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Thursday, June 20, 2024 — Houston, TX

Special Projects


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

Goyer gives birth to a stinker with The Unborn

The only thing this movie got right is its title, because after a single viewing, viewers will wish it had crawled back into its cinematic womb and died.The Unborn churned out a solid financial performance at the box office - $21.1 million - on a very slow weekend with little competition. When news of its low critical approval, which reached a pathetic 13 percent on RottenTomatoes.com, spreads to the public, its box office total should plummet. But how did the film sell out hundreds of theaters on opening night? The trailer.


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

In the eye of the sun

Throughout the world, the importance of the energy crisis is clear. At Rice University, the need for clean, efficient energy has prompted innovative solutions.Since 2004, the Chemistry Department has been searching for a way to build solar cells based on the model of the human retina's rods and cones in order to provide a cheaper and more efficient way to utilize solar power. In conjunction with Swansea University in Wales, Chemistry Department Chair Andrew R. Barron and student researchers have been coating carbon nanotubes with semiconductor particles to generate electricity using photons. This semester, the Chemistry Department has made advances in revolutionizing the way that solar panels are used by making them more efficient and accessible to common consumers.


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

Backpage's Voyages Through the Annals of History

Welcome to the Backpage's Journey through the Annals of History! Because the Backpage can't go online each week, we've chosen to dig up an article from the Thresher's past and put it online for the world to rediscover. We've also recorded two audio readings in case all these words get too burdensome on your eyes. Please enjoy and send any comment to backpage@rice.edu.


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

Animal Collective's newest album makes even cloudy days Merriweather

When Animal Collective released Feels in 2005, reviewers deemed it their most accessible album to date. When they released Strawberry Jam in 2007, reviewers once again slapped the "accessible" label on its cover.Merriweather Post Pavilion will inevitably receive the same treatement, and while the assertion is not entirely incorrect, to say that anything Animal Collective produces is more "accessible" than anything they have previously released is to miss the point entirely.


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

Applications for 2013 class surpass 10,000, breaks record

Exceeding last year's count of over 9,700 applicants, Rice University broke records again, attracting more than 10,000 applications this year for the first time in its history. For the class of 2013, Rice received 720 applications for Early Decision, compared to 661 applications in 2007 and 517 applications in 2006. Of the 720 applications, Rice accepted about 200 students.


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

KTRU's pick of the week

The compilation Bollywood Steel Guitar, on the Sublime Frequencies label, is an engaging collection of some of the best Indian steel guitar pop music from 1962-'86. The album contains 21 tracks collected by Stuart Ellis and features such greats as Van Shipley, Kazi Aniruddha and Charanjit Singh in their finest moments performing for Bollywood film soundtracks.The music featured on Bollywood Steel Guitar is highly evocative. Each artist's individual style brings to mind the setting of their respective movies without the need for a visual aid, a feat that few modern movie soundtracks can accomplish on their own.


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

Women's 2009 Track & Field Preview

The women's track and field team has built an expectation for excellence with winning performances over the past two seasons. With four conference championships, as well as a host of national qualifiers and scorers, these runners, jumpers, vaulters and throwers want only to continue their successes this year. The quest for repeat championships begins this Friday at the Leonard Hilton Memorial Invitational held at the Yeoman Fieldhouse on the University of Houston campus. The meet will feature varied competition for the Owls, including No. 1-ranked Texas A&M University. Other competition will include the University of Texas, host school University of Houston, McNeese State University, University of Texas-San Antonio, Sam Houston State University, Stephen F. Austin University, Texas State University and Lamar University.


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

Two tallies tout Rice as fourth best-value university

Rice was ranked fourth last week on both the Princeton Review and Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine's lists of best value private schools for 2009, falling from the number one position it held on last year's Princeton Review and improving by one spot on Kiplinger's list. The lists compiled data from private campuses across the country. Schools were ranked on the basis of academic quality, student opinion and financial aid packages. Other consistently high-ranked institutions include Princeton, Harvard and Yale universities.


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

Best value ranking sits a little low for comfort

Rice has always been about getting a good education for the best value. From the free-tuition policy that lasted more than 50 years after the university's opening day to the No. 1 "Best Value" ranking in last year's Princeton Review, maintaining the ability to educate students more effectively while charging less than our competitors has been central in Rice's institutional goals since day one. This is why we hope that Rice's placement of only fourth-best on two separate best value lists is only temporary (see story, page 1). It is true while we fell from the top spot in the aforementioned Princeton Review, we did rise one slot from fifth in Kiplinger's Personal Finance, but it might be worth asking: why did we stop the ascent at number four?Certain other universities took the spots ahead of us: Swarthmore, Harvard and Princeton in the Princeton Review, and California Institute of Technology, Yale and Princeton in Kiplinger's. Most of these schools sport tens of billions of dollars in endowment funds, and, consequently, no-loan thresholds higher than the clouds - a factor to which both sets of rankings give great weight. Rice has some reason to complain, though, since the rankings came out before the administration announced a raise in our own no-loan threshold from $60,000 to $80,000 ("Rice modifies financial aid," Jan. 9).


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

International notability a good sign

If it seemed like there were a lot more tour groups going around than usual last semester, you probably were not imagining things. For the Fall 2009 incoming class, a record 10,818 prospective students applied to matriculate at Rice, an 11.5% spike from the 9,812 who sent in materials last year (see story, page 1). But it is not just that more students were applying - approximately 28 percent of those who applied early decision were offered admission, a wide margin over last year's 24 percent who were allowed in early. When this influx of new students arrive on campus next year, there's also a higher probability that they will be from somewhere other than the United States, as the number of those applying from abroad was 28 percent higher than last year.Combined with the 63 percent spike in worldwide applicants we saw last year, this glut of incoming internationals is a welcome change. But perhaps change isn't the correct word, as Rice has long been viewed as having one of the best class-race interrelations in the nation ("Princeton Review ranks Rice No. 2 for quality of life, race/class interaction," Aug. 22). Still, an increase in diversity, regardless of whether or not we had already attained a suitable level, is commendable.


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

Men's basketball breaks 19-game conference losing streak

The men's basketball team's conference drought stretched a span of nearly two years, but as of last Wednesday, the Owls' Conference USA woes are no more. Although they lost the C-USA opener against Tulane University, Rice (6-10. 1-1 C-USA) rocked Southern Methodist University at home on Wednesday to heave the season's biggest remaining monkey off their back. The Owls will attempt to continue their mastery of home play in tomorrow afternoon's match-up against the University of Central Florida at Tudor Fieldhouse. UCF's (11-6, 0-2 C-USA) biggest threat is preseason all C-USA guard Jermaine Taylor. Taylor is averaging a league-leading 23.7 points per game and has been instrumental in the Knights' hot start, which includes a close loss to the University of Memphis in their C-USA opener.


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

Owl see you in the kitchen

Hanszen College sophomore Courtney Ng and Jones College seniors Caroliuna Simao and Chuan Li adorn a brownie in the shape of an owl during the Rice Memorial Center's Snack Attack Wednesday night in the Grand Hall.


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

Data show modest increases in Rice faculty salaries, continuing salary disparities based on gender

In 2007-'08, Rice University faculty earned the highest average faculty salaries and compensations of any Texas university, according to data published by the American Association of University Professors. In that term the average salary for Rice faculty members was $103,700. When benefits are included, the average compensation for all Rice faculty members was $129,100.The data also showed that salary disaprities continue to exist between male and female faculty members.


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

Men's 2009 Tennis Preview

What is leadership? Is it the respect automatically assigned to the eldest, the veterans and the weathered? Or is it something earned, something found when the obstacles are toughest and the chips are at their lowest? This is the question the men's tennis team has dealt with in the weeks before the dawning of their spring season. Traditionally, those at the top of the ladder - such as junior Bruno Rosa, currently ranked 26th in the nation - would be the ones steering the team. But a glut of highly-touted, highly-talented freshmen has made the idea of team leadership a bit more opaque.


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

Owls continue search for offense in pair of road losses

After a decisive victory against George Washington University last week, it seemed as though the women's basketball team was on an upswing, but youth and inconsistency once again undercut the Owls' efforts. Rice traveled to El Paso last Friday to take on the University of Texas-El Paso in the first conference game of the season. From the start, the Owls seemed to carry with them the momentum from the win against GW: For the fourth time in two seasons, Rice carried a halftime lead into the locker room.


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

Science and faith not totally separate, exclusive domains

This winter break, I ran into a peculiar type of person. Most of you know the type I'm talking about - the one who thinks Ann Coulter is funny and who honestly has more respect for the talk show hosts who ridicule our politicians than the politicians themselves. The type who associates to the point of confusion the ideals of our Founding Fathers, those of the Republican Party and those of the Bible. The worst part was that they were related to me.On the other side of things, though, are people like my roommate from last year, whose devotion to the Democratic Party was total and unquestioning. Someone who was disappointed in both Democratic candidates because they were not radical enough. Someone who seemed to take the highly polemic work of Richard Dawkins at face value.


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

Rice overlooks out-of-state students

Over the last few years, we've seen the introduction of a new campus-wide marketing effort and new slogans and taglines to broaden Rice's footprint in the college market. The driving motivation behind the implementation of all these changes was to break Rice's regionalized reputation as the "Harvard of the South" and to begin to draw students more heavily from schools outside of Texas. While some say that the measures we have taken as a university - making phrases like "Unconventional Wisdom" and "Who Knew?" the most prominent verbal associations with our name - are actually cheapening our reputation, that's not the point of this article.My point is that, for all the money we're putting into advertising, we should be experiencing tremendous returns. But when I go home, most people I talk to have never heard of Rice, and half of those who have don't know whether it's in Houston or Austin. Financing isn't the only support that a project of this scale needs. If we're really trying to draw out-of-state students, the administration - with the help of the Faculty Senate - needs to make efforts to accommodate them.


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

New hygiene product can aid green effort

Every time I tune into the increasingly prevalent environmental news, everywhere from documentaries to commercials to blogs to newspaper headlines, I tend to feel like the sky is falling and the world is burning (or, rather, melting). It's easy to feel like there is nothing we, as mere players in such a vast system, can do to make a difference. But there is. There is the truism of "recycle, reduce, reuse," and while they are all as important as ever, the "reduce" facet deserves more attention than it normally gets. Well, maybe it is time to look into this "reduce" concept.Luckily, there is something relatively new on the horizon that most people probably don't know about yet. And you'll have to excuse me, guys, because although the environmental issue affects all of us, this column is mainly directed at women. Enter: the menstrual cup.


NEWS 1/15/09 6:00pm

Men's 2009 Track & Field Preview

The University of Houston Cougars continue to become an increasingly larger target on the Rice University Athletic Department's office dartboard. Not only did the football team circle the final tilt on the 2008 schedule against UH as an important matchup that could possibly make or break their season, head men's track and field coach Jon Warren (Jones '88) has stated that the Houston men's indoor track team will be a competitive rival in the battle for the Conference USA men's indoor track title.