Corrales: Maduro's Steak Statement

Submitted on Friday, 9/28/2018, at 9:28 AM

A recent video of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro eating gourmet steak in Turkey —while millions go hungry at home— provoked outrage worldwide, which may be exactly what he wants, said Javier Corrales, Dwight W. Morrow 1895 professor of Political Science.

In a Spanish-language editorial for the New York Times, later published in English, Corrales suggested this is a political strategy for Maduro. The op-ed was translated and discussed by National Public Radio affiliate WLRN in Miami.

“An extremist government like his prefers economic devastation to economic recovery because misery destroys civil society, and with it the potential challenges to tyranny,” he wrote.

“The idea is that you’re glad to see people leave the country, to see that the state has no rivals," Corrales told WLRN. “That way, people "have to increase [their] dependency on the state in order to survive. [Madulro thinks], 'I don’t really want to fix [the crisis] because it’s making me stronger.'"

Amherst and the New England Humanities Consortium

Submitted on Thursday, 9/20/2018, at 5:31 PM

Amherst College is among a group of colleges and universities forming the New England Humanities Consortium (NEHC), which will focus on programming in such fields as history, language, art, literature, and philosophy.

“The Northeast is a worldwide center for research in the humanities, and this consortium will allow us to do something genuinely new – to embark on initiatives that no single institution could accomplish on its own,” said Michael Lynch, director of the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute.

According to the article released by UConn, the university is leading the new collaboration of colleges, with the support of a $100,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Besides Amherst and UConn, the consortium also includes, Colby College, Dartmouth College, Northeastern University, Tufts University, University of New Hampshire, University of Rhode Island, University of Vermont, Wellesley College, and Wheaton College.

“Two pilot projects are now planned. The first includes the formation of a working group to aid in supporting, mentoring, and creating research collaborations for faculty of color in New England,” UConn Today wrote. “The second is a lecture series, ‘Time’s Up: What Now?’ that will move between students, faculty, and speakers across three campuses to serve as a model for future joint speaker and faculty events.”

A New Name for the Inn

Submitted on Thursday, 9/13/2018, at 4:14 PM

Word is rippling out through the media concerning the College’s recent announcement that the Lord Jeffery Inn will become the Inn on Boltwood shortly after the New Year.

“The new name for the college-owned inn, which opened June 3, 1926, makes clear its connections to Boltwood Avenue, but removes its associations with the 18th century commander-in-chief of the British forces during the French and Indian War,” wrote the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

The Inn’s full-service restaurant has been named 30 Boltwood since 2012 when it opened following a major renovation.

Other Western Massachusetts outlets carried the story, which made its way to pieces in the Boston Globe and U.S. News & World Report.

The 46,000-square-foot Inn, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amherst College, is designed to meet the needs of Amherst College faculty, staff, alumni and visiting guests as well as corporate and leisure travelers. The 8,000-square-foot building features a 2,360-square-foot ballroom and a tented garden area.

Update: in a recent editorial, the Gazette lauded the change, noting, “we commend Amherst College for taking the belated step of changing the name of their inn. Though some, during the original discussion over the mascot, raised the legitimate point that the college can’t erase the past, we believe this decision looks ahead to a more inclusive future.

A Cafe, For Science

Submitted on Thursday, 9/13/2018, at 4:13 PM

The new 255,000 square-foot Science Center was the subject of a recent article in MassLive that focused on the state-of-the-art building’s cafe.

MassLive reported that Amherst selectmen approved a common victualler license for the site, which will allow Dining Services to open a cafe serving food an nonalcoholic beverages.

Dining Services Director Joe Flueckiger told the board the facility will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., serving “hearty and wholesome” fare.

$50 Million for Promise Campaign

Submitted on Thursday, 9/13/2018, at 4:12 PM

Media reporting on philanthropy in higher education quickly took notice of the College’s recent announcement that an anonymous donor has contributed $50 million as part of Promise: The Campaign for Amherst’s Third Century.

“The campaign’s priorities are attracting and supporting outstanding students and faculty; meeting student need in the sciences and math; promoting innovation in teaching and learning; and providing critical facilities. It is also focused on creating a strong sense of community and belonging and supporting the Annual Fund,” wrote the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

The gift, along with a $100 million gift from an anonymous alumnus announced at the campaign’s launch in April, has provided a strong base for the College’s goal of raising $625 million over the next five years.

Inside Higher Ed, Philanthropy News Digest, and University Business have reported on the major gift.

Woman in STEM Scott '06 Responds to the Haters

Submitted on Thursday, 9/13/2018, at 4:10 PM

Social media watchers took note when actor/model/app developer Lyndsey Scott ’06 recently issued a smackdown on Instagram after trolls suggested women can’t code.

When an Instagram account reported that the actor and former Victoria’s Secret model can program code in Python, C++, Java, MIPS, and Objective-C, commenters piled in with comments like “what a waste.”

“Lyndsey used the opportunity to destroy everyone in the comments by listing her accomplishments in her field,” reported Buzzfeed.

“I have 27481 points on Stack Overflow; I'm on the iOS tutorial team for; I'm the Lead iOS software engineer for Rallybound, the 841st fastest growing company in the US according to Inc. Magazine," she wrote. "I have a Bachelor's degree from Amherst where I double majored in computer science and theater, and I'm able to live my life doing everything I love.”

“Scott's savage response to the commenters is so, so satisfying,” wrote Claire Peltier for A Plus.

She usually tries to ignore such negativity, but she felt it was important to respond here, Scott later posted. “Just stating facts in the hope I’ll convince at least one negative commenter that programmers can come in all shapes, sizes, genders, races, etc. so they’ll think twice before doubting other women and girls they encounter in tech.”

Coben's Books Coming to Netflix

Submitted on Thursday, 9/6/2018, at 11:11 PM

Bestselling author Harlan Coben ’84 has signed a multi-year exclusive deal with Netflix to develop 14 of his works —including his upcoming novel Run Away—into series for the streaming service, The Slanted reports.

“Harlan’s page-turning crime novels are beloved by readers around the world,” Erik Barmack, Vice President of International Originals for Netflix, told the publication. “We are excited to continue our partnership with him and develop his suspenseful thrillers into global Netflix originals.”

Coben, a perennial #1 New York Times bestselling author of thirty novels, has sold over 75 million books. Neflix currently airs two crime drama series based on his writing: Safe, starring Michael C. Hall, which premiered earlier this year, and the 2015 French series No Second Chance.

“I’m thrilled to continue our relationship,” Coben said.

Corrales on Venezuela's Refugee Crisis

Submitted on Thursday, 9/6/2018, at 11:08 PM

Political turmoil and a plummeting economy in Venezuela have resulted in millions of Venezuelans fleeing to surrounding countries in South and Central America.

Javier Corrales, Dwight W. Morrow 1895 professor of Political Science at Amherst spoke with PBS NewsHour about the implications of this refugee crisis for these countries and Venezuela.

“These are countries that are not necessarily impoverished, but they do not have the capacity to have a refugee crisis of this magnitude, and happening at this speed,” he said. “There’s no question that these governments are going to have to respond. These are a large number of people in dire need suddenly arriving.”

Reading With The New Books Network

Submitted on Thursday, 9/6/2018, at 11:07 PM

The Society for Scholarly Publishing’s The Scholarly Kitchen recently featured an interview with Marshall Poe, founder of the New Books Network, an ever-expanding network of podcasts devoted to new scholarly works.

The College has partnered with Poe since 2015, providing a platform for the library of podcasts. The network now boasts 81 subject-specific podcast channels. Various channels have interviewed Amherst faculty about their newest books, and the network has devoted episodes to titles published by Amherst College Press.

“I sometimes think of the NBN as a kind of audio library; we’ve published 5,100 author interviews and add 100 new interviews every month. It just grows and grows, and as it does it becomes richer and richer. Even today, you can find pretty much anything in our online archive,” Poe said.

Watching a Baby Planet

Submitted on Thursday, 8/30/2018, at 4:29 PM

“For the first time, astronomers have caught a baby planet in the process of growing,”wrote Paul Scott Anderson for the science website EarthSky, one of a number of outlets taking notice of a recent paper by a team of scientists, including Kate Follette, assistant professor of Astronomy at Amherst, who observed a new planet in the process of growing by accreting material from the disk surrounding PDS 70, and orange dwarf star located 370 light years from Earth.

“This isn’t just a newly developing planet, located in a gap in a star’s disk of primordial dust and gas. That’s been done before. This is direct evidence that such a planet is still gathering material from the star’s surrounding disk, and thus that it’s growing larger,” Anderson wrote.

Using adaptive optics on the 6.5-meter Magellan Clay Telescope in Chile, the team of astronomers led by Kevin Wagner of the University of Arizona studied the ten-million-year old star, publishing their observations in a paper for The Astrophysical Journal Letters  

The paper also attracted the attention of The Space Reporter and the American Astronomical Society’s AAS Nova.