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Installation of Robert Neville as dean of Marsh Chapel and University chaplain, Sunday, September 14, 4 p.m., Marsh Chapel

Week of 12 September 2003· Vol. VII, No. 3

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Boston Globe: Inventory management key to busting recession

The fallout from the huge capital spending binge in the late 1990s could have been worse had it not been for leaner inventories, says the September 7 Boston Globe. “It turned out to be the shortest recession since the end of World War II,” says Louis Lataif, SMG dean. “The single biggest explanation is that we didn’t have a lot of inventory.” Lataif has been tracking the impact of technology on the stocks of goods and supplies since the late 1980s, when he was president of Ford in Europe. In 1999, he predicted in the SMG alumni magazine that better inventory controls would make future recessions less severe. As companies bought and implemented a range of technological products — computer servers, database software, global positioning systems, and digital tracking technologies — to enable them to base production on something other than guesswork, they were left with less product on their shelves and fewer parts in their factories. “We can now measure inventories to the last unit,” Lataif notes in a recent essay. “We know exactly where everything is: on trains, on trucks, on ships, up to the minute.”

Orlando Sentinel: Caregiving to the elder orphan population

As Americans live longer and have smaller families, the elder orphan population — those who have outlived all of their family members -- is expected to increase, reports the September 7 Orlando Sentinel. Of particular concern is who will care for members of this growing population when they can no longer care for themselves. Currently, 85 percent of the elderly in the United States rely upon their relatives, while only 5 percent live in nursing homes and the rest live in assisted-living or other facilities. When there is no guardian or caregiver, friends and neighbors may substitute for family members, as studies of self-sufficient centenarians show. “Family doesn’t have to be the only group for these people to rely on,” says Thomas Perls, a MED associate professor, who studies centenarians. “These very old people tend to have the personality and gregariousness that develop social networks that go beyond family members.”

WBZ-AM radio’s Paul Sullivan Show: RIAA targets downloaders, including BU students

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) this week began its latest offensive against illegal file sharing and downloading of copyrighted material on the Internet with the filing of 261 civil lawsuits across the country. In a September 9 interview on the Paul Sullivan Show, WBZ-AM 1030, Robert Smith, an attorney in BU’s Office of the General Counsel, said the RIAA is principally targeting students and that the RIAA has informed him that it will soon issue additional subpoenas seeking the identities of multiple users of the University’s network, against whom it says it has proof of violations of U.S. copyright laws. He adds the University will comply with valid subpoenas. “My role is not to be [RIAA’s] investigator or their detective,” he said, “but somebody representing one of the largest research universities in the country, which has a great respect for intellectual property laws. We have people on our campus inventing things and writing things and dreaming of things and creating things every day, and one of the incentives for the American economic engine is the creation of those ideas and then the protection of those ideas through the economic exploitation of them . . . . I advise the University how to navigate the shoals of the law in this particular instance. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act requires us to disclose the identity of anybody using our network for violating copyright. Boston University, as one of the largest research universities in the country, expects members of its community to conform their behavior to the law. And it’s part of our mission — it’s not just teaching them to speak French and teaching them science and math and that kind of thing. We’re trying to impose a little character education at Boston University.”


12 September 2003
Boston University
Office of University Relations