November 10, 2008
Vol. 28 No. 4

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    Chicago In the News

    The Chronicle’s biweekly column Chicago 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 University News Office Web site: http://news.uchicago.edu.

    Nick Epley

    Psychology of business
    Financial Times posted a series of three video lectures featuring Nick Epley, Professor of Behavior Science and the Neubauer Family Faculty Fellow, and his insights into how psychological research can give managers an edge in the workplace. The videos are titled “Making Unbiased Decisions,” in which Epley shows how vital information is unconsciously distorted or omitted when making choices; “Mind Reading at Work,” a look into bosses, colleagues and underlings; and “In Motivating Staff,” in which Epley says money is an overrated reward for employees. To view the videos, visit www.ft.com/businesseducation/chicago.

    Discovering a disconnect
    The Consortium on Chicago School Research released a study that found while grade school students have improved on state exams in the past five years, high school scores have flatlined. The group tracked test scores of three classes of Chicago students. Its goal was to determine what it would take for city students to score at least 20 on the ACT. The research, reported in the Friday, Oct. 31 Chicago Tribune, also suggests that meeting expectations in the elementary test are so low and in high school it so high that the disconnect between the tests is alarming. “It’s sending the wrong message when you’re being told [students] are doing well and two years later, you tell them they are doing terrible,” said John Q. Easton, Executive Director of the Consortium.

    Group’s cover hits note with author
    One of the University’s a capella groups made author Nick Hornby’s 2008 Playlist—songs that “flavored” the year for the author—in the Wednesday, Oct. 29 New York Times. The 13-member Voices In Your Head recorded a cover of Ben Folds’ “Magic,” which the High Fidelity author ranked No. 5 on his list. He said it was “proof that Ben Folds doesn’t need any help from me, or anyone else, apart from however many people are in a college a capella group: a heart-stopping cover of one of his most affecting songs.” For more information on the group, visit http://voicesinyourhead.org.

    Terkel’s oral histories his legacy
    The New York Times remembered author and Chicago historian and alumnus Studs Terkel in a Friday, Oct. 31 obituary. Terkel (Ph.B., ’32, J.D., ’34) helped establish oral history as a serious genre, first with his 1966 book Division Street: America, in a career highlighted with his 1985 Pulitzer Prize-winning book ‘The Good War’: An Oral History of World War II. Terkel was known for his ever-present tape recorder and conversational interviewing style, which shined in his radio work of WFMT. “I don’t have to stay curious. I am curious about all of it, all the time,” The Times once quoted him. “Curiosity never killed this cat—that’s what I’d like as my epitaph.” The Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune also wrote obituaries on Terkel.

    TV as an educational aide?
    The Graduate School of Business recently published a study that claims television may actually boost test scores, especially in disadvantaged homes. While the concerns of watching too much TV remain, according to a Wednesday, Oct. 29 Chicago Tribune article, the study found that TV can teach both modes of learning and facts, keeping the viewer from destructive behavior. The study compared standardized testing data of almost 350,000 sixth-, ninth- and 12th-grade students to figures from 1965. “It’s an open question how the ways in which television is different now than then would affect the data,” said Jesse Shapiro, Assistant Professor in Economics in the GSB. Shapiro and Matthew Gnetzkow, Associate Professor of Economics and the Neubauer Family Fellow, co-authored the study, which was published this year in the Quarterly Journal of Economics.

    Study: Diabetes costs skyrocket
    An increased number of patients, a growing reliance on multiple medications and the shift toward expensive new machines has doubled the annual cost of diabetes of diabetes drugs nearly doubled in only six years—from $6.7 billion in 2001 to $12.5 billion in 2007—according to a University-led study in the Monday, Oct. 27 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. “Although more patients and more medications per patient played a role, the single greatest contributor to increasing costs is the use of newer, more expensive medications,” said lead author Caleb Alexander, Assistant Professor of Medicine. “But new drugs don’t automatically lead to better outcomes.” The study found that the number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes rose from 10 million in 1994 to 19 million in 2007. The study also was reported on the Reuters news wire.

    Maroons player up for award
    Fourth-year Jim McAnelly, the starting center for the Maroons football team, has been named as a semifinalist for the Draddy Trophy, often referred to as the “Academic Heisman.” McAnelly, a Political Science concentrator who is focusing on national security, carries a 3.7 grade-point average. His grades are well above the 3.2 average needed to be considered for the award, which the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame award annually. “I didn’t know anything about it beforehand, but it’s an honor to be considered,” McAnelly said in a Wednesday, Oct. 29 article in the Aurora Beacon News.