Notre Dame ReSources

Author: Dennis Brown

Notre Dame ReSources
Jan. 25-31, 1998

p. Please feel free to call the following Notre Dame faculty for additional comment on these people and events in the news:
p. p. Clinton: The news media’s coverage of allegations against President Clinton “flows directly from the journalistic ethos that developed during Watergate,” says Robert Schmuhl , director of Notre Dame’s Program in Journalism, Democracy and Ethics. “What is strikingly different now is the new environment of information propelling this story,” says Schmuhl, who recently published “Wounded Titans: American Presidents and the Perils of Power.” “With the 24-hour broadcast news operations, the Internet and the traditional news sources, it’s impossible to avoid the most intimate kinds of information. But, given the intensity of the media’s coverage, when all is said and done, it might not only be the presidency that is weakened by these events, but also the public might have an even more jaundiced view of the media.” (219) 631-7316; *
p. *Cuba:
A Notre Dame political scientist hopes Pope John Paul II’s visit to Cuba will bring an end to the United States’ embargo of the Caribbean nation. “If there ever was a foreign policy that didn’t work, this was it,” says Michael Francis , professor of government and assistant provost for international studies. “But most Americans never think about the embargo and probably had no idea how strongly the pope opposes it. Maybe his visit will change that. There is almost no consensus on whether the visit will have an impact on Cuba. Castro has made reformist moves in the past and then jumped back three squares. But perhaps the pope’s presence will change some of Castro’s behavior, which then would give the United States an opportunity to respond accordingly.” (219) 631-5203 p. Cloning I: “It’s a real mistake to think of the cloning of humans as a technological inevitability that commands us, instead of something on which the human community must make a decision,” says M. Cathleen Kaveny , associate professor of law at Notre Dame, who specializes in ethics. “It isn’t at all clear that there is a real benefit to cloning, while there are many moral liabilities. No one has convinced me there is a really good reason to clone a human being. Yes, there are some hard cases involving the loss of a child, but hard cases make bad law.” (Professor Kaveny is at Georgetown University this semester as a visiting professor of law and can be reached at 202-973-8861 .)p. Cloning II: Responding to the announcement by Dr. Richard Seed that he will begin cloning human beings, M. Cathleen Kaveny , an associate professor of philosophy at Notre Dame who specializes in medical ethics, says, “Cloning of humans will surely come, and probably sooner rather than later. The technological barriers are surmountable and our culture has already proven that it lacks the moral resources to resist any piece of new technology that promises to give people what they want. Any culture that can accommodate itself to partial birth abortions will have little difficulty with the cloning of human beings. The only really surprising thing about Dr. Seed’s announcement was his willingness to own up to his deep desire to be like God.A desire that for many of us is the most sinister aspect of the whole undertaking.” (219) 631-6229 p. Catholics divided: American Catholics born after Vatican II exhibit a statistical lessening of “Catholic identity,” according to “The Search for Common Ground: What Unites and Divides Catholic Americans,” a new book written by a team of scholars including Notre Dame’s Richard Lamann a and Kathleen Maas Weigert . “Unless steps are taken,” the authors warn, the church faces “dwindling faithfulness among young Catholics, diminishing awareness of God’s presence in the lives of Catholic adults, further erosion of Catholic identity, and a declining sense that the Church is worth supporting.” The book offers suggestions for reversing these trends, including a renewed emphasis by parents and teachers on prayer and the sacraments, and a commitment to methods of teaching that avoid the disciplinary approach of pre-Vatican II catechization. Lamanna: (219) 631-6568; Weigert: (219) 631-5319 p. Robotics: In an effort to expand the senses of industrial robots, Steven Skaar , professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at Notre Dame, is using computers and video cameras to give them more “hand-eye coordination.” Skaar has wired an industrial robot to a personal computer, which in turn is linked to three video cameras in the ceiling of his laboratory. One camera gives the computer a view of an object on which the robot is working, and the other two cameras track the robot’s arm motion, giving the computer the visual feedback it needs to steer the arm toward the target. Although some robots already come equipped with video cameras or proximity sensors, these systems rely on more of a calibrated, measure-and-move approach. Known as camera-space manipulation, Skaar’s approach already has shown it can be used to drill holes or carve computer-stored patterns in wood. More information on Skaar’s robotics research is available at: (219) 631-6676 p. Discounts: Discount promotions often reduce profits in the long term because they have trained American consumers to “lie in wait” for good deals and then stock up when they find them, according to a new study by professors Carl Mela of Notre Dame, Kamel Jedidi of Columbia University and Douglas Bowman of Purdue University. The researchers found that as consumers’ long-term exposure to promotions increases, they buy more, but less often. They also discovered that the increasing use of promotions has made consumers less likely to tolerate price increases when deciding whether to make a purchase and how much to buy. Moreover, the short-term increases in category sales arising from promotions are entirely offset by the likelihood that there will be fewer future purchases. (219) 631-8117 p. Notre Dame notes: With an " $8-million gift ": from a benefactor wishing to remain anonymous, Notre Dame has established the " Edward Frederick Sorin Program for Academic Distinction ": , comprising new endowed professorships devoted to areas of excellence in six of the University’s academic units … " Carolyn Woo ": , Gillen Dean of the College of Business Administration, has been named one of the 40 “young leaders” of American academe by Change magazine, the journal of the American Association for Higher Education … The Notre Dame Folk Choir, assembled members of the University’s student body, and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart will be features of a television program titled " “Easter at the University of Notre Dame: A Celebration of Hope” ": to be aired Easter Sunday (April 12) morning on NBC affiliates nationwide … Vanderbilt University has created a chaired professorship in Catholic studies in honor of " Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C. ": , Notre Dame’s president and a graduate of Vanderbilt’s doctoral program in Christian ethics …

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