By Liliana M Garces
On Thursday, June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a race-conscious post-secondary admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered to be the swing vote, joined Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor, in a 4-3 decision that affirmed the constitutionality of the race-conscious policy and the university’s compelling interest in the educational benefits of a diverse student body.
At the same time, the decision addressed the need for institutions to continue to assess whether so-called race-neutral alternatives are available and workable, and suffice for achieving the university’s goals.
A large body of evidence shows so-called race-neutral admissions policies are not as effective for attaining racial diversity on campus. They could even exacerbate existing racial inequities.
Continue reading Focus on research: What we need to know about race-neutral policies
by Jordan Gaines Lewis
Editor’s note: The following article originally appeared on The Conversation on July 2, 2015. The fourth season of Orange is the New Black was released on Friday, June 17, 2016.
The inmates of Litchfield Penitentiary, the fictional setting for the Netflix TV series Orange is the New Black, are not shy women.
They’ve landed in prison for murder, fraud, stalking, drug-smuggling, theft, and political activism. They do illegal activities behind the officers’ backs. They make their opinions known loud and clear to one another. And they’re not opposed to throwing a few punches, if duty calls.
But all will cease if you threaten to send them to the SHU. Why?
Continue reading Focus on research: Solitary confinement is bad for the brain
By Jack Langelaan
Over the past 15 years, drones have progressed from laboratory demonstrations to widely available toys. Technological improvements have brought ever-smaller components required for flight stabilization and control, as well as significant improvements in battery technology. Capabilities once restricted to military vehicles are now found on toys that can be purchased at Wal-Mart.
Small cameras and transmitters mounted on a drone even allow real-time video to be sent back to the pilot. For a few hundred dollars, anyone can buy a “first person view” (FPV) system that puts the pilot of a small drone in a virtual cockpit. The result is an immersive experience: Flying an FPV drone is like Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia flying a speeder bike through the forests of Endor.
Continue reading Focus on research: How might drone racing drive innovation?
By Jungwoo Ryoo
As more personal information is collected up by ever-more-powerful computers, giant sets of data – big data – have become available for not only legitimate uses but also abuses.
Big data has an enormous potential to revolutionize our lives with its predictive power. Imagine a future in which you know what your weather will be like with 95 percent accuracy 48 hours ahead of time. But due to the possibility of malicious use, there are both security and privacy threats of big data you should be concerned about, especially as you spend more time on the Internet.
What threats are emerging? How should we address these growing concerns without denying society the benefits big data can bring? Continue reading Focus on research: Big data problems threaten privacy
By Ben Locke
Beginning in 1949, a week in May was promoted as Mental Health Awareness Week — which eventually became Mental Health Awareness Month. The goal was — and still is — to educate the public about the signs, symptoms and treatments as well as the positive lifestyle choices that lead to mental health.
An estimated 1 in 5 Americans will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness. And the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation shows that when compared to other health risks, mental illness is responsible for approximately 30 percent of all lost life and productivity for Americans aged 15 to 24, an age range that includes the majority of U.S. college students.
Continue reading Focus on research: More college students seeking mental health help