UCI, Other Professors Enlist Rappers for US Supreme Court Brief

Justices urged to hear First Amendment case involving high school student

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UCI

University of California, Irvine

NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE
PRESS RELEASE AT: www.news.uci.edu/uncategorized/uci-other-professors-enlist-rappers-for-us-supreme-court-brief/

Contact: Roy Rivenburg
949-824-9055
rrivenbu@uci.edu

UCI, other professors enlist rappers for US Supreme Court brief

Justices urged to hear First Amendment case involving high school student

Newswise — Irvine, Calif., Dec. 21, 2015 – In what may be the first amicus brief signed by prominent rap artists, a University of California, Irvine professor and two hip-hop scholars have enlisted Killer Mike, T.I. and Big Boi, among others, in a request to have the U.S. Supreme Court hear a First Amendment case involving violent lyrics penned by a high school student in Mississippi.

“No other form of artistic expression has been treated by the courts like rap music,” said Charis E. Kubrin, a UCI criminology, law & society professor who has written extensively and testified in criminal cases about stereotypes associated with hip-hop lyrics.

At issue is the case of Taylor Bell v. the Itawamba County School Board. In 2011, Bell was suspended and transferred to a different school after recording a song that decried the alleged sexual misconduct of two coaches toward female students.

In the brief, Kubrin outlines studies showing how rap songs are perceived differently from country and rock music. For example, when test subjects were told that the lyrics of a 1960 Kingston Trio folk tune about shooting a deputy came from a rap song, they reacted much more negatively than subjects who were told the words were in a country song.

“The visceral response that many people have to rap music stems in large part from broader racial stereotypes, especially about young men of color,” Kubrin writes.

The legal brief drafted by Kubrin and two other rap experts – Erik Nielson of the University of Richmond and Travis L. Gosa of Cornell University – was co-signed by eight musicians and two dozen professors and scholars.

About the University of California, Irvine: Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

Media access: Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UC Irvine faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UC Irvine news, visit news.uci.edu. Additional resources for journalists may be found at www.communications.uci.edu/for-journalists.

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UCI Experts to Discuss Sports Concussions.

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Brian Cummings

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Newswise — With the feature film “Concussion” exploring the complex issues of concussions and football, University of California, Irvine experts are available to discuss their work in relevant areas.

UNDERSTANDING THE CTE-ALZHEIMER’S LINK

Brian Cummings, Ph.D.
Vice-Chair for Research (PM&R | NS)
Departments of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Neurological Surgery, and Anatomy & Neurobiology.

Repeated mild concussions, or traumatic brain injury, which is known to occur in a wide range of professional athletes, may lead to a progressive dementia, termed chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The pathology of CTE is similar to that of Alzheimer’s disease, and involves the accumulation tau proteins within neurofibrillary tangles and disturbances in beta-amyloid processing in the brain. Cummings and colleagues have recently developed a novel model of repeat mild concussion/traumatic brain injury (rmTBI) in mice. These mice can be genetically engineered to carry key human genes associated with neurodegeneration and AD to allow us to study how these Alzheimer associated proteins are linked to CTE. In addition, using stem cells generated from skin biopsies of AD patients, the Cummings group can direct these stem cells to mature into miniature “brains” in a 3D bioreactor in the lab. This human brain organoids enables them to study the effects of injury are actual human tissue. Their goals are to (1) use these two models to better understand the links between mild injury or concussion and the subsequent development of AD related neuropathology and CTE, and (2) use animal models and human brain organoids to screen for neuroprotective compounds to see if we can prevent concussion induced neurodegeneration and CTE in professional athletes and military personnel.

“I played Pop Warner football in grade school and one year of high school football until an injury ended my potential hall of fame career. I’m a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan. If I had one message to pass on to the public, it would be that concussions are a significant brain injury, not something to be ignored, and that through science, I believe we can find a way to protect athletes and soldiers exposed to brain injuries.” – Brian Cummings

Contact:
cummings@uci.edu
949-584-3251
More: www.anatomy.uci.edu/cummings.html

UNDERSTANDING CONCUSSIONS IN WATER POLO

James Hicks, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor of Research
Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Director of the Exercise Medicine & Sports Sciences Initiative

The link between concussions and football is well documented. But what about other sports? Hicks leads an interdisciplinary team of scientists, physicians, coaches and athletes looking into the instances of brain injury in water polo. The effort got rolling when Hicks – a scientist, avid fan and father of three sons who played the sport – searched an NCAA database for concussion information related to water polo. But his inquiry came up empty. “There was none,” he said. “And given UCI’s historic place in the sport, it became clear that we should take on this issue.”

Although head injuries and concussions do happen in water polo, information about their prevalence is, so far, primarily anecdotal. Hicks and his collaborators aim to provide a factual basis for considering whether such injuries are sufficiently common that they need to be addressed and, if so, how best to do this. The study has three components. In one, UCI will oversee an email survey of water polo players to inquire about the instances of head trauma. Results will be published soon. In the second, UCI engineering students shot water polo balls at a NHTSA-certified crash-test dummy head to gauge the impact of blows at various speeds and levels of inflation. The results are currently being analyzed. In the third component, Hicks will outfit UCI men’s and women’s water polo players with small G-force monitors incorporated into standard water polo caps to record the intensity of head impacts.

“Water polo is a hard sport. Head butts, elbows, shoulders – and at the highest levels, players throw the ball as fast as 50 miles an hour at short distances. Goalies appear to be most at risk, but we want to obtain scientific data to assess that risk, as well as seeing what other positions in the pool may be prone to concussion injury.” – James Hicks

Contact:
jhicks@uci.edu
949-413-9196
More (with video): www.news.uci.edu/feature/heading-off-concussions/

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Santa vs. Superheroes

UC Irvine physics professor compares St. Nick’s powers to those of traditional caped crusaders

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Newswise — He doesn’t fight crime, wear tights or hang out in a Batcave, but Kris Kringle has superpowers that rival those of any comic book hero.

So says Michael Dennin, a University of California, Irvine physics & astronomy professor who teaches the science of superheroes. He also co-hosts “Fascinating Fights,” a Web show that handicaps hypothetical battles between pop culture icons, such as Spider-Man vs. Batman and Dumbledore vs. Gandalf.

Based on careful scientific analysis, Dennin believes Santa has an edge over traditional caped crusaders.

“His only weakness is cookies and milk, but it doesn’t debilitate him like kryptonite,” Dennin notes. “It’s merely a distraction.”

Here’s a look at how St. Nick’s powers stack up against those of Superman, the Hulk, and various other Marvel Comics and DC Comics characters.

Speed: Don’t let the bowl-full-of-jelly physique fool you, Dennin says. Santa Claus is faster than both the Flash and Superman, who are prevented from exceeding the speed of light by the laws of physics. Santa defies this limit by warping space and time, which means he can shrink the distance between two points, Dennin says. All of this happens in the upper atmosphere to avoid disruptive side effects on Earth, of course.

In addition, “as you approach the speed of light, time slows down,” Dennin says, which makes it easier for the sleigh driver to deliver his gifts before sunrise.

Advantage: Santa.

Shape-shifting: Squeezing through chimneys is one thing; breaking and entering homes that don’t have a fireplace is another. Can Santa walk through walls? Not likely, Dennin says. Although it’s theoretically conceivable to pass through solid matter by deconstructing and reconstructing, the process is too time-consuming, he says. Ditto for picking locks. A more plausible scenario is that Santa possesses an Ant-Man-style ability to rapidly alter his size.

Advantage: Jolly St. Nick.

Superhuman strength: Father Christmas might lose an arm wrestling match against the Hulk, but that doesn’t mean he’s weak. For starters, consider the muscle power required to not only carry his massive bag of toys but leap up chimneys while doing so. Like the Hulk, who derives considerable strength from a supersized body, “Santa is a big guy,” Dennin says. “He fits that paradigm.” Fortunately, Kris Kringle isn’t cursed with the slight craziness that afflicts some other mega-strong heroes, he adds, “unless you consider trying to give toys to everyone on the planet crazy.”

Advantage: The Hulk, but that could change. Superman’s Fortress of Solitude is located at the North Pole, so he and Santa are neighbors, and Superman may be helping him buff up.

Fantastic fashion accessories: Batman wears a belt equipped with technological gadgets. Iron Man zooms around in a weaponized suit. Santa’s fanciest accoutrement is a bottomless sack of toys – similar to Mary Poppins’ magic carpetbag or Oscar the Grouch’s trash can – which Dennin refers to as “an interdimensional portal.” To explain how such a container might work, he draws a circle on a piece of paper. “It looks two-dimensional,” Dennin says, “but it may be an opening to a fourth dimension.” If so, the inside of the sack could be bigger than the outside and allow storage of countless toys. “We have no idea what that would mean in physics,” he says, “but it is mathematically imaginable.”

Advantage: Santa.

Omniscience: Is Kris Kringle psychic? After all, he “sees you when you’re sleeping” and “knows if you’ve been bad or good.” If clairvoyance is the secret behind this extraordinary knowledge, then Santa’s paranormal abilities are vastly superior to those of Professor X, founder of the X-Men, who needs a special helmet to expand his telepathic range.

However, Dennin theorizes that Santa is more like Big Brother: “I always thought he was spying, not psychic. He could be tapping into satellite and Internet systems to gather data. I think the modern era has only helped Santa’s behavior monitoring program.”

So what did Father Christmas use before the advent of computers and spy cams? The same equipment he has now, Dennin says. If he can warp time, he easily could have traveled to the future and returned to the North Pole with 21st-century surveillance technology.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrWDD-CXwO4

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UCI Expert Among Group Urging Accelerated Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Article in Nature Climate Change casts doubt on carbon-capture technologies

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Citations

Nature Climate Change, Dec-2015

UCI

University of California, Irvine

NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE
www.news.uci.edu/faculty/uci-expert-among-group-urging-accelerated-reduction-of-greenhouse-gas-emissions/

Contact: Brian Bell
949-824-8249
bpbell@uci.edu

UCI expert among group urging accelerated reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

Article in Nature Climate Change casts doubt on carbon-capture technologies

Newswise — Irvine, Calif., Dec. 8, 2015 – At the beginning of week two of the Paris climate talks, an international group of scientists is calling on the world’s industrial powers to aggressively and immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stressing that overreliance on so-called negative emissions technologies may prove too costly and disruptive to keep Earth from overheating.

In an article published today in Nature Climate Change, 40 climate experts outline the environmental, economic and energy effects of using carbon-capture technologies to keep the planet within the widely accepted threshold of 2 degrees Celsius of global average temperature increase between now and 2050.

Simple applications of NETs include planting trees to consume CO2 as they grow or covering the ground with crushed carbon-absorbing rocks. More complicated approaches center on chemical processes to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere or burning plants for energy, capturing the carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released, and sequestering it deep below ground or in the ocean (a method known as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage).

While the Nature Climate Change article provides a detailed discussion of the pros and cons of NETs, the scientists conclude that on their own, the technologies will not be enough to solve the climate change dilemma. Humans must curb their use of greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels to have a real impact on global warming, they say.

“The bottom line is that we shouldn’t imagine we can make up for poor decisions today by buying negative emissions tomorrow,” said co-author Steven J. Davis, assistant professor of Earth system science at the University of California, Irvine. “It’s easier, cheaper and less risky to tackle the challenge of fossil fuel CO2 before it’s in the atmosphere.”

The experts point to numerous factors that may lessen the effectiveness of NETs in combating global climate change. Approaches such as reforestation and growing crops as a fuel source require large tracts of land and potentially copious amounts of water. Planting trees above a certain latitude may limit the amount of sunlight reflected away from Earth. Machines to remove CO2 will be expensive to deploy and maintain. It’s also uncertain how the public will respond to proposals involving the use of NETs in their locales.

“We show that all negative emissions technologies have significant limitations, and whilst we need to invest in research and development to try and overcome these limitations, the key message from our study is that we should not rely on these as-yet-unproven technologies to save us in the future,” said lead author Pete Smith, a professor in the School of Biological Sciences at Scotland’s University of Aberdeen. “Rather, swift and aggressive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are needed now. The window of opportunity is closing rapidly, so it’s imperative to get a global accord to move forward in Paris this month.”

The review article in Nature Climate Change resulted from a collaboration under the Global Carbon Project.

About the University of California, Irvine: Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

Media access: Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UC Irvine faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UC Irvine news, visit news.uci.edu. Additional resources for journalists may be found at www.communications.uci.edu/for-journalists

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Peter the Anteater Featured in Newport Beach Boat Parade and Rose Parade

Appearances by UCI mascot are in honor of campus’s 50th anniversary

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University of California, Irvine

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FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE
http://news.uci.edu/press-releases/peter-the-anteater-featured-in-newport-beach-boat-parade-and-rose-parade/

Contact: Cathy Lawhon
949-824-1151
clawhon@uci.edu

Peter the Anteater featured in Newport Beach boat parade and Rose Parade

Appearances by UCI mascot are in honor of campus’s 50th anniversary

Newswise — Irvine, Calif., Dec. 10, 2015 – The University of California, Irvine’s anteater mascot, voted Mashable’s 2015 Mascot Madness champion, will host an entry in the 107th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and will be represented on the Irvine Chamber of Commerce/Destination Irvine’s boat. Peter’s appearances are part of UCI’s 50th anniversary celebration and help illustrate the spirit of innovation shared by the campus and larger community.

The boat parade’s UCI @ 50 entry, funded by alumni donors and friends, highlights the university’s commitment to sustainability. Students will pedal stationary bikes connected to generators to power the craft’s lights. A giant, inflatable likeness of Peter the Anteater and the live mascot himself will be on board. Jesse Colin Jackson, assistant professor of art in UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts, designed the yacht’s decorations.

“My research group, which volunteered to create and build the design focused on the 50th anniversary, is fundamentally concerned with merging technology, creativity and sustainability,” Jackson said. “We decided running the lights from bicycles would not only align with our campus’s renewable energy initiatives and UC system’s 2025 carbon neutrality goal, but would also just be so cool!”

The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade runs from 6:30-9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16, through Sunday, Dec. 20.

On New Year’s Day, a floral depiction of Peter will reign over the Rose Parade route in Pasadena on a float themed “Innovation Rocks!”

“Irvine and UCI have a global reputation for innovation and the adventure of life-changing discovery,” said Linda DiMario of the Irvine Chamber of Commerce/Destination Irvine. “[Our entry] celebrates this with a fantastical lab scene featuring an array of colorful beakers, helixes, elements and animated gears designed to explore the fun of science, technology, engineering and math.”

Covered in statice, black seaweed and other organic materials and wearing a lab coat, Peter the Anteater portrays a whimsical scientist surrounded by animated gears, beakers and test tubes in a nod to UCI’s role as a medical and technology innovation leader.

The 127th Rose Parade starts at 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 1.

About the University of California, Irvine: Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit http://www.uci.edu.

Media access: Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UC Irvine faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UC Irvine news, visit news.uci.edu. Additional resources for journalists may be found at http://www.communications.uci.edu/for-journalists.

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