SJSU in the News: “Speed City” Runner Scheduled for Brain Surgery

Olympic legend Lee Evans to undergo surgery for brain tumor

Originally published by the San Jose Mercury News Dec. 22, 2011.

By Elliott Almond

Lee Evans, a 1968 Olympic champion and member of the famed “Speed City” runners from San Jose State, is scheduled to have brain surgery Thursday, this newspaper has learned.

Evans, 63, has a large tumor in the pituitary gland area of his brain, according to an email circulated to Olympians from the Mexico City Games. Former Speed City star John Carlos said Evans had suffered from an aneurysm, a weakening in a part of the wall of an artery that supplies blood to the brain.

“All of our teammates want to go out and say some prayers,” Carlos said. “There’s not too much we can do but pray.”

Evans, who lives in Nigeria, was visiting his sister in the Bay Area when the problem was discovered. “It is a blessing he is here in the United States,” Carlos added.

Evans, an Overfelt High alum, has been trying to raise capital to build a school in Liberia, the subject of a story last year in the Mercury News. The sprinter-turned-track coach said at the time he had purchased 13 acres outside of the Liberian capital of Monrovia to build a school.

Evans wanted to sell his Olympic gold medals in the 400 meters and the 1,600 relay in Mexico City to raise $250,000 for a school. He wants to dedicate the facility to his wife, Princess, a former Liberian refugee who grew up without formal education.

“I don’t need the medals,” he said. “I need money to build the school.”

Evans recently decided to start a commercial farm as a way to pay for the school. Last week, he went to Kentucky to visit ’68 Olympian Tom Lough — a modern pentathlete — who introduced him to local farmers.

Evans began working for the United Nations in Africa after resigning as track and cross-country coach at the University of South Alabama in 2008. He is semiretired but continues to coach kids in southern Nigeria.

Evans’ social consciousness matured in the late 1960s at San Jose State, where many “Speed City” sprinters were as concerned with racial discrimination as with winning medals. In Mexico City, Spartans sprinters Tommie Smith and Carlos finished first and third in the 200 meters, then entered Olympic history with their controversial protest during the medal ceremony.

Evans had planned a similar protest the next day after becoming the first person to run faster than 44 seconds in the 400 meters. He wore a black beret symbolic of the militant Black Panther Party on the podium. But he didn’t wear his black glove or black socks as Smith and Carlos did the day before.

K-12 teachers in an SJSU classroom for professional training

Sustainability Education Pilot Project Receives $71,000 Grant

K-12 teachers in an SJSU classroom for professional training

The effort will build on SJSU’s Bay Area Earth Science Institute, which offers a comprehensive, year-round professional development program for teachers of grades 4-12 (Elena Polanco photo).

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

Improving the sustainability literacy of California’s 450,000 sixth graders is the goal of a new pilot project uniting SJSU and Creative Change Educational Solutions, a national leader in sustainability education.

This effort will also form a network of teacher education faculty members from SJSU and CSU East Bay. They will develop a sustainability lens for teachers of grades K-8.

The California Alliance for Sustainability will be funded by a $71,333 grant from the the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation.

Professor of Geology Ellen Metzger will be the principal investigator. Assistant Professor of Education Grinell Smith, science education coordinator for elementary education, will be the co-principal investigator.

Over 20 in-service teachers and education faculty members from SJSU and California State University East Bay will participate in summer workshops. Then they will receive follow-up support as they significantly re-frame their instructional units and university courses using a sustainability lens, one that expands environmental education to include issues of social equity and economic sustainability.

Metzger and her colleagues will focus on sixth grade science standards, investigating and addressing barriers to implementing educating for sustainability in real classrooms.

Chevron provided $5,000 in seed funding for the project. The effort will build on Metzger’s role as director of SJSU’s Bay Area Earth Science Institute. Now in its 21st year, BAESI offers a comprehensive, year-round professional development program for teachers of grades 4-12.

SJSU in the News: Physics Professor Describes Discovery of Two Earth-Size Exoplanets

SJSU in the News: Physics Professor Announces Discovery of Two Earth-Size Exoplanets

SJSU in the News: Physics Professor Describes Discovery of Two Earth-Size Exoplanets

“In the cosmic game of hide and seek, finding planets with just the right size and just the right temperature seems only a matter of time,” said Natalie Batalha, Kepler deputy science team lead and professor of astronomy and physics at San Jose State University (NASA image).

NASA: Earth-size planets, Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f, discovered

Originally published by The State Column Dec. 20. 2011.

NASA’s Kepler mission trumpeted the discovery of several Earth-size planets circling a sun-like star outside our solar system Tuesday. While Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f (the newly discovered, Earth-size planets) are too close to the sun-like star to be in the “habitable zone,” where the formation of liquid water is possible on a planet’s surface, they are the smallest exoplanets (planets outside our solar system) ever validated around a sun-like star.

For NASA, the monumental discovery is the next milestone in the ongoing search for Earth-like planets. According to a NASA press release, the two Earth-like planets are believe to be rocky. Kepler-20e is a bit smaller than Venus or 0.87 times the radius of Earth. However, Kepler-2of is slightly larger than Earth or 1.03 times the radius of Earth. The Earth-size plants are part of a five-planet system named Kepler-20. Kepler-2o is roughly 1,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Lyra.

NASA reports that Kepler-20e circles a sun-like star every 6.1 days, while Kepler 20f orbits the same star every 19.6 days. Both of the Earth-size planets are similar to Earth in size only. The short orbits of the Earth-size planets corresponds to extremely hot and uninhabitable conditions on the planet. For example, Kepler-2of (8000 degree Fahrenheit) is similar to the planet Mercury as far as temperature is concerned. However, Kepler-2oe is even hotter (1,400 degrees Fahrenheit). Kepler-20e would melt glass.

“The primary goal of the Kepler mission is to find Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone,” Francois Fressin of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, lead author of a new study published in the journal Nature, said in a NASA press release.

“This discovery demonstrates for the first time that Earth-size planets exist around other stars, and that we are able to detect them,” Mr. Fressin added.

The Kepler-20 system has other planets that are not Earth-like in size. Three of the other planets are bigger than Earth, but tinier than Neptune. NASA reports that Kepler-2ob, Kepler-20c and Kepler-2od, circle a sun-like star every 3.7 days, 10.9 days and 77.6 days. Additionally, all five planets in the Kepler-20 system have orbits that are similar to Mercury’s orbit. The planets of the Kepler-20 system orbit a star that is a bit smaller and cooler than the sun.

NASA also reports that the Kepler-20 system has a strange arrangement. In our solar system, rocky planets circle close to the sun, while large, gaseous planets circle farther out. However, in the Kepler-20 system, the planets are positioned in alternating size.

“The Kepler data are showing us some planetary systems have arrangements of planets very different from that seen in our solar system,” Jack Lissauer, planetary scientist and Kepler science team member at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, said in a NASA press release.

“The analysis of Kepler data continue to reveal new insights about the diversity of planets and planetary systems within our galaxy,” Mr. Lissauer added.

While scientists are not sure why the Kepler-20 system is arranged the way it is, they do not believe that the planets originated from the locations they are in now. According to NASA, scientists believe that the planets were constructed a greater distance from the sun-like star than they are now and eventually moved closer.

The Kepler space telescope looks for planets and possible planets by looking at “dips” in the brightness of more than 150,00o stars to reveal planets that are “crossing in front, or transiting, their stars.” After three transits, the Kepler science team knows that a planet has been discovered.

The Kepler science team deploys ground-based telescopes and the Spitzer Space Telescope to examine discoveries on possible planets that are located by the spacecraft. However, the star field that Kepler examines in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra can only be seen from ground-based observatories in the spring, summer and early fall. The data from the ground-based telescopes and the Spitzer Space Telescope help scientists confirm the discovery of planets.

Astronomer utilized a computer program called Blender to confirm the discovery of the Earth-size planets, Kepler-20e and Kepler-2of. Blender used simulations to determine whether other “astrophysical phenomena” were disguised as planets.

Back on December 5th, the Kepler team announced the discovery of Kepler-22b. Kepler-22b was found in the habitable zone of its parent star.

“In the cosmic game of hide and seek, finding planets with just the right size and just the right temperature seems only a matter of time,” Natalie Batalha, Kepler deputy science team lead and professor of astronomy and physics at San Jose State University, said in a NASA press release.

“We are on the edge of our seats knowing that Kepler’s most anticipated discoveries are still to come,” Ms. Batalha said.

Justice Studies Professor Explores Pathways Out of Crime

Record Clearance Project Prepares Student for Law School

Javier de la Torre assists a client at the McKinley Neighborhood Center Speed Screening

Javier de la Torre assists a client at the McKinley Neighborhood Center (Justice Studies photo).

By Javier de la Torre

(Editor’s Note: The following story is an except from the winter 2011 issue of “Advance: News from the San Jose State University Record Clearance Project (PDF).” The project engages undergraduates in assisting eligible people to clear their criminal records.)

I began working with the Record Clearance Project (RCP) almost a year ago, and through this work have developed a whole new view about law and justice. The RCP and my studies at SJSU have ignited in me the desire to go to law school to become an attorney for at-risk youth.

In 1987 I arrived in San José as a young child, coming with my family from Mexico in search of a better life. Growing up, I never thought about going to law school. In fact, I found it extremely difficult to assimilate during my first years in the US.

However, I graduated from Oak Grove High School here and attended West Valley Community College, receiving an AA degree before starting at SJSU in the fall of 2009.

While I had been thinking of working as a police officer, sheriff or CHP officer, once I came to SJSU, I became more interested in learning about why crimes are committed and how to help the individuals involved. I began to see myself working with people who needed help rather than enforcing the law.

There are no lawyers in my family, and the Record Clearance Project gave me valuable field experience in the law. I really enjoyed working with my ten clients, and have seen firsthand that not only is knowing the law required, but communication and interviewing skills are necessary as well. My goal is to communicate in a professional and gentle way so that each person feels comfortable; being courteous and professional has guided me through many interviews with clients from different backgrounds.

I have enjoyed being able to share this wonderful project with the public by doing presentations and interview sessions in the community. At a Speed Screening at the McKinley Neighborhood Center, my interview partner was unable to attend, so I interviewed clients by myself. The one-on-one consultation made the experience feel as if I was a real lawyer. I was glad to return to the McKinley Center where previously I had done a community presentation, this time to help interested clients individually.

Becoming an attorney is a new path for me. For the last eight years I have worked at a sheet metal company, being promoted from the production floor to supervisor to production control. I paid all my expenses to put myself through college, and have helped my mother with her expenses as well. I have worked full-time, sometimes 50 hours a week.

In Spring 2012 I will graduate from SJSU, the first in my family to graduate from an accredited college. Being in the top 15 percent of my class, I am a member of the campus chapter of the Golden Key International Honor Society.

At this point in my career, close to graduation, I understand that choosing to pursue a law degree will take a tremendous amount of work and exceeding dedication. Through the RCP, I’ve met law students, as well as lawyers and judges. If accepted in law school, I believe I can make the right choices needed in my life and do the work required to emerge as a successful law graduate. I look forward to practicing law and continuing to help others.

SJSU in the News: Women CSU Student Outnumber Men

Reversing the gender gap: Women surpass men at CSU

Originally posted by the San Jose Mercury News Dec. 19, 2011.

By Lisa M. Krieger

Women are leapfrogging men into the classroom at the nation’s largest university system, redefining the gender gap on California State University campuses in a startling way.

About six out of 10 CSU graduates last spring were female — a complete reversal over the past four decades. Some campuses, like Dominguez Hills and Stanislaus, have almost twice as many women as men, feeling eerily like women’s colleges.

The trend is so pronounced that last month Cal State East Bay held a special one-day “Male Initiative” conference for young minority men, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Women are pouring into college at elevated rates all over the country — not only at two- and four-year schools, but also into professional and graduate programs. The profound shift comes two decades after educators issued an alarming report entitled “How Schools Shortchange Girls.”

“It shows you how quickly things can change. Not only are women being more encouraged to go to college, it is necessary. It is expected,” said Cal State East Bay student Lyla Pehrson, 25, a low-income student from the tiny Humboldt County town of Trinidad, who was raised by her father, a commercial Alaskan fisherman.

“As women, we are realizing that with the economy being as it is, we can’t depend on a man to bring home the bacon and make everything be OK,” said Pehrson, whose mother did not attend college. The 25-year-old serves in her student body government and works two jobs to pay for school.

The student bodies at the University of California and California community colleges average about 55 percent female — slightly less than CSU’s 59 percent.

Nationally, women have represented about 57 percent of enrollments at American colleges since at least 2000, according to a report by the American Council on Education. They have surpassed men not only in bachelor’s degrees, but also master’s degrees Ph.D.s.

But female enrollment skews even higher among older students, low-income students and minority students — the demographics of the CSU population.

Private universities can shape their classes — so schools like Stanford, with an incoming class that is 47.5 percent female, and Santa Clara, which is 51.4 percent female, are gender-balanced.

But public schools accept all qualified students, so they reflect the larger societal shift.

“We don’t reach out more to women than men. We’re not trying to recruit more women than men,” said Greg Smith, associate vice president for planning and enrollment management at Cal State East Bay, which is 60 percent female. “We put the message out there, encouraging all to apply.”

“What happens is that women more successfully respond to that message,” he said.

Researchers cite several reasons: Women tend to have higher grades and test scores; men tend to drop out of high school in disproportionate numbers; and women recognize they need a college degree to approach pay equity with men.

“I mainly attribute it to social and economic factors. Minority men are more likely to be unemployed, incarcerated or dead. I was fortunate to have the great support of my father,” said Christopher Prado, 21, president of the student government at Cal State East Bay and the first member of his Mexican-American family to attend college.

Many of his friends were attracted by the lure of quick money, he said. “When you get out of high school and can work at a warehouse for $400 a week, every single week, that seems like a lot of money,” he said. “But it’s not an investment. It’s an illusion.”

The good news is that both men and women are attending college in higher numbers. Applications to attend CSU next fall have surged — from 611,225 to 665,860. The university still doesn’t have a breakdown of how many of those applicants are women.

Women’s advances don’t “translate into a loss for men,” said Mikyung Ryu, Associate Director for the Center for Policy Analysis at the American Council on Education. “It’s not a zero sum game.”

Men remain very well represented at CSU campuses with strong engineering programs, like San Jose State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Pomona, or forestry programs, like Humboldt State.

But at other campuses, students say they miss the male voice.

“We lose the perspective that comes from men when there are open classroom discussions. We get a lot of the female view,” said Jesseca Stone, 35, who is earning a Liberal Studies degree, along with a teaching credential, at Cal State East Bay’s Concord campus.

Although she’s focused on studies, not dating, Stone said men “are very few and far between, if you’re even remotely thinking about meeting someone.

“It’s a different college experience.”

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

SJSU in the News: Women CSU Student Outnumber Men

Reversing the gender gap: Women surpass men at CSU

Originally posted by the San Jose Mercury News Dec. 19, 2011.

By Lisa M. Krieger

Women are leapfrogging men into the classroom at the nation’s largest university system, redefining the gender gap on California State University campuses in a startling way.

About six out of 10 CSU graduates last spring were female — a complete reversal over the past four decades. Some campuses, like Dominguez Hills and Stanislaus, have almost twice as many women as men, feeling eerily like women’s colleges.

The trend is so pronounced that last month Cal State East Bay held a special one-day “Male Initiative” conference for young minority men, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Women are pouring into college at elevated rates all over the country — not only at two- and four-year schools, but also into professional and graduate programs. The profound shift comes two decades after educators issued an alarming report entitled “How Schools Shortchange Girls.”

“It shows you how quickly things can change. Not only are women being more encouraged to go to college, it is necessary. It is expected,” said Cal State East Bay student Lyla Pehrson, 25, a low-income student from the tiny Humboldt County town of Trinidad, who was raised by her father, a commercial Alaskan fisherman.

“As women, we are realizing that with the economy being as it is, we can’t depend on a man to bring home the bacon and make everything be OK,” said Pehrson, whose mother did not attend college. The 25-year-old serves in her student body government and works two jobs to pay for school.

The student bodies at the University of California and California community colleges average about 55 percent female — slightly less than CSU’s 59 percent.

Nationally, women have represented about 57 percent of enrollments at American colleges since at least 2000, according to a report by the American Council on Education. They have surpassed men not only in bachelor’s degrees, but also master’s degrees Ph.D.s.

But female enrollment skews even higher among older students, low-income students and minority students — the demographics of the CSU population.

Private universities can shape their classes — so schools like Stanford, with an incoming class that is 47.5 percent female, and Santa Clara, which is 51.4 percent female, are gender-balanced.

But public schools accept all qualified students, so they reflect the larger societal shift.

“We don’t reach out more to women than men. We’re not trying to recruit more women than men,” said Greg Smith, associate vice president for planning and enrollment management at Cal State East Bay, which is 60 percent female. “We put the message out there, encouraging all to apply.”

“What happens is that women more successfully respond to that message,” he said.

Researchers cite several reasons: Women tend to have higher grades and test scores; men tend to drop out of high school in disproportionate numbers; and women recognize they need a college degree to approach pay equity with men.

“I mainly attribute it to social and economic factors. Minority men are more likely to be unemployed, incarcerated or dead. I was fortunate to have the great support of my father,” said Christopher Prado, 21, president of the student government at Cal State East Bay and the first member of his Mexican-American family to attend college.

Many of his friends were attracted by the lure of quick money, he said. “When you get out of high school and can work at a warehouse for $400 a week, every single week, that seems like a lot of money,” he said. “But it’s not an investment. It’s an illusion.”

The good news is that both men and women are attending college in higher numbers. Applications to attend CSU next fall have surged — from 611,225 to 665,860. The university still doesn’t have a breakdown of how many of those applicants are women.

Women’s advances don’t “translate into a loss for men,” said Mikyung Ryu, Associate Director for the Center for Policy Analysis at the American Council on Education. “It’s not a zero sum game.”

Men remain very well represented at CSU campuses with strong engineering programs, like San Jose State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Pomona, or forestry programs, like Humboldt State.

But at other campuses, students say they miss the male voice.

“We lose the perspective that comes from men when there are open classroom discussions. We get a lot of the female view,” said Jesseca Stone, 35, who is earning a Liberal Studies degree, along with a teaching credential, at Cal State East Bay’s Concord campus.

Although she’s focused on studies, not dating, Stone said men “are very few and far between, if you’re even remotely thinking about meeting someone.

“It’s a different college experience.”

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 408-920-5565.

3 UPD officers in uniform sort a huge pile of toys ready to be wrapped.

UPD Santa Delivers Toys to 1,000 Neighborhood Children

Santa Delivers Gifts Donated to UPD Holiday Toy Drive

Student volunteers wrap gifts Dec. 14 in the Event Center (Ryan Whitchurch photo).

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

The University Police Department distributed toys Dec. 17 to more than 1,000 children and their families living in neighborhoods near campus. UPD officers, staff and volunteers, including one dressed as Santa, drove a sleigh up and down the streets south of SJSU to hand deliver gifts, donated and wrapped by campus community members. A second crew distributed gifts and food boxes from UPD’s offices. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the UPD Holiday Toy Drive. Donations of new or gently used toys for children 0-14 years are accepted all year. You may also donate online. When you reach this page click on the “GIVE” button, click on “OTHER” and enter UPD Holiday Toy Drive. Or you may send a check to the Tower Foundation (Tax ID #83-0403915) c/o San Jose State University, One Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192-0183 – again indicating that your donation is for the UPD Holiday Toy Drive. For more information, please call Claire Kotowski (408) 924-2174 or Liza Rios, (408) 924-2171.

Image from essay showing everyday people examining a fancy sports car.

SJSU in the News: Alumnus Creates Visual Essay Displaying Beijing’s “Canvas of Contrasts”

SJSU in the News: Grad's Spectacular Visual Essay Shows Beijing's "Canvas of Contrasts"

Click on the image to view Sugano's visual essay.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

San Jose Mercury News photographer Dai Sugano, an SJSU journalism grad, created this spectacular visual essay after traveling to Beijing. Demonstrating a new direction for photo journalism, the essay blends still and video images with captions to show how “this sprawling metropolis of 20 million is a canvas of contrasts.” Sugano’s colleague, John Boudreau, writes: “China’s communist political system is nominally committed to socialist egalitarianism, but its capital city contains some of the world’s greatest disparities between the haves and have-nots … Urban sophisticates in designer clothes pack nightclubs and sip champagne while migrant workers huddle in makeshift housing along construction sites, slurping noodles out of large tin cups.” Sugano is a frequent classroom speaker at SJSU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications, which offers hands on instruction in multimedia and emerging new media technologies. Read Boudreau’s story below.

***

Beijing is a study in contrasts

Originally published by the San Jose Mercury News Dec. 13, 2011.

By John Boudreau

BEIJING — This sprawling metropolis of 20 million is a canvas of contrasts.

China’s communist political system is nominally committed to socialist egalitarianism, but its capital city contains some of the world’s greatest disparities between the haves and have-nots. The newly rich in Bentleys and Mercedes-Benzes rush by street vendors in donkey carts who come in daily from the countryside, some who earn barely $100 a year. Urban sophisticates in designer clothes pack nightclubs and sip champagne while migrant workers huddle in makeshift housing along construction sites, slurping noodles out of large tin cups.

China’s emergence has also created opportunities for well-educated Chinese to work and live abroad, including tens of thousands of tech workers now employed in Silicon Valley. The 2010 Census tallied 630,467 Chinese-Americans in the Bay Area, up 25 percent from the 2000 Census and more Chinese-American residents than anywhere in the United States other than New York City.

On a recent reporting trip to China, staff photographer Dai Sugano captured in images and video the contradictions on display every day in this rising economic giant.

Now the world’s second-largest economy, China is also its fastest-growing major economy, continuing to post impressive growth rates after three decades of spectacular economic performance, and despite the painful global recession. Hundreds of millions of Chinese have been lifted out of poverty as China has become the world’s largest exporter of goods and its second-largest importer.

Yet many Chinese have been left out of the nation’s economic miracle. Hundreds of millions of people living in the countryside remain mired in poverty.

China’s capital city is a tableau of the new and the old. In and around Tiananmen Square, flashes of patriotic images of the rising nation are displayed in two jumbo screens. “Firmly pushing forward the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics!” reads one slogan on a screen. iPhone-toting hipsters pose in front of a huge portrait of former Chairman Mao Zedong.

Images from the revolutionary era in which Chinese Communists violently opposed capitalism are juxtaposed with gleaming citadels created by China’s new heroes — captains of industry. China’s headlong embrace of a market economy, though, comes with caveats. The government plays a major role in guiding the economy and many of the nation’s most important companies are state-owned.

In the rush to be a leading 21st-century city, Beijing’s government has bulldozed many historic neighborhoods to make room for reach-for-the-sky development. The bustling city is crammed with towering office buildings containing high-end stores, from Gucci to Apple, filled with shoppers snatching up Tiffany jewelry, designer bags and bottles of $4,000 Château Pétrus wine. The quaint courtyard houses and labyrinthine hutong neighborhoods that defined Beijing for hundreds of years are mostly gone, and the few that remain are overshadowed by high-rise complexes.

The city is a magnet for migrant workers, with millions of rural Chinese pouring in to find their own Chinese Dream. But they often end up as second-class citizens: Under the country’s household registration system, migrant workers don’t qualify for many services, from public education to health care, unless they remain in their home province. Still, they stay because being a second-class citizen in Beijing often seems better than being a first-class citizen of a village with no jobs or future prospects.

Addressing the widening gap between the rich and poor is just one of many daunting tasks China faces as it transitions to the modern industrial society. The world awaits, with both anticipation and dread, the next chapter of its emergence as an economic powerhouse.

Contact John Boudreau at 408-278-3496.

ABOUT BEIJING

Population
19.6 million in 2010 (up from 13.6 million in 2000)

Productivity
Gross domestic product per capita in 2010: $10,672 (up 6.2 percent over 2008)

Income
Disposable income per capita in urban area: $3,914 (up 8.1 percent over 2008); in rural area: $1,754 (up 11.5 percent over 2008)

Industry
Home to 26 of the Fortune Global 500 companies, behind only Tokyo and Paris, and just ahead of New York

Source: National Bureau of Statistics of China, Beijing Government Statistics, Fortune Magazine

family of personal electronic devices posing for photo in front of fireplace

Video: Animation/Illustration Club Creates Applied Materials Holiday E-Card

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

When Applied Materials set out to create a holiday e-card featuring products reflecting its core business, the Silicon Valley giant turned to San Jose State’s Animation/Illustration Shrunkenheadman Club.

“A team of young, impressive, and highly creative students … did an outstanding job of creating a family (literally) of semiconductor and LCD enabling products and made them come to life in a fun and whimsical way! Check it out!” Applied Materials wrote in a Facebook post.

“The students worked closely with Applied Materials’ corporate public relations staff from late-October thru the first week of December, doing so under very tight deadlines in addition to the rigorous demands of class assignments and other film projects,” Professor Courtney Granner said.

“Some of the composited frames took approximately 20 minutes to render, and at 59 seconds running time it means the piece contains over 1, 300 frames. The SJSU A/I Program continues to make inroads with film, gaming, and television studios while also working with local hi-tech firms represented around the globe.”

This award-winning program prepares students for intellectually and aesthetically challenging careers in print, feature and television animation, FX animation, layout, and multi-media. Recent grads work at DreamWorks Animation, Walt Disney Feature Animation and PIXAR. Founded in 1995, the Shrunkenheadman Club was named after a member’s sketch of a man with a comically small head.

“This name proved to be very appropriate in terms of describing the nature of its members. While extremely talented and competitive, the Shrunkenheadmen always remain humble … never displaying big egos, or ‘swelled heads,’” says the club’s website.

SJSU in the News: Politics Professor Argues Against Proposed Part-Time Legislature

Larry N. Gerston: Move for part-time legislature is just another power grab

Originally published in the San Jose Mercury News Dec. 17, 2011

By Larry N. Gerston
Special to the Mercury News

Few words are more abused than the term “reform,” which for many is a synonym for positive change or improvement. Now a group is circulating a constitutional amendment ballot initiative that would “reform” the state Legislature by turning it into a part-time body that would meet for no more than three months each year.

Supporters say the new system would force the Legislature to be more laserlike in its policy-making responsibilities because of the limited time in which it would have to conduct its work. Knowing that they have to get back to their full-time jobs as soon as possible, legislators would move quickly in organizing their tasks for the year. As a result, a sometimes weary public would be more informed about the Legislature’s activities because of the compact time frame.

Who are they kidding?

Here’s what would really happen with a part-time Legislature. Policy makers of this branch would be all but crippled in their ability to understand complex issues and act on them. Hearings, research, meetings with various parties would be pushed aside in the name of expediency. Rather than act independently as an equal branch of government, the Legislature would depend on others with vastly more knowledge and institutional capabilities because of their permanence in Sacramento. And as for composition, only the very wealthy or retired people would be able to serve. Who else can take three months off their job every year and spend it in Sacramento?

To begin with, more power would accrue to the governor simply because of his year-round presence. With the Legislature absent most of the year, bureaucrats and lobbyists — neither elected — would negotiate with the governor day in and day out to carry out the “people’s” work (read the sarcasm). State issues don’t restrict their emergence to January through March of the year.

Speaking of the bureaucracy, the institution so denounced for its isolation would become even more insulated and powerful because of its control of expertise, access to information and recommendations for managing it. There would be no meaningful legislative body to oversee bureaucratic activity.

But the real winners would be the special interests. Already possessing a wealth of influence through money and lobbyists, they would now have one less obstacle to keep them from having their way on issues that serve their members first and the public last. Last year, the Mercury News published a report showing how interest groups wrote about one-third of the bills “carried” by legislators during a recent two-year session. Imagine what would happen with a part-time Legislature. Interest groups would be like kids in a candy shop, with no grown-ups around to tell them to stop making pigs of themselves.

It’s easy to pick on the Legislature. The fact is that term limits and impossible thresholds for raising taxes greatly hinder legislators’ ability to do their work. Further, the ability of special interests to circumvent the Legislature with ballot initiatives adds to legislative impotence. No wonder gridlock seems so permanent in Sacramento. Reforms in these areas would do a lot more good for the state.

So the choice becomes this: Emasculate the Legislature, leaving power in the hands of unelected individuals accountable only to their own selfish interests, or empower the Legislature to do its work, with the voters judging them in each election. In a representative democracy, I vote for the latter.

Larry N. Gerston is professor of political science at San Jose State. His latest book, “Not So Golden After All: The Rise and Fall of California,” will be published by Taylor and Francis in spring 2012. He wrote this article for this newspaper.

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Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Researcher and Colleagues Identify Four New Shark Species

long thin shark with elongated snout and sharp teeth

African dwarf sawshark (California Academy of Sciences photo).

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

David A. Ebert, program director for the Pacific Shark Research Center at the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, and colleagues have identified four new species of deep sea sharks. The discoveries includes the African dwarf sawshark (Pristiophorus nancyae), “notable for its elongated blade-like snout, or ‘rostrum,’ which is studded with sharp teeth and used as a weapon. The sawshark will swim through a school of fish swinging its rostrum back and forth, stunning and injuring prey, and then swim back to consume the casualties,” according to the California Academy of Sciences. Ebert and his colleagues also identified two species of lanternshark and one species of angel shark. Identifying species is critical to preserving biodiversity, the bedrock of healthy of ecosystems. Moss Landing Marine Laboratories administers the masters of science program for a consortium of seven California State University campuses in northern and central California headed by San Jose State.

Read a related California Academy of Sciences news release.

SJSU in the News: Business Major Lights Up the Night With Growing Business

Two buddies work out of San Jose’s Willow Glen to string lights for a fee

By Mary Gottschalk

Originally published by Silicon Valley Community Newspapers Dec. 15, 2011

Not everyone has a Clark Griswold in their family to outline their home in holiday lights, as Chevy Chase did so memorably with 25,000 light bulbs in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

For those without a talented guy like Griswold in the family, there’s Scott Basilotta and Mike Matsis, owners of Holiday Lights, headquartered in Willow Glen.

Friends since they met in the seventh grade in Hermitage, Pa., the duo works nonstop from mid-October through the first part of February.

They light rooflines, walkways, trees and bushes on the outside of homes, businesses, churches, hospitals and resorts. They sometimes even hang the lights on the inside trees if a client requests it.

“We start at 7 a.m. and finish at 1 a.m. some days,” says Matsis. “We work in the rain and in the wind. We don’t stop.”

Matsis, 28, has been in the business of hanging lights since the age of 16, eventually going into business in Las Vegas, where he lives the rest of the year.

Basilotta says he was finishing up his degree in business management at San Jose State University when Matsis convinced him to start hanging lights locally.

“It was cool. I was doing business management courses and I started a small business,” Basilotta says.

His first year, working alone, Basilotta concentrated on Santa Cruz, where he lives the rest of the year.

In 2007, Matsis decided to join forces with Basilotta, and the two have rented a place in Willow Glen each year since to serve as their headquarters and a place to catch a nap during the peak season.

This year, Rebecca Matsis, Mike’s mother, joined them to manage the office, make appointments and keep things running smoothly.

Matsis says their client list grows each year, from about 30 customers the first year to more than 200 this year.

“Some customers consider us family,” he says. “We see them over and over and they invite us in.”

Their services vary by client, but all want lights hung for the holidays and taken down after the first of the year.

Beyond that, if a light goes out, it just takes a call to get it fixed. They also offer free storage for lights when not in use, and they will provide lights, hooks and whatever else is necessary if a client wants.

Charges vary with each job, but Matsis says the minimum is $150 for a simple, one-story job up to the thousands for a big commercial job.

“We’re pushing LED lights for energy efficiency,” he says.

The biggest challenge the two face on a regular basis is a tall tree.

Most of the time, they work with ladders. However, they sometimes rent lifts.

Matsis recalls the difficulties of lighting the ice rink at Squaw Valley in the middle of a blizzard with black bears running by.

“If we can do a job, we do it. If we can’t, we will tell them,” he says.

Basilotta says they really enjoyed lighting the Veterans Hospital in San Francisco this year.

Since theirs is very much a seasonal business, they hope to do more lighting events at other times of the year. They’ve done a few summer weddings and receptions and envision expanding those services in the future.

Matsis and Basilotta are able to handle many of the jobs by themselves, but on a big project they will bring in others to help.

Emilie Highley has been a using Holiday Lights for her Willow Glen home since they first started offering the service.

“My husband has MS and can’t climb, so I called and Mike came out right away. He gave me a quote that was very fair, and they put my lights up,” she says.

Highly has their roofline outlined in lights and a large star hung at the top of the pitched porch roof, about 15 feet up.

“These young men are efficient, friendly and they’re careful,” she says. “I really want to support them and help them find more business.”

Rose Garden resident Lamar Lee has been using Holiday Lights for three years.

“I have a single-story Spanish-style home, and it’s hard to deal with the roof tiles,” Lee says. “They haven’t broken a single roof tile yet; they’ve been really good.”

Prior to connecting with Basilotta and Matsis, Lee did his own light hanging.

“It was a nightmare,” he says.

“This is the best decision I’ve made in the last couple of years. It’s one of those services you don’t think about getting, but they do a great job. They’re very professional and not only do they put it up, they take it down as well.”

Both Matsis and Basilotta worked on Thanksgiving this year, repairing to Basilotta’s parents’ home in Santa Cruz for a late turkey dinner.

On Christmas Eve, Matsis will fly home to his family in Las Vegas for a couple of days, but Basilotta will be on call.

“I have to be here to make sure all the lights are on for Santa Claus,” he says with a laugh.

“We’re spreading Christmas joy, and the kids are really cool. It’s nice to have a happy customer base.”

For more information, visit www.holidaylightsbayarea.com or call 408.384.9627.

SJSU in the News: Professor Emeritus Who Championed Progressive Movement Dies

Bert Muhly, former Santa Cruz mayor and icon of progressive politics, dies at 88

Originally published by the Santa Cruz Sentinel Dec. 16, 2011.

SANTA CRUZ — Former Mayor Bert Muhly, the two-term city councilman and one-time county planning chief who as a university educator and political kingmaker championed progressive movements ranging from local growth limits to statewide coastal protection and the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, died Friday at his home on the Westside.

He was 88.

The cause of death was heart failure, said his wife, Lois, a retired elementary school teacher. The couple, who has lived in Santa Cruz for 50 years, celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in October.

For decades, Muhly employed his education in urban planning to press for government policies that controlled development and safeguarded natural resources. He was also instrumental in electing regional officials to national posts, all while keeping a keen eye on local grassroots political talent who could help him advance liberal causes.

“It was a beautiful place when he moved here,” Lois Muhly said, explaining his political drive. “There were so many fine qualities that he wanted to preserve for his children and grandchildren.”

The former UC Santa Cruz and San Jose State University professor was remembered Friday as a passionate and diligent activist who, as part of the vanguard of California environmentalists in the 1960s, contributed to legislation that created the powerful Coastal Commission that now governs development along 1,100 miles of the state’s shoreline.

Countless Democrats turned to Muhly during the last five decades, seeking guidance, fundraising and moral support.

“Bert was a Santa Cruz icon,” Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, said Friday from his office in Washington. “I don’t think I’ve seen a person so outspoken on human rights and progressive politics, especially in Central America.”

Muhly traveled more than two dozen times to Nicaragua, including once to deliver a donated ambulance to Santa Cruz’s sister city of Jinotepe. He was strongly opposed to the Contra movement of the 1980s, which was backed by President Ronald Reagan’s administration to battle the Sandanistas after an overthrow of the country’s dictator.

The Muhlys cofounded Three Americas, a nonprofit organization that works to raise awareness and funds, often through the sale of fair-trade coffee, for communities in Central and South America. The group helped to raise $10,000 this year for the Chile-Santa Cruz Friendship Committee, Lois Muhly said.

Bert Muhly served on the City Council from April 1974 to November 1981, and was chosen immediately to serve as vice mayor and then as mayor in late 1974. During his years on the council, Muhly served as the city’s representative to the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments, and was at one point the organization’s president.

Retired physician and former mayor John Mahaney, a conservative member of the council, remembered his one-time colleague as standing firm on an anti-growth agenda.

“He was a really honest forthright guy,” Mahaney said. “Sometimes we didn’t agree, but I had a lot of respect for him and his abilities.”

Muhly also was adept at getting friends into places of power, famous for the earthy crab cake fundraisers he and Lois, a former Soquel Union Elementary School District teacher, hosted on their deck.

In addition to advancing Farr’s career, Muhly worked to elect Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the former director of the CIA and chief of staff at the White House, to Congress from the Monterey area.

Santa Cruz Mayor Don Lane, who worked with Muhly on Panetta’s congressional campaign, said Muhly was one of the first people he came to know when he became politically active in the 1970s.

“He was the sort of the beginning of Santa Cruz moving into a more environmentally conscious and progressive community,” Lane said. “If he supported a cause, then he just drove it forward. He just never let go of it.”

Farr said Muhly helped launch his first campaign for the state Assembly in the 1980s and was instrumental in his 1993 bid to join the U.S. House of Representatives. Farr said he felt as though he was Muhly’s adopted son at times.

“I practically lived in their house in Santa Cruz while I was running my campaign,” Farr said. “The house was full of fascinating people. Every meal was a think-tank discussion.”

Born Louis Bert Muhly in Maryland on June 18, 1923, Muhly earned a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration from UC Berkeley in 1948 and a master’s degree from the Department of City and Regional Planning at the university four years later.

He served as the director of planning for Tulare County for three years and worked for an engineering firm for two years before coming to Santa Cruz County, where he served as head of the planning department and is credited with drafting the county’s first general plan at a time when UCSC was being established.

After nearly a decade in that post, he chose to leave the professional side of municipal planning to be an educator. The move afforded him the opportunity to enter the world of advocacy free of the political constraints posed by his county post.

Muhly was an instructor in the environmental studies program at UC Santa Cruz and later the graduate planning program at San Jose State University, for a total of 19 years. He retired from San Jose State as professor emeritus in 1989 but maintained an active voice in local land use issues.

“He was one of the pillars of progressive politics in Santa Cruz and was particularly influential at a time when community dynamics were changing, and he certainly actively supported more candidates that you could count,” said former mayor Cynthia Mathews, who joined neighborhood activism in the 1970s. “He was certainly very encouraging to me even at that early level.”

The Muhlys wrote to the City Council and Sentinel last month, suggesting Beach Flats Park be named for Scott Kennedy, a former mayor and fellow activist for nonviolence who died Nov. 18.

Lane said the gesture shows Bert Muhly never tired of advocacy.

“He was plugging away until the end,” Lane said.

Lois Muhly said she and her family would wait until after the holidays to make arrangements for a memorial service.

In addition to his wife, Muhly is survived by five children: Patricia Vargas of Santa Cruz, William Muhly of Happy Valley, Jenifer Hutson of Santa Cruz, Janet Windt of Santa Cruz and Ernest Muhly of Soquel. A daughter, Sally, died in 2000. The couple has numerous grandchildren.

BERT MUHLY

BORN: June 18, 1923

DIED: Dec. 16, 2011

RESIDENCE: Santa Cruz

OCCUPATION: Professor emeritus, San Jose State; former instructor at UC Santa Cruz, former planning director for Santa Cruz County

CIVIC LIFE: Mayor of Santa Cruz, 1974-1975; member of the City Council from 1974-1981; former president of the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments; co-founder of Three Americas nonprofit

Tweets of the Week, 12/16

By Ryan Whitchurch, Public Affairs Assistant

A younger sister smiles with her graduating brother who is wearing his cap and gown.

Congratulations to all graduating Spartans, photo taken by @missrosaaa.

We’ve put together the tweets of the week for Spartans to see the exciting, funny, interesting, and spontaneous conversations on Twitter about SJSU. Take a look at what’s happening on campus by exploring the tweets below!

#Finals:
@clawcasta: Officially done w Fall 11 semester!! See you in the Spring, @SJSU!!

@michaelroggers: Done with my first semester @SJSU (:

@SJ_DowntownIce: We’d like to wish all our friends @SJSU best wishes as finals start tomorrow. Hopefully u come down & skate after you take that last final!

@MarvTheTweet: My care package for #finals @sjsu. #hi-chew #monster #energy #iphone #instagram instagr.am/p/Yyxc_/

@popesbeats: The library @SJSU was packed!! Everyone is studying very hard.

@Markiss408: Finals are done and over with. First semester at #SJSU was a success.

Chatter, Photos and More:
@CiscoVideo:#Cisco director @eschroedercisco explains how @sjsu students brought CIsco the power of fresh thinking about #video

@PalomarTech: So clever & fun! Nice job @SJSU! RT @SEMICONWest: So much fun! Applied Materials @Applied_Blog Holiday e-Card ow.ly/81YdN

@clawcasta: Another Hammy Holiday Special!

A female (left) and male (right) basketball player with Spartan head (center). Background is american flag.

Spartan Athletics: Military Appreciation Day

A female (left) and male (right) basketball player with Spartan head (center). Background is american flag.

Military Appreciation Day will be Dec. 19 & 20.

San Jose State University invites all active members of the military to join us for two upcoming Spartan basketball games on December 19 and 20 as we honor the men and women who serve our country.

Active service members can show their military ID and purchase discounted tickets for either the women’s basketball game against Air Force on December 19 or the men’s basketball game against UC Davis on December 20. Both games tipoff at 7:00 p.m.

This is a great opportunity for our servicemen and women to come out and enjoy some exciting college basketball action as we honor military personnel from every military branch throughout the game.

Tickets for these games are available now at the Spartan Athletics Ticket Office. For more information, call 408.924.7589 or stop by the ticket office located at 1393 South 7th Street across the street form Spartan Stadium.

Read more on Spartan Athletics.

Child with a group of other children looks in his hand as others watch.

Video: Writing Center Gives Elementary Students Grammar Tips and a Glimpse of College

By Dillon Adams

The Writing Center at SJSU recently put on an event with Horace Mann Elementary School. The students were able to participate in workshops to learn about writing and grammar techniques. The program was created to give Horace Mann Elementary school students a chance to experience SJSU at a young age, with the hope that they will be more interested in attending college after they graduate from high school.

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State Cuts Additional $100 Million from CSU Budget

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The CSU had previously announced that it will not raise tuition mid-year, even with the additional $100 million cut.

Media contact:
Pat Lopes Harris
, SJSU Media Relations, 408-656-6999

Governor Jerry Brown announced today that California will impose $980 million in mid-year trigger cuts, including a $100 million cut to the California State University. SJSU’s estimated share of this reduction will be $6.5 million, which will be met with one-time reserves. The CSU had previously announced that it will not raise tuition mid-year. To get through the remaining months of this fiscal year, campuses will need to take short-term measures. However, starting with the next fiscal year, extremely difficult longer-term tradeoffs will have to be considered, including the possibility of additional cuts to academic programs or further increases in tuition. The $100 million trigger cut for the CSU comes on top of a $650 million reduction already in place, as a result of lower-than-projected state revenues. The additional cut reduces CSU funding to $2 billion and represents a 27 percent year-to-year reduction in state support. For the current fiscal year 2011-2012, tuition increases raised approximately $300 million, but CSU’s budget has now been cut by $750 million.

Read a California State University news release.

Alumni Association Presents Wintry Campus Tableau

Alumni Association Creates Wintry Campus Tableau

Alumni Association Presents Wintry Campus Tableau

President Qayoumi tours the Washington Square Winter Wonderland created by the Alumni Association's Clifton Gold.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

Snowmen, polar bears, and penguins are dancing across the windows of the University Advancement suite in Clark Hall, where SJSU Alumni Association Events and Outreach Coordinator Clifton Gold has decked the halls. A man of many talents, Gold worked after hours to design and paint wintry scenes of campus on six glass panels. The tableau features a whole bunch of familiar if frosty landmarks including Tower Hall, Spartan Stadium and the fountains and gates that grace San Jose State. In the lobby, a carousel horse, gingerbread men and gifts beckon staff to give generously to the UPD Holiday Toy Drive. Assisting Gold were two elves, Events and Project Coordinator Valerie Gonzales and her sister Laurice Rubalcava. View more photos.

Best of SJSU mark

Best of SJSU: Best Place to Study on Campus

By: Ryan Whitchurch, Public Affairs Assistant

Photo of the university side entrance of the Martin Luther King Library with students entering and exiting the building.

The MLK library was voted SJSU's best place to study. (Photo by @may_ville via Twitter)

Looking for a place to study for finals? Last week we asked SJSU’s nearly 13,000 Facebook fans “Where’s the best place to study on campus?” About 35 Spartans posted tips including Kyle Chak, who said his favorite place to go is in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library.

“The top most floor of the SJSU King library is my place to study because I want some quiet time in addition to studying on campus,” Chak said.

Many Spartans like the mixture of studying environments the library provides on its different floors. Some said the quieter sixth, seventh, and eighth floors helped them focus; while others preferred the background noise of the lower levels to get their studies done.

“I loved to sit in the Library on 7th floor by the window overlooking 4th street and then going to La Vic to eat Chicken Quesadilla at night,” said alumnus Nikhil Paul.

And while many students will head over to King Library this week, others like Diana Barrientos prefer a different option during finals.

“Most definitely the Computer Services Center inside the Associated Students because everything you need is accessible from here: scanning, printers, computers, desk, HELP & FOOD,” Barrientos said.

The Student Union, Clark Hall, SJSU Newman Center and various classrooms around campus were also included as good options. You can see the full thread with Spartan recommendations on the SJSU Facebook post.

Thanks to all those who participated, and best of luck with finals. Go SJSU!

Join SJSU on Facebook.

A desktop cell phone holder and charging dock lying on a flat surface. The design resembles a robot and is made out of sheet metal.

Design Class Offers Last-Minute Gift Ideas

A desktop cell phone holder and charging dock lying on a flat surface. The design resembles a robot and is made out of sheet metal.

Sophomore industrial design student Frances Cheng created the Desk Minion for "Making It," a new design class that focuses on taking an idea from concept to actual product.

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Looking for a last-minute gift idea? We know a few emerging artists who can help!

Students enrolled in the new “Making It” class did more than sketch a product this term. They built and sold some of the most innovative office supplies around.

“Other classes are designing something to improve an existing piece or applying innovation to a product,” instructor Patrick Enright said. “The students in this class learned how to simplify their design in order to manufacture it quickly.”

DSID 133 students had three to four weeks to design and craft their products. They spent the rest of the semester refining retail sales points, and then marketing their creations on Etsy.com.

The Desk Minion

One student “making it” was sophomore industrial design student Frances Cheng.

“I designed a desktop cell phone holder and charging dock,” Cheng said. “My desk is kind of messy so I wanted to make something where I could have a designated place to keep my cell phone.”

She named her product “Desk Minion,” given its ability to hold a variety of items like general electronics, business cards and keys. Also, line up a bunch of her creations, and they look a lot like battle droids.

Cheng designed her template in Adobe Illustrator, and then used a water jet machine at downtown San Jose’s TechShop and the sheet metal brake in the Art Building to cut and bend 50 Desk Minions.

It’s too soon to tell if any of these students has a big hit, yet the potential is there.

“The class just went public two weeks ago,” Enright said. “Some of them have made some sales and they are all getting a lot of site reviews.”

View all of the “Making It” products.