Quick Takes: High Student Turnout in Iowa Helped Obama, Bush's Humanities Picks, Evolution vs. Creationism, 'Science' Stays in JSTOR, Drinking Patterns and Gender, NCAA's Blogging Limits

January 4, 2008
  • Polling from Thursday night's Iowa caucus suggests that student participation was high -- and strongly leaning for Sen. Barack Obama. According to the nonpartisan Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, 11 percent of eligible voters under the age of 30 participated in caucuses, up from 4 percent in 2004 and 3 percent in 2000. A Democratic group, Young Voter PAC, released data early Friday saying that young people made up 22 percent of those at Democratic caucuses, up from 17 percent in 2004. According to the Democrats, young voters made up only 11 percent of Republican caucus voters. CNN reported that 57 percent of Democratic voters under 30 backed Obama, with John Edwards a distant second at 14 percent.
  • Go Hoosiers. President Bush on Wednesday nominated six people for seats on the 23-member National Council on the Humanities, which reviews grants by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Three of the six teach in Indiana, where NEH Chairman Bruce Cole taught before moving to Washington for his current job. The new Indiana bloc on the council will include David M. Hertz, a professor of comparative literature at Indiana University at Bloomington; Marvin Scott, a professor of sociology at Butler University; and Jamsheed Kairshasp Choksy, a professor of central Eurasian studies and history at Indiana University at Bloomington. The other nominees are Dawn Ho Delbanco, who teaches art history at Columbia University; Gary D. Glenn, professor of political science at Northern Illinois University; and Carol M. Swain, professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University.
  • A new booklet from the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine offers an overview of research on evolution and creationism, finding that the former is sound science and the latter is anything but. "Science, Evolution and Creationism" won't surprise many scientists, but its intended audience is the public, where debates continue to flare. The booklet argues that religious faith and belief in evolution are not mutually exclusive. But teaching creationist beliefs in the classroom is a problem, the booklet says. "Teaching creationist ideas in science class confuses students about what constitutes science and what does not," the booklet says.
  • The journal Science is sticking with JSTOR after all. The journal, the flagship publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, announced in July that it would be leaving JSTOR, a popular online archive of scholarly journals. The move frustrated many librarians and scholars, who had hoped they could count on stability on JSTOR or other online archives. Details of the new arrangement were not released and a statement from the AAAS simply said that the journal would continue its "very productive relationship" with JSTOR.
  • While male college students typically drink more than female college students, a study published this month in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found a situation in which women drink more: at parties with themes, especially sexual themes or costume parties. Many of the other findings aren't shockers -- for example that those who play drinking games end up with higher blood-alcohol levels. But the research is being promoted as unusual because it is not based on self-reporting, but on researcher observation at 66 off-campus college parties.
  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association angered many bloggers and journalists in June when officials at a baseball playoff game ejected a blogger for The Louisville Courier-Journal, apparently fearful that his online reports might upset those paying the NCAA to broadcast games. The NCAA at the time said bloggers could report on atmosphere or the weather, but not what was taking place on the field. To many bloggers, this was a clear violation of freedom of expression. Now the NCAA has come up with new blogging rules, which attempt to limit how many times during a competition a blogger can provide information. Those blogging at NCAA bowling competitions can provide 10 updates per session. Those blogging at football games are limited to three updates per quarter, and one at halftime. The new rules aren't endearing the NCAA to technology-oriented journalists. In the words of a CNET blogger: "I'm sure there are folks at the NCAA that see its latest efforts as a reasoned compromise, but I think it just shows how out of touch they are. If I were the NCAA and there was someone passionate enough to deliver a blow-by-blow account of a college fencing match, I'd want to encourage that, maybe even buy them a non-alcoholic beer."
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