Mogul field at Riflesight Notch in Winter Park, Colorado. (Photo credit: David Bahr)

The magic motion of moguls

March 1, 2010

Gravity always wins, one might think. Avalanches roar and skiers plunge inexorably downhill. But moguls—or bumps, as they’re known by skiers—move uphill. Just ask lead researcher David Bahr, a Regis University professor and former CU geological sciences PhD student; Tad Pfeffer, a professor of civil, environment, and architectural engineering at...

Members of a community in Brazil gather to vote as part of a participatory program. While these programs may improve empowerment and accountability, they might not provide the overwhelming gains in well-being that many organizations are promoting.

Participatory budgeting no ‘magic bullet,’ study finds

March 1, 2010

Participatory governance is the darling of policymakers and world-organizations seeking to improve the well-being of the impoverished. The claim is that by increasing the citizens’ direct involvement with the decision-making process, the quality of their lives will improve. However, it may not bring about such dramatic changes and is no...

Michael Yarus, professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at the University of Colorado (Photo credit: Emily Krauter)

Tiny RNA molecule, big implications for origin of life

March 1, 2010

An extremely small RNA molecule created by a University of Colorado team can catalyze a key reaction needed to synthesize proteins, the building blocks of life. The findings could be a substantial step toward understanding “the very origin of Earthly life,” the lead researcher contends. The smallest RNA enzyme ever...

Cartoon of brain

A blue note on antidepressants

March 1, 2010

Study finds that, for many, drugs work no better than placebos, but resulting firestorm may have obscured nuances Newsweek heralded the “depressing news about antidepressants” and suggested that drugs like Prozac are “basically expensive Tic Tacs.” CNN also headlined the “startling news” and suggested that “antidepressants don’t work.” Commentators in...

Cartoon of man hugging giant tail titled "Social Media"

All the news that’s fit to Twitter

Dec. 1, 2009

Cartoon courtesy of Natural Hazards Observer - During major events and crises, social media’s importance is rising The alleged plot to “hide the homeless” during the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver foreshadowed Tweets and blog posts to come. A month before the convention, the blogosphere was atwitter because...

Flags of China and Taiwan

Posturing aside, Taiwan clasps hands with China

Dec. 1, 2009

Politicians may talk tough about rival nations, but business people’s actions may be a better barometer of international relations. That’s one conclusion of Steve Chan, a political science professor at the University of Colorado who says conventional political theories don’t explain why China has become Taiwan’s most important trading partner,...

Elissa Guralnick, a University of Colorado professor of English

As composer converses with poet, students are ‘awesomed out’

Dec. 1, 2009

Harold Bloom, the noted literary critic, Yale professor and author of “The Western Canon,” has said that teaching Emily Dickinson’s poems leaves him with fierce headaches, “since the difficulties force me past my limits.” How, then, are undergraduate students supposed to appreciate Dickinson? Elissa Guralnick, a University of Colorado professor...

Illustration of the NASA Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE. Image courtesy of NASA.

India’s big gulp raising sea level and concern

Dec. 1, 2009

Illustration of the NASA Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE. Image courtesy of NASA. Northern India’s groundwater is being pumped onto farm fields faster than it can be replenished by monsoons, and the rate of loss is accelerating, a recent study co-authored by a University of Colorado researcher has...

A house is shown surrounded by coal fly ash after a retention pond near Kingston Fossil Plant in Tennessee overflowed.

Tons of sludge, tons of questions

Oct. 1, 2009

Just after midnight on Dec. 22, 2008, 5.4 million cubic yards of coal-fly ash overflowed a retention pond near the Kingston Fossil Plant in Tennessee. The event, which is still being sorted out, made for a perfect case study for Jill Litt's critical-thinking class.

A satellite image of the World Trade Center attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (Image courtesy: NASA)

If terrorists sow fear, they get a mixed harvest

Oct. 1, 2009

A satellite image of the World Trade Center attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (Image courtesy: NASA) Terrorism incites fear designed to coerce governments to act, according to definitions of “terrorism” in U.S. law, in U.N. resolutions and elsewhere. But terrorism often prompts as much anger and retaliation as fear and...