Category Archives: In the News

Sunil Dasgupta, Political Science, Interview with the National Bureau of Asian Research

The National Bureau of Asian Research has posted an extensive new interview (PDF version) with Sunil Dasgupta, director of UMBC’s political science program at Shady Grove, and the Brookings Institution’s Stephen Cohen, co-authors of “Arming without Aiming: India’s Military Modernization.” Dasgupta and Cohen describe the nature of U.S.-India relations broadly and focus on the limited success of their military collaborations, highlighted by India’s recent rejection of offers from U.S. firms to compete for a combat aircraft worth over $10 billion.

Dasgupta and Cohen argue that Congress and U.S. policymakers must look at South Asia as an integrated region, where India, Pakistan and Afghanistan are connected in complex ways. “The U.S.-India relationship has been transformed,” they write, “but the U.S. government… is not organized to deal appropriately with a rising India. […] What the United States needs to do next is to identify, fund, and staff projects on one or two key technologies where actual cooperation can proceed at pace rather than engage in a wide array of mostly token and ineffective dialogues.”


Robert Provine, Psychology, on “Big Picture Science”

Robert Provine, professor of psychology, was featured on an episode of the syndicated radio program “Big Picture Science” to discuss his expertise on laughter.

The episode “Know Laughing Matter,” aired July 18, featured information about the evolutionary purpose of laughter, other species that laugh and other news and discoveries about laughter. Provine’s interview begins about 10 minutes into the show.

Warren Belasco, American Studies, in the Sacramento Bee

Traditional fair food includes hot dogs and funnel cakes, but at fairs around the country, more exotic choices abound, the Sacramento Bee reported in a July 17 story entitled “Corn Dogs Get Some Very Curious Company.” For example, at the California state fair, attendees can sample maggot sandwiches and grilled raccoon, fried scorpions and dried crickets.

Warren Belasco, professor of American studies, thinks the exotic food trend has something to do with TV programs such as “Fear Factor” and “Survivor.”

“It sounds like a byproduct of the extreme eating stunts on various reality shows,” he said.

AARP Highlights Research by UMBC Center for Aging Studies

In the latest issue of Maryland’s AARP Bulletin, UMBC research Kathryn de Medeiros describes how a new Center for Aging Studies research project was prompted by the growing number of childless older women. Generativity in the Lives of Older Women (GLOW) is a four-year project led by de Medeiros and Robert Rubinstein aimed at better understanding how older women without children invest themselves in future generations.

People often wrongly assume older women are mothers and/or grandmothers. In reality, approximately 20% of people 65 and over in the U.S. were “childless” in 2011—a figure that is expected to grow to 30% in 2030. GLOW researchers will interview 200 women to explore their views on the meaning that not having children has had in their lives; talk about ways they have influenced future generations through volunteerism, teaching, passing along personal objects and other creative activities; and discuss their plans for managing future health care needs, which might include family caregiving. This study will allow the researchers to learn more about an important yet often overlooked population with an eye to helping service organizations and policymakers rethink assumptions about family structure in older age.

Robert Provine, Psychology, in the News

The world’s first “tickle spa” has opened in Spain, and professor of psychology Robert Provine doesn’t understand the appeal.

“Usually, people seeking a massage are seeking relaxation. Tickle is getting your blood pressure and heart rate up,” he tells in a story entitled “Laugh it up: ‘Tickle spa’ opens in Spain.” The story appeared on the website on July 12.

Provine’s work was also recently covered in the Juneau Empire in a June 22 story entitled “Laughter: A Cure for What Ails You,” and in a July 6 Minneapolis City Pages story entitled “Laugh Yoga Practitioners Guffaw Their Way to Good Health.”

Ellen Handler Spitz, Honors College, on Australian National Radio

Ellen Handler Spitz, Honors College professor of visual arts, will be featured on Australian National Radio’s “ABC National Radio Book Show” at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 15.

The topic of the show will be L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” which Spitz recently reviewed in a column entitled “Yellow Brick Philosophy” in The New Republic.

Norris Calls Out Hypocrisy on Dream Act Flip-Flop

WBAL continued its coverage of Maryland’s referendum on a bill offering in-state tuition to undocumented students who fit certain criteria with a new investigative piece on the shifting positions of state politicians. UMBC chair of public policy Donald Norris suggested some GOP legislators’ new support for the referendum, after having voted previously for the bill, is “about political advantage” rather than principle. Norris clarified, “The Democrats would do the same thing” in another situation. When asked about the role of referendums in Maryland politics, where Republicans are seeking alternative ways to have an impact on a Democratic-controlled state house, Norris said, “I don’t think one referendum tells us that there is a trend… I think it would be too cumbersome to try to govern by referendum.”