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Twitter bird illustration
Spring 2018

Truth or consequences

Fake news nearly started a war between Qatar and its neighbors in 2017. In Pakistan, a highly placed official bought into a fake news story warning that Israel was going to destroy Pakistan, and tweeted a warning at Israel that his country, too, was a nuclear power. And in Washington, D.C., an armed vigilante burst into a pizzeria and fired three shots, thinking he was bringing down a sex-slave ring.

While news has never been neutral, something has changed: Information has become weaponized. What’s changed, says Washington State University communications professor Doug Hindman, is that the marketplace of ideas has broken down under the … » More …

Illustration of paper with question mark
Spring 2018

How to become information literate?

It takes four moves and a habit

Michael Caulfield’s approach to information literacy is simple. He argues that we should teach students to be fact checkers instead of rhetoricians. In rhetoric, readers spend a great deal of time reading closely, analyzing syntax and word choice for tone. Fact checking, though, is quick, involving only “four moves and a habit,” Caulfield, director of networked and blended learning at WSU Vancouver, says. A recent Stanford University study supports the idea that a fact-checking strategy is superior to close reading.

Look for previous work. When fact-checking a particular claim, the quickest, simplest thing to do is to … » More …

Winter 2017

Homer on a flash drive

Plato is sitting at the feet of his mentor Socrates, writing down what the old philosopher says. What Socrates is saying, ironically, is that writing is bad for you: It rots your memory. Preserved in Plato’s Phaedrus, Socrates’s opinion of the then-emerging technology sounds strange to us now—until you recall that that’s pretty much exactly what pundits in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have been saying about TV, video games, and texting.

Dene Grigar, director of Washington State University Vancouver’s program in Creative Media and Digital Culture, laughs and nods. She’s also the president of the Electronic Literature Organization, an international team of scholars and … » More …

Alicia Cooper
Fall 2017

Alicia Cooper

Many college students balance a full load of classes and activities, but it’s pretty rare to juggle all that plus the crown of Miss Washington 2016. Alicia Cooper, a senior at Washington State University Vancouver, works as a real estate broker as she studies personnel psychology and human resources—and she was third runner-up for Miss America in 2016 after winning the Miss Washington competition.

Cooper credits her grandmother with inspiring her. When she passed away after a 13-year battle with breast cancer, “I realized how significantly she impacted every person who knew her,” says Cooper. She took her grandmother’s lessons to heart, volunteering as … » More …

Midwives tend to a newborn baby while the exhausted mother rests in bed, circa 1450. Another child lies in a cradle beside her, being rocked by a servant. Original Artwork: A miniature engraving from 'Histoire de la Belle Helaire' on a 15th Century manuscript from the Imperial Library, Paris. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Spring 2017

Call the midwife

ViviAnne Fischer practices midwifery in her clinic near Pullman, where you can see her connection to the long and complicated history surrounding the practice.

In a green-colored house along a dirt road, at the top of a set of stairs, a large, nondescript black suitcase stands before a crammed bookshelf, her “library” for families. Inside the suitcase is a mix of new, modern medical equipment beside bottles of herbal extracts.

On the other side of the room is an odd-shaped stool at the foot of a bed. The bed is almost cot-like but the wooden frame poking out from beneath the quilt is carved. The … » More …

Zeroing in on critical zones
Spring 2017

Zeroing in on critical zones

For almost half a century, scientists have been measuring carbon dioxide in the air two miles above sea level in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. At first, Charles David Keeling counted 310 parts of carbon dioxide for every million parts of air. When he died in 2005, the number was 380. On May 9, 2013, the number topped 400, “a milepost,” wrote National Geographic’s Robert Kunzig, “on a far more rapid uphill climb toward an uncertain climate future.”

We might get wistful over the elegance of what is now known as the Keeling number: a solitary data point, like the Dow Jones industrial average, … » More …

Winter 2016

When Jermiha marched home

Military homecoming is usually a time of immense joy and relief, but for many veterans the weeks that follow are daunting. Each month in Washington state alone, 1,000 service members transition from active duty to civilian life—moving from a structured, often traumatic environment into the looser routines of home. Along the way come unexpected challenges, especially when returning to college or entering the job market.

Jermiha White ’16 served eight and a half years as an Army cavalry scout on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan. As a combat veteran, White began experiencing anxiety when he enrolled as a student at Washington State University … » More …

Putting feeling into the digital world thumb
Summer 2016

Putting feeling into the digital world

A new touchstone for virtual reality

On its own, the gleaming silver skeletal hand looks like a disembodied limb from The Terminator. Strap it on a human and it becomes a glove to grasp things within virtual, computer-generated worlds.

Hakan Gurocak, the mechanical engineering professor at Washington State University Vancouver who designed the glove with his former graduate student Randy Bullion, says the haptic interface can be used in conjunction with virtual reality headsets and position sensors to add a new sense of touch to the experience of being in a digital environment.

More than just immersive computer games or movies, virtual reality and … » More …

Amy Eveskcige, Courtesy The News Tribune
Winter 2015

Dream maker

“My earliest memories of school were full of hope,” says Amy Eveskcige ’13 EDD, the new superintendent of Chief Leschi Schools and the first Puyallup Tribe member to hold the position. She’s eager to instill that same hope to the kids attending her schools. Chief Leschi Schools, operated by the Puyallup Tribe, is one of the largest Bureau of Indian Education schools in the nation. That she even became superintendent took support of her own teachers.

As a child, her hopes were slim. Her dreams, muted. Her father died when she was three. Her mother was an X-ray technician but spent most of her time … » More …

Wall Street
Spring 2013

Sick stocks

It’s cold and flu season. And no one is immune, not even Wall Street.

That’s the notion Brian McTier, a WSU Vancouver-based business school faculty member, and his colleagues explored when examining the impact of influenza on the U.S. stock market. McTier has been examining external events that might affect the stock market that weren’t normally modeled. Those effects include class action suits in securities, electronic funds transfer errors driven by sentiment, and the flu.

For the study, which is being published in the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, the authors started with the hypothesis that high rates of influenza could affect trading as … » More …