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Week of 16 April, 1999

Vol. II, No. 31

In the News

No profile of the Boston terrier breed of dog would be complete without a mention of the most visible terrier of all. Like most mascots, Rhett puts in his time at athletic events, but "his role is far beyond that," explains Michael Ciarlante, BU's director of public information, on the Discovery Channel's Animal Planet on March 27. "Rhett does go out into the community; he leads parades; he'll appear at children's hospitals; he'll go to children's birthday parties. He very much embodies what Boston University is all about. Community service, community involvement is a very big part of our education, a very big part of our mission."

Although it won't be visible, on April 18 another BU terrier is scheduled to begin a parade -- through the earth's atmosphere. The terriers satellite, part of NASA's Student Explorer Demonstration Initiative, is heading for the ionosphere, a region still little understood but heavily traveled by communications satellites. "As society becomes more and more dependent on space-based technology for communication -- cell phones, the global positioning system -- we need to understand this ionosphere a little better and how it changes due to external forces," explains Supriya Chakrabarti, director of BU's Center for Space Physics, on WBUR-FM's Here and Now April 6. "terriers will probably provide one or two fundamental answers to a very complex system," adds the CAS astronomy professor. Information about terriers (Tomographic Experiment Using Radiative Recombinative Ionospheric EUV and Radio Sources) can be found at www.bu.edu/satellite.

"We must move away from using [information technology] to fine-tune business strategies that served well in the industrial economy," say SMG Professors N. Venkatraman and John Henderson in the March 29 Financial Times. "It is no longer acceptable for business strategists to play the lead role and the IT strategists the support role," they add. "Both should take the lead in designing the business platform."

Two BU medical ethicists display no ambivalence in their reaction to the conviction of Dr. Jack Kevorkian for murder. "It's about time," says Michael Grodin, School of Public Health professor of health law, in a March 27 Boston Globe story. "It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy," says George Annas, professor and chairman of health law at SPH, in the same story. He adds that the verdict showed Kevorkian "was almost a worse lawyer than he was a doctor."

Some banks in Massachusetts absorb one another, others change their name. "The decision to change a brand name is not easy to make. It is usually very complex," says Frederic Brunel, SMG assistant professor of marketing, in the Boston Globe March 28. "A local name may mean more to the consumer. They may think, 'This bank understands me better.' [On the other hand] if a bank is not tied to a specific community, and uses a more generic name, it may become a bigger, stronger, and more prominent bank."

Some analysts see the legislature's rejection of the death penalty bill as another political defeat for Governor Paul Cellucci, but COM Associate Professor Tobe Berkovitz sees it the other way. In a story March 29 in the Boston Globe, he says, "For the majority of the citizens in the commonwealth there aren't any big issues. So Cellucci is doing the smart thing: picking a little thing here, a little thing there. That shows you are in touch, that you care about what regular people care about."

"In the News" is compiled by Alexander Crouch in the Office of Public Relations.