[ skip to content ]

ODU in the News

Week of 1/28/13

Meet The First Blood-Doping American Runner
(Runners World, January 25, 2012)

Mel Williams, Ph.D., was a professor of exercise physiology at Old Dominion University in the late 1970s when one of his grad students brought a Track & Field News story to class. The article said that some people believed Finnish distance great Lasse Viren had blood doped his way to four Olympic gold medals.
No one had ever conducted any experiments on blood doping for athletes. So Williams, a dedicated and talented runner then in his early 40s (he would eventually win three, 10-year-age-group awards in the Boston Marathon and has completed all 37 Marine Corps Marathons), figured he and his students should set up a few. They conducted three such studies over the next several years, with the last--a double-blind, cross-over study--being the best of the lot.
In that study, a group of local road runners capable of 30- to 35-minute efforts in area 5-milers, improved an average of 45 seconds after they received transfusions of their own blood. That's about a 2.5 percent improvement. A mathematical analysis of the results showed the results to be statistically significant.
Williams clearly remembers his participation in the first of the three experiments. He received a transfusion in the morning, but didn't know if he had received blood or the "placebo" transfusion. That afternoon he did an easy 5-mile workout.
"At the time people were writing a lot of articles about 'runner's high,'" he recalled earlier this week. "I'm telling you, that run was the highest I have ever felt. I was just floating down the road." Later he learned that he had in fact been among those receiving their own blood. (More)

ODU receives large solar energy grant
(MSNBC, January 18, 2013)

Old Dominion University received a $500,000 to develop solar energy research.
The grant was funded by Dominion Virginia Power's research and development partnership in hopes of finding energy alternatives.
The solar panel students and professors have been working on is far from ordinary.
"This will track the sun throughout the day and keep it perpendicular to the sun so we get more efficiency and more power out of it," ODU student Caitlin Conway said.
Wherever the sun goes, the panel will tilt to get maximum exposure.
Sylvain Marsillac, one of ODU's photovoltaic researchers is helping oversee the assembly of the panel and sees a big future in solar energy.
"This system will generate five kilowatt... it is a five-kilowatt system, so per day, you have roughly 20 kilowatt hours for a house. [The panel] could generate enough for two houses, two 3,000 square foot houses," Marsillac said.
However, the system won't just be used for powering homes.
"This is a facility that will be used for testing new devices, new materials, new gadgets and also will kind of be a tool for our students," ODU professor Shirshak Dhali said. (More)

The next Words with Friends?
(Inside Business, January 25, 2012)

Developers at a local multi-media company said its smartphone app has gained some traction after two months on the market, but they're looking to build on that as they plan to make the word game their flagship application.
The game is called RoJo WORD, and executives at parent company ZiggityZoom said the 99-cent app has been downloaded more than 20,000 times since its mid-November release. A large portion of those downloads came this month when it was made free for three days. ...
RoJo is a timed word game that's similar in concept to Boggle. With a rack of seven letters, the goal is to spell as many words as possible before time expires. Letters may be used more than once, and the game picks up accidentally spelled words.
"It's almost like an action word game," said developer Kris Wright, "as opposed to 'Come up with a word in Scrabble, wait a day for your friend to play.'" ...
"The first time we met, Kris was spewing off word statistics stuff and I said, 'OK, I could have told this to like 10 other developers and none of them would have been saying stuff like that,'" Fitch said.
The two met last spring through Start Norfolk, an entrepreneurial idea-sharing summit. Wright, an Old Dominion University graduate student, worked on the app most of the summer. ...
But making a profit isn't easy, said Yuzhong Shen, an ODU modeling, simulation and visualization engineering professor.
Apps generate money by either paid downloads, ad-supported free versions, or add-ons and credits. But none will be fruitful if the app is not a good product, Shen said. (More)

FIRST PERSON Wayne Zettler Chairman, Technology Hampton Roads
(Inside Business, January 25, 2013)

Zettler is the new chairman of Technology Hampton Roads.
Mission of Technology Hampton Roads
Our organization is looking to bring together various members of the information technology systems community of Hampton Roads, ranging from the chief of technology officer to level-one administrator. We try to bring budding entrepreneurs together with people looking to invest in businesses. Our true mission is to grow and retain technology in Hampton Roads.
Technology Hampton Roads is moving to a volunteer- based system for the first time. Typically we've had paid employees. The reason for changing directions is because in the past there had been a lot of technology councils sprouting up. The councils began to lean on the city for money and eventually the funding dried up. We still have sponsors and paid members. That is how we are moving forward with THR. ...
One of the programs we are launching this year is the Host and Boast program, where we allow partners to host an event at their facility and present a topic related to technology. The goal is to allow partners to host the event and THR will work to bring in people to attend using our contacts.
During the first five minutes of the event, partners get to "boast" or pitch their product and discuss their company. Since we are moving to a nonfunded volunteer model, we have to find creative ways to leverage partners with assisting us in providing value to the clients.
We are looking to expand our Teacher-to-Teacher STEM program. A lot of groups preach the importance of STEM and working on programs. Last summer, we held a Teacher-to-Teacher STEM event at Old Dominion University. More than 300 teachers attended the event. Basically teachers from specific fields will speak to others in similar fields and provide them tips on how to improve their lectures and teaching skills. (More)

How to Avoid Becoming One of the Many Exercise Dropouts
(Diabetes Control, January 11, 2013)

By Sheri Colberg
Based on past research, the top reasons why people drop out of exercise programs are the following (in no particular order): 1) lack of time, 2) exercise intensity too high, 3) orthopedic injury, and 4) lack of enjoyment. I will address each of these reasons individually and give you some ideas to help your patients avoid or overcome each one.
Advertisement Perceived lack of time: No time to exercise today (or any other day)? Schedule your workout into your day just like you do for other important appointments and meetings. If that doesn't work for you, focus on doing more daily physical activity of any type. Don't worry so much about making it to the gym or give up entirely on working out if your planned time is demoted to a lower priority on any given day. Just do as much as you can all day long by taking more steps and even standing up longer. If you're just starting out, begin with 5-10 minutes a day and add a little more each day, working up to doing at least 10 minutes at a time, three times a day. You can also try for 15-minute bouts twice a day. It even helps to make physical activity part of your daily routine. For example, walk or bike to work or to the store, exercise while you watch TV, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or do something active with your family instead of being sedentary together. ...
Dr. Sheri Colberg of Old Dominion University is the co-author of The Diabetes Breakthrough: A Scientifically-Proven Program to Lose Weight, Cut Medications, and Reverse Diabetes in 12 Weeks, which is scheduled to be released in November 2013.

Adults-only Valentine's Day program at the zoo
(The Virginian-Pilot, January 27, 2012)

The Virginia Zoo will host a special Valentine's Day program 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013.
Kiss & Tail is an adults-only opportunity to learn about animal mating, dating and reproductive habits in an honest and humorous forum. The evening includes wine, appetizers, a Zoo tour and a presentation on animal reproductive behavior by Tidewater Community College biology professor Lisa Behm.
"This is going to be a fun event where couples can enjoy some wine and hors d'ourves while learning about what separates the birds from the beasts when it comes to jungle love," said Behm.
Holding a master's degree in Biology from Old Dominion University, Behm is a former zookeeper and animal registrar at the Virginia Zoo, in which capacity she was also responsible for the veterinary clinic and assisting the Zoo's veterinarian. She began teaching evenings at TCC while working at the Zoo, becoming a full-time biology faculty member in 2003.
Space for the event is limited and preregistration is required. Ages 21 and up only. Cost per pair is $35 for Zoo members and $45 for nonmembers. Tours begin promptly at 3:30 p.m. The program is expected to end around 6:30 p.m., leaving plenty of time after to make your dinner reservations and discuss the day's adventure. (More)

In Norfolk, newest teachers face tougher tasks
(The Virginian-Pilot, January 28, 2013)

When newly minted teacher David Squires applied for a job with Norfolk, the division hired him for one of its worst-performing, highest-poverty schools, Lafayette-Winona Middle School.
Squires noticed another distinction after he got there. "At Lafayette, there seemed to be a lot of brand-new teachers in the two years I was there," he said.
Virginia's Teacher Equity Plan says students who are poor or members of minority groups shouldn't be taught by inexperienced teachers more than other children are, but that's exactly what happens at many of Norfolk's schools.
While the division has struggled to lift student scores and raise school accreditation ratings, it has assigned high proportions of inexperienced teachers to some of the least successful schools, including Lafayette-Winona, which has been denied accreditation by the state. ...
At Lafayette-Winona, teachers fresh out of college struggled in particular with student discipline, said Squires, a former journalist who entered teaching via Old Dominion University's education career-switcher program.
"I saw more trouble with brand-new, wet-behind-the-ears people who never had a real job in their life," said Squires, who left Norfolk to live closer to ailing relatives in North Carolina. "That first year is going to be hell." (More)

When rap music got a RAP!
(The Times of India, January 27, 2013)

The public outrage that led to the cancellation of Honey Singh's gig, following the Delhi gang-rape, has brought the focus back on rappers and their use of foul language.
But can banning rappers curb violence and misogyny? Nona Walia puts the mic. forward...
"Raat ko nikli naari, hui gadi pe savaari, par voh raat usko pad gayi bhari..."
The lyrics from Punjabi rapper Honey Singh's song Main Hoon Ek Balatkari are disturbingly similar to how things unfolded on the fateful night of December 16, 2012, for the 23-year-old physiotherapist, brutally gang-raped in a bus and then thrown out of it by six men. The lines that follow the first four lines of this song sung by Singh â€" who in the past year has gone from being 'Punjab-famous' to one of the bestselling artistes in India â€" would make even the most liberal among us cringe with disgust.
His New Year gig was cancelled after a massive public and media outrage over his foul language objectifying women and "encouraging men to rape women who roam about alone at night€" as a Twitterati put it. Once again, the focus is back on a question that a large section of the world population has been asking for almost two decades: Is rap music a natural art form that represents the violent times we live in; or is it a genre that incites violence and promotes misogyny under the veil of artistic freedom? ...
But this may be a simplistic and politically correct summary of what the rap culture, especially gangsta rap of late, has come to represent. To elucidate, let's look into a thesis on Rap Music: Gender Difference in Derogatory Word Use by Elizabeth Monk-Turner, chairperson of the department of sociology and criminal Justice in Old Dominion University, US, and D'Ontae Sylvertooth, PhD in sociology. (More)

ODU Board of Visitors weighs campus master plan
(The Virginian-Pilot, January 25, 2012)

There was no shortage of suggestions when Old Dominion University's Board of Visitors was asked to weigh in Thursday on efforts to revise the campus master plan.
Figure out how to develop the university's limited acreage on the Elizabeth River so that it's more prominent, board member J. William Cofer said.
Develop architectural standards that will give university buildings a similar appearance, Pamela C. Kirk said.
Jeff Ainslie, who heads a Virginia Beach homebuilding company, suggested superimposing a vision of what the campus would look like if the university started from scratch. "Let's dream what we really want and see how much" the school can afford, he said.
Others suggested building a conference center and a fraternity and sorority row, getting rid of surface parking lots and demolishing the failed Maglev elevated train project.
Three officials from the consulting firm of Perkins+Will, which is conducting a campus study, were there to take notes. The firm is in the early stage of revising the master plan, which will include recommendations on how to expand Foreman Field, the 20,088-seat football stadium.
David F. Harnage, ODU's chief operating officer, said the consultant met with campus and neighborhood groups this month to see how they want ODU to grow. The plan isn't scheduled to be completed until May or June.
Harnage said because ODU has limited land, future development will be more dense, with taller dormitories, classroom buildings and research facilities. (More)

Freed from the Persian Gulf?
(Opinion, The Virginian-Pilot, January 25, 2013)

America is in the midst of an energy boom that has helped decrease its dependence on foreign oil significantly. A recent report by the International Energy Agency even concluded that the United States will displace Saudi Arabia - even if temporarily - as the world's largest oil producer by 2020.
Current U.S. oil imports of around 9 million to 10 million barrels a day are projected to fall to around 4 million a day within one decade.
If that does occur, what would it mean for U.S. foreign policy? In particular, could America withdraw from the oil-rich Persian Gulf?
The United States has fought two big wars there and spends between $40 billion to $50 billion a year, not including the Iraq war costs, mainly to protect the free flow of oil. That expenditure exceeds the entire military budgets of all but a few countries and increases America's already massive national deficit.
Unfortunately, America's growing oil power, while positive in many ways, is not likely to allow an easy withdrawal from the Gulf anytime soon. ...
Steve Yetiv is a political science professor at Old Dominion University and author of "Crude Awakenings." He wrote this for the Montreal Review. www.odu.edu/~syetiv

Panetta to open combat roles to women
(WVEC-TV/The Associated Press, January 24, 2013)

Senior defense officials say Pentagon chief Leon Panetta is removing the military's ban on women serving in combat, opening hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after more than a decade at war.
The groundbreaking move recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff overturns a 1994 rule prohibiting women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units. Panetta's decision gives the military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women.
"I feel like the standards are going to be very high, but I think anyone can do it," said Shantonee Mitchell, a student at Old Dominion University and member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).
"It shows me America's progressing, you know, like, every day there's new laws coming into effect and new rules, regulations. We're getting rid of old stuff," Mitchell told 13News. "Before, women didn't have the right to vote, and now we can do that, and now we can fight in combat, so I think it's great." ...
Panetta's move expands the Pentagon's action nearly a year ago to open about 14,500 combat positions to women, nearly all of them in the Army. This decision could open more than 230,000 jobs, many in Army and Marine infantry units, to women.
"Now that this is, like, changed, I would consider it," said Melissa Landspurg who also is a member of the ROTC program at ODU. "I guess if I was put in that situation, I wouldn't deny it, but I don't know if it would be my first choice." (More)

Controversial activist Van Jones to speak at ODU
(The Virginian-Pilot, January 23, 2012)

Controversial activist Van Jones is scheduled to speak next month at Old Dominion University.
Jones will speak at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 19 in the North Cafeteria of the Webb Center, a university news release said. The talk is free and open to the public.
A former green jobs adviser for the Obama administration, Jones stepped down in 2009 amid outcries over past actions. In 2004, he signed a petition from a group that questioned whether the Bush administration allowed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Jones previously showed support for Mumia Abu-Jamal, a death row inmate convicted for the 1981 shooting death of a Philadelphia police officer.
Jones is well-known for environmentalism and has written books on the topic. He also has co-founded two social justice organizations, according to his website.
Jones is to give the keynote address for Black History Month at ODU. (More)

Hometown: Avalon Names New Executive Director
(WYDaily, January 24, 2013)

The Board of Directors for Avalon: A Center for Women and Children has selected Teresa Christin its new executive director, and also welcomes Jacquelyn Jamason as its new director of development and communications.
Christin, a long-term resident of Williamsburg, comes to Avalon from Hospice House, where she was Director of Development.
"We couldn't be more excited to have Terry take over at Avalon," said Arthur Bornschein, senior chairman for the Board of Directors. "Her passion for contributing to non-profit agencies like Avalon is amazing and Avalon will benefit from her many years of experience."
Christin graduated from Old Dominion University with a degree in sociology and later received a graduate certificate in nonprofit management. She has more than 22 years of experience in nonprofit organizations and has served as executive director for the Child Caring Connection and as Senior Program and Policy Director at Voice for Children before joining the staff at Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg in 2005. (More)

Sign code as a weapon
(Opinion, The Washington Post, January 23, 2013)

A drearily familiar dialectic is on display here: Government is behaving badly in order to silence protests of other bad behavior. It is violating the Constitution's First Amendment, stifling speech about its violation of the Fifth Amendment, as it was properly construed until 2005.
Founded in 1934, Central Radio maintains communication, sonar and camera equipment on vessels at Norfolk Naval Station. The business is in a building designed for its needs near the waterfront. Company Vice President Kelly Dickinson says, "We can drive five minutes and be on board a ship."
But Old Dominion University (ODU) is nearby and covetous. It wants the land on which Central Radio sits, and through ODU's Real Estate Foundation it is well along toward seizing it by inciting the city government to wield the power of eminent domain. Condemnation proceedings against Central Radio have moved to the compensation phase. Dickinson says that the compensation will be insufficient to enable the business to construct a comparable building, let alone buy land for it. ODU, whose plans for the neighborhood remain interestingly vague and may include a shopping center, is exploiting the judicial evisceration of the Fifth Amendment's takings clause, the history of which is this:
The Constitution's authors, who did not scatter adjectives carelessly, said that property may be taken for "public" uses, meaning things - roads, bridges, buildings, etc. - directly owned by government and used by the general public. In 1954, however, in a case arising from what was then complacently called "urban renewal," the Supreme Court expanded the category of "public use" to include the "public purpose" of curing "blight," a concept of enormous elasticity when wielded by rapacious city governments. In 2005, in the Kelo case from New London, Conn., the court radically attenuated the "public use" restriction on takings. The court held, on a 5 to 4 decision, that a city government can seize an unblighted neighborhood for the supposed "public" purpose of turning it over to a private business that, being wealthier than the previous owners, would be a richer source of tax revenue for the taking government. (More)

Virginia school desegregation project returns to ODU
(WTKR-TV, January 22, 2013)

A project to tell the story of desegregating schools in Virginia has returned to Old Dominion University where it was created.
The project "School Desegregation: Learn, Preserve and Empower" has traveled Virginia over the past year to teach about desegregation and to encourage those who lived through it to add their voices to the living project.
The collaborative history project was started by Sonia Yaco, the Special Collections Librarian and university archivist at ODU who founded DOVE - Desegregation of Virginia Education.
"For many people it was the first time they ever discussed this. They never told their family about what they went through - they've never told their kids, they've never talked to their friends about it," Yaco explained.
With each stop in places like Farmville, Hampton and Danville, Yaco recorded oral histories that will be added to the permanent collections at DOVE collection sites in each region.
Yaco says those oral histories are crucial for telling the stories of desegregation that have never been told before.
"It's still there. That pain is still very much there for so many people," Yaco explained.
Oral history interviews will be conducted at ODU's Perry Library on Sunday, February 3. (More)

Give Your Heart A Workout
(Prevention, January 21, 2012)

If you've found the exercise-an-hour-per-day ideal a little daunting (or downright undoable), scientists have some very good news: While any activity is good for your heart, new research shows that you can maximize its heart-attack-proofing benefits-and spend less time at the gym-by making three simple changes to your workout schedule. Here's how to get started. ...
1. Recharge Your Cardio
Recent studies have found that interval training (alternating between high-and moderate-intensity bursts of activity) can double and possibly even triple the heart-protecting benefits you'd get from moderate cardio sessions-even when you exercise for less time. "Short cardio bursts make your heart work harder and pump more blood with each beat, which strengthens your entire cardiovascular system," says David Swain, PhD, a professor of exercise science at Old Dominion University.
High-intensity cardio also prompts your muscles to develop more mitochondria, tiny energy-making units within cells that use sugar and fat for fuel. The more mitochondria you have, the better your muscles become at utilizing carbohydrates, improving the body's insulin sensitivity. The result: Less sugar floats around in your blood, and this lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes, a major precursor to heart disease. High-intensity exercise may also give you a greater reduction in blood pressure. When you pick up the pace, artery walls produce nitric oxide, which boosts their ability to dilate so blood flows more easily. (More)

Count ODU in: C-USA says team can play for 2014 title
(The Virginian-Pilot, January 23, 2013)

Quarterback Taylor Heinicke and the other 22 sophomores on Old Dominion's football roster will get the chance to compete for the Conference USA title as seniors in 2014.
C-USA athletic directors voted unanimously to declare the Monarchs eligible for the 2014 championship while meeting Tuesday afternoon in Miami.
ODU athletic director Wood Selig declined comment when asked about the meetings, saying a release would be issued today on all actions taken by the athletic directors. However, sources at ODU who asked not to be identified confirmed that the league had approved the school's request to be declared eligible for the championship.
Old Dominion is moving up from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision. The school plays a transition season as an independent in 2013, when its schedule will include four FBS teams, among them North Carolina and Maryland.
"This is important to student athletes," coach Bobby Wilder said. "They want to know if they're going to have a chance to compete for a championship. I equate this in recruiting to signing a five-star recruit. That's how important this news will be to our program." (More)