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UT News

In the Know

The June 28 weekly roundup of campus kudos and press mentions.

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Campus Kudos

University receives $19 million to monitor carbon storage project
The university will receive up to $19 million from the U.S. Department of Energy and NRG Energy to design and oversee a monitoring plan for a carbon capture and storage demonstration project in southeast Texas. The project will demonstrate advanced technology to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from a coal-fired power plant. This project will be among the first in the state of Texas, and one of only a handful in the world, to use anthropogenic CO2 as opposed to naturally occurring CO2 for enhanced oil recovery.

Educational Administration chair will lead Association of Community Colleges
Dr. Walter G. Bumphus, chair of the Department of Educational Administration in the College of Education, has been selected by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to serve as its next president/CEO. In his capacity as AACC president, Bumphus will lead a national organization of more than 1,200 regionally accredited public two-year colleges, the largest and fastest growing sector of higher education.

Professor’s new book chosen as best on union organizing
University of Texas at Austin Law Professor Julius G. Getman’s new book, “Restoring the Power of Unions: It Takes a Movement,” has been chosen as the best book on labor organizing in the private sector by Union Privilege, the member benefits arm of the American Federation of Labor — Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). The book will be the main topic of discussion for the Labor and Employment Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools at its January 2011 meeting in San Francisco.

Press Mentions

USA Today: Dating for a decade? Young adults aren’t rushing marriage
June 21

Supposedly, young adults don’t have much of an attention span — except when it comes to love.

That’s when it seems this generation of young people is giving new meaning to the words “long-term relationship.” Many are “a couple” for years, and some approach a decade of dating.

Brittney Locey, 25, who works in customer service in aerospace sales, says [she and her boyfriend] started dating in 2001 when she was 16. During that period, they broke up a couple of times and dated others.

Such on-again/off-again relationships are a new area of research, says René Dailey, assistant professor of communication studies at The University of Texas at Austin.

Dailey says many “redefine their relationship”; some change things about themselves or about the relationship and report resolving whatever problems they had. “It used to be, if they broke up, it’s over, and the relationship is done,” she said.

Bloomberg: BP spill may be less than doomsayers think: Tadeusz W. Patzek
June 22

Two months have passed since the blowout of the BP Plc exploratory Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico. Much more is now known about a string of fateful decisions taken in the course of drilling this well.

Individually, none of BP’s decisions would have caused the blowout, but their confluence led almost inevitably to the largest oil-related tragedy in U.S. history. Eleven people have died, a whole coastal region of the Gulf of Mexico has been devastated and it is uncertain that BP will survive the ordeal.

There is some good news, however: Most of the oil and gas spewing from the failed well is now being captured by BP engineers. Here is why.

The Wall Street Journal: What would you do with an extra hour?
June 23

Rising unemployment has left Americans with more spare time on their hands. But those free hours are largely being frittered away, a new government survey finds.

The average American aged 15 or older spent three hours, 11 minutes a day working in 2009, according to the American Time Use Survey released by the Labor Department on Tuesday. That’s 17 minutes less time a day engaged in work than in 2007, before the recession hit.

What did people do with that extra time?

In sum, time people might have used productively is instead being squandered, says University of Texas at Austin economist Daniel Hamermesh. “It’s not like we’re using the recession to build our skills — the skills are depreciating,” he says. “It’s a waste.”

BusinessWeek: BP bankruptcy in U.K. is Obama’s worst nightmare: Caroline Baum
June 24

It would be a “horror,” a “disaster,” according to lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, who was appointed by President Barack Obama to administer BP Plc’s $20 billion compensation fund for victims of the Gulf oil spill. “That is not an option.”

Feinberg was talking about a bankruptcy filing by BP in a Fox News interview.

How many companies are willing to face unlimited civil claims, the prospect of criminal prosecution and daily excoriation by the U.S. government before going on the offensive?

In the U.S., unlike in most countries, “you can file for bankruptcy even if you are perfectly solvent,” said Jay Westbrook, professor of law and a bankruptcy specialist at The University of Texas at Austin.

The New York Times: Global migration: A world ever more on the move
June 25

Gordon Brown’s rant about a “bigoted” voter sped his exit from the British prime minister’s post. What punctured his cool? Her complaint about immigrants. The congressman who shouted “You lie!” at President Obama was upset about immigrants. “Birthers” think Mr. Obama is an immigrant.

The United Nations estimates that there are 214 million migrants across the globe, an increase of about 37 percent in two decades. Their ranks grew by 41 percent in Europe and 80 percent in North America. “There’s more mobility at this moment than at any time in world history,” said Gary P. Freeman, a political scientist at The University of Texas at Austin.

Read last week’s In the Know.