The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 3A
U.S. transit chief
to visit Detroit for
U.S. Transportation Secre-
tary Ray LaHood is coming to
Detroit on Friday to make "a
major funding announcement"
that is expected to involve plans
for a light rail system between the
city's downtown and the cultural,
medical and educational center a
few miles north.
LaHood's office said in a state-
ment Wednesday that Mayor
Dave Bing, U.S. Sens. Carl Levin
and Debbie Stabenow and others
will be at Wayne State University
to reveal details of a plan "that
will significantly expand transit
options in downtown Detroit."
The U.S. Transportation
Department didn't reveal details,
but LaHood has been in talks for
months with city, regional and
state officials on their part of a
deal to create a 3.3-mile light rail
line that's expected to cost $137
* NEW YORK
Study: Flu vaccine
safe in pregnancy
A large study offers reassuring
news for pregnant women: It's safe
to get a flu shot.
The research found no evidence
that the vaccine increases the risk
of losinga fetus, and may prevent
some deaths. Getting the flu while
pregnant makes fetal death more
* likely, the Norwegian research
The flu vaccine has long been
considered safe for pregnant
women and their fetus. U.S. health
officials began recommending
flu shots for them more than five
decades ago, following a higher
death rate in pregnant women dur-
logsa flu pandemic in the late 1950s.
Foreigners held by
In a desert standoff deep in
the Sahara, the Algerian army
* ringed a natural gas complex
where Islamist militants hun-
kered down with dozens of hos-
tages Wednesday night after a
rare attack that appeared to be
the first violent shock wave from
the French intervention in Mali.
A militant group that clainied
responsibility said 41 foreigners,
including seven Americans, were
being held after the assault on one
of oil-rich Algeria's energy facili-
ties, 800 miles from the capital
of Algiers and 1,000 miles (1,600
kilometers) from the coast. Two
foreigners were killed.
Daily wire reports
Reusable lunchboxes launch at'U'
Pilot program funded by
pledge and goals
By ERIN FORSYTHE
It takes some out-of-the-box thinking
to reinvent the lunch box.
Now in its pilot phase, the Go Blue
Box is an reusable, eco-friendly food
container offered at the University Club
in the Michigan Union as an alterna-
tive to the ubiquitous white polystyrene
take-out box. The program was created
in November in an effort to reduce the
waste created by dining services.
The Go Blue Box requires users to
register for the program and pay a $5
refundable deposit for a clamshell con-
tainer. After diners are finished with
their Go Blue Box, they can return it for
their deposit or bring it back in exchange
for a clean one the next time they visit
The box itself is much more durable
than the typical foam takeout box, last-
ing for about 360 uses. The Go Blue Box
is also BPA-free, dishwasher safe and
microwavable. A reusable soup contain-
er is also available for a $3 deposit.
The pilot program was funded by a
grant from the Planet Blue Student Inno-
vation Fund and is led by Rich Grousset,
Phel Meyer and Dave Yang, students of
the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable
According to Meyer, similar programs
have been implemented at more than
200 universities across the country and
experienced a fair amount of success.
Meyer added that he was inspired by the
work done on the project and grateful for
the assistance the PBSIF grant has pro-
"(University President) Mary Sue
Coleman made a big announcement (in
2011) setting some pretty ambitious
sustainability goals and waste reduc-
tion was one of them," Meyer said. "We
thought this was a great opportunity to
do something that's been tried at many
"We wanted to do something similar
but with a Michigan twist," he added.
The PBSIF has been a vital source for
many sustainability projects on campus,
including bike air pumps in different
locations across campus and a sustain-
able food kiosk pilot program that ran
last year in April. In 2011, Coleman
pledged $50,000 per year for three years
in order to promote projects that benefit
the environment and encourage student
involvement in sustainability projects.
Undergraduates interested in campus
sustainabilit.y also contributed to the
program alongside graduate students.
Through a course, "Sustainability and
the Campus", students prepared a mar-
keting campaign and designed operation
aspects of the Go Blue Box project.
Laura Seagram, the marketing and
communications specialist for the
Union, stressed the importance of the
course in assisting with sustainability
projects over the year. The class has also
contributed to the .implementation of
water bottle refill stations and to signage
for the University's single-stream recy-
LSA junior Maria Kim said she had
done environmental work in Africa
through civil and environmental engi-
neering programs during summer 2012
and was interested in making a contri-
bution on campus through the project-
based environment course.
"It was definitely a learning experi-
ence of why it's important to keep things
sustainable," Kim said. "What kept me
going was wanting to see this happen
in reality, because it's definitely the
first one at our university, and it would
be awesome (to contribute to) because
Michigan is still moving toward becom-
ing a more sustainable and environmen-
tally friendly university."
LSA junior Aaron Handley, another
student in the course, said programs like
the Go Blue Box benefit the participating
"All of the logistic analysis that has
been done on the containers we use
shows that there was much less of an
environment greenhouse footprint with
the washing as opposed to the dispos-
able Styrofoam containers that most
people used," Handley said. "Something
like this is cost saving and reduces the
amount of waste each establishment
LSA sophomore Jason Liu hopes the
Go Blue Box would become the standard
take-out container, not just a unique
"We looked at alot of different schools,
(but) the University of Vermont was one
of them that we looked at more specifi-
cally," Liu said. Some of their programs
had incentives for using it, so (patrons)
got five or 10 cents back every time they
used the containers."
Currently, the Go Blue Box is only
available at the University Club in the
Union, but creators are hopeful that use
will spread to other vendors on campus
and generate interest from students.
"The University Club wants students
to come, and they're trying to advertise
more to students that there's great din-
ing options'available," Handley said.
"And they take Blue Bucks, alot of people
don't realize that."
Meyer added that he is hopeful for
the development of the Go Blue Box and
feels the positive responses they have
received are promising for the program's
"Ultimately nobody likes creating
waste necessarily, it just happens to be
easier to take a disposable container
back to your office and throw it away,"
Meyer said. "I think people really appre-
ciate having an easy way to improve
University researcher leads archeological dig
Excavation is in search
of ancient settlement in
By RACHEL PREMACK
An ongoing archeological dig in Sudan
conducted by a University researcher
may unearth discoveries about an ancient
Geoff Emberling, a research scientist
at the University's Museum of Archeol-
ogy, began the excavation on Jan. 2 and is
workingwith several Sudanese professors.
They are looking to find traces of settle-
ments in El-Kurru, a 3,000 year-old politi-
cal center in the African kingdom of Kush.
Derek Peterson, professor of History
and Afro-American and African Studies,
said researching Kush settlements may
transform the way scholars approach Afri-
can history. Historically, scholars have
struggled to connect ancient Egyptian
civilization to the rest of Africa.
"In the study of Kush we can begin to
understand the routes by which ideas,
commodities, symbols and people moved
from north to south and back again, draw-
ing Egypt into a close relationship with the
rest of ancient Africa," Peterson said.
El-Kurru's pyramids and burial grounds
were excavated inthe early2oth centuryby
American archaeologist George Reisner.
Emberling said Reisner's notes indicate
that structures, including a 200 meter-
long wall, a rock-cut well and two temples,
did exist, though Reisner did not excavate
them. The structures are invisible today,
likely due to unusually high flooding ofthe
Nile River during the 1980s.
Emberling's fieldwork is sponsored by
the National Geographic Society and Kath-
leen Picken, a private donor from Chicago.
National Geographic requires Ember-
lingto maintain ablogabout his dig, detail-
ing his ongoing discoveries and daily life.
Emberling has made five trips to
Sudan, beginning in 2007 after a dam was
planned to be built in the Nile that would
have flooded 100 miles of the river valley.
If archeologists hadn't intervened, Suda-
nese artifacts would have been lost.
"It was an international effort," Ember-
ling said. "You would think that there are
no foreigners here, but it's actually a boom
time to archaeology in Sudan."
Thankfully, the Sudanese government
is allowing archaeologists to bring back
objects they discover.
"It's rare to have material to look at and
bringback," Emberling said. "They're enti-
tIed to keep everything. Sudan has been
very generous in that way."
Due to a 20-year-old international sanc-
tion, Emberling was required to appeal to
the U.S. government for his projects, prov-
ing his reasons to work in Sudan were not'
related to terrorism. Emberling said he
didn't hear back from the U.S. Depart-
ments of State, Treasury and Commerce
for over a year.
He noted that he also had some difficul-
ties oftraveling around Sudan.
"Sudan's infrastructure of roads are only
very recently up to modern standards,"
Emberlingsaid. "Just in the five years since
I first came to Sudan they've completed
bridges and roads."
New archaeology technologies in Sudan
parallel its infrastructure. Subsurface
methods like magnetometry, which records
variations in the magnetic field resulting
from objects up to15 feet underground, are
new in Sudan, despite their prevalence else-
"Some of the satellite image analysis is
quite sophisticated," Emberling said. "But
other parts of our toolkit are really old
school: shovels and wheelbarrows, paper
and pencil, and tape measure and ruler.
At some point we might be all-digital, but
we're not there yet."
Another tool is as "old school" as it gets:
tales from the townspeople. Emberling said
though they may seem farfetched, the sto-
ries sometimes point to new discoveries.
Tradition and technology work in
tandem in Emberling's fieldwork. A resi-
dent pointed out to Emberling where he
thought the city wall and the royal bath
might be. A magnetometry survey con-
ducted by Emberling's colleague, Salah
el Din Mohammed, confirmed there was
in fact an ancient building in the location
where villagers recalled the royal bath's
Emberling noted the peculiarity of try-
ing to discover an ancient city in a still-
inhabited village like El-Kurru.
"It's funny digging in a living village. I
spent the day digging through a modern
garbage pit through razor blades, plastic
bags, batteries," Emberling said. "It wasn't
pleasantbut it had to be done."
Emberling said he will return to Ann
Arbor by the end of February after the six-
week diggingseason. If his fieldwork yields
results, he will plan for a trip next year to
investigate findings morethoroughly.
"For me to have agood season - and it's
looking pretty good - I would have to locate
several ofthese monumental remains, and I
would have to dig all the way to the bottom
ofthem, so I'll know what I'mup against for
next year," Emberling said.
. Historians, too, are eager to see what
Emberling and the 30-some other arche-
ologists laboring in Sudan will find. Find-
ings of Kush culture proposes that ancient
Africa is more complex than previously
"Thanks to the work of archaeologists
like Dr. Emberling, we're learning that
the story is actually much more compli-
cated," Peterson said. "Kush's culture,
religion and politics were not simply
derived from Egypt."
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