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Spring 2002

Finding what's right for you

OK, so you’re looking for work, and you’re getting good, bad, and ugly job offers. How do you determine which one to choose?

It’s no secret. The economy is drooping like a vase-full of two-week-old flowers. Here in the Pacific Northwest, The Seattle Times and Seattle-Post-Intelligencer recently reported a 56-percent decline in overall employment advertising, while ads for high-tech workers are down as much as 80 percent. Boeing is whittling away 30,000 jobs, while other manufacturing sectors are also downsizing. Economists predict things won’t swing upwards until well into this year.

If you find yourself dialing the unemployment claim line every week—or if you’re thinking … » More …

Spring 2002

The liberal art of judgment

Effective judgment asks us to go beyond ourselves, beyond our assumptions, and beyond the comfort of our traditions.

With little effort, we can now garner information about any part of the globe, society, legal system, health care remedy, religious belief, scientific discovery, business product, or service almost instantly. But having all this information does not guarantee that we’ll use it effectively or wisely. That requires judgment. And the responsibility for instilling judgment lies largely with the university.

Two basic ingredients assure that our universities develop and preserve judgment: faculty committed to and supported in their efforts to seek truth and discover new knowledge, and a … » More …

Spring 2002

Better chow

As anyone who has stir-fried vegetables knows, quickly cooking foods at high temperatures makes for crisper, fresher-tasting foods than using slow-cooking methods.

So it is that over the past six years, associate professor of biological systems engineering Juming Tang and his associates have been working on new technologies to produce high-quality, ready-to-eat military rations (MREs) and “humanitarian daily rations” like those recently air-dropped in Afghanistan.

With conventional methods, lengthy processing times are necessary to kill harmful bacteria that can thrive even in hermetically sealed packages. Depending on package size and type of food, traditional  processing can take anywhere from one to two hours. By the … » More …

Spring 2002

Feminae Romanae!

“. . . but Roman women rule the Romans”

Femina gladiatrix?  Femina medica?

Historians typically ascribe household or family roles to women of ancient Rome or ignore them altogether. Accounts of male emperors, male military leaders, male scholars, and male religious leaders traditionally shape the history of the Roman Empire.

However, by carefully scouring standard classical texts like Livy, Tacitus, and Cicero and sifting through archaeological records of inscriptions on tombstones, statues, and buildings, Washington State University history professor Kathryn Meyer and science fiction writer and former WSU librarian Mary Jane Engh have found examples of female counterparts to all those … » More …

Spring 2002

Lots of merit in biochem

Molecular biologist Michael Smerdon has won a 10-year $3.58 million MERIT award from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) so that he can continue his research on repairing DNA. Smerdon was the only scientist to receive the award this year and is the 14th recipient since the NIEHS program began in 1966.

For more than 20 years, Smerdon has been doing groundbreaking work on how DNA damage, caused by chemicals and UV light, is repaired. He was among the first investigators to focus on the role that chromatin structure—the way DNA is folded and packaged within each cell—plays in the DNA repair process.

» More …

Spring 2002

The Peking Cowboy

A short story by Alex Kuo; illustrations by David Wheeler. He wanted to tell the story in the third person, but it came out in the first; he wanted to tell it in the past, but it came out happening in the now; even if he wanted to, he could not change a word of it, its sequence and language clarifying its own shape and direction in his voice. » More ...