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Author: Matt McGowan

Wow! What Have I Started?

Little Rock boiled. The situation was so acute that the mayor, abandoned by the governor and the Arkansas National Guard, requested help from the federal government, which was something Southern states just didn’t do. Throughout September 1957, nine black students had tried to enter and integrate Central High School. White mobs harassed and threatened them. There were beatings, bomb threats, burned crosses and shotgun blasts, including one that blew out a window in the home of Daisy Bates, then president of the Little Rock chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). As days passed,...

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Tracking Down Good Health Care

Nurses become nurses to care for people – help ease their pain and make them healthy. Yet health-care industry analysts estimate that nurses spend more than half of their working hours entering data on a computer or searching for needed materials. This reality, says Ron Rardin, epitomizes the shortfalls of health-care delivery in the United States. “The reason the delivery system works at all is because of the dedication of doctors, nurses and other professionals,” says Rardin, Distinguished Professor and the John and Mary Lib White Systems Integration Chair in Industrial Engineering. “If they didn’t make the effort, the...

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Domestic Violence in the Workplace

After seven years of marriage, Ruth and Ricky Dale Roberts separated in January of 1991. They divorced two months later, and four months after that, at about 5:45 p.m. on July 25, 1991, Rick shot Ruth five times in the back of the head with a .22-caliber rifle. Ruth, who was 30, died on the driveway of her house in Springtown, Ark. The couple’s children were at home when their father killed their mother. While married, Rick and Ruth Roberts worked together at McKee Foods in Gentry. In January of 1991, the same month Ruth and Rick separated, McKee — maker of Little Debbie snack cakes — fired Rick. Also that month, Ruth was hospitalized because of injuries caused by Rick. Melissa Smith, human resources manager at McKee and leader of Project Ruth, the company’s domestic violence awareness and education initiative, said the hospitalization triggered the separation and Ruth’s filing for divorce. “There had not been incidents at work,” Smith said. “But Ruth often displayed visible signs of abuse when she came to work. Ruth’s coworkers were very supportive of her, and when she chose to leave Rick, they came to her aid.” Across the United States, more organizations are noticing the “signs” of intimate-partner violence – a new and more inclusive name for domestic violence – and, as Ruth’s coworkers did, helping victims get help. Despite the popular...

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Making Sense of Cheating

In The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead, author David Callahan argues that cheating has become so common and culturally pervasive that ordinary citizens, people who do not think of themselves as cheaters, will inflate here or exaggerate there to achieve a beneficial outcome. Callahan says there are clear and powerful reasons for this behavior. The U.S. economic climate has become so ruthlessly competitive that many people feel they have to cheat not only to get ahead but to simply survive. The obsessive focus on results and rewards has created an ethos in which people ignore or forgive those who have behaved unethically to obtain coveted results. The ends justify any means. Most importantly, though, people cheat because, as the title of the first chapter of Callahan’s book states, “everybody does it.” Cheating has become socially acceptable. “Cheaters never win.” Not so, Callahan says. People also cheat because, in modern American society, cheaters do win. Perhaps because cheating has become so pervasive and acceptable, chances of being caught are decreasing. And people know that even if they do get caught, punishment won’t be too severe. Callahan posits that cheating has become a national moral crisis, and it’s hard to argue with him. Almost daily, newspapers contain stories about corporate executives ripping off shareholders, scientists manufacturing data to create desired results and professional baseball players...

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Researchers Work to Solve Clean Water Problems

Mother Earth has no shortage of environmental problems, but the fight for clean water may dominate environmental issues of the 21st century. Consider this fact: The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately one-sixth of humanity lacks access to any form of safe and improved water supply within 1 kilometer of their homes. That’s more than a billion people, roughly three times the population of the United States, who must walk more than half a mile to find water that is clean enough to drink or bathe in. This barrier is killing people, mostly children, because they are forced...

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Camilla Shumaker
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479-575-7422, camillas@uark.edu

Matt McGowan
science and research writer
479-575-4246, dmcgowa@uark.edu

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479-387-0720, whitby@uark.edu

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