February 3, 2005
Vol. 24 No. 9

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    In the News

    The Chronicle’s biweekly column In the News offers a digest of commentary and quotations by a few of the University faculty members, students and alumni who have been headlining the news in recent weeks. Chicago faculty members are some of the most frequently quoted experts, so space allows publishing references to only selected examples. To read many of the full newspaper articles mentioned in this column, visit the In the News column at the University News Office Web site: http://www-news.uchicago.edu/.

    Caleb Alexander, Instructor in Medicine and co-author of a new study on the mass marketing of Vioxx and other Cox-2 inhibitor drugs, was interviewed for a story that appeared in the Tuesday, Jan. 25 Washington Post. The study Alexander conducted with Randall Stafford of Stanford University also was mentioned in a Chicago Tribune story, published the same day. The study found that Vioxx, which has been found to cause serious health problems, had been over-prescribed, and many patients could have benefited as much from other cheaper pain-relieving drugs, such as Aleve and Advil. Alexander said the Cox-2 inhibitor drugs “were heavily marketed to physicians and the public, and both are known to be susceptible to the impression that newer is better when it comes to medications. But we know that is not always the case.”

    Ian Foster, Professor in Computer Science and the College, was quoted in a New York Times article reporting on a newly formed consortium of companies that are interested in utilizing grid computing. Foster, who started the Globus Project with Carl Kesselman of the University of Southern California’s Information Science Institute, commented that the new push by companies to adopt grid computing adds to the momentum that has been building in academia since the project began in 1996. “The consortium is a corporate vote of confidence for and commitment to Globus software, with companies getting together to push this software.”

    Steven Kaplan, the Neubauer Family Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance in the Graduate School of Business, was one of the top five Chicago entrepreneurs chosen by Crain’s Chicago Business to comment on anticipated 2005 mergers and acquisitions activity in the United States. Kaplan talked about hedge funds activity in mergers and acquisitions business this year and when it is profitable to pay a significant premium for an acquisition. “The acquisitions that are the most successful,” said Kaplan, “are those where there is some overlap and you take out the overlap, or there is some asset that one of the companies is underutilizing.” Kaplan also was quoted in a Chicago Sun-Times article on the mergers and acquisitions market. The Crain’s article appeared Monday, Jan. 24, and the Sun-Times article was published Tuesday, Jan. 25.

    Lance Becker, Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Emergency Medicine Section, and Benjamin Abella, a Resident in the Emergency Medicine Section, were photographed and interviewed for stories published in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, which reported on two studies of cardiopulmonary resuscitation performed by paramedics and other trained medical professionals. Becker and Abella, co-authors of one of the studies, found that medical personnel were not following international guidelines that have standardized quality CPR for cardiac arrest victims. Both ventilation (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) and chest compressions were administered improperly. “CPR has been around for 50 years, but until now we haven’t had a precise, reliable way to assess how well it’s being done. Now we find that it’s not being done very well,” said Becker in the Sun-Times article. Articles published on the studies appeared Wednesday, Jan. 19, and included a brief news item in The New York Times, as well.

    Allen Sanderson, Senior Lecturer in Economics and the College, was quoted in a story published Saturday, Jan. 22, in the online edition of the Philadelphia Daily News. Sanderson, whose specialty is the economics of the sports industry, commented on Philadelphia officials’ estimated $16 million in commercial gains they expected the Eagles-Falcons football playoff game to generate. The city commerce director had estimated the game would provide a brief financial boom, but Sanderson said some regional sales losses could also occur. “Most people who go to football games live in the area, and it does not matter if it is the regular season or the playoffs. If they did not spend their money on a football game, they would have spent it at the mall or the movies.” Sanderson noted that many people often avoid traffic congestion in Chicago by staying away from the city on game days at Soldier Field. Therefore such potential losses in other cities have to be considered.

    Travis Jackson, Associate Professor in Music, was a guest on WBEZ Radio’s 848 program on Thursday, Jan. 13. Jackson discussed how gospel singers Mahalia Jackson and Marian Anderson helped shape the civil rights movement.

    Eric Posner, the Kirkland & Ellis Professor in the Law School, wrote an op-ed that appeared in The New York Times Thursday, Jan. 13. Writing on the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Posner argued that it has proven incapable of resolving disputes and has had little authoritative influence on global justice. This judicial organ of the United Nations has lost favor among the United States, Britain and France because, Posner wrote, it has not been impartial in its judgments. “When their home countries are parties to litigation, judges vote in favor of them about 90 percent of the time. When their states are not parties, judges tend to vote for states that are more like their home states.” Posner also wrote that the International Criminal Court, established by treaty in 1998, is likely to develop the same reputation by following a similar path of partiality.

    The University’s Graduate School of Business European campus will move from Barcelona to London, and stories about the change in location appeared in the Monday, Jan. 24 Financial Times and the Tuesday, Jan. 25 Chicago Tribune. Edward Snyder, Dean of the GSB and the George Pratt Shultz Professor of Economics in the GSB, commented on how the University builds its own executive M.B.A. programs at its satellite campuses abroad. “The advantage is that it’s pure ‘Chicago’ in terms of faculty. We can keep very close tabs on the integrity of the program,” said Snyder in the Tribune story. “We want to be in direct control of the quality and the teaching. When it comes to non-degree work, we’re very happy to partner.”

    Bruce Meyer, the McCormick Tribune Professor in the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, was interviewed for a story published in the Thursday, Jan. 27 Christian Science Monitor. The article reported on a new welfare-reform policy being considered in New York, which would subsidize through an Earned Income Tax Credit the wages of low-income working fathers. The goal is to bring more low-income fathers into the workforce while increasing their financial and social involvement with their children. Meyer, a policy expert, said: “The thrust of social policy affecting poor families during the past 10 years has been to encourage single mothers to work, and, if they do, give them more support—and give them less, if they don’t. But we haven’t done anything to help support the very low-income fathers to get by or to encourage them to work, and there hasn’t been much to encourage them to be involved with their children. This proposal does all three.”