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February 04, 2009 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, February 4, 2009 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigantlailycom Wednesday, Fehruary 4, 2009 - JA

SPECTRUM CENTER
From Page 1A
or who are uncomfortable with
their sexual orientation or gen-
der identity may find the prospect
of entering the Spectrum Center
or attending an LGBT student
group meeting to be too risky or
intimidating," Correa said. "Some
may fear being seen by others and
being identified as LGBT, some
may not be ready to be around a
group of LGBT people."
Correa said the new program
is being launched as a response to
previous insufficient support pro-
grams for students.
"We've found that existing
coming out support resources
were insufficient," he said. "We
needed a new way to support stu-
dents going through a difficult
time."
After filling out a confidential
online request form, students will
be matched with a GPS student

mentor by a GPS coordinator. The
student and the GPS mentor will
be pairedbased on shared identi-
ties and backgrounds.
Correa said the program is
designed to benefit students who
are coming out, and also the stu-
dents who are providingsupport.
"It's also a great way for stu-
dents who already have experi-
ence with coming out to give back
to their community by helping
others going through a situation
they might have been through,"
he said.
Correa said the main goal of
GPS is to provide a program for
students who are coming out to
feel more at ease with their sexual
identities.
"We hope to give students a
new tool to use as they are navi-
gating their way out of their
closet," Correa said. "I-opefully,
the program will help students
struggling with their identity
to feel more comfortable with
themselves."

Professors enter the blogosphere

TUITION FREEZE
From Page 1A
education from the University of
Michigan."
Cunningham did not respond
to whether the University would
agree to freeze tuition or whether
it would raise tuition next year,
but said the University is currently
working on its budget for next year.
"We're in the early stages of
developing next year's budget,
which typically is presented to
the Board of Regents in June," she
wrote.
Mike Boulus, leader of the Pres-
idents Council, State Universities
of Michigan - the body that rep-
resents the presidents of Michi-
gan's public universities - told
the Associated Press that a tuition
freeze without increased state
funding would be "a tough pill to
swallow."
"We're being cautious right
now," he said. "We would have to
TECHNOLOGY
From Page 1A
communicate on the spot and
didn't have a professional inter-
preter with them at the time."
Gilbert and Yu began working
on MSigns in January 2006. They
entered their idea in a program at
the Digital Media Commons in the
Duderstadt Center, which awards
cash grants to students who sub-
mit project ideas that incorporate
digital media.
Gilbert, who is fluent in sign
language and Yu, who has comput-
er-programming experience, col-
laborated to develop the project.
As an undergraduate student
at Brigham Young University, Gil-
bert worked as a sign language
translator to help pay his tuition
bills. He said many deaf and hear-
ing-impaired people told him they
preferred sign language to writ-
ten speech because it was easier to
understand.
Gilbert realized it was pos-
sible to create an application for a
smart phone, which would trans-
late speech into a video image of
sign language.
"We'd like it to be something
you can use on your phone like
more along the lines of a Google
app, or an iPhone app or an add-on
program to an install phone plan
- or even a service you could use
on the Internet," he said.
While a few products exist
that can translate speech to sign
language, they are expensive -
including the iCommunicator,
which costs $6,500.
"It's out of the range of the
everyday person, and that's who
we want to bring this to," he said.
Though the MSign's technol-
ogy isn't currently compatible
with cell phones, it's designed to
work with PC computers. Gilbert
and Yu said they plan to develop
a model the public can use within
the next month and distribute the
BLOOD CHALLENGE
From Page 1A
to exceed their goal of 1700 pints
of blood.
Talpos said he thinks donating
blood is one of the most charitable
things a person can do.

"It seems to me so simple," he
said. "There is no reason people
should be dying for lack of blood.
It's a way we can help someone
out without having to receive any-
thing in return."

hear more about the details."
Last year, Granhom asked
state universities to limit tuition
increases to the rate of inflation
- then 2.3 percent. In exchange,
Granholm had planned to
increase state funding to the uni-
versities by 3 percent, but the leg-
islature reduced the increase to 1
percent.
The University has raised
tuition every year for the past
nine years. Increases have ranged
from a 2.8- percent increase in
2000 and 2004 to a 12.3-percent
increase in 2005.
The University raised tuition
by 5.6 percent last year, when
the state's 15 public universi-
ties averaged a 7 percent tuition
increase.
Granholm's entire plan will
become public next week when
she submits her budget proposal
to the state legislature.
- The Associated Press
contributed to this report.
product by next fall.
Ina later version of the technol-
ogy, Yu said that using a camera
phone, the goal is to develop the
product to translate sign language
into words.
Currently, the program can
only translate English into sign
language, ut Yu said she intends
to add more languages.
"Sign language, like spoken lan-
guage, is different in every coun-
try so we'd have to basically redo
the whole process with another
set of vocabulary," Yu said. "It's
certainly something to think of
but (English speakers) are by far
the largest sign language commu-
nity right now."
To film their current prototype,
Gilbert and Yu used the Motion
Capture Studio at the University's
3D laboratory to record the videos.
"We really want to doa motion
capture version of sign language
rather than just video taping
a human," he said. "We think
there's a lot we can do with the
digital data in the long run."
So far, deaf and hearing-
impaired high school students
who attended a College of Engi-
neering summer program have
been involved in the testing of
MSigns.
"They were excited to see it,"
Yu said. "It wasn't the perfect
solution because it only does one
way right now, but they were glad
to see there was something being
developed that was targeted for
them because that doesn't happen
very often."
Yu said she hoped MSigns will
have a positive impact on the edu-
cation and employment prospects
for the hearing impaired.
"Transcribers, when they
take notes for the students, it's
still pretty difficult for hearing
impaired students to interact
inside a classroom or with stu-
dents," she said. "We want to fill
that gap so they can more fully
integrate into society."
Talpos also stressed the impor-
tance of donating blood despite
the snow and cold.
"In the cold winter months, we
get a lot less peoplebecause people
are less likely to leave their hous-
es to donate," he said. "We could
really use aslot more people show-

ing up because there is always a
blood shortage."
For a full list of places, dates
and times to donate blood for
the Face Off, go to www.give-
life.org and use the sponsor code
"goblue."

From Page 1A
in academic research and publish-
ing becomes more complex.
Mark Perry, an associate profes-
sor of economics and finance at the
University's Flint campus, is a self-
described "slave" to his economics
blog, "Carpe Diem." Perry said he
spends up to five hours a day mak-
ing various posts to his blog and
thinks there is a place for blogging
in the duties of a university profes-
sor, albeit an evolving one.
"It's so new that (universities)
haven'tquite incorporatedityetinto
the three areas that we're respon-
sible for - teaching, research and
service," Perry said. "But it really
kind of overlaps in all those areas."
Perry said he believes that blog-
ging could be considered applied
research.
But in an interview, University
Provost Teresa Sullivan said that
blogging lacks an important ele-
ment, which generally elevates the
credibility of a publication: peer
review.
"Peer review is an important
quality marker," said Sullivan.
"With electronic media now, any-
body can publish anything."
While the University doesn't
view blogs as a form of official
research or publishing, Sullivan
said she encourages professors to
use them, even if they express con-
troversial opinions or ideas.
"That's what universities are
about," Sullivan said. "The univer-
sity is the place where you're free
to put ideas out there, and we're
tolerant of other people's ideas but
it also means you've got to be ready
for somebody to go after you and
attack your ideas."
That open door for comments
adds a dynamic element to blogs,
which can further strain bloggers-
who take the time to edit readers'
posts. Harvard University Econom-
ics Prof. Greg Mankiw has removed
the comment feature altogether from
his economics blog.
History Prof. Juan Cole writes
what is probably the most well-
known of University of Michigan
professors' blogs as well as the most
controversial. His blog "Informed
Comment,". focuses on the Middle

Communication Studies Prof. Fara Warner works on her laptop during office hours at Starbucks on South University yesterday.

East and has received both posi-
tive and negative critical attention.
Cole said most of his students know
about his blog, and he references it
in class but doesn't make it part of
the curriculum.
"I don't do my blog as part of my
university duties," Cole said. "I do it
on my private time. For that reason,
I can sometimes be a little more
political."
With his blog, Cole has gained
recognition as an expert on the
Middle East and gets at least
800,000 visits a month.
While many professors anchor
their posts in facts and data, others
employ a less journalistic style and
write on topics outside their aca-
demic expertise.
Engineering Prof. Thomas Zur-
buchen writes a blog through the
Center for Entrepreneurship web-
site, though his content generally
addresses subjects other than his
academic specialty.
"The vast majority of topics are

about things other than engineer-
ing," Zurbuchen said. " feel it's
important to recognize as an engi-
neer that we have to learn how to
recognize the impact that we can
make, and see opportunity and
adjust to change. Engineering is not
just engineering, it's about much
more than that, and it requires
skills in many other areas."
Regardless of how this niche
of the blogging world evolves, the
trend shows no sign of slowing. Uni-
versity Librarian Paul Courant, who
is also a Public Policy professor and
author of the blog "Au Courant,"
said the trend is a positive thing.
"I actually think it's very good
if professors talk or convey their
views less formally to a broader
audience than we do in our formal
research publications," said Cou-
rant. "So I very much like the idea
that members of our. faculty use
their expertise in the wider world."
Blogs considerably raise the pro-
file of University professors, which

is good for the University. Through
their archive of posts, professors
advertise their expertise in a given
field. Establishing that authority
leads calls from the media - and
the University's appearing in print.
Perry used himselfas an example
of what blogs can do to elevate an
instructor's status, saying a Google
search of his name yields substan-
tially more results than University
President Mary Sue Coleman. Cole-
man's name generates 246,000
results while Perry's name registers
more than 2,620,000 results.
"Someone like Mary Sue Cole-
man, who has a very high profile
- you would expect a lot of atten-
tion to her on the Internet," Perry
said. "Now here I am just as a pro-
fessor without any staff, without
any research, writing a blog that's
gotten pretty popular. I've now got
this presence on the Internet that
in terms of the number of hits is
even higher than the president of
the University."

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For Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009
ARIES
(March 21 to April 19)
Today you feel passionately about
practically anything and everything. It's
almost as if you have lost your center of
balance. It's OK to enjoy things to the
fullest, hut don't get your belly in a rash.
TAURUS
(April 20to May 20)
You are quietly determined to do
something, and you're prepared to move
mountains to make it happen.
Determination is a wonderful thing, but
obsession is questionable.
GEMINI
(May 21to June 20)
Friends could become lovers today. At
the very least, you'll feel something very
strong far a friend or even a cassal
acquaintace. (And you can't hide it!)
CANCER
(June 21to July 22)
Others want your creative input on
something today. They feel that your
ideas will make an improvement. Just
say yes, because you can do it.
LEO
(July 23 to Aug. 22)
You feel very strongly about some-
thing related to publishing, higher edu-
cation, medicine or the law. Or you
might be super determined to travel
somewhere. You mean business!
VIRGO
(Aug. 23 to Sept. 22)
Conversations with partners and close
friends are very intense today. They
could be romantically intense or, altema-
tively, intense about money and shared
possessions. Go easy!
LIBRA
(Sept. 23to Oct. 22)
Today you have a do-or-die attitude
about something, and it could be about a
close relationship or a partnership.
(Partnerships are very important to you.

Don't throw the baby out with the bath
watet.)
SCORPIO
(Oct. 23 to Nov.21)
You've got big ideas about how to
make improvements at work. Let's hope
people listen to you. (A romance at work
could also begin today!)
SAGITTARIUS
(Nov. 22to Dec. 21)
You'reatraveler and you love a sense
of adventure. Today you feel passion-
ately about romance, vacations, the arts
and playful activities with children.
You're raring to go!
CAPRICORN
(Dec. 22 to Jan. 19)
Home-entertaining or -decorating pro-
jects mean a lot to you right now. You
wool to improve your family, relation-
ships and how you fret ahout where you
live.
AQUARIUS
(Jan. 20to Feb. 18)
You can sell snow to the Eskimos
today! You're fervently passionate about
whatever you're talking about. Look out,
world!
PISCES
(Feb. 19to March 20)
You might discover new sources of
income today. However, if you're shop-
ping, you're practically obsessed about
buying something. (Slow down. Best to
give things a sober, second thought.)
YOU BORN TODAY You're clever
with words. You have such style and
grace that people listen to you. You
know how to appeal to the emotions of
others. Many of you have secret, private
lives that very few are aware of You
need to be captain of your ship, master
of your soul! This is a powerful time.
You're wrapping up something to get
ready to move on to new turf.
Birthdate of: Don Cherry, hockey
commentator; Barbara Hershey, actress;
Jeremy Sumpter, actor.

0 2009 King Features Syndicate, Inc

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