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  • April 04, 2013
    By David Scharfenberg

    A key Brown University oversight committee has voted unanimously to recommend that the school divest from coal, delivering a significant victory to student climate change activists.

    The Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies (ACCRIP) has recommended divestment only three times before: from companies operating in Darfur during the genocide there, from tobacco corporations, and from HEI Hotels.

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  • March 21, 2013
    By David Scharfenberg

    The school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut spurred hope for sensible gun regulation, yes, but also for a more nuanced discussion of America's gun culture.

    Neither wish has been realized.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced this week that he's pulling an assault weapons ban out of a broader gun regulation package for fear that it might sink the whole enterprise; there is considerable doubt about whether Congress will even pass a universal background check measure broadly popular with the public.

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  • February 28, 2013
    By David Scharfenberg

    Here's an argument you'll often hear from opponents of same-sex marriage: it's a sideshow, a distraction from the real work of fixing Rhode Island's economy, a concern of a relatively small group of gays, lesbians, and their progressive allies.

    But a new Brown University poll provides a challenge to that line of argument.

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  • November 27, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Environmental activist Bill McKibben was the driving force behind the remarkable campaign that forced President Obama to delay approval of the Keystone pipeline, which would funnel oil pulled from the tar sands of Canada down to the Gulf Coast.

    But McKibben, in an appearance at the Netroots Nation conference in Providence this summer, said the Keystone case was unique, in some ways: President Obama, alone, had the power to delay construction, dampening the influence of the powerful fossil fuels lobby.

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  • October 19, 2012
    By David Scharfenberg

    Sometimes it's nice having a fancy Ivy League school in town. At least for nerdbombs like me.

    Pretty good run of speaker at Brown in the coming days. Today at 4 pm, sociologist Charles Murray - he of the controversial Bell Curve and the fascinating Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 - speaks at MacMillan Hall.

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  • September 20, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    From Brown University:

    David Rohde, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, will join the Brown University faculty as an adjunct professor of English for the 2012 spring semester. Rohde will teach a course titled “Advanced Journalism: Investigative and Online Reporting.”

    A 1990 graduate of Brown, Rohde covered the conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Israel-Palestine, and the Balkans.

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  • March 16, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    As Providence Mayor Angel Taveras announces the city's designation as one of IBM's "Smarter Cities" and plans to develop a computerized land management system to help spur growth in the Jewelry District (or Knowledge District), it may be worth another look at a piece that appeared in last week's Phoenix on Brown University's Chris Bull.

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  • January 26, 2011
    By David Scharfenberg

    Austerity is all the rage in Washington these days. See President Obama's State of the Union address and the GOP's response. Seemed like a good time to chat with Brown University political science professor Mark Blyth, who suggests the austerity push is not as virtuous as it may sound. So I've got a Q&A with him in this week's Phoenix

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  • June 24, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    Regular readers may recall that N4N posted video of the band OK Go's last bit of You Tube genius, a video for its song "This Too Shall Pass" featuring a giant Rube Goldberg machine. Well the band, fronted by Brown University alum Damian Kulash, is at it again. Stick with this one, it gets pretty ridonkulous.

  • November 05, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    I've written a cover story for today's Phoenix on a topic that has fascinated me for years: the lifestyle center. It is a faux Main Street - essentially the mall, gone outdoors - that raises all sorts of interesting questions about public and private space.

    With the real Main Street in decline, can we really form community in a place built around brand identity? Is there something odd about living in a condo above the Gap with a view of Cold Stone Creamery? Should we be concerned that the new public square doesn't allow for anti-war protest or, even, skateboarding? Or should we be embracing a walkable, green space in the heart of sprawling suburbia?

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  • April 29, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    Brown political science professor, one-time Congressional candidate and fav Phoenix quote Jennifer Lawless has taken a new job as director of the Women and Politics Institute at American University. From a press release she sent along:

    Women & Politics Institute Announces New Director

    Brown Professor, Author, and Recent Congressional Candidate Dr.

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