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News Bureau - Illinois in the News

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  • Agricultural economics

    KUNC-FM (Greeley, Colo., Oct. 10) – President Donald Trump’s administration will allow a 15 percent gasoline-ethanol blend to be sold year-round. The move is welcomed by corn growers and biofuel groups. Scott Irwin, an agricultural economist at Illinois, says that, in the short term, “it’s not going to provide any relief from the low prices and income issues we’re experiencing right now in Corn Belt agriculture.”

  • Pygmalion Festival

    Paste (Opinion, Atlanta, Oct. 4) – Illinois’ Pygmalion Festival gets it right for college-aged folks and community members alike.

  • Supercomputing

    Space Coast Daily (Melbourne, Fla., Oct. 3) – A new model is bringing scientists a step closer to understanding the kinds of light signals produced when two supermassive black holes, which are millions to billions of times the mass of the sun, spiral toward a collision. For the first time, a new computer simulation that fully incorporates the physical effects of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity shows that gas in such systems will glow predominantly in ultraviolet and X-ray light. The simulation ran on the National Center for Supercomputing Applications’ Blue Waters supercomputer at Illinois.

  • Sexual harassment

    Pacific Standard (Santa Barbara, Calif., Oct. 3) – As the science community undergoes its own #MeToo movement, it’s run into a unique problem: Often, accused harassers have received federal grants to conduct studies or train students. What happens to that taxpayer money when scientists are faced with accusations, investigations by their employers, or findings of wrongdoing? “What if someone is doing experimental lab work and needs sign-offs on purchasing and that means interacting with their abuser, in order to do it?” says Kate Clancy, an anthropologist at Illinois­ who has studied sexual harassment in science extensively.

  • Mobile device security

    Wired (San Francisco, Sept. 26) – A team of researchers including Nikita Borisov, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Illinois, has discovered that websites loaded in mobile browsers can often access an array of mobile device sensors without any notifications or permissions.

  • Project 500

    On Thursday, Sept. 27, dozens of the original 500 African-Americans who were part of the original “Project 500” who went from Chicago, East St. Louis, Cairo, Champaign and Philadelphia high schools to the U. of I. in the nation’s first massive black student enrollment at a state school, return to celebrate

  • Alumnus

    The New York Times (Sept. 21) – Ankur Gopal, a U. of I. graduate from Owensboro, Kentucky, started Interapt, a software engineering company that offers courses in coding, in his basement in Louisville in 2011, when he was 35. Gopal is at the forefront of a new movement to bring money and jobs from the coastal capitals of high tech to a discouraged, outsource-whipped Middle America. “With millions of U.S. tech jobs out there,” Gopal says, “we could help transform eastern Kentucky. Well, hey – Middle America.”

  • Advertising

    CNN (Sept. 18) – On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union, law firm Outten and Golden and labor union Communications Workers of America filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Facebook and 10 other employers for allegedly using Facebook ads to discriminate against potential job seekers. Facebook isn’t the only company allowing advertisers to target ads, according to Mike Yao, a technology and advertising expert at Illinois. “Facebook is an easy target, but I think the problem goes way beyond Facebook,” he says.

  • Dietary Fiber

    Medical News Today (Bexhill-on-Sea, England, Sept. 17) – Eating fiber-rich foods might help delay brain aging by triggering the production of a short-chain fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties. The main takeaway of a new study was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology. “Dietary fiber can really manipulate the inflammatory environment in the gut,” says Rodney Johnson, a professor of animal sciences at Illinois.

  • Digital media

    Illinois News Network (Chicago, Sept. 13) – Facebook has donated more than $250,000 to Illinois state senators and representatives since 2015, spending that U. of I. digital media professor Mike Yao says may be more of an effort to pre-empt future regulatory measures or boost brand awareness than serious lobbying. “I see this as a brand communication strategy, meaning that now all the politicians are more aware of this platform called Facebook, they’ll pay more attention,” Yao says.