Data tells a compelling story

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By Matt Collette | Northeastern News | June 24, 2013

The jour­nal­ists behind The Boston Globe’s “68 Blocks” series, which takes an in-​​depth look at life in the city’s Bowdoin-​​Geneva neigh­bor­hood, knew they wanted hard data to play a key role in their work. But they didn’t want the series to read like a run­down of facts and fig­ures, according to Steve Wilmsen, enter­prise editor for the Globe’s Metro sec­tion. “We wanted it to seem like a story,” he said.

Wilmsen and a team of Globe jour­nal­ists behind the series served as the keynote speakers at this year’s Data Day, an event held on Northeastern’s campus Friday and orga­nized by the Mass­a­chu­setts Area Plan­ning Council, the Boston Indi­ca­tors Project, and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. Their panel dis­cus­sion on how data fig­ured into the ground­breaking series kicked off a day of events for pol­i­cy­makers, researchers, and advo­cates aimed at teaching them how data can help guide and inform better public policy.

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Researchers transcend boundaries for science

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By Angela Herring | Northeastern News | February 19, 2013

To under­stand and over­come the com­plex­i­ties of cli­mate change, sci­en­tists, engi­neers, social sci­en­tists, and policy makers must tran­scend the bound­aries that have tra­di­tion­ally con­fined their work, according to North­eastern Uni­ver­sity pro­fessor Matthias Ruth. He deliv­ered the state­ment on Sunday at a sym­po­sium he hosted on urban adap­ta­tion to envi­ron­mental changes.

As Con­gress races to find a solu­tion to impending cuts to research and other funding, com­mu­ni­cating across dis­ci­plines and other tra­di­tional bound­aries was a recur­ring theme at the 179th annual meeting of the Amer­ican Asso­ci­a­tion for the Advance­ment of Sci­ence, where Ruth’s ses­sion was one of hun­dreds aimed at high­lighting the “Beauty and Ben­e­fits of Sci­ence” — the summit’s theme. An esti­mated 8,700 scholars from around the globe descended on Boston’s Hynes Con­ven­tion Center between Feb. 14–18 to share their work at the meeting, which is billed as the world’s largest sci­en­tific conference.

Throughout the con­fer­ence, North­eastern fac­ulty led pre­sen­ta­tions high­lighting their work to address real-​​world chal­lenges in areas ranging from health to tech­nology to sus­tain­ability. April Gu, a civil and envi­ron­mental engi­neering pro­fessor at North­eastern and one of three scholars pre­senting in Ruth’s ses­sion, noted that our cur­rent strate­gies for water resources man­age­ment may not stand the test of time. “Water quality reg­u­la­tion itself is not enough,” she said. “We need a gov­er­nance way beyond that.” Read More

3Qs: Considering new data on genetically modified corn

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By Angela Herring | news@Northeastern | October 2, 2012

An article recently pub­lished in the journal Food and Chem­ical Toxicology shows the results of a two-year study on the health effects of a corn species pro­duced by the agri­cul­tural giant, Monsanto. The corn is genet­i­cally mod­i­fied to resist the her­bi­cide Roundup, and per­vades the U.S. agri­cul­tural system.

We asked Chris Bosso, a pro­fessor in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs in the Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Humani­ties, to explain the impact the new data will have on the growing dis­cus­sion of genetically mod­i­fied foods. Read More

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