Monthly Archives: July 2008

Geer on Huffington, and the importance of bananas

Vandy poli sci expert John Geer stays super busy during election season, teaching, researching and talking with the media. Today he’s quoted on the Huffington Post about the McCain campaign’s use of attack ads, in the eye-catchingtly headlined item “John McCain: Mr.  Nice Guy or Back Alley Mugger?”

“John G. Geer is a Vanderbilt political scientist who believes negative ads can be very informative and are often criticized too harshly, but that they can fail to deliver if not based on charges that have the ring of truth and that stick: ‘McCain has always been willing to attack, as he did in 2000 or 2008 against Romney in Florida. . . . but [now] the attacks may backfire because they are not credible. The ‘troop’ ad is technically true, but it is not a very effective ad. McCain is acting like any candidate who is behind: looking for some issue that gets you traction. He just does not have much to go on. McCain needs Obama to make a big mistake.'”

In other, completely unrelated yet still very interesting news, Vandy docs have found that eating bananas is good for your heart, or more specifically, that potassium can help stave off high blood pressure and help those already suffering from hypertension. Read the Reuters coverage of the findings here.


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Filed under Government & Politics, In The News, Medicine

The Commons is coming, The Commons is coming!

The buzz here on campus is all Commons, all the time, as we eagerly await the arrival of the Class of 2012 on Aug. 16. They will, of course, be the first class to live in the new living-learning environment we’ve constructed for freshmen. The latest:

Nice mention of the environmentally friendly standards to which the Commons was built in this AP article.

Michael Martin and Joe Hills, the Commons tech gurus, have officially launched Common Place, a Facebook app just for the Class of 2012. Even though it just officially launched, it has been gettting 300-400 users a day for the past few weeks.

Here in Public Affairs we’ve launched a YouTube contest for incoming freshmen – show us how you’re getting ready to come to Vandy!

The Vanderbilt View just published extensive coverage of The Commons, see below:

A New Tradition

After years of planning, The Commons – a new residential experience for first-year students – is open for business. The “View’s” comprehensive coverage includes an introduction to the heads of house, a glossary of Commons-related terms, an update on The Commons’ green building efforts, and a sneak peek at the next stage in the College Halls initiative.

Related stories:

Live-in Leaders
Green Scene
Learning the Lingo
What Comes Next?

It’s going to be an exciting year.

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Filed under Administration, Students

What CAN’T coffee do?

The latest news from Dr. Peter Martin, head of our Institute for Coffee Studies and the Vanderbilt Division of Addiction Medicine, finds that there might be a reason Alcoholics Anonymous meetings move more java than Starbucks on a good day–coffee may acutally help alcoholics quit drinking.

“Is this behavior simply a way to bond or connect in AA meetings, analogous to the peace pipe among North American Indians, or do constituents of these natural compounds result in pharmacological actions that affect the brain?” Martin asked. “Perhaps most interesting is how do these consumatory behaviors affect the brain and what is their role in recovery?”

In his study, Martin found nearly 90 percent of AA attendees surveyed report drinking coffee. He also found that cigarette use is high among recovering alcoholics–nearly 57 percent smoke.

The findings got picked up all over the place: HealthDay News, the Web sites of many NBC, ABC, and CBS affiliates, as well as Popular Science, U.S. News & World Report and the Washington Post.

Get the freshly brewed news on VUCast.

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Filed under In The News, Medicine

VU featured in new Apple video

The university’s iTunes U presence is the star of a new video produced by Apple and featured on the higher ed section of their Web site. The video was shot by a lovely and talented Apple team and their stellar freelance video crew on the Vanderbilt campus back in March. (Much of it was shot in The Commons Center, which looks fantastic, btw). It tells the story of how the university, working closely with our very own Institute of Software Integrated Systems, developed a mechanism to use Blackboard to login to iTunes. Doesn’t sound like a big deal perhaps, but to us and the well-over 100 universities we’ve shared it with since, it made all the difference in enabling us to integrate iTunes with education.

Enough talk. Watch.

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