Dateline Rice for Oct. 17, 2017


Harvey’s runoff takes toll on the coast
The more than 13 trillion gallons of floodwater from Hurricane Harvey have created a massive plume of freshwater in the Gulf of Mexico that is threatening the coral reefs of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary about 100 miles offshore of Galveston. Rice marine biologist Adrienne Correa comments.
Daily Mail (A similar article appeared in more than 10 other media outlets.)
KTSA-AM (San Antonio) (Click the audio button to listen to the broadcast.)

Venezuela’s opposition cornered as elections slip out of reach
Francisco Monaldi, a fellow in Latin American energy policy at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, is quoted in a story about Venezuela’s elections.
Bloomberg (This article also appeared in the Houston Chronicle and Middletown Press.)

10 technologies that will change our lives, soonish
“Soonish,” a new book by Kelly Weinersmith, adjunct faculty member and the former Huxley Fellow in Ecology and Evolution, and her husband, Zach, is reviewed, and the authors participate in a Q&A.
The future of space is coming … ‘Soonish’

Some faiths more likely to turn to religion for answers to science
When it comes to seeking answers to questions about science, evangelical and black Protestants and Mormons are more likely than the general population to turn to religion, according to a new study by researchers from Rice’s Religion and Public Life Program, the University of Nevada-Reno and West Virginia University.
Futurity (A similar article also appeared in Space Weekly,, Watts Up With That?, Science Newsline and Scienmag.)

Robots may soon serve as elder companions
Collaboration between IBM and Rice University on the Multi-Purpose Eldercare Robot Assistant is mentioned.
The Oklahoman


3 takeaways from unprecedented Texas coal plant closures
Daniel Cohan, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, is quoted in a story on Luminant’s plans to shutter three coal-fired power plants in Texas by early next year.
Texas Public Radio (This story also appeared in more than five affiliate media outlets.)

Flaw in the most popular Wi-Fi security allows hackers access to information
Dan Wallach, professor of computer science and of electrical and computer engineering and a Rice Faculty Scholar at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, is quoted in a story on vulnerabilities in WPA2 encryption.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required. This story appeared on the front of the Business section in the Oct. 17 print edition with a different headline, “WiFi security flaw lets hackers in the door.” This story also appeared in the Connecticut Post, New Haven Register, Stamford Advocate and Danbury News-Times.)

Some homes that repeatedly flood could lose insurance under proposed federal overhaul
A recent study by Rice and Texas A&M University at Galveston that found Houston flood plain maps failed to predict roughly 75 percent of flood damage from five floods between 1999 and 2009 is mentioned.
Dallas Morning News (Subscription is required. A similar story also appeared in Government Technology.)

Historical lecture on Heights community sheds light on modern neighborhood
Rice’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies’ new series, “City in a City: Community Identity and Houston’s Sprawl,” is featured.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required.)

Expert predicts O’Rourke’s PAC campaign promise, donation numbers make win impossible
Mark Jones, the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies, professor of political science, fellow in political science at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and fellow at Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, is quoted in a story about U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s run for the Senate against incumbent Ted Cruz.
Abilene Reporter-News

‘Looking into the Soft Matter Landscape Through Computational Microscope’
Alumna Payel Das ’06 will speak Oct. 17 at Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative.
TMC News

‘Reading the Signs of the 1918 “Spanish” Influenza’
Judith Roof, the William Shakespeare Chair in English and professor of English, will outline the factors and effects of the 1918 “Spanish” Influenza in the U.S. Oct. 17 at The Health Museum.

DSO guest conductors this season: One could be our next musical director
Alumnus James Gaffigan ’03 is featured in a story on the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Dallas Morning News (Subscription is required.)

Artists Koryn Rolstad and Sherry Tseng Hill selected to create art for new neighborhood police station
Alumna Sherry Tseng Hill ’80 is one of two artists who will create artwork for Houston’s new Southwest Police Station, which is due to open by the end of 2017.
Houston Style Magazine

Rice University scientists are making concrete breakthroughs on battery charge times
A touch of asphalt may be the secret to high-capacity lithium metal batteries that charge 10 to 20 times faster than commercial lithium-ion batteries. The lab of chemist James Tour, the T.T. and W.F. Chao Chair in Chemistry and a professor of computer science and of materials science and nanoengineering, developed anodes comprising porous carbon made from asphalt that showed exceptional stability after more than 500 charge-discharge cycles.
Rare Houston


‘CNN Tonight with Don Lemon’
Rice Professor of History Douglas Brinkley discussed President Donald Trump’s executive order on health care, former President Barack Obama’s legacy and Sen. John McCain’s comments on nationalism while receiving the Liberty Medal.
CNN (Click the video button to watch the broadcast.) (Click the video button to watch the broadcast.)
‘CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin’
CNN (Click the video button to watch the broadcast.)
KTRH-AM (Houston)
Steve Murdoch, the Allyn and Gladys Cline Professor of Sociology, is quoted in a story about the affordability of marriage. (Click the audio button to listen to the broadcast.)


Spies on campus: The CIA and the FBI from the Indochina Wars to the ‘War on Terror’
A statement Rice President David Leebron made a few years ago when he was a member of the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board is cited.
Global Research

Study: NY brokers are ultra-concentrated in white and Asian neighborhoods, furthering segregation
Real estate agents in New York tend to work in white and Asian neighborhoods, in addition to neighborhoods with higher home values, according to new research from Max Besbris, an assistant professor of sociology in Rice’s School of Social Sciences, and Jacob William Faber at New York University.
Brick Underground

AI nanobots implanted into body may give rise to superhumans within 20 years
Motorized molecules driven by light have been used to drill holes in the membranes of individual cells and show promise for either bringing therapeutic agents into the cells or directly inducing the cells to die. Rice researcher Victor Garcia-Lopez is quoted.
Tech Times

Vibrating nanoparticles interact: Placing nanodisks in groups can change their vibrational frequencies
Like a tuning fork struck with a mallet, tiny gold nanodisks can be made to vibrate at resonant frequencies when struck by light. In new research, Rice researchers showed they can selectively alter those vibrational frequencies by gathering different-sized nanodisks into groups.
Space Weekly (A similar article also appeared in, Nanotechnology Now and Nanowerk.)

Spinning strands hint at folding dynamics
An engineered string of micronwide beads may take up the slack where computer modeling fails researchers who study the bending, folding and other movements of polymers or biomolecules like actin and DNA. Rice chemical and biomolecular engineer Sibani Lisa Biswal and her students — lead author Steve Kuei, a graduate student, and co-author Burke Garza, an undergraduate — created strings of polystyrene beads enhanced with iron to magnetize them and with streptavidin, a natural protein that serves as a springy linker between them.
Science Newsline (A similar article appeared in Health Medicine Network, Scienmag, Gears of Biz and Science Codex.)

Long nanotubes make strong fibers
To make continuous, strong and conductive carbon nanotube fibers, it’s best to start with long nanotubes, according to scientists at Rice. The lab of chemist and chemical engineer Matteo Pasquali, which demonstrated its pioneering method to spin carbon nanotube into fibers in 2013, has advanced the art of making nanotube-based materials with two new papers in the American Chemical Society’s ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.
Science Newsline (A similar article also appeared in Xinhua,, Scienmag and Nanowerk.)

Some commentary about the National Space Council’s inaugural meeting
President John F. Kennedy’s “Moon Speech,” given at Rice Sept. 12, 1962, is referenced.
The Space Review
Why should we go? Re-evaluating the rationales for human spaceflight in the 21st century
The Space Review

Drag-race power tools, build tiny dioramas and hang out with superheroes in Houston
Rice Eclipse, the university’s rocketry club, is mentioned in a preview of the Houston Maker Faire scheduled for Oct. 21-22. Video of one of the club’s rocket launches is featured.

Mindfulness: How Brown University is championing the cool trend
Brown University has integrated MedLabs into their curriculum for students to practice yoga, meditation and mindfulness techniques. Rice is mentioned for the Department of Religion’s contemplative studies course.
BrainGain Magazine

Rice University: Signs agreements to promote educational, research programs in oil and gas
Rice University’s Energy and Environment Initiative signed a memorandum of understanding during the inaugural Russian Energy Week forum in Moscow Oct. 7 with Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas (Moscow) and Ufa State Petroleum Technological University. The agreements will make it possible to promote educational and research programs in the field of oil and gas business and commercialize university initiatives and developments.


Oct. 17: Folding genomes
Erez Lieberman Aiden, adjunct assistant professor in computational and applied mathematics and in computer science, will give a talk titled “Parallel Processing of the Genomes, by the Genomes and for the Genomes” Oct. 17 in Newark, Del.
University of Delaware

Annabelle Singer named Packard Fellow
Rice’s Laurence Yeung, who was awarded a 2017 Packard Fellowship for Science Engineering that comes with a largely unrestricted five-year research grant of $875,000, is mentioned.
Georgia Tech University

‘Building from Ashes — Jews in Post-war Europe (1945-1950)’
Daniel Cohen, the Samuel W. and Goldye Marian Spain Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, will participate in a panel discussion Dec. 3-4 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Braga recebe o maior evento dedicado á nanotecnologia
Edwin Thomas, professor of materials science and nanoengineering and of chemical and biomolecular engineering, will speak at a conference titled “Nanotecnologia: A Nova Economia” (“Nanotechnology: The New Economy”) Oct. 19-20 in Braga, Portugal.
Blogue do Minho (An English translation is not available. This article also appeared in Alto Minho and Correio do Minho.)

Calendar of events
Alumnus Alex O’Briant ’01 will be a panelist in a discussion on utilizing limited space at higher education institutions in dense urban and sprawling suburban campuses.
AIA New York Center for Architecture

Google announces $1 billion initiative to prepare workers for automation
Comments by Moshe Vardi, director of Rice’s Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology, the Karen Ostrum George Distinguished Service Professor of Computational Engineering and professor of computer science, are mentioned.

Kim de Guzman: Tackling research one lab at a time
Rice’s Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium is mentioned.
Her Campus

Opinion: Fall break deserves immediate action
Rice is mentioned in an article on the University of Southern California’s academic calendar.
Daily Trojan

Foliage architecture (and art) on Rice University campus
Rice’s Brochstein Pavilion and Fondren Library are mentioned.


Jordan Myers’ versatility gives Rice offense someone to lean on
Rice football player Jordan Myers is featured. Owls offensive coordinator Billy Lynch and tight ends coach David Sloan are quoted.
Houston Chronicle (Subscription is required. This story also appeared in the San Antonio Express-News.)

KIAH-TV (Houston)
Rice football player Brian Womac is featured in a story ahead of the Owls’ Oct. 21 game against the University of Texas at San Antonio. (Click the video button to watch the broadcast.)
‘SA Live’
KSAT-TV (San Antonio) (Click the video button to watch the broadcast.)

KUIK-AM (Portland, Ore.)
Former Rice men’s basketball coach Ben Braun is mentioned. (Click the audio button to listen to the broadcast.)

The Broad Street Bullies are back
Former Rice men’s basketball coach Mike Rhoades, now the head coach at Virginia Commonwealth University, is featured.
Commonwealth Times
New Rams impress in Black and Gold Game
Commonwealth Times


Need for speed makes genome editing efficient, if not better
Rice University researchers have developed a computational model to quantify the mechanism by which CRISPR-Cas9 proteins find their genome-editing targets.
Anatoly Kolomeisky, a Rice professor of chemistry and chemical and biomolecular engineering, and alumnus Alexey Shvets adapted a system they developed earlier to show how proteins generally find their biological targets. CRISPR, which stands for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats,” is the biological mechanism by which bacteria protect themselves from viral infections.

Rice’s new Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to celebrate opening Oct. 22
A new chapter in Houston’s entrepreneurship history begins Oct. 22 at Rice University with the opening celebration of the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Lilie), which features new and expanded entrepreneurship courses as well as a variety of co-curricular activities and resources with the goal of supporting Rice students in entrepreneurial endeavors. The celebration will be preceded by a “Three-Day Startup” program, a 72-hour experiential-learning exercise that teaches entrepreneurial skills and mindset to students in a hands-on environment, with input from mentors throughout the weekend. The program will culminate with pitches to a panel of experts and the public.

Intersection of diversity and business is topic at Rice’s Jones School Oct. 27
Bringing together leading local business and thought leaders, Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business will host a conference on “Sparking Success: The Intersection of Diversity and Business” at the school’s McNair Hall Oct. 27. The event will provide a forum for dialogue about diversity and inclusion in the business world and will connect people to issues important in today’s workforce.

Baker Institute paper: Public, private stakeholders have role to play in fixing Houston’s flooding problem
The private sector can play a major role in fixing the serious problems that all levels of government and the development community, as well as their engineers and lawyers, have created in regard to flooding in Houston, according to a paper by Jim Blackburn, a lawyer, professor in the practice of environmental law at Rice, Baker Institute Rice Faculty Scholar and co-director of Rice’s Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters Center. It outlines a range of actions that will need to be taken by federal, state and local governments as well as the private sector.

About Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is a senior editor in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.