Culture

COLLEGE PARK, Maryland – "The unrelenting, month-by-month loss of American jobs throughout 2008 provides a revealing snapshot of our path into this recession," says University of Maryland economist Peter Morici, a professor in the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Morici predicted the recession early on – late last year when holiday sales proved disappointing.

Morici predicts the trend to continue with this Friday's release of November employment figures, forecasting the loss of nearly 300,000 more jobs.

Northern Europe has so far been free from invasive pest ants, but it seems just a matter of time until Lasius neglectus, a new ant that was discovered in 1990, will reach these latitudes and wreak havoc in parks and gardens of Northern Germany, Scandinavia and the British Isles.

Having discovered how a lowly, single-celled fungus regulates its version of cholesterol, Johns Hopkins researchers are gaining new insight about the target and action of cholesterol-lowering drugs taken daily by millions of people to stave off heart attacks and strokes. Their work appears in the December issue of Cell Metabolism.

In humans, statin drugs inhibit an enzyme, HMG-CoA reductase, to lower blood cholesterol. What's not as well understood are the multiple layers of control for the enzyme, especially the regulatory protein Insig.

COLLEGE PARK, MD. - A long history of terrorism in India precedes the recent coordinated attacks in Mumbai. The Global Terrorism Database (GTD), maintained at the University of Maryland by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) counts more than 4,100 terrorist attacks in India since 1970. Fatalities number in the thousands. This information is freely available online.

The GTD is the most comprehensive and detailed open-source terrorism database available. Funding comes from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

We regularly hear reports that laser printers release pathogenic toner dust into the ambient air. How much of it can we believe? What kind of particles do the printers really emit, and in what quantities? Researchers at the Fraunhofer Wilhelm Klauditz Institute WKI in Braunschweig are investigating this question in collaboration with colleagues from Queensland University of Technology QUT in Brisbane, Australia. The results are surprising: Contrary to numerous reports, laser printers release hardly any particles of toner into the air.

Everybody knows that skiers swishing down steep slopes can cause extensive slab avalanches. But there is a less well known phenomenon: A person skiing a gentle slope in the valley triggers a slab avalanche on a steeper slope, sometimes several hundred meters further uphill. This scenario doesn't seem to make sense – yet it claims human lives year after year.

Field test to demonstrate the anti-crack model.

(Photo Credit: A. van Herwijnen, Institut für Schnee- und Lawinenforschung, Davos)

PITTSBURGH— A recent Carnegie Mellon University CyLab survey of corporate board directors reveals a gap in board and senior executive oversight in managing cyber risks.

Based upon data from 703 individuals (primarily independent directors) serving on U.S-listed public company boards, only 36 percent of the respondents indicated that their board had any direct involvement with oversight of information security.

The survey also said that cybersecurity issues need to be seen as an enterprise risk management problem rather than an IT issue.

New Haven, Conn.—Organizations in the United States that are at the highest risk of sustaining damage from climate change are not adapting enough to the dangers posed by rising temperatures, according to a Yale report.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.--- Software deadlocks are the Catch-22s of the computer world. These common bugs can freeze the machine when different parts of a program end up in an endless cycle of waiting for one another as they access shared data.

University of Michigan researchers developed a new way around this problem with a controller that can anticipate and prevent situations that might cause deadlock.

Their controller is called Gadara. It's a plug-in that operates using feedback techniques similar to those that give us cruise control in cars and thermostats in heating systems.

Emergency room crowding is a national crisis. However, emergency room-focused interventions have seen little success. Researchers sought to determine if an active bed management, quality improvement initiative could have a positive effect on emergency room throughput and ambulance diversion.