Media Coverage of the University of Michigan: March 2014

The 12 stupidest mistakes entrepreneurs make
(Business Insider, March 13, 2014)
When you’re launching a new business, what are some things to watch out for? From his catbird seat at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, Jim Price is fortunate to witness hundreds of startups, as well as current and aspiring entrepreneurs, who cross his field of vision each year. After a while, one tends to notice patterns, he says. Following is Price’s list of 12 stupid start-up stumbles. More

New detector lets people ‘see’ radiation
(Popular Science, March 12, 2014)
Radiation detectors can be expensive and cumbersome. Here’s one alternative, now on the market: Polaris-H, a University of Michigan project that offers handheld gamma-ray vision. To use the camera, someone looking for radiation sets it down in a room. (Carefully, I assume.) They can then connect it to an external touchscreen, piloting the camera as it lays a radiation map over an image of the room. Unlike some other detectors, the creators say, the Polaris-H operates well at room temperature, as opposed to detectors that require cryogenically frozen components. More

Ford’s driverless car takes the wheel
(, March 3, 2014)
Driving will become safer and congestion will decrease, Ford Motor Co. executives predict, as cars take on more driving functions, such as braking, slowing down, speeding up, turning, and paying attention to the surroundings. Ford showed an automated, driverless car last week in Barcelona that’s equipped with infrared sensors that scan its surroundings for other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, and animals within roughly 70 metres, or 200 feet, and tracks their proximity. Developed in collaboration with the University of Michigan and the State Farm insurance company, the car can also communicate with other automated cars. More

Just say yes? The rise of study drugs in college
(, April 18, 2014)
Prescription ADHD medications like Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse are becoming increasingly popular for overworked and overscheduled college students — who haven’t been diagnosed with ADHD.  “Our biggest concern … is the increase we have observed in this behavior over the past decade,” says Sean McCabe, research associate professor at the University of Michigan Substance Abuse Research Center. More

An immodest proposal: A global tax on the super-rich
(BloombergBusinessweek, April 10, 2014)
Thomas Piketty, a 42-year-old professor at the Paris School of Economics, has scored a surprise publishing hit, Capital in the Twenty-First Century.  He proposes a global tax on capital—by which he means real assets such as land, natural resources, houses, office buildings, factories, machines, software, and patents, as well as pieces of paper, such as stocks and bonds, that represent a financial interest in those assets. His tax would start small but rise to as high as 5 percent to 10 percent annually for fortunes in the billions. Joel Slemrod, a University of Michigan tax economist, says: “I’m the kind of person who doesn’t spend too much time on policy proposals that have zero chance of happening, and I think this is one of those.” More

Tweeting a killer migraine in real time
(Los Angeles Times, April 3, 2014)
Not even the pain of a migraine headache keeps people from Twitter, researchers at the University of Michigan have found. Over the course of a week, students collected every tweet that mentioned the word migraine. Once they cleared out the ads, the retweets and the metaphorical uses of the word, they had 14,028 tweets from people who described their migraine headaches in real time — with words such as “killer,” “the worst” (almost 15% of the tweets) and the F-word. Alexandre DaSilva, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and lead author of the study, said the information is “a powerful source of knowledge” about the headaches, because usually sufferers are providing information after the fact in clinical situations. More

Can Twitter predict the economy better than Wall Street economists?
(Wall Street Journal, April 3, 2014)
The researchers who aimed to beat Wall Street by analyzing Twitter didn’t pull it off. Not this week. Yesterday we highlighted research out of the University of Michigan that analyzed tweets about job loss and attempted to estimate the number of initial jobless claims that the Labor Department reports every Thursday morning. The method predicted 342,000 people would file claims last week. Wall Street economists had predicted 320,000. The correct number was 326,000. The economists were closer than the tweets, but the researchers in Michigan aren’t conceding defeat. “We were well within the standard of error,’’ jokes Matthew Shapiro, a U-M economist who worked on the project. “This is an early attempt at something we hope catches on.” More

Craig Fahle Show: Why the Great Lakes are changing and what it means
(Detroit Free Press, April 3, 2014)
Our partners at WDET’s “The Craig Fahle Show” talked to an expert about the changing water levels in the Great Lakes. John Callewaert of the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan gives some insight into what may be causing the lake levels to change and how to adapt to the change. More

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