College Nation

Car accidents are leading cause of death

University of Texas
AUSTIN, Texas – Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 16 and 20, according to NBC’s online driving safety guide for teens.

Although two-thirds of all juvenile auto deaths occur because of speeding, driving under the influence or failing to wear a seat belt, a modern danger is taking its toll on the statistics – and on the families and friends of America’s young drivers.

Cell phone use in cars causes 2,600 deaths and 33,000 injuries each year, according to the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

On June 28, a high school graduate in New York slammed head-on into a truck, killing herself and four friends. Text messages were sent from her phone only moments before the crash.

Nine in 10 Americans believe text messaging while driving is as dangerous as driving after a couple of drinks, but 57 percent admit to doing it, according to a survey commissioned by the mobile messaging service Pinger Inc. Sixty-four percent of those guilty of text messaging while driving were between the ages of 18 and 34.

-Courtesy of The Daily Texan

Professor using Second Life in class
University of Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Distance learning is becoming a way to lead a second life.

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Second Life, a three-dimensional world that people can reach through the Internet, lets students, or players, chose how they what to represent their identities.

Stacey Fox, a technical director for film studies at the University of Kansas, has taught a class in Second Life.

The first physical characteristic students wanted to change, Fox said, was their skin color. Most others wanted to change their weight, height and even gender.

One concern that arises about teaching class in Second Life is the learning quality of the medium in which the students are being taught. When comparing learning in Second Life to learning in a classroom, Fox said she thought Second Life was better overall.

Second Life is becoming more and more integrated into society as a result of heightened awareness. Students are looking into the prospect of taking a class in Second Life.

Jason Werth, Olathe, Kan., junior at KU, said Second Life could be a more interactive way for students to take an online class as compared with a more traditional, self-motivated online class.

“More students who before could not make it to an actual classroom because of physical ailments would also have the opportunity to take a class in a more classroom-oriented environment,” Werth said.

Fox said she hopes universities can have servers that make Second Life more accessible and efficient for students.

-Courtesy of The University Daily Kansan

Course covers linguistics of swear words

University of Utah
SALT LAKE CITY – In the indigenous Guugu Yimidhirr tribe of Australia, a man can only address his mother-in-law through intermediaries or through inanimate objects in the room.

Any other form of communication would be considered taboo, said Randall Eggert, University of Utah assistant professor of linguistics.

In the class Bad Words and Taboo Terms, University of Utah students study the linguistics behind taboo terms in different cultures.

The class covers profanity; blasphemy; racial, ethnic and sexual slurs; and their use and meanings in geographical areas around the world.

The class features regular guest lectures from linguistics professors and specialists in various languages. Guest lecture topics include academic, historical and anthropological taboos.

In an informal questionnaire offered last semester, Eggert said many of his students had started to monitor their language, developing empathy for the ways language can affect others.

-Courtesy of The Daily Utah Chronicle

Three fraternities suspended for alcohol, rape allegations

University of New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Dean of Students Randy Boeglin didn’t know fraternities could cause so much trouble at the University of New Mexico.

Three UNM chapters were suspended within one week: Phi Delta Theta, Kappa Sigma and Sigma Alpha Epsilon, while the university investigates incidents ranging from alcohol violations to rape.

In response to the allegations, University of New Mexico president David Schmidly, a Sigma Nu alumnus, announced Wednesday that the university would form a task force to “examine the culture of the Greek system.”

The fraternities are not allowed to function as social institutions or participate in University activities under the suspensions, but may still function as student housing.

Phi Delta Theta was suspended Aug. 17 after university police told the Dean of Students Office that an underage girl got drunk at the fraternity house, according to police reports.

John Boone, an attorney representing Kappa Sigma, declined to comment.

-Courtesy of the Daily Lobo