Tag Archives: minnesota

The Death of the Death Penalty?

Texas leads the nation in executions. Minnesota has no death penalty. So two researchers—one from the University of Minnesota and one from the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin)—teamed up to find out something no one had ever looked at before: what the death penalty does for the murder victims’ families. They compared family survivors’ experiences in Texas with Minnesota, the latter one of 18 states with life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) as its “Ultimate Penal Sanction.”

The study used in-person interviews with victims’ families to examine the death penalty process and its long-term impact on the families. (more…)

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Black Bears Return to Missouri Indicates Healthy Forests, say MU Biologists

Outdoor recreationists should take precautions to avoid problems with bears in southern Missouri

COLUMBIA, Mo. — For nearly a century, the only bears known to reside in Missouri were on the state flag or in captivity. Unregulated hunting and habitat loss had wiped out most black bears in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma by the 1920s. Now, thanks to a reintroduction program in Arkansas during the 50s and 60s, hundreds of bears amble through the forests of southern Missouri, according to a joint study by University of Missouri, Mississippi State University, and Missouri Department of Conservation biologists, who warn that although the bear population is still small, outdoor recreationists and homeowners should take precautions in the Ozark forest to avoid attracting bears.

“Black bears normally do not attack humans, but they will ransack picnic baskets, tear through garbage bags or even enter buildings looking for food,” said Lori Eggert, associate professor of biological sciences in MU’s College of Arts and Science. “Although some Missourians may be concerned, the return of black bears to Missouri is actually a good sign. It means parts of the state’s forests are returning to a healthy biological balance after nearly two centuries of intensive logging and exploitation.” (more…)

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At home in her environment

Kate Knuth blends a love of the outdoors with a life of public service

When Kate Knuth proclaims that she loves Minnesota and is dedicated to living and working here, you can hardly accuse her of living in a hometown bubble.

After all, Knuth studied at the University of Chicago, had an internship in Hawaii, earned a master’s degree at Oxford University, and took advantage of a Fulbright scholarship to sample life in Norway. (more…)

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A truly global course

Sixteen years ago, Jason Hill stood before some 30 students in one of his first classes as a teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota. This June, more than 14,000 students will log on to take his course, Sustainability of Food Systems: A Global Life Cycle Perspective.

Hill’s class is among the first five massive open online courses (MOOCs) the U of M is offering (for free) through a partnership with Coursera, a leading MOOC platform. (more…)

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Reaching more farmers

Since its inception in 1909, University of Minnesota Extension has worked with farmers to find solutions to their biggest challenges. And, since we all eat—our biggest challenges. For the past 25 years, Extension has shared the U’s expertise by educating agriculture professionals, who in turn have the most influence on crop farmers today.

Keeping agriculture professionals on top of current research helps ensure economically and environmentally responsible cropping decisions are made throughout the state. (more…)

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Kofi Annan to students: ‘It’s your world now’

Former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan predicted during a campus visit that the civil war in Syria will become even more tragic before the international community takes action to help resolve the conflict, but said he is optimistic about the political and economic prospects for Africa in the years ahead. (more…)

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A Friend in the Fight against Cancer

The U is at the forefront of cancer research in dogs

After more than an hour discussing the shared evolution of dogs and humans, and how the cancer mysteries that lie deep within one may inform and effect treatments on the other, U researcher Jaime Modiano smiles and says, “I love my job.”

And why not?

He’s at the forefront of an array of exciting research that stands to improve the health of both dogs and people. (more…)

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Shaking out Sugars

A diabetes researcher’s take on dietary sugar

With all the talk these days about fructose, glucose, sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, and sugar in general, it can be hard for a health-conscious person to sort out the truth.

“A lot of people are putting out their ideas as established fact,” says diabetes researcher and endocrinologist John Bantle, M.D., a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota. “It’s hard to find the actual facts and then to interpret them.”

Bottom line: Too much sugar is bad, if only for the excess calories. But the story isn’t quite so simple. (more…)

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