2016 February

Wake Forest hosts hundreds at TEDx talk

For the fifth year, Wake Forest hosted its TEDxWakeForestU event in Wait Chapel. More than 1,300 people filled the chapel to hear eight speakers discuss security.

Mark Hurd, CEO of Oracle Corp., talked about data, how it’s threatened and how it’s secured. Other speakers at the event included Errin Fulp, professor of computer science who researches security within computer networks.

LSAT’s grip on law-school admissions loosens

Law schools are toying with a new way to boost shrinking applicant pools: dropping the Law School Admission Test requirement (LSAT). University of Arizona College of Law began accepting Graduate Record Examination scores in lieu of LSAT as an option for applicants this month, and other schools say they are weighing the same move.

Already, two other schools – University of Hawaii School of Law and Wake Forest University School of Law – are in the process of conducting similar validity studies.

Why we love virtue

Philosophy professor Christian Miller is referenced in this article as being part of a interdisciplinary research team that is applying Aristotle’s insights to psychological and social problems.

The team has begun a two-year project entitled “Virtues as Properly Motivated, Self-Integrated Traits.” This research has been funded by the Self, Motivation, and Virtue Project, which, in turn, was funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

News Center Media Report for Feb. 20-26

The WFU News Center Media Report for Feb. 20-26 is now available online.

Proving Einstein right

For this interview on the program, “The State of Things,” Wake Forest physics professor Greg Cook explained how gravitational waves work and what they mean for future research in astrophysics. Scientists with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory recently announced that they had detected elusive gravitational waves.

The phenomenon was predicted by Albert Einstein in his infamous theory of relativity, but was never proven until now. The breakthrough findings prove that space and time are indeed interconnected, and opens up a new way of observing the universe and its origins.

The best colleges for people with entrepreneurial leanings

They’re the people the Myers Briggs Personality test calls “smart, perceptive, energetic, bold and original.” With a knack for taking risks and pushing boundaries, entrepreneur-like students, called ESTP personality types, require universities that promote learning by doing.

The list of best colleges for ESTP personality types is based on overall cost of attendance, inclusion on notable lists, ranking by U.S. News and World Report, number of ESTP degree or major options, and accreditations.

Wake Forest was listed at number nine of 20.

Justice Scalia, Queen Anne, and the pragmatics of interpretation

Wake Forest law professor Harold Lloyd writes: “Pragmatics recognizes that speaker meaning can differ from (and even contradict) linguistic meaning, including the literal meaning of text. In its proper context, for example, “Bob is indeed a good lawyer” can ironically mean just the opposite. Pragmatics also recognizes that relevant text is not a thing-in-itself that is simply given.

Instead we have to consider such things as purpose and cohesion when determining whether we have a text and we must also agree on just what is included in such text. For example, does the text of a letter include the writing on the envelope as well? The stamp? The postmark? Justice Scalia’s originalism of course fumbles at both these levels. Speaker meaning can differ from any literal “original meaning” and, as just noted, we don’t simply start with a text. We must first agree on just what is the text.”

News Center Media Report for Feb. 13-19

The WFU News Center Media Report for Feb. 13-19 is now available online.

How new Ryan Reynolds’ film Deadpool continues the rise of the ‘heroic villain’

Conventional super heroes such as Superman, Batman and Captain America are being increasingly shoved aside by “heroic villains” like Deadpool and the Suicide Squad, who do good only if it fits their evil plans.

The current trend started with the first Iron Man film in 2008, says communication teaching professor Stokes Piercy of Wake Forest. He teaches courses on film production and writing and critical studies, including one titled, “Superhero Cinema and American Mythology.”

Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jr. as a billionaire weapon contractor turned accidental planet saver, was the first Marvel film since the global trauma of 9/11 “that got how to deal with post-9/11 angst right,” Piercy says. “It immediately resonated with the psychological climate of America. You had this really opulent, decadent playboy who gets everything he wants, laws don’t apply to him. He gets captured by some terrorists, and through his own wits and ingenuity, he escapes and comes back, and kicks the living s—t out of them. He kills them.”

Engaging in politics through social media

Wake the Vote students discuss their experience working on the Iowa campaign caucuses on professor Melissa Harris-Perry’s show and how young people are using social media to engage in the political process.