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Mysterious tale of man accused of spying in Russia

Paul Whelan, an executive with the auto parts manufacturer BorgWarner in Auburn Hills, was picked up by Russian authorities on Dec. 28 on suspicion of spying. “Russia has arrested some people for coming in on a wrong visa or not registering. But this, the Russian media reports, was a spy sting," he said. "So something must have happened. Who knows? They’ve done this a couple of times with some U.S. diplomats and some British diplomats, but they were all eventually deported and not arrested.”
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Detroit University Seeks to Revive Neglected, Worthy Words

Just days removed from the release of Lake Superior State University's annual banished words list, Wayne State University has released its top 10 words it wants to see brought back into circulation. Break out the thesaurus and practice reading those syllables, because some of these might be a challenge. "The beginning of the year is a time for resolutions. Some may vow to stop being such a slugabed and finally wake up early, heading to the gym to stop being so fubsy. Others may commit to get outside and enjoy some salubrious activities that cut through the anhedonia," Wayne State University writes in a post. "The Wayne State Word Warriors' resolution is to curb logorrhea by reintroducing wonderful words to the world's vocabulary."
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To feel happier, we have to resolve to the life we evolved to live

As a psychiatrist specialized in anxiety and trauma, I often tell my patients and students that to understand how fear works in us, we have to see it in the context where it evolved. Ten thousand years ago, if another human frowned at us, chances were high one of us would be dead in a couple minutes. In the tribal life of our ancestors, if other tribe members did not like you, you would be dead, or exiled and dead.
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Have you experienced 'highway hypnosis?'

Randall Commissaris, associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, talked about highway hypnosis. The phenomenon involves drivers who are aware and paying attention while operating their vehicle, yet, they don’t remember doing it. They’re in a routine while driving and not looking for exits – similar to operating on auto-pilot. Commissaris says one of the biggest potential risks is the challenge of dealing with a surprise situation. Commissaris uses a driving simulator and willing volunteers to study driving at Wayne State University.
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Wayne State releases list of words to 'use more in conversations'

The Wayne State University Word Warriors have put out their list of words that they say deserve to be used in the everyday language more often. As part of its initiative to draw attention to some of the English language's most expressive — yet regrettably neglected — words, the Word Warriors have applied their trenchant insight and released their annual list of the year's top 10 words that deserve to be used more often in conversation and prose.
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David vs. Goliath: What a tiny electron can tell us about the structure of the universe

Alexey Petrov, professor of physics at Wayne State University, wrote a piece for The Conversation about how the electron is commonly known as one of the main components of atoms making up the world around us. It is the electrons surrounding the nucleus of every atom that determine how chemical reactions proceed. Their uses in industry are abundant: from electronics and welding to imaging and advanced particle accelerators. Petrov wrote: “As far as physicists currently know, electrons have no internal structure – and thus no shape in the classical meaning of this word. In the modern language of particle physics, which tackles the behavior of objects smaller than an atomic nucleus, the fundamental blocks of matter are continuous fluid-like substances known as “quantum fields” that permeate the whole space around us. In this language, an electron is perceived as a quantum, or a particle, of the “electron field.”
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Your deeply held beliefs may just be wrong – 5 essential reads

The Conversation editors looked back at the stories that - for them - exemplified 2018. Among the five selected articles was Wayne State University senior lecturer Sylvia Taschka’s March 12th piece titled "Trump-Hitler comparisons too easy and ignore the murderous history." Taschka acknowledges that some historians have made legitimate comparisons of the “few striking similarities between the rise of fascism in Germany then and the current political climate in the United States.” But, such comparisons are false equivalencies that “not only risk trivializing Hitler and the horrors he unleashed,” she writes, but “also prevent people from engaging with the actual issues at hand.”
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How to handle the return of a long-lost family member during the holidays

Humans are social animals who crave connection with others. It’s a drive that seems hard-wired into our systems so that when we experience rejection or estrangement from others, the experience can feel much like physical pain.The desire to avoid these painful feelings may be why many people go out of their way to reconnect with wayward family members during the holidays, even if this reconnection risks discomfort, hurt feelings or disappointment. This does not mean that we should avoid welcoming home family members but suggests it does mean that a dose of realistic expectations, with some proven techniques, can make for more peaceful holiday visits with estranged family members.
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Health grant aims to benefit older minorities in Michigan

Three Michigan universities are using a $3.5 million federal grant renewal for efforts to improve the health of older blacks and other minorities. The National Institutes of Health grant allows the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR) to expand its work through 2023. The center's research and education is led by faculty and staff from Wayne State University, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. Black residents have higher rates of diabetes, stroke and other diseases than their white counterparts, officials said. Researchers seek to prevent health disparities. The center has focused on Detroit since its 1997 launch, but the latest grant brings aboard Michigan State and expands work into Flint. Goals include establishing a Healthier Black Elders Center in Flint, based on the one in Detroit. According to Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State, MCUAAAR is a catalyst for widespread change. “It has two major aims,” he said. “Increase the number of diverse junior faculty working in aging and health research, and partner with older African Americans in meaningful ways to improve health and well-being.”
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NIH report scrutinizes role of China in theft of U.S. scientific research

Institutions across the U.S. may have fallen victim to a tiny fraction of foreign researchers who worked to feed American intellectual property to their home countries, an advisory committee to the National Institutes of Health found in a report issued Thursday. The report zeroed in on China’s “Talents Recruitment Program,” which the Pentagon has previously identified as an effort “to facilitate the legal and illicit transfer of U.S. technology, intellectual property and know-how” to China. A key qualification for becoming part of the Chinese program, also known as “Thousand Talents,” is access to intellectual property, said M. Roy Wilson, the co-chair of the advisory committee to the NIH director and the president of Wayne State University. While only a small fraction of foreign researchers in the U.S. are part of the Chinese program, many of the recruits have received U.S. federal funding from institutions including the NIH, the report said. The report represents NIH’s most concrete public action to date to combat the threat of American research being transported overseas to countries attempting to compete with the U.S. scientifically. While the report focused on China, it stressed that NIH has encountered similar problems with a small number of researchers from other countries as well.
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State struggles to connect kids aging out of foster care with educational, vocational opportunities

A recent national report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that Michigan is behind the rest of the country in helping young people move out of the foster care system and onto a successful adult life. In West Virginia, 70 percent of youth transitioning out of foster care got education financial assistance. The national average was 23 percent. Here in Michigan? It was just one percent. Matt Gillard, president and CEO of the advocacy group Michigan Children, said there are initiatives helping young people aging out of foster care in Michigan, but they don’t have the funding they need. He pointed to university-led supports for kids who have been in the foster care system, as well as state efforts like the Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative (MYOI). Arielle Duncan is an 18 year old freshman at Wayne State University who has been helped by the MYOI. Her story is an example of what can happen when the guidance and resources are there to support foster kids aging out of the system. Her time in MYOI helped teach Duncan the skills she’d need as an adult, like balancing a checkbook and doing her laundry. And it helped connect her with educational assistance programs and scholarships specifically targeted toward youth who have spent time in foster care. After graduating high school, Duncan was accepted to Wayne State University through a bridge program. That meant she was able to raise her GPA and receive a scholarship to pay for a semester of housing. "There are scholarships and there is money to be given to these kids that age out, but I think the biggest thing is they need that help. They need that person behind them guiding them, kind of giving them a little bit of help in the beginning to kind of push them and say, 'hey you can do this, you can accomplish this,'" said Duncan.

Your smartphone apps are tracking your every move

Research and investigative reporting continue to reveal the degree to which your smartphone is aware of what you’re up to and where you are – and how much of that information is shared with companies that want to track your every move, hoping to better target you with advertising. Several scholars at U.S. universities have written for The Conversation about how these technologies work, and the privacy problems they raise. All of this information on who you are, where you are and what you’re doing gets assembled into enormously detailed digital profiles, which get turned into money. Wayne State University law professor Jonathan Weinberg explains
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Wayne State recognizes two former county stars in football

The Wayne State University football team held its 2018 banquet on Sunday afternoon at The Dearborn Inn. Head coach Paul Winters concluded his 15th season by announcing several individual team honors. Graduate student Shane Hynes was selected as WSU's Special Teams Most Valuable Player for the season. He was named to the Honorable Mention All-GLIAC Team after playing in all 11 contests despite joining the squad just a few days prior to the start of the season. Hynes equaled the second-best mark in program history with an 82-yard punt against Northwood and concluded the campaign with a 40.6 yards per punt average with four inside the 20. He gained two first downs on fake punts, totaling 41 yards against Ferris State and Grand Valley State. During the season, he had 13 kickoffs go for touchbacks. Hynes also served as the holder for PATs and field goals during the final five games. The Defensive Rookie of the Year award recipient was true freshman safety Tieler Houston. He played in all 11 games, starting the last nine contests, and was named to the Honorable Mention All-GLIAC Team. Houston tied-for-sixth in the GLIAC with two interceptions, and was eighth with 50 interception return yards. He tallied a game-high and a season-best 11 tackles (8-3) against Northern Michigan, including one for loss along with his second career interception to earn WSU's Defensive Player of the Week award. He is the second consecutive member of the secondary to earn Defensive Rookie of the Year recognition since Jamiil Williams in 2012 (Myron Riley in 2017).
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UAW grows strike fund, membership as workers head into wage talks

Autoworkers say they’re feeling unappreciated these days. They made wage and benefit sacrifices when times were bad. Now, after record sales, layoffs loom. The shocking announcement by General Motors last month to close four U.S. factories was seen, in part, as a message to the UAW to prepare for cost cuts during next year’s worker contract talks. But the labor union is not without leverage. It has more than $760 million in its strike fund. And officials aren’t afraid to use it. Everyone is watching to see what happens in coming months. These contracts are complicated and the process can be contentious. But it is highly unlikely the UAW would organize a strike to protest anything until the legal agreements allow for such activity, said UAW sources close to the leadership. But these are turbulent political times with all players trying to navigate a “contentious administration,” said Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University. GM has angered autoworkers and politicians with its abrupt announcement about expected closures. And sometimes workers simply don’t care about protocol if they feel there’s nothing to lose, Masters said. “Look at the wildcat strikes that occurred among teachers in West Virginia and other states. Those worked,” he said. “There’s a growing militancy among some workers and people who have reached perhaps the tipping point. People take extreme action when they feel there’s no alternative.”
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Wayne State University research examines Muslim response to Trump administration

Wayne State University’s Department of Communication presented research Nov. 27 that examines the effects of the Trump administration on North American Muslims. At the presentation, Stine Eckert of WSU’s journalism program introduced three doctoral candidates and contributors to the studies, Jade Metzger-Riftkin, Sydney O’Shay-Wallace and Sean Kolhoff of the Department of Communications. Eckert, a former Al Jazeera producer, said her previous studies incited an interest in Muslim identity; and though many studies based in number-based research found how Islamophobic rhetoric causes an increase in hate crimes, she wanted research based in conversation. “As I developed this project the Trump campaign came along,” Eckert said, “I didn’t plan for that; nobody did. It happened to be in this time that we started this research. So it kind of just fell into my lap to then ask more specifically, in this moment of heightened concern, particularly for people who claim that as part of their identity, what does that mean?” She said the study covered the time period of the latter half of the Trump campaign, the election season, before his inauguration and into the first 100 days of his presidency.
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Hall of Famer Trammell takes time to give back

The whirlwind year had finally slowed down for Alan Trammell after his Hall of Fame induction in July, his number retirement in August and his season traversing the Tigers' farm system. Now, in the middle of December, he's on the move again. Trammell will finish up his annual baseball camp with former teammate Lance Parrish this weekend. This is what he likes to do. It is evident as he fields grounders on the basketball court of Wayne State University's Matthaei Center, trying to demonstrate the proper technique to kids ranging from grade school to high school, just as he does on the Minor League fields across the Tigers' farm system. And as the game embraces the next wave of stars and their enthusiasm, Trammell hopes to reinforce the basics. The camp is in its ninth year, and now ranges from basic sessions for all ages to specialized sessions for advanced hitters, shortstops and catchers. Wayne State head coach Ryan Kelley and his players help throughout the weekend.