Student test fire of ‘3D-printed’ handgun draw lawmakers’ ire

New York lawmakers say they’ll introduce measures to ban 3-D weapons.

After successfully firing a gun made with a 3-D printer over the weekend, a University of Texas law school student hopes to refine the prototype and ultimately distribute online files so anyone can make one.

Meanwhile, policymakers say the proliferation of 3-D guns could require new laws.

The test firing amid the national gun control debate was immediately called “stomach-churning” by one U.S. senator and has prompted nervous calls for legislation to ban such guns. The first prototypes were all plastic, but 25-year-old Cody Wilson says he has made modifications including adding 6 ounces of steel so metal detectors can spot it.…Read More

Justices will review racial preference for college

Justice Elena Kagan won't participate in the race-based admissions case.

The Supreme Court is setting an election-season review of racial preference in college admissions, agreeing Feb. 21 to consider new limits on the contentious issue of affirmative action programs.

A challenge from a white student who was denied admission to the University of Texas flagship campus will be the high court’s first look at affirmative action in higher education since its 2003 decision endorsing the use of race as a factor.

This time around, a more conservative court could jettison that earlier ruling or at least limit when colleges may take account of race in admissions.…Read More

College political leaders, social media prove to be dangerous combination

Experts say student politicians should treat tweets like press conferences.

After a tweet and a viral video ended the campus political careers of two Texas college students, higher-education politicos have advice for their brethren: Adopt an official social media policy, and be more careful about what you post on Facebook and Twitter.

Concern over how up-and-coming campus political activists are using social media comes after a high-ranking Texas college Republican was caught on video using a gay slur, and two University of Texas (UT) Republican officials dispatched a message on Twitter about assassinating President Obama and another deemed racist by campus Republicans and Democrats alike.

Cassandra Wright, president of the UT Republicans, was the latest college political leader to draw national ire when on Dec. 18 she posted on Twitter, “My president is black, he snorts a lot of crack. Holla! #2012.”…Read More

Ex-UT system adviser slams faculty

Rick O’Donnell, the controversial former special adviser to the University of Texas System, on Wednesday released a new analysis of faculty productivity data that label most faculty members as “dodgers” and “coasters” who teach little, relying on a cadre of “Sherpas” to carry the burden of educating students, Chron reports. O’Donnell compared the employment practices at the state’s two flagship research universities to “a Himalayan trek, where indigenous Sherpas carry the heavy loads so Western tourists can simply enjoy the view.”

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In faulty-computer suit, window to Dell decline

After the math department at the University of Texas noticed some of its Dell computers failing, Dell examined the machines. The company came up with an unusual reason for the computers’ demise: the school had overtaxed the machines by making them perform difficult math calculations, reports the New York Times. Dell, however, had actually sent the university, in Austin, desktop PCs riddled with faulty electrical components that were leaking chemicals and causing the malfunctions. Dell sold millions of these computers from 2003 to 2005 to major companies like Wal-Mart and Wells Fargo, institutions like the Mayo Clinic and small businesses…

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Universities push to get students counted in 2010 census

Americans will complete Census forms throughout 2010.
Americans will complete census forms throughout 2010.

It was 5 p.m. in the lobby of the library of Metropolitan State University, and Clara Ware was sitting behind a table covered with pens, notepads, and buttons with the Census 2010 logo, calling out like a sideshow barker.

“Here comes a prospect,” she said as a student walked up.

Ware explained that filling out the census form this spring could mean more money for the university and the surrounding neighborhood, one of the oldest and most diverse in the city. The student took some knickknacks and promised to fill out her form. Ware smiled.…Read More