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There’s a trick to finding the artist

Thursday, October 30, 2014
Harold Balazs. Photo by Rajah Bose.

Harold Balazs. Photo by Rajah Bose.

WSU fine arts alumnus Harold Balazs stepped onto the Northwest art scene in the 1950s with his painting, welding, enameling, and concrete artwork. Known for his collaboration with architects, particularly on liturgical commissions, he easily shifts shapes and styles to suit his projects. But with 65 highly productive years as a professional artist, there is still much more to tell.

And, as with Balazs himself, there is a trick to finding his creations. Though he is one of the most prolific public artists in the Northwest, we have lived with his works for so long, we may not even recognize them.

His touch is in the molded brickwork of a bank tower on Spokane’s Second Street. It is in the doors and altars of churches all around the Northwest. And his art is in, yes IN, the Spokane River, a rippling stainless steel sculpture floating on the water. Once you start looking, you find Balazs everywhere.

Read more about Balazs and his work in Washington State magazine

Chemistry and math lead learning management pilot

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Greg Crouch

Greg Crouch

Nine faculty members and about 3,000 Pullman students in five chemistry and math courses are piloting a new Blackboard online learning management system for the University. All WSU faculty will be able to launch their new course spaces in spring 2015.

“We’ve long wanted students to have mobile access, which couples nicely with BYOD (bring your own device) technology that lets students use cell phones or computers instead of clickers,” said Greg Crouch, a chemistry professor who has been administering the study.

For an overview of the transition, a project timeline and links to training resources, please go to LMS Transition.

Read more at WSU News

Fight against Ebola now needs a social front

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Barry Hewlett

Barry Hewlett

If medics in space suits inspire dread, then imagine the fear stoked by the arrival of foreigners with guns.

The Acholi people called it gemo—a bad spirit that arrived suddenly, like an ill wind—and they had strict protocols to deal with the deadly sickness that followed. Patients were quarantined at home and cared for by a gemo survivor. Two poles of elephant grass were erected outside, as a warning to other villagers to stay away. Dancing, arguing and sex were forbidden, rotten meat was to be scrupulously avoided and those recovering had to remain isolated for a lunar month. Those who succumbed were buried at the edge of the village.

It took the skills of a trailblazing anthropologist, WSU Professor Barry Hewlett, to discover that the Acholi, an ethnic group in northern Uganda, had their own rather effective method of dealing with Ebola. He inveigled his way into a World Health Organisation team tackling an Ebola outbreak in 2000, furnishing the first, in-depth anthropological analysis of how communities regard this killer in their midst. Ebola may be classed as an emerging disease, but the Acholi, he found, may well have been battling it for a century.

Recently, Professor Hewlett revealed his dismay at how the current outbreaks in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone were being handled by the international fraternity, whose urgent, well-meaning containment efforts were leaving scant room for the beliefs, customs and sensitivities of locals.

Read more about how WSU anthropologists are helping in the fight to control Ebola:

Gulf News

The Columbian

Donuts in the sky

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Michael Allen

Michael Allen

If there were a black hole between the Earth and the moon, what would you see?

Donuts in the sky. That’s the easy answer, explains Dr. Universe.

The more difficult, and probably much more painful, answer depends on your view. You’d see a spot in the sky where light disappears as if going down the bathtub drain. You might see the oceans lift from the Earth and float away into space. You could see the black hole change from a point of nothingness to a color-shifting tiny orb. It would deepen from red to blue as it sucks everything into it, including you, stretching everything out like taffy on a medieval torture device.

What a black hole does it take a lot of stuff and put it into a small space. It’s like taking a gallon of milk and making it fit into a cup. Then making that cup fit into a tablespoon. Then doing that a billion times.

So what would we see if a black hole showed up between the moon and us?

“You would see rings,” says Michael Allen, a senior instructor of physics and astronomy at Washington State University. Ring inside of ring inside of ring, getting bigger and bigger. “Like multiple donuts. A bunch of donuts in the sky.”

The intrepid scientist is back. Dr. Universe is relentless in her pursuit of knowledge. Find out how to get your questions about the universe answered.

Oct. 28: Irish activist-turned-peacemaker lectures

Monday, October 27, 2014
Jon McCourt

Jon McCourt

As a young man in Northern Ireland, Jon McCourt joined the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in 1969, intent on promoting civil rights on his home soil.

On what became known as “Bloody Sunday,” Jan. 30, 1972, in his hometown of Derry/Londonderry, he narrowly escaped death when an armed British soldier stared him down then walked away with a shrug. Nearby more than a dozen young people had been shot to death that violent day.

McCourt, who left the IRA in the mid-1970s, is now a community peace activist working with victims of violence, youth in criminalized areas and community relations. He will share his experiences in two free, public events at WSU Pullman on Tuesday, Oct. 28.

On Tuesday, Oct. 28, McCourt will lead a Foley Institute discussion at noon and deliver the Honors College’s Bhatia Lecture at 7:00 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

Find out more

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