Posts tagged ‘New York Times’

Climate of the Times

Faces@012_RAlley01CC_cropTuesday’s edition of The New York Times ran a special section on climate change, timed to coincide with the United Nations Climate Summit this week in Manhattan. Two Penn Staters with very different perspectives on the issue feature prominently in the package.

The first is Richard Alley, the Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences in the College of Earth & Mineral Sciences whose work on polar ice cores and quirky, engaging style of bringing science to the masses has made him one of the country’s best known climate scientists. Alley serves as the primary source in the Times‘ explainer on carbon dioxide, our planet’s most prominent greenhouse gas. Alley has a gift for useful analogies, and his “pothole” comparison in the Times piece is a great example.

Then there’s Diane Ackerman ’70, the author whose latest book, The Human Age, continues a career-long passion for the natural world. Ackerman’s new book is one of three reviewed with climate change and its impacts as a unifying theme. As we wrote in our Sept./Oct. issue, The Human Age offers what Ackerman describes as a hopeful take on how humans are impacting the planet: “…how, despite our tendency to alter—and occasionally obliterate—our surroundings, humans still manage to cultivate beauty.”

Ryan Jones, senior editor

September 24, 2014 at 12:01 pm 1 comment

The Penn Stater Daily — April 11, 2014

A generous parting gift: President Rod Erickson and his wife Shari on Thursday announced a $1 million gift to the university. The donation, which coincides with this weekend’s celebration of the closing of the “For The Future” capital campaign, will benefit the Arboretum, the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and the Smeal College of Business. Erickson is set to retire from the university next month.

Klosterman on ethics: I wandered over to the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on Thursday to hear Chuck Klosterman speak at the “Religion, Ethics, and Choice” symposium hosted by Penn State’s Center for Ethics & Religious Affairs. I met Chuck a decade or so ago through our mutual friend (and occasional Penn Stater contributor) Michael Weinreb ’94; if you know Chuck’s name, it’s probably from his books, his writing for the likes of Esquire and Grantland, or more recently, his role as the Ethicist for the New York Times Magazine. Based in Brooklyn, he generally makes a handful of college speaking engagements each year, but this was the first time he’d been invited somewhere specifically based on the Ethicist gig.

Speaking to a small room—a mix of students, faculty, and campus and community religious leaders—Chuck was, like his writing, often funny and always thought provoking. He read from his latest non-fiction book, I Wear the Black Hat, in which he uses real and fictional villains to grapple with the idea of good v. evil. But for this crowd, the insights into his Ethicist gig were especially interesting:

* He opened by saying he’s not remotely qualified for the job, then added that, in his opinion, “no one is.” (The Times‘ first Ethicist, he noted, was Randy Cohen, a former writer for David Letterman.)

* He was only half joking when he said that, due both to the nature of the job and the reactive tone of so much of modern culture, he’s certain “I’m going to get fired at some point.”

* He said he receives about 100 submissions each week, and that the correspondents are most likely to be “lawyers, new mothers, and academics. Also, a lot of atheists.”

* In helping people solve their ethical quandaries, Chuck says he aims to be “hyper-rational … almost Spock-like” in his responses: “I’ve advised people to do things I’m not sure I would do in my own life.” As for his process: Once he and his editor have chosen which letters to run, Chuck said he thinks about the dilemma, composes a response, and then “I spend two days thinking about all the ways I’d disagree with that response.” He then edits it accordingly. It’s a unique gig, and qualified or not, I think he’s as right as anyone for the job.

Football is back: The forecast calls for temperatures in the high 60s and blue (and white) skies—a perfect day, in other words, for the Blue-White Game. There’s all sorts of fun stuff scheduled in and around Beaver Stadium Saturday. Kickoff is at 1:30. Hope to see you there…

Ryan Jones, senior editor

 

April 11, 2014 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — March 10, 2014

Catching up with the BOT: The Board of Trustees’ latest meetings wrapped up Friday in Hershey, and as usual, Lori Shontz ’91, ’13g was on the scene. You can read her detailed coverage here and here.

Four the glory: David Taylor and Ed Ruth became Penn State’s first four-time Big Ten champions on Sunday, leading the Nittany Lions to their fourth straight Big Ten team title. Next stop: The NCAA championships, which start March 20 in Oklahoma City.

All downhill from here: You might have seen our post Friday on the U.S. Paralympic duo of visually impaired skier Staci Mannella and her guide, Kim Seevers ’86g. Turns out we’re not the only ones who realized Mannella and Seevers are a compelling story: The pair was featured Sunday in a New York Times story on these unusual partnerships on the slopes. Mannella and Seevers will go for gold this week in Sochi.

Talk to the Hand: New offensive line coach Herb Hand on Friday continued his utter dominance of the internet. He took a break from tweeting long enough to take part in an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit. Among the highlights, Hand revealed his favorite State College pizza spot, how he’s handling all this snow, and what he throws on the grill when his linemen come over for dinner.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

March 10, 2014 at 8:45 am Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Jan. 20, 2014

A leader lost: A bit of news we missed last week, but which seems appropriate to share on the day we observe the life and work of Martin Luther King: A memorial service was held Saturday for Thelma Price, a longtime Penn State administrator and civil rights activist who died on Jan. 8. She was 88. She came to the university in 1964 to serve as assistant dean of students at New Kensington, and later served as assistant VP of student affairs at University Park. The first charter president of the State College chapter of the NAACP, she was also a vocal advocate for minority students, earning the nickname “Mom” for her tireless work on their behalf.

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Happiness and heartbreak: Sunday night was a memorable one for three former Nittany Lions, although one that NaVorro Bowman ’09 no doubt wishes he could forget. Bowman, the San Francisco 49ers linebacker whom NFL.com calls “arguably the best defensive player in the league this season,” went down in gruesome fashion in the fourth quarter of the Niners’ eventual 23-17 loss to Seattle. Afterward, his all-pro teammate, Patrick Willis, told reporters, “If he doesn’t get defensive player of the year, I don’t know what they go by. Most important, I just pray he’s all right.”

On the much brighter side, the Seahawks duo of Michael Robinson ’04 and Jordan Hill ’13 are going to the Super Bowl, marking the 43rd time in 48 years that at least one Penn Stater is on a roster for the big game.

BOT wrap: Our Lori Shontz ’91, ’13g has everything you need to know from last week’s Board of Trustees meetings. You can read her last two posts from the sessions here and here.

Times up: Sunday’s New York Times carried a couple of pieces of note for Penn Staters. Michael Mann, distinguished professor of meteorology and arguably the world’s most famous climate scientist, wrote an oped for the Sunday Review in which he talks about embracing his role as a public advocate for awareness and action on climate change. On a very different topic, over in the Business section, there’s a profile of Ross Ulbricht ’09g, who is facing federal charges of computer hacking, drug trafficking, and money laundering as the alleged mastermind behind the online black market Silk Road. It’s disturbing, fascinating stuff.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

January 20, 2014 at 12:17 pm 2 comments

The Penn Stater Daily — Jan. 6, 2014

photoZeynep Ton’s revolution: When we featured MIT business prof Zeynep Ton ’96 in our Nov./Dec. issue, when knew she was doing interesting and important work in the field of retail labor issues. Turns out she’s making an even bigger impact than we realized. Ton’s research was the subject of a very cool feature in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, in which the writer calls Ton a “revolutionary force” in the field of operations management, and cites examples of major companies that have been influenced by her work. For companies savvy enough to follow Ton’s lead, it’s a (seemingly) simple equation: pay your employees more, and they’ll do a better job; when your employees do a better job, your profits go up.

You can watch Ton explain her research in a TED talk here, and check out her book, The Good Jobs Strategy, here.

Still searching: There’s been plenty of talk and rumors (with even a little bit of reporting here and there), but as of Monday morning, Penn State has not found a new head football coach. Much of the weekend buzz centered on University of Miami coach Al Golden ’91, with reports that he had been offered the job—and many hinting he was ready to accept it. On Sunday, Miami released a statement in which Golden said he was “not a candidate for another position.” But could that change? Mike Poorman ’82 of StateCollege.com says it could. Meanwhile, NFL.com is reporting that there’s “mutual interest” between Penn State and Mike Munchak ’82, who was fired over the weekend by the Tennessee Titans.

Feel-good football news: Coaching uncertainty aside, there are still plenty of reminders of why you love Penn State football. Here are two: During the first quarter of tonight’s BCS national championship game, John Urschel ’12, ’13g will be honored on the field as the winner of the Campbell Trophy, which Urschel was awarded last month as “the nation’s premier college football scholar-athlete.” And over the weekend, Nittany Lion linebacker Ben Kline posted an “open letter to Nittany Nation” at Onward State, in which he writes passionately of the commitment of Penn State’s players. Great stuff.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

January 6, 2014 at 11:36 am Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Sept. 16, 2013

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From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.

Shrine dedication: The Nittany Lion Shrine opened a few weeks ago after a summer of renovations—mostly to its “habitat,” if you will—but it was officially dedicated Friday. The stonemason said his goal was to create a “stoney, mountain-y environment.” The Daily Collegian has the coverage here.

A romantic at heart: Turns out that the Blue Band’s feature twirler, Matt Freeman, is as smooth off the field as he is on it. (more…)

September 16, 2013 at 10:05 am Leave a comment

Tap Dancing for His Tuition

The “City Room” section of the New York Times specializes in stories that find the individual humanity amid the often faceless, fast-moving masses of New York City. Today’s story comes with a compelling Penn State angle.

Joshua Johnson is a Penn State undergrad — the story doesn’t say, but we think he might attend the Altoona campus — who, like many students, is working to pay his way through school. It’s his job that’s unusual: Johnson, a Harlem native, tap dances for tips on New York City subways. The story details Johnson’s challenging family background and includes a short video, with highlights of his subway routine. It’s absolutely worth checking out.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

March 5, 2012 at 2:55 pm 6 comments

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