala.

Associated Press TV featured Tony Michaels of biological sciences, and highlighted David Caron of biological sciences, in a story on alternative energy startup PhycoSystems. Michaels is the founder of the company, which hopes to eventually produce fuel from algae. “Algae are the fastest growing plants on the planet,” Michaels said. “From a biofuel standpoint, they use the least land and can produce the most product,” he added.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Los Angeles Times highlighted a Los Angeles Times Book Fair panel moderated by Bill Deverell of history, called “Unknown L.A.” “The truth is we know a lot about Los Angeles,” Deverell said. “But there’s a lot more to be learned about this place. There’s a long tradition of trying to figure out Los Angeles.” The panel was filmed for CSPAN’s “Book TV.

Los Angeles Times highlighted Abraham Lowenthal of international relations who was a panelist at a Los Angeles Times Book Fair event called “City Life: The Manufactured West.” “The thing about California is that everything grows, but nothing connects,” Lowenthal said. Lowenthal is the author of “Global California: Rising to the Cosmopolitan Challenge,” the story noted.

The Washington Post
ran a review by Ronald Steel of international relations about “The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan” by James Mann. “Reagan’s rebellion, in Mann’s engrossing account, entailed viewing with guarded hope, rather than with cynicism, the efforts of Mikhail Gorbachev to liberalize the internal structure of the Soviet state and transform Moscow’s relations with its empire and its adversaries,” Steel wrote.

PBS News Los Angeles affiliate KCET-TV interviewed Carol Muske-Dukes of English about poetry and her term as California’s poet laureate. “I see it as a service position,” Muske-Dukes said. “I have an opportunity to do what poets usually don’t have the opportunity to do, which is to be heard. Poetry is supposed to be the highest art, but it’s also the art that’s the most vexed in terms of audience and readership. That is my goal: to reach as many people as possible and convince them that poetry really matters

San Francisco Chronicle
ran an op-ed by Dan Schnur, director of the Unruh Institute of Politics, about how President Barack Obama’s low-key style could mark a new era in American politics. “Obama’s supporters view this persona as evidence that he is measured, careful, even cool. His critics suggest that he’s detached, if not aloof, and unable to personally connect with the pain that ordinary Americans are experiencing.

Associated Press
interviewed David Kang of international relations about two American journalists being held by North Korea for allegedly crossing into the country illegally from China. This isn’t the first time that this has happened, and on previous occasions those detained were released after long negotiations, Kang said. “With the political uncertainty in North Korea, my sense is this is when you rally around the flag and show how tough you are,” he noted.

LiveScience ran a column by Katrina Edwards of biological sciences and earth sciences about her research involving rock-eating bacteria at and below the sea floor. “I am known as the rock woman — or iron maiden — for my interests in microbes that live in the cracks and pores of volcanic rocks at the ocean floor, my favorite among these microbes being ones that eat iron for a living,” Edwards wrote.


Friday, April 24, 2009

The Huffington Post ran an op-ed by Abraham Lowenthal of international relations about U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Los Angeles Times quoted Dan Schnur, director of the Unruh Institute of Politics, about Proposition 1B, which would provide $9.3 billion for California schools, but is contingent upon the passing of Proposition 1A, which continues tax increases for two years.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Associated Press highlighted a recent lecture by Michael Messner of sociology and gender studies on the lack of female coaches in youth sports.

Ventura County Star featured Carol Muske-Dukes of English who is California’s new poet laureate. One problem with the Southern California poetry scene is that some of the poets are more concerned about being Hollywood stars than waxing poetic about moons, Muske-Dukes said.  


Monday, April 20, 2009

Los Angeles Times quoted Kevin Starr of history in an obituary for writer James Houston. “Whether in fiction or nonfiction, few writers have more consistently addressed the enduring issues arising out of the California experience than James D. Houston,” Starr said. “For those of us writing about the Golden State, he set standards by which the rest of us judged our own efforts.”

The Korea Times (South Korea) quoted David Chan-oong Kang of international relations about the Proliferation Security Initiative, a U.S.-backed effort aimed at curbing the trafficking of weapons of mass destruction through tighter ship inspection. “The actual effect of Seoul’s Proliferation Security Initiative ... membership on North Korea is likely to be minimal, because its ships are already subject to careful scrutiny when they travel abroad,” Kang said.

AsianWeek featured the National Asian American Survey, conducted in part by Janelle Wong of political science and of American studies and ethnicity. The survey is the most comprehensive survey ever conducted of the political views of Asian Americans, the story stated. Among its many findings was that 63 percent of the adult Asian Americans are citizens, and 81 percent of that group are registered voters.

The San Diego Union-Tribune highlighted the Holocaust survivor testimonies preserved by the USC Shoah Institute for Visual History and Education.

The San Diego Union-Tribune quoted Dan Schnur, director of the Unruh Institute of Politics, about the six California ballot provisions, aimed at curbing state spending, that are up for vote in next month’s special election. “A message that at its core is about preventing politicians from spending too much is not a message that can be carried by politicians,” Schnur said.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Washington Post quoted Leo Braudy, University Professor and Leo S. Bing Chair in English and American literature and professor of English, about “everyday” American heroes like the captain who was held hostage by Somali pirates. Americans distinguish between celebrity and heroism, and seize on the latter “to reassure us about human nature” in a time of rampant cynicism, Braudy said in the widely carried Associated Press story. The nation has plenty of celebrities, but “not all celebrities are heroes by any means,” he said. Those who take heroic action can become instant stars, Braudy said, “[b]ut there’s something kind of tinny about celebrity as a concept.”

La Opinion ran an op-ed by Abraham Lowenthal of international relations about President Obama’s visit to Mexico. The new U.S. administration understands that Mexico faces serious and growing troubles, Lowenthal wrote. But the U.S. also admits that it has contributed to some of these problems and that addressing them requires cooperation, he added.

The Sacramento Bee quoted Dan Schnur, director of the Unruh Institute of Politics,about sharpening political rhetoric as several Republicans position themselves for the 2010 California gubernatorial race. “It’s the first rain drop in what’s going to be a very, very long storm,” Schnur said.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fox News’ “On the Record” highlighted a study by Mary Helen Immordino-Yang of the USC Rossier School, and Antonio Damasio, Hanna Costa Damasio and Andrea McColl, all of the USC College. Brain scans by the researchers revealed that empathy for others’ psychological pain engaged the same parts of the brain that responded to others’ physical pain, among other findings.

Reader’s Digest highlighted research by Antoine Bechara of psychology on learning from one’s mistakes. Bechara recently isolated two equally sized centers in the brain’s prefrontal cortex: one that he claims is responsible for the fear of failure and the other for the lure of success.

Bloomberg News quoted Abraham Lowenthal of international relations about U.S.-Mexico relations under former President George W. Bush compared with those under President Barack Obama.

Los Angeles Daily News quoted Dan Schnur,director of the Unruh Institute of Politics, about the “tea party” protests being staged by conservative activists.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

National Public Radio San Diego affiliate KPBS-FM’s “These Days” interviewed Abraham Lowenthal of international relations about his new book “Global California: Rising to the Cosmopolitan Challenge.” The book argues that California has “international DNA” and is closely integrated with the world system, but that current policy is not preparing the state to deal with this increasing closeness.

Financial Post (Canada) ran an op-ed co-written by Antoine Bechara of psychology about the rise of high-calorie diets. “In Western societies as well as in a growing number of developing nations, food has become over-abundant and often calorie-rich,” Bechara and a McGill University colleague wrote. “Medical science offers what seems to be a simple solution: People should eat less and better and exercise more. This advice is much easier to give than to follow.”


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Newsweek quoted Julie Albright of the USC College about online relationships. “Early researchers of the Internet thought it would be impossible to form relationships on the Web because we’re not in physical proximity to one another,” Albright said. “But we’ve really turned that notion on its head.”


Monday, April 13, 2009

Science News quoted Clifford Johnson of physics and astronomy about string theory. String theory has helped explain why matter behaves like liquid in extremely hot and extremely cold environments, the story noted. String theory’s proposal of an extra dimension beyond the three of space and one of time has allowed two systems — one of four dimensions, and the other of quarks and gluons — to become equivalent from a mathematical point of view. “The point is that we have two different kinds of systems capturing the same kind of physics,” Johnson said. “String theory provides us with a dictionary that translates between these two systems. ... The bottom line is we can exploit all this, because we can use ... easy computations in the gravity system to compute hard-to-compute things in the dual system.” Johnson spoke on the subject recently at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting.

Los Angeles Times quoted David Chan-oong Kang of international relations and business about the South Korean government reportedly blacklisting foreign journalists who fail to follow the official line on country’s handling of the economic crisis. “Koreans are extraordinarily sensitive to issues of hierarchy and international ranking,” Kang said. “There’s this mentality that: ‘We’re better than we’re being ranked. This is a reflection of how other countries view us. They don’t respect us enough.’” Kang is director of the Korean Studies Institute at USC, the story noted

San Francisco Chronicle reviewed “American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry,” co-edited by David St. John of English. “I have always believed that the great strength of American poetry resides, at its source, in its plurality of voices, its multitude of poetic styles, and its consistent resistance to the coercion of what emerges — in each generation — as a catalogue of prevailing literary trends,” St. John wrote in his introduction to the collection. “American Hybrid” began to take shape after St. John heard a lecture by co-editor Cole Swensen in 2005, the article reported. St. John is the author of nine poetry books and a volume of essays, the story noted.


Friday, April 10, 2009

USA Today highlighted Jennifer Wolch of geography in a story on nationwide efforts to “green” urban alleys. Inspired by Wolch’s research, Los Angeles created the Green Alleys Program last December to reduce the runoff of pollutants into the ocean and come up with creative uses for the spaces. “There are over 900 miles of alleys in the city of Los Angeles,” Wolch said. “Mostly, alleys are very underutilized, which can lead to unsavory activities,” she noted. Alleys can serve multiple purposes, from helping water quality to providing a public space “so people can walk or bike instead of drive, where people can get out and interact with the community,” she explained. Wolch directs the USC Center for Sustainable Cities, the story noted.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Explorer highlighted research by Richard Easterlin, University Professor and professor of economics, on happiness. Easterlin is the namesake of “the Easterlin paradox,” which is described in his 1978 study finding that economic growth and prosperity don’t automatically produce greater human satisfaction.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Science News quoted Craig Stanford of anthropology and biological sciences about a new study finding that wild male chimpanzees exchange meat for sex with females on a long-term basis. “There’s no single explanation for chimp hunting patterns, but this new paper shows that we can’t dismiss a sex-for-meat strategy operating at any chimp study site,” Stanford said. A long-term perspective now appears crucial for understanding how chimps share meat, he added. Stanford has conducted related studies on chimps, a widely carried Discovery Channel story noted.

Financial Times noted that theatre director Katie Mitchell studied work by Antonio Damasio, David Dornsife Chair in Neuroscience and professor of psychology and neurology, in preparation for her latest show, “After Dido.” Mitchell studied Damasio to understand “what happens [to the brain] biologically when one or other of the six principal emotions occurs,” she said.

The Boston Globe noted that an emotional-intelligence researcher was influenced by the work of Antonio Damasio, David Dornsife Chair in Neuroscience and professor of psychology and neurology. Damasio has demonstrated how people rendered emotionless by brain damage became less rational, the story noted.

Reuters quoted Dan Schnur, director of the Unruh Institute of Politics, about the potential for widespread protests against California tax hikes. “There’s no way to predict whether we’re going to see a reprise of the [1970s] revolt that led to Prop. 13 or whether this is a false start,” Schnur said. “But the economic conditions are ripe for tax revolt, and advances in technology certainly make it easier to organize a coalition without access to huge amounts of money,” he added. Schnur directs the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, the story noted.

The Guardian (U.K.) cited research by the USC Institute for Economic Policy Research at the USC College. A team headed by Michelle Goeree of economics found that African American girls are 50 percent more likely to be bulimic than their white counterparts.

The Orange County Register featured the Edison Challenge, a contest for middle school and high school students that is sponsored by the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies and Edison International. Students from an elementary school in Irvine, Calif., won for establishing a composting and green waste program. The prize will be a weeklong trip to the Wrigley Institute on Catalina Island.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Christian Science Monitor quoted David Chan-oong Kang of international relations about possible responses to North Korea’s rocket launch this weekend. Toughened sanctions would likely prompt an angry response from Pyongyang and make an early resumption of six-party talks impossible, Kang said. “The U.S. does not want to appear to go easy on North Korea, but it does not want to fall into the trap of effectively ending denuclearization negotiations,” he explained.


Monday, April 6, 2009

The Boston Globe ran an op-ed by Abraham Lowenthal, the first Robert F. Erburu Professor of Ethics, Globalization and Development and professor of international relations, about the United States’ Latin American strategy. “Latin American leaders are eager to meet and be associated with Obama, whose remarkable popular appeal is evident in the region,” Lowenthal wrote. Obama will make good use of this opportunity if he solidifies our representation in the region, addresses Cuba and Brazil, makes his overall approach to the region clear, listens, and avoids confrontation and promising too much, Lowenthal wrote.

The San Diego Union-Tribune quoted Dan Schnur, director of the Unruh Institute of Politics, about California Proposition 1F, which would prohibit state elected officials from receiving pay increases in years when the state is running a deficit. “The greatest impact of 1F is it provides a very visceral reminder to politicians of both parties exactly how little the voters of California think of them,” Schnur said.