USC in the News

USC in the News 12/3 to 12/5/2011

The New York Times highlighted research by Shrikanth Narayanan of the USC Viterbi School involving computer analyses of emotional speech. The story noted that computers can detect irate language in marital counseling arguments, because when spouses blame each other the word "you" is more common than the word "I." "We are constantly trying to calculate pitch very accurately," Narayanan said. His lab is also studying the use of vocal cues to spot inebriation.

The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed by Carol Muske-Dukes of the USC Dornsife College, poet laureate of California, on impressions left by her mother's ability to recite poems. Muske-Dukes heard her mother reciting Tennyson, Wordsworth, Longfellow and other great poets throughout the day, and learned to appreciate the sound of poetry. Today, she teaches her students to memorize poetry as well. "Poetry is alive when we 'own' a poem in memory," Muske-Dukes wrote.

Los Angeles Times profiled William Fulton of the USC Price School, an urban planner and mayor of the city of Ventura. Fulton is losing his sight as a result of retinitis pigmentosa, which limits his peripheral and depth perception. Due to the progression of the disease, he has announced that he will not seek reelection when his term is up this year. Fulton said that Americans with Disabilities Act issues surrounding accessibility are very real to him. "They're not an abstraction," he noted.

Los Angeles Times reported that "Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers," a play co-authored Geoffrey Cowan of the USC Annenberg School, was recently staged in Beijing. The play is about the publication of the Pentagon papers and the ensuing struggle between the press and the government. "It speaks very well of China that they have embraced this tour," Cowan said.

C-SPAN featured a centennial celebration of President Ronald Reagan held earlier this year that highlighted a partnership between the USC Price School and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. USC Price School Dean Jack Knott said, "It's been a great opportunity for my school and the university to partner in putting on the first event of the Reagan Centennial Celebration and to focus on an academic examination of President Reagan's life and legacy." Knott added that USC Annenberg School Dean Ernest J. Wilson III and Dan Mazmanian of the Price School played an important role in the event.

Asian News International featured new research conducted by USC, MIT and the Office of Naval Research, which allows robotic undersea gliders to make more decisions on their own, independent of human handlers. The gliders use a new algorithm that allows them to detect areas of greater interest on the ocean floor and avoid those that are less interesting, said Gaurav Sukhatme of the USC Viterbi School. "In areas where the oceanographers wanted more information, the persistent surveillance algorithm actually produces more detail," Sukhatme added.

Science News highlighted a device created by Paul Debevec of USC's Institute for Creative Technologies that creates the illusion of 3-D images. A flickering projector bounces images off of what looks like a double-sided mirror. The projector tricks the eye into seeing an image that isn't quite as deep as 3-D -- for example, an image of a face looks like a mask rather than a full bust. "It's not really in full 3-D," Debevec said. "It's more like high relief." He hopes to use the device in a teleconferencing system that is easy on the eyes and works for moving viewers.

KPCC-FM featured a report by Ron Avi Astor of the USC School of Social Work and colleagues, who studied how children are affected by their parents' military deployments. The effects include higher suicide rates and suicide ideation, higher levels of bullying and trouble in school. "If schools and normative settings like clinics and hospitals are not responsive to kids, we see that there are mental health outcomes," Astor said. Astor collaborated on a video that interviewed kids about their parents' deployment.

Science News featured work by Constantinos Sioutas of the USC Viterbi School and colleagues, who studied how air pollution in Milan is affecting Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper." For a year, two air quality monitors were placed inside the church that houses the painting. The resulting samples showed that a new HVAC system installed in 2009 is reducing the painting's exposure to pollutants, which are especially heavy due tourists visiting the painting.

Los Angeles Times quoted Susan Enguidanos of the USC Davis School about end-of-life care.

Forbes quoted David Carter of the USC Marshall School about the resolution of the NBA lockout.

NPR's "Morning Edition" interviewed Warren Garner of the Keck School of USC, head of the burn unit at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, about burns to children resulting from instant cups of soup.

The Arizona Republic quoted Dan Schnur of the USC Dornsife College on how the top-two system for political primaries encourages voter participation.

Minnesota Public Radio interviewed David Carter of the USC Marshall School about the NFL's personal seat licenses and the role they could play in Minnesota stadiums.

CW News Los Angeles affiliate KTLA-TV interviewed Mick Swartz of the USC Marshall School about Black Friday and the U.S. economy.

NBC News Tyler, Texas, affiliate KETK-TV interviewed Diane Winston of the USC Annenberg School about megachurch pastor Joel Osteen getting a reality show.

CBS News Los Angeles affiliate KCAL-TV interviewed USC student and football player Matt Barkley, who visited kids at Weems Elementary School.

The Ithaca Journal mentioned that USC enrolls the highest number of international students of any U.S. university.

Associated Press cited the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll, which found 64 percent of respondents would willingly pay higher taxes to benefit California's public schools. The story also quoted Dan Schnur of the USC Dornsife College about Gov. Jerry Brown's ability to sway voters on tax measures.

The Times highlighted research co-authored by Gregory Stevens of the Keck School of USC about the length of time parents think a visit to the pediatrician should take, and quoted Stevens on the subject.

KPCC-FM cited a study by Jody Agius Vallejo of the USC Dornsife College finding that upwardly mobile immigrants often give back to their communities as they gain wealth.

North County Times ran an op-ed by Susan Estrich about Occupy L.A.'s missed opportunities.

Truthdig ran an op-ed by Richard Reeves of the USC Annenberg School about Rep. Barney Frank's career in Congress.

KPCC-FM reported that USC Thornton School student Scott Hoying and his a cappella group, Pentatonix, won $200,000 and a recording contract on NBC's competition show "The Sing Off."

Los Angeles Daily News mentioned a news conference for business, labor and community activists that will take place at USC this week.