NC State University

Image of Marshall Brain, creator of howstuffworks.com and a professor at N.C. State
N.C. State University

North Carolina State University professor Marshall Brain grew up in southern California with a father who was a computer scientist at NASA during the agency's heyday.

Brain watched his father work on lunar excursion modules for the Apollo missions and later, major train systems in San Francisco and Atlanta.

In his spare time, he helped Marshall build a bubble machine out of spare parts. It was an enchanting childhood, and it is no wonder that Marshall was a curious boy who developed a love for all things mechanical. 

An image of a dog wearing a computerized harness
David Roberts

Remember the animated Pixar movie "UP" where a grumpy, old man is softened by a talking dog named Dug? A futuristic collar translates Dug’s thoughts into words, but the trouble is Dug never really stops talking.
 

Image of Sandra Bullock accepting a Golden Raspberry award in 2010 for worst actress.
Shari B. Ellis / Flickr Creative Commons

A "bad" movie can ruin a night out, or it can secretly be your favorite source of entertainment for a night in.

We all have movies that we would rather not admit we enjoy, but sometimes we cannot stop ourselves from loving corny one-liners or ridiculous action scenes.

They are on the shelf marked "Guilty Pleasures." 

Hoodr / Wikipedia Creative Commons

Physics students at NC Central University will soon be able to pursue a dual degree in computer or electrical engineering at NC State beginning this fall. After three years at Central, a student could do two more years at State and finish with two undergraduate degrees.

NC State's Computer and Electrical Engineering Director Dan Stancil said State is excited to welcome the math and physics students from NC Central.

Sydney Scherr

Raleigh metalsmith and enameller Sydney Scherr traveled to Malaysia in 2009 to build the jewelry design program at Raffles College of Higher Education. Through a chance meeting with a fellow metalsmith, Scherr began to document the building of a 22-foot tall Hindu temple chariot. 

The work consists of 1,760 pounds of silver and many embellishments. The temple travels throughout communities. Scherr is the first female ever permitted to participate in the construction of such a temple.

Jackson DeWitt

October is clearly not happy. And when a 250-pound loggerhead isn’t happy, caretakers at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center have found that lovingly slapping her shell seems to calm her down.

“When something is upset, what is your first impulse as a human species? It’s to pat,” says Jean Beasley, the founder and executive director of the sea-turtle hospital. “So we did and it worked, the turtle calmed down. I think it has something to do with the wave cycle and the feeling of security.”

The Man Who Touched His Own Heart, is a history of science and medical efforts to understand the heart.
Little, Brown & Co/2015

Biologist, writer and professor Rob Dunn was not always going to be a scientist, but he was probably born to be one. 

A picture of UNC grad turning their graduation tassle
UNC-Chapel Hill

Graduation ceremonies kick off this weekend for colleges and universities across North Carolina. But before hundreds of students walk across the stage to get their diploma, they will be charged by a commencement speaker. 

Speakers will share stories and words of wisdom as the graduates begin their next chapter. This year's roster ranges from a late-night talk show host to a U.S. Congressman. Here are the people students and attendees should look forward to hearing this graduation season.

N.C. State University professor Rupert Nacoste's latest book is "Taking on Diversity."
makinggumbo.com

Rupert Nacoste served in the U.S. Navy during military race riots in the 1970s.

His commanding officers chose him to facilitate conversations about race relations among his fellow sailors. The experience prompted him to pursue a career as a social psychologist. 

Kevin Spacey plays southern politician Frank Underwood in the Netflix series "House of Cards."
Wikimedia Commons

In the Netflix hit series, House of Cards, Kevin Spacey plays a politician from Gaffney, South Carolina named Frank Underwood.

The fictional president has a heavy southern accent, but some question its authenticity. Vox.com produced a popular video analyzing Spacey's "r-dropping."

Members of the Barakat and Abu-Salha families share their gratitude for N.C. State's new scholarship fund honoring the memories of Razan Abu-Salha, Deah Abu-Salha and Yusor Abu-Salha.
Reema Khrais

North Carolina State University is creating a scholarship fund to honor Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha, three family members who were shot to death in Chapel Hill February 10. A neighbor, Craig Hicks, has been charged with first-degree murder.

“This is the first blessing and the first happy day after the tragedy,” said Mohammad Abu-Salha, the father of Razan and Yusor, on Friday afternoon when university officials announced the new endowment.

Yusor Abu-Salha was killed Tuesday night, along with her husband Deah Barakat and her sister Razan Abu-Salha.
StoryCorps

Thousands of people gathered on the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill campus last night to remember three students who were shot to death on Tuesday: Yusor Abu-Salha, Razan Abu-Salha and Deah Barakat.

Last year, Yusor came to the StoryCorps booth in Durham with her former elementary school teacher Mussarut Jabeen.  Jabeen is principal of Al-Iman School in Raleigh.  During the StoryCorps interview, the two women discussed their lives, hopes and dreams for the future.

The North Carolina School for Science and Math was a finalist for Spaces for Innovation Challenge at the Emerging Issues Forum.
Ildar Sagdejev

Innovation is thriving across the state of North Carolina and communities are becoming more intentional about providing spaces that nurture creative thinking.

monopoly set
William Warby / Flickr/Creative Commons

Yesterday, NC State announced that a group of students would try to break the Guinness world record for number people playing Monopoly "in a single venue."

"Apparently the record is only 277 people. We're going to have around 45 to 50 tables of eight players," said Mick Kulikowski in the press office.

Ralston Turner takes a shot.
NC State

There was a major upset in men's college basketball on Sunday, when unranked NC State beat the previously undefeated Duke, 87-75.

The Wolfpack's Trevor Lacey scored 21 points, and Ralston Turner added 16. The team overall shot 55 percent.

NC State Coach Mark Gottfried says his team knocked down some tough shots, and kept heavy pressure on Duke's preseason All-American Jahlil Okafor.

Hofmann Forest
Historical State, NCSU Libraries

NC State University will not be selling Hofmann Forest, for now. The two firms that had agreed to buy the 79,000-acre research forest near Jacksonville could not meet its financial obligations to buy the property.

The two firms, Resource Management Service and Hoffman Forest, LLC, had agreed to pay $131 million to buy Hofmann Forest. But they ran into financial problems almost immediately after entering into the agreement with NC State.

While this contract has terminated, that doesn’t mean Hofmann Forest won’t be sold in the future.

The odorous house ant (Tapinoma sessile) was the most common species found in parks and forests, but was absent in street medians.
Adrian Smith

A new study out of North Carolina State University suggests there's a remarkably high diversity in the types of ants found in cities.

Published in the journal Insect Conservation and Diversity, the paper looks at different environments along Broadway Avenue in Manhattan. Researchers found more than 20 different species of ants in the median of the road alone. They found more than 20 other species in the surrounding parks and urban forests.

NC State Voter
Leoneda Inge

Students at NC State traveled by party bus to the polls on this Election Day.

In 2012, more than 13,000 people voted at NC State’s Talley Student Union.  But it’s no longer a voting site.  So students got creative.  The student government association won a Cosmopolitan Magazine contest that provided a party bus to the new off-campus polling place, which included Cosmo male models. 

Steve Zelnak
NC State

NC State University now has endowed its first chair for a dean, and it’s in the College of Management.  Chancellor Randy Woodson made the $4 million announcement Tuesday.

“This is the first endowed chair for a Dean at N.C. State, and the first college that was endowed and we couldn’t be more pleased," said Woodson.

A picture of sweet potatoes.
Llez / Wikipedia

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving millions of dollars to North Carolina State University to research sweet potatoes.  The grant is aimed at developing new breeding tools to improve crop production in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Craig Yencho heads the university's sweet potato breeding program and is the project director.  He said sweet potatoes already feed millions of people in the region.

"It's a very hardy crop," said Yencho. "It can resist drought and heat very well.  It can be grown in a really wide range of soil types and it produces a lot of food per acre.”

Hofmann Forest
Historical State, NCSU Libraries

A new buyer has been added to the sales agreement for the 78,000-acre Hofmann Forest.

N.C. State University plans to sell two-thirds of the property to an Alabama-based sustainable timber company called Resource Management Service. The remaining third will still go to Hofmann Forest, LLC, which is owned by the Walkers, a prominent farming family in Illinois.

NC State spokesman Brad Bohlander says endowment trustees are happy to have the timber company on board.

A picture of moving boxes.
Nathan Olivier Photography / Creative Commons

Underclassmen are swarming the Triangle this week, and the flurry of moving boxes has already begun at some universities.

UNC Chapel Hill says nearly 4,000 of today's incoming freshmen were selected from a record number of 31,331 applicants.

Aside from the obvious enrollment data, UNC Chapel Hill keeps track of the most popular first names of the incoming class: 45 guys are named John, and 56 gals answer to Emily.

Hofmann Forest
Historical State, NCSU Libraries

A resolution may come soon in the case of the Hofmann Forest sale.

N.C. State University is trying to sell the 80,000-acre coastal forest. Opponents say the land serves many vital conservation purposes and should not be sold. 

Since a Wake County Superior Court judge threw out the case last November, opponents have launched two online petitions, flooded the Attorney General’s office with 4,000 emails, and placed hundreds of yard signs across the Triangle and eastern North Carolina.

Maureen Sill / Flickr/Creative Commons

Researchers at NC State University and the U.S. Geological Survey predict that urban areas in the south will double in size by 2060. If the rate and style of urban sprawl continues, farm and forest land will give way to a "megalopolis" that stretches from Raleigh to Atlanta.

USGS Research Ecologist Adam Terando says the pattern of decentralized development (meaning houses with yards and on cul-de-sacs as well as roadside business centers) will mean cutting further into wildlife habitats.

A story that ran last Sunday on All Things Considered about a sixth-grader's science fair project has elicited not just criticism but controversy.

Since the student's project built on the work of scientists, she's been accused this week of being a "plagiarist" who "ripped off" earlier work.

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