Dateline Rice for Sept. 25, 2013


Exclusive poll: Voters want to save the Astrodome
Robert Stein, the Lena Gohlman Fox Professor of Political Science, fellow in urban politics at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and faculty director of Rice’s Center for Civic Leadership, comments on a Harris County bond referendum to convert Houston’s Astrodome into a multipurpose special-event center. According to a new poll prepared for KHOU-TV and KUHF-FM by the Center for Civic Leadership, 45 percent of the county’s likely voters support the bond. Stein presented to a Houston City Council committee results from the same poll that also asked likely voters which day they would prefer a runoff election be held if necessary.
Yahoo! News
Yahoo! Canada
KHOU-TV (Click broadcast.)
Polls suggest voters have minds made up on dome
Houston Chronicle (This article appeared on the front page of the City & State section in the print edition.)
City considers switch to Tuesday runoff elections
Houston Chronicle
KUHF-FM (Click audio.)

Three Rice students designed a device that allows a Houston-area teen to manipulate a robotic arm fitted to his motorized chair. The students — Baker College junior Matthew Nojoomi and Duncan College seniors Nimish Mittal and Sergio Gonzalez — did the bulk of their work at Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen. Gonzalez and Nojoomi are quoted. (Click broadcast.) (Click broadcast.)
KRIV-TV (Houston) (Click broadcast.)

Scientists tout big gate for storm protection
Five years after Hurricane Ike devastated the upper Texas coast, Rice is hosting a two-day conference this week on how the region can best be protected from future hurricanes. The event is focusing on proposed floodgates that would protect the area from a storm surge. Phil Bedient, the Herman Brown Professor of Engineering, is quoted.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription required. The article appeared on the front of the City & State section in the print edition.)
KTRK-TV (Houston) (Click broadcast.)
KPRC-TV (Houston) (Click broadcast.)


Cruz takes heat from fellow House Republicans
Mark Jones, the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies, professor and chair of political science and fellow in political science at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, comments on the attempts by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to defund the Affordable Care Act, the lack of federal funding for Brooks County in Texas to pay burial costs for undocumented immigrants and assistance provided to the re-election campaign of Houston Mayor Annise Parker ’78 by the Service Employees International Union.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
San Antonio Express News
Times Union (Albany, N.Y.)
Greenwich Time (Greenwich, Conn.)
KUT-FM (Austin, Texas) (Click audio.)
KRIV-TV (Houston) (Click broadcast.)
Annise Parker seeks the Latino vote with the SEIU
La Voz de Houston (An English translation was not available.)

Princeton tied for 2nd spot in ranking of ‘smartest’ colleges; Swarthmore is 15th
Rice is No. 16 in a list of America’s smartest colleges by Business Insider. The news website based its list on average SAT and ACT scores of first-year, degree-seeking students in the fall of 2012.
Citybizlist (Philadelphia)


Report: Texas sees increase in undocumented immigrants
Michael Cline, research scientist and associate director of Rice’s Hobby Center for the Study of Texas, comments on the increase in undocumented immigrants in Texas.
Austin American-Statesman (Subscription required.)

Insurance exchanges begin Oct. 1st
An op-ed on the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace insurance exchange cites a Rice study that noted Texas would have the largest percentage gain of any other U.S. state if it fully implements health care reform.
North Dallas Gazette

In praise of Dr. Thomas Freeman
U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas in an address to the U.S. House of Representatives praised Thomas Freeman, formerly of Rice’s Department of Religious Studies. Freeman, a longtime professor at Texas Southern University, was honored earlier this month at TSU’s 2013 Founder’s Day Convocation.
Houston Forward Times

Houston not so affordable after all
A report from Rice University’s Shell Center for Sustainability revealed that the average Houstonian spends 30 percent on housing costs and 16 percent on transportation costs, putting the city at No. 26 in the nation for affordability compared with the 50 largest cities in the U.S. Lester King, author of the report and a sustainability fellow for the Shell Center, is quoted. (Bellaire)

5 takeaways from Enventure’s licensing-your-technology panel hosted a panel at Rice University’s BioScience Research Collaborative that discussed how researchers could best license technology from the technology transfer office of their university or institution.
Startup Houston

Overtime’s ‘Haunted House’ is a lot of fun
This theater review mentions that Karim Al-Zand, associate professor of composition and theory at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, wrote songs for the new comedy “The Haunted House” playing at the Overtime Theater on Camden in San Antonio through Oct. 19.
San Antonio Express-News

Goodbye to a writer
The article reviews the work of the late John Graves ’42.
Texas Parks & Wildlife


KIAH-TV (Houston)
Don H. Johnson, the J.S. Abercrombie Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering and professor of statistics, helped to authenticate a painting by Vincent Van Gogh in an Amsterdam museum with digital sleuthing. Johnson is quoted. (Click broadcast.)

KTRH-AM (Houston)
A poll released Monday about Houston’s mayoral contest shows Houston Mayor Annise Parker ’78 with a wide lead over top challenger Ben Hall, but both candidates trailing “don’t know.” The poll was conducted for Houston’s KUHF-FM and KHOU-TV by Rice’s Center for Civic Leadership. (Click audio.)

KROI-FM (Houston)
Stephen Klineberg, professor of sociology and co-director of Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, comments on the Hispanic population of Harris County in Texas. Harris County trails only Los Angeles County, Calif., among the 60 counties in the U.S. with the largest Hispanic populations, according to a recently released Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. (Click audio.)

KPFT-FM (Houston)
Richard Stoll, the Albert Thomas Chair in Political Science and scholar at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, commented on the crisis in Syria, American policy with Iran and the mall hostage event in Kenya.
(A link was not available.)

The article mentions a report from Rice’s Hobby Center for the Study of Texas that suggested the Affordable Care Act could halve the number of Texans without health insurance by next year.


Rice University researchers take ‘BOLD’ approach to big data
Backed by a grant from the National Science Foundation, Rice researchers are creating a customized, energy-efficient optical network to feed rivers of data into Rice’s supercomputers. The network, dubbed “Big data and Optical Lightpaths-Driven networked systems research infrastructure,” or BOLD for short, will use optical data-networking switches to handle the huge data generated by Rice labs. T.S. Eugene Ng, associate professor of computer science and of electrical and computer engineering and principal investigator on the project, is quoted.
Government Computer News

New password in a heartbeat
Rice researchers have designed a secure way to dramatically cut the risk that an implanted medical device such as a pacemaker, insulin pump or defibrillator could be altered remotely without authorization. Their technology would use the patient’s own heartbeat as a kind of password that could only be accessed through touch. Farinaz Koushanfar, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and graduate student Masoud Rostami are quoted. (Similar articles appeared in 13 other news outlets.)

Mucus protects uterine and pancreatic cancer cells
Rice researchers have found that the presence of rosiglitazone may mitigate the mucus-producing cycle that protects uterine and pancreatic cancer cells and promotes metastasis. Daniel Carson, dean of the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, the Schlumberger Chair of Advanced Studies and Research and professor of biochemistry and cell biology, is quoted. Lead author Neeraja Dharmaraj, a postdoctoral researcher, and graduate student Brian Engel are mentioned.
Life Extension Magazine

Bismuth-carrying nanotubes show potential for CT imaging
Rice researchers have created a bismuth-carrying nanotube that can tag stem cells for tracking and creates CT images brighter than those created using iodine-based contrast agents. Lon Wilson, professor of chemistry, is quoted.

Houston’s 1st MEST conference a success
Kirsten Ostherr, professor of English and director and co-founder of Rice’s Medical Futures Lab, spoke at a medicine, energy, space and technology conference held last week at the Rice Bioscience Research Collaborative.


Philadelphia Orchestra recruits associate concertmaster
Rice alumnus Ying Fu ’09 has joined the Philadelphia Orchestra as associate concertmaster. The late Sergiu Luca, formerly professor of violin at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, and Cho-Liang Lin, professor of violin at the Shepherd School, are mentioned.
The Strad (United Kingdom)

WWU names new dean for College of Business and Economics
The article mentions that Craig Dunn, the new interim dean of the College of Business and Economics at Western Washington University, formerly taught at Rice.
Bellingham Herald (Bellingham, Wash.)

Health briefs for Sept. 25
Rice alumnus Shane Stone ’99 has joined Foothills Medical Associates in Columbus, N.C. (Hendersonville, N.C.)

Area seniors named as National Merit semifinalists
High school senior Noah Capshaw, a semifinalist in the national merit scholarship program, plans to apply to Rice.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Texas)


Rice basketball freshman to miss season with knee injury
Freshman Denzel Davis tore a left knee ligament during the Owls’ exhibition trip to Canada this summer. He underwent surgery earlier this month and will miss the 2013-2014 season. Davis and Rice men’s basketball assistant coach Brian Eskildsen are quoted.

Power ranking all 126 college football teams for week 5
Rice is No. 78 in this week’s rankings by

Famed LSU coach Dietzel dead at 89
Under the ‘Odds and ends’ subheading, the article notes that Rice leading rusher Charles Ross, who left last week’s football game against the University of Houston with a leg injury, has been cleared to play against Florida Atlantic Sept. 28.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription required.)

Fox Sports 1-TV
Rice kicker Chris Boswell executed an excellent onside kick late in the Owls’ Sept. 21 game against the University of Houston. (Click broadcast.)

KVIA-TV (El Paso, Texas)
Rice’s soccer game against the University of Texas-El Paso Sept. 27 is previewed. (Click broadcast.)

Falcons lose early game, pull off win in second
Rice volleyball’s loss to Bowling Green State University is mentioned.
(A link was not available.)

Humber considering uncertain future with club
The Houston Astros are unlikely to pick up Phillip Humber’s $3 million option for 2014. The former Owl, who helped Rice win the 2003 College World Series, is quoted.
Minor League Baseball (Click broadcast.)
Big News Network


Poll finds Astrodome’s fate too close to call
Forty-five percent of Harris County likely voters support the county issuing a bond to raise $217 million to convert Houston’s iconic Astrodome into a convention hall and exhibit space, according to a new poll conducted by Rice University’s Center for Civic Leadership. The poll found that 35 percent oppose issuing the bond and nearly 20 percent are unsure. The poll was overseen by Rice political scientist Robert Stein and prepared for KHOU-TV and KUHF-FM as part of a series of studies being announced this week. Voters will go to the ballot booths Nov. 5.

Rice University-run poll: Parker leads Hall by 20 percent as Houston mayoral election is six weeks out
With six weeks till Election Day, a poll conducted by Rice University’s Center for Civic Leadership shows Houston Mayor Annise Parker ’78 with a 20-percentage-point lead over former City Attorney Ben Hall. However, Parker only has the support of 34 percent of respondents, with Hall receiving 14 percent. Forty-eight percent said they are unsure whom they will support Nov. 5. The poll was prepared for KHOU-TV and KUHF-FM.

About Rice News Staff

The Rice News is produced weekly by the Office of Public Affairs at Rice University.