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Quick Takes: F-Word Editor at Colorado State Keeps Job, Big Win for RIAA, Clinton Vows to Defend Science, Biden's Education Plan, Ig Nobel Prizes, 'Pimpin' Film Leads to Prof's Suspension, Protests Over Berkeley-BP Deal

October 5, 2007
  • J. David McSwane, who wrote the now notorious editorial about President Bush for The Rocky Mountain Collegian, will keep his job. The editorial contained two words, one of them starting with an F, and set off many calls for McSwane to lose his position as the top editor at the student paper at Colorado State University. But The Rocky Mountain News reported that at a hearing Thursday, the board that oversees the newspaper voted to admonish McSwane, calling the editorial "unethical and unprofessional" and a violation of the newspaper's ban on the use of profane words in opinion writing. But the board declined to fire McSwane.
  • The Recording Industry Association of America, which is continuing to threaten to sue students and others for file sharing of music, had a big legal win on Thursday. While the victory didn't come in a case involving a student, experts predicted it would encourage the RIAA to stick with a tough line on file sharing. In the first suit over file sharing that the recording industry has argued before a jury, a Minnesota woman was ordered to pay $220,000 to six music labels after the jury found that she violated copyright through file sharing, CNET News reported.
  • Sen. Hillary Clinton, the front runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, marked the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik by vowing to end the Bush administration's "war on science." Clinton reiterated a series of previous pledges she has made, such as increased funding for research, a loosening of restrictions on stem cell research, and an end to political interference in the work of federal science officials. "For six and half years under this president, it’s been open season on open inquiry. And by ignoring or manipulating science, the Bush administration is letting our economic competitors get an edge in the global economy,” Clinton said.
  • Sen. Joe Biden, another candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, released his education platform Thursday. Biden is calling for the creation of a tax refund equal to the average cost of attending a public community college so that all students would be assured of at least two years of higher education. He is also calling for larger Pell Grants, and new grants to states to help them hire more elementary and secondary school teachers.
  • Nobel Prizes will be announced next week, so that means it's time for the annual Ig Nobel Prizes, which were awarded Thursday night. This year's winners were honored for research on the side effects of sword swallowing (medicine), how sheets get wrinkled (physics), bed bugs (biology), extracting vanilla fragrance from cow dung (chemistry), rats' inability to tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards or Dutch forwards (linguistics), the "gay bomb" that may be used some day to make enemy soldiers find each other irresistible to each other (peace), problems in alphabetization created by the word "the" (literature), and the impact on appetite of a self-refilling bowl of soup (nutrition).
  • Robert L. Birmingham, a law professor at the University of Connecticut, has agreed to a leave for the rest of the semester after a dispute over a film, "Really, Really Pimpin' in Da South," that he screened for two courses -- one on topic (a pimp in the film was in a legal case the class was studying) and other not (students requested the film), The Hartford Courant reported. In both viewings, Birmingham stopped the film on a frame showing scantily clad women.
  • About 40 protesters at the University of California at Berkeley assembled an eight-foot high Trojan Horse and spilled molasses on the sidewalk to protest the university's new research collaboration with the energy giant BP, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The protesters argue that the university is giving too much control and too much prestige to BP, but the university has defended the consortium as one that will lead to significant breakthroughs in environmental research.
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