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NEWS 2/5/09 6:00pm

Commentary: Detroit Lions major help for college football fans

"Lion football practice was delayed on Monday for two hours when one of the players looked down and noticed a suspicious-looking, unknown powdery substance on the practice field. He alerted the coaches, who immediately suspended practice and called the FBI to investigate. After a complete field analysis, the FBI determined the white substance, unknown to the players, was the goal line. Practice was resumed when FBI Special Agents decided that the team would not be likely to encounter the substance again." -http://ryansimmons.net/ michifun/lions.html


NEWS 2/5/09 6:00pm

Rice changes budget

In response to a 20 to 25 percent loss in the endowment's value, President David Leebron announced a 5 percent university-wide budget cut on funding from unrestricted sources last Wednesday during January's plenary meeting of the faculty. Deans and vice presidents will be responsible for including a 5 percent budget reduction individually in each academic school and administrative division's financial plans for the 2010 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The overall reduction amounts to approximately $13 million, 3 percent of the entire university budget and a $7 million increase over the budget cuts announced Dec. 1 last year. Portions of the budgets and endowment, which are restricted for certain uses, such as scholarships, will not be affected by the cut.



NEWS 2/5/09 6:00pm

Dude, that's Wyrd: The Rice Players take to the stage with their latest production

Somewhere deep within the Rice Players' production of Wyrd Sisters, an entertaining and fast-paced show is struggling to break free.Unfortunately, its struggle is ill-fated. Trapped by static, repetitive staging and questionable direction by Brown College senior Thomas Mings, the performance constantly trips over itself and never manages to find a steady rhythm. The result is a haphazard, arduous test of audience endurance that generates more awkwardness than applause.


NEWS 2/5/09 6:00pm

Sid Richardson masters resign

After four years as masters of Sid Richardson College and one year away from completing their term, masters Michael Orchard and Melissa Marschall resigned Wednesday night. Sid President Claire Shorall said they plan to take a sabbatical next year and remain at Sid as associates upon their return. The announcement was made at Sid's weekly council meeting. At the meeting, Orchard, and electrical engineering professor, and Marschall, a political science professor, said they will remain in their role through the end of the semester and step down to allow new masters to take over at the beginning of the next academic year.


NEWS 2/5/09 6:00pm

New meal plans proposed for off-campus students, seniors

Seniors and off-campus students may soon see another option on the list of meal plan choices if barriers to planning such a drastic change can be overcome. The new plan, a joint effort between the Student Association and Residential Dining Director David McDonald, will explore the feasibility of a meal option that would allow seniors and off-campus students to purchase a yearly package of 10 meals per week.


NEWS 2/5/09 6:00pm

Serveries may drop trays

Away from home and their mothers, some Rice students are not eating everything that's on their plate, and as food costs rise, Rice is looking to keep down costs by encouraging students to avoid taking more than they can eat. In October, the South Servery introduced Wasteless Wednesdays - a day when trays were prohibited - as part of a class project sponsored by Director of Sustainability Richard Johnson. The benefits of these Wasteless Wednesdays included a 30 percent reduction in food waste, and not washing the trays saved 11 percent in water and chemical usage at every meal.


NEWS 2/5/09 6:00pm

New in Town not all that new

Playing on multiple clichés doesn't make a film deep or multi-faceted, it just makes the movie one big, dopey cliché with no real meaning whatsoever. Such is the case with Renee Zellweger's latest movie, New In Town. With themes that aren't all that new, the film relies on tired storylines that are simultaneously boring and cheesy.New In Town centers on metropolitan executive Lucy Hill (Leatherhead's Zellweger), who moves to supervise a small town factory in the cold climate of Minnesota. The heroine predictably falls in love with the warm-hearted union representative (Living Proof's Harry Connick Jr.) and makes friends with the small town's folk (Baby Mama's Siobhan Fallon and Burn After Reading's J.K. Simmons). In the end, Lucy not only gives up her old, flashy lifestyle, but also helps the rural town survive the mighty corporation's threats. The film makes the statement that Lucy is not just your everyday heroine, but also a defender of human rights . and of the secret tapioca recipe. How corny.


NEWS 2/5/09 6:00pm

Saturday's Sports Update: Women's basketball falls to UH

The women's basketball team made the short trip across town to the University of Houston today for part-two of their cross-town rivalry, in which they were looking to avenge a hard-fought loss at Tudor Fieldhouse on Wednesday. The two teams came out with strikingly different demeanors. While the Owls could not make more than a single bucket in the first six minutes of the game, the Cougs put up an easy 14. Houston accumulated a 14-point lead at 23-9, their largest of the game, with eight minutes left in the half.


NEWS 2/5/09 6:00pm

SA makes good choice with trayless resolution

As the evidence piles up indicating that the removal of trays will result in lower water bills and electricity costs for Rice's servery system, we have to applaud the Student Association's proposed resolution supporting the measure (see story, page 1). We also greatly appreciate that H&D chose not to exercise its right to act unilaterally in this decision and instead chose to collaborate with the student body.Preliminary test-runs of the trayless program - "Wasteless Wednesdays" at the south servery - have shown upwards of a 30 percent reduction in food waste and an 11 percent reduction in water usage at each meal, and we firmly believe that any type of practical cost reduction is a welcome sign, especially in today's economic climate.


NEWS 2/5/09 6:00pm

New physics building will bring prestige

The new Brockman Hall for Physics, slated to be completed in December 2010, should be heralded as a welcome addition to the Rice campus (see story, page 4). Although the construction may hamper our peace and quiet, the resulting building will create the perfect amount of peace and quiet that our physicists require to conduct their experiments.The Physics and Astronomy Department may already command much of the administration's attention, but Rice should do everything possible to ensure that its achievements attract more focus outside the hedges. Rice's physicists have already garnered praise for their research, and their move to the state-of-the-art of Brockman Hall will allow them to pursue ever more ambitious experimental goals . At the very least, Rice will have a new recruiting tool, since the building will be attractive to both potential students and potential faculty, and that, of course, is a very good thing.


NEWS 2/5/09 6:00pm

Debate considers pros, cons of public service academy

[Editor's Note: This story's original online posting attributed all of U.S. Public Service Academy Co-Founder Shawn Raymond's quotes to his partner, Chris Myers Asch, who was not present at the debate. The story has been updated to rectify the mistake (Sunday, Feb. 15)]The United States has five universities dedicated to military service but none for public civilian service. Advocates of this idea, Shawn Raymond, co-founder of the U.S. Public Service Academy, and Philip Levy, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, discussed the pros and cons of the creation of such an academy in a debate held in the Rice Memorial Center Tuesday.



NEWS 1/29/09 6:00pm

SA election, O-Week spur involvement

If you're going to be at Rice for the 2009-'10 academic year and you're reading my column, then you're probably looking for one of two things: sage, unsolicited advice about how to live your life or sophomoric jokes about how awesome beer is. Today I have more of the former and less of the latter.The results of the next few weeks of this academic year constitute what is the most significant indication of how successful and fun the undergraduate population will find the next school year. Many colleges will soon elect a president and governing body; dozens of candidates and applicants are crossing their fingers and fighting for Orientation Week coordinator bids at the nine established colleges and the two mysterious new colleges; and an alarmingly charming Student Association Elections Chair announced the beginning of SA election season this past Monday.


NEWS 1/29/09 6:00pm

Yes We Can: Fashion inside the hedges isn't a hopeless case

Starting with this week, the Thresher is going to have its very own fashion column. Now, I know what you're thinking: "Fashion? What? At Rice? Um, no." And I'm not going to lie; when I first came to Rice, I thought the exact same way.Every day I watched droves of people walk to class in their hoodies and jeans, pajamas and sweats, without a care for what they were wearing. As someone who chooses to spend 20 minutes of every morning just staring at her wardrobe, who dares to brave the academic quad in heels, I found it disheartening to discover that my peers did not share the passion that I had for getting dressed.


NEWS 1/29/09 6:00pm

Solar Decathlon team aims to create sustainable home

This year, Rice's Solar Decathlon team is turning a house into a home. Their solar-panel powered house has been four years in the making, and in October it will compete in a national competition in Washington, D.C. before being donated to a family here in Houston.The Department of Energy accepts proposals from 20 teams internationally every two years to participate in the Solar Decathlon competition, displaying the exhibitions of new energy-efficient technologies and sustainable designs on the Mall in Washington DC.


NEWS 1/29/09 6:00pm

Minors tangible results of student innovation

Once upon a time, the Thresher expressed displeasure that the Faculty Senate had chosen to lay the groundwork for Rice to introduce minors to the undergraduate curriculum ("Minors programs call for proper treatment," May 19, 2006). The editorial staff expressed concern that a wave of new minors could possibly overtax already-stressed students and cheapen major curriculum by stretching department resources. However, we of the current editorial board must say that so far, the spate of introduced minors has not given us any cause for concern, and most, including the newly proposed neuroscience minor, have left us impressed (see story, page 1). We applaud the initiative and motivation shown by those students who in recent months and years have worked to introduce new interdisciplinary studies in the form of minors. Far from stretching resources, these minors - business, sociology and the recently approved Jewish studies - have opened doors for students to take advantage of the best in multiple departments, not the worst.


NEWS 1/29/09 6:00pm

Campus Reaction

"Currently, Rice offers no classes in neuroscience to undergraduate students or classes taught by Rice professors. But with the aid of resourceful undergraduates and the possible help of a merger with Baylor College of Medicine, Rice could create a neuroscience minor. What do you think about this possible minor?


NEWS 1/29/09 6:00pm

Women's tennis rebounds with home win after UT loss

The women's tennis team has found a consistent force and unexpected star in redshirt freshman Jessica Jackson, who has yet to lose a match this year in singles play. This past weekend, Jackson and the Owls (3-1) traveled to Austin, where they lost a 1-6 decision to the 16th-ranked University of Texas before returning home to put away Sam Houston State by the reverse score. According to Jackson, the players were optimistic about their chances against the Longhorns.


NEWS 1/29/09 6:00pm

Podcasting possesses power to aid present, future students

One of the great things about college, especially at a university like Rice, is the plethora of technology available to guide students in learning. The Digital Media Center offers both video and photographic cameras for student use as well as programs and classes to help them create DVDs and Web pages. But as I browsed through my iTunes account the other day, I was taken by a particular feature that Rice could use: more podcasts.Essentially, a podcast is a media file that can either be audio (like an mp3 file and most music) or video file. The iTunes store has free podcasts with topics ranging from sports to science to politics and virtually everything in between. Podcasts are simple tools - and cheap if done through the Digital Media Center - that the university could use more to not only help its current students but also aid future matriculants.