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November 22, 1999

Making the News

Astronomer Steven Vogt was interviewed on KION (Channel 46) about his role in the first observation of a planet outside our solar system to be detected by measuring the dimming of its star as the planet passed in front of it. Vogt and his colleagues have used a different technique based on the gravitational effects of planets on their stars to detect more than 20 "extrasolar" planets. Their latest discovery was widely reported on television and in newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle and the Santa Cruz County Sentinel, although some of the articles mistakenly reported that the astronomers had actually photographed the planet (in fact, they only measured its dimming effect on the parent star).

The latest national media to call on UCSC experts are CNN, which sent a crew to campus to interview Manuel Pastor about the "digital divide," and National Public Radio, which tapped psychology's Craig Haney for a segment about supermax prisons. Also, during a recent trip to Spain, Haney was interviewed by a European wire service reporter about the death penalty in the United States. . . . Closer to home, the Cleveland Plain Dealer called on sociology's Monica Casper to discuss fetal surgery.

Geophysicist Steven Ward's research on the San Andreas fault is featured in an article in the December issue of Scientific American magazine. The article discusses an approach known as stress-transfer analysis, which Ward and other seismologists are using to gauge the likelihood of earthquakes by studying how different faults interact with one another.

Author and literature professor Louis Chude-Sokei spoke with a reporter from the Santa Cruz County Sentinel for a story on a new book by Jamaica Kincaid. The book is about gardening from the eyes of indigenous people whose methods, plants, and names were co-opted by conquering cultures. Chude-Sokei talked about Kincaid's work and noted that another author, C.L.R. James, wrote on a similar tack using the game of cricket as his subject.

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