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Not Even a Broken Internet Can Stop Kevin Durant

 

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The Internet broke this morning, when any Google Image search brought up one of two images: a 2012 Ukranian car crash, or NBA MVP and Longhorn basketball star Kevin Durant. One of those is bad, and one is very, very good. Neither is what most users search for, but it doesn’t seem to be the work of a hacker. Russell Brandom of the Verge told NPR’s Here & Now that the glitch was more likely the result of an innocent mistake at Google than a malicious attack.

“If it’s a hack, someone is usually looking for some sort of information they can sell, whether it’s credit card data, email addresses, logins, or to put some malicious bit of code on your site,” Brandom said. “Maybe if you clicked on this image, it would take you to the site and it would put some malicious code on your computer, but I haven’t seen any indication of that.”

Google is also, obviously, tweaking code on a consistent basis, so glitches will appear from time to time.

“People are constantly pushing code changes to Google image search,” Brandom said. “My suspicion is something changed, someone screwed up, and they fixed it.”

The photo of Durant is a screengrab from the heartfelt MVP acceptance speech he gave in May. If you missed the speech, it’s still very much worth a watch.

By now, everything is back to normal with Google, but at 9 a.m., TIME tried an image search for “puppy,” which yielded, in addition to the crash and Durant, a few really cute puppies.

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Google hasn’t commented on what caused the glitch, which is now fixed, unless this is your idea of a pure and true Internet. Whatever happened, it really says something about the duality of life. Tragedy and triumph. And occasionally puppies.

Top image via Reddit user acrantrad, bottom image via Time.com

 

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The Ultimate Résumé: McRaven Q&A Is a Candid Look At UT’s Next Chancellor

 

Admiral William McRaven
What does it look like when one of the nation’s top military leaders applies for a high-level civilian job? Pretty darn impressive, as it turns out.

A Q&A document filled out by Admiral William McRaven, BJ ’77, Life Member, Distinguished Alumnus, and obtained by the Houston Chronicle, provides a rare and candid look into the closed-doors hiring process for the position of UT’s next chancellor. McRaven is the sole finalist for the position, which Francisco Cigarroa will soon be vacating.

McRaven’s thorough answers to questions about his leadership style, his accomplishments, and his ideas about how to run the UT System paint a picture of a future chancellor who will need to be diplomatic and balanced when entering the fractious and scandal-filled world of Texas higher education politics. Below are some highlights.

On his leadership experience:

“Throughout my 37 years in the military I have commanded special operations forces at every level. I understand how leadership must be exercised both at the tactical level and at the strategic level. Contrary to popular belief, the soldiers in the military are not robots. Leadership takes constant engagement and interaction. You must motivate your men and women.”

On his experience building relationships:

“In my job as the Commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, I traveled the world meeting with kings, presidents, prime ministers, dictators, and terrorists. Each engagement required a different level of relationship building.”

On his vision for the UT System:

“The role of the UT System should be to ensure all qualified students in the state of Texas receive a world class education. Having received a degree in journalism, I value a liberal education while understanding completely the need for a highly technical and business-oriented work force. The balance of these two disciplines and understanding how they interact to create a graduate that can excel in today’s global market place is the key to higher education.”

On why he wanted the job:

“I was only recently approached about the position, but knowing that, if selected, I would have an opportunity to shape the future of the academic institutions as well as the medical and research facilities in Texas—is intriguing.”

On how his friends would describe him:

“I like a good joke, a good steak, a good drink, and anything on ESPN.”

Read the full Q&A below:

McRaven Questionnaire

Photo by Michael O’Brien.

 

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NCAA Board Votes to Allow Autonomy for Biggest Conferences

 

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The NCAA’s inner circle has shrunk down even more today, as the Division I Board of Directors approved legislative autonomy for the five so-called “power conferences” at a vote at NCAA headquarters. The 16-2 vote will allow the Southeastern Conference, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and Atlantic Coast Conference to govern their combined 65 universities in the way of individual athletes and competition rules. The lone dissenters were representatives from Dartmouth and the University of Delaware.

The credo from on high at the NCAA has been that this decision, through allowing the richer conference schools to self-impose certain rules, will better benefit the student-athletes in a number of ways, including the possibility of future engagement with agents, helping pay insurance policies taken out against injuries, and better medical coverage.

“The new governance model represents a compromise on all sides that will better serve our members and, most importantly, our student-athletes,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said, in a statement. “These changes will help all our schools better support the young people who come to college to play sports while earning a degree.”

Indeed, while this decision signifies a major cultural shift for the NCAA, certain major bylaws will remain unaffected, such as transfer eligibility and scholarship limits.

There is a 60-day veto period in place, during which time three outcomes can occur: If less than 75 universities object, the rule will pass pending a vote from all DI universities in which a 5/8 majority is needed to overturn; if 75-124 disapprove, the committee will re-examine; and if 125 universities oppose the new rule, it will be suspended while the committee decides how to proceed.

What does this mean for UT Athletics? As a member of the Big 12 Conference, student-athletes at Texas—should the decision pass—can potentially pursue non-athletic careers concurrent to enrollment, receive pre-enrollment expenses during recruiting trips, and receive “full cost of attendance” and lifetime scholarships.

Texas athletic director Steve Patterson predicted the impending decision in an interview last month, stating, “I think the big five conferences have been in favor of more autonomy to be able to make their own rules to provide the best level of service for their student-athletes that they can afford. It appears, at once optimistic, that we may be headed to a negotiated system that would grant some level of autonomy for the larger schools to address issues such as full cost of attendance.”

Patterson has previously come out in opposition to directly paying student athletes, noting that student-athlete compensation would cause harm to non- and low-revenue producing sports, in particular those that are enabled by Title IX.

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch has some of the same concerns, plus some worry about what this will do to the have-nots in intercollegiate athletics, and thinks that the NCAA Board’s decision may warrant Congressional review.

“The NCAA should be responsible for promoting fair competition among its participating institutions and their student athletes,” Hatch said, in a statement. “I am concerned that today’s actions could create an uneven playing field that may prevent some institutions from being able to compete fairly with other schools that have superior resources to pay for student athletes. I also worry about how this decision will affect a school’s Title IX requirements and whether this consolidation of power will restrict competition and warrant antitrust scrutiny.

If the decision sticks, it would mean a monumental shift in policy for Texas, its conference opponents, and potentially all of Division I.

Image via Twitter (@NCAA)

 

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Can Ibuprofen Mend a Broken Heart?

 

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That handy bottle of ibuprofen in your medicine cabinet has probably been a blessing in times of misery. Headache? Wash a couple down with a glass of water. Fever? Take two and get some rest. But what about for emotional pain, like a broken heart or a bruised ego? Those pills might help, but only if you’re a woman: According to a recent study co-authored by Anita Vangelisti of the Moody College of Communication and James Pennebaker, UT’s Department of Psychology chair, the over-the-counter painkiller ibuprofen relieves hurt feelings in women but, oddly enough, not in men.

Common knowledge dictates that emotional pain and physical pain are two separate beings. However, recent research has shown that similar areas in the brain light up for both emotional and physical pain—and that ibuprofen has proven to help the hurt feelings. Now, though, Vangelisti’s research shows that while ibuprofen helps hurt feelings in women, it actually makes them worse in men, revealing opposing ways of helping the different sexes treat social pain.

“Hurt feelings are a part of any close relationship, so learning how to think and talk about the social pain we experience in our relationships is important,” Vangelisti says. “Understanding differences in the way women and men deal with their hurt feelings could go a long way toward helping couples cope with these feelings in their romantic and marital relationships.”

Vangelisti’s study, called Reducing social pain: Sex differences in the impact of physical pain relievers, involved 138 students as participants—62 men and 76 women. After some initial questions, half were given 400mg of ibuprofen and half were given a placebo. In one part of the study, the participants played a virtual game called “Cyberball” that creates feelings of social pain by excluding the player from tossing a ball with two computer-controlled avatars. In another part, the participants were asked to give a detailed description of a time where they felt betrayed by someone close to them.

After both parts, they were asked to rate their emotions, and Vangelisti and her colleagues were struck by how negative the men of the ibuprofen group’s emotional responses were when compared to the rest of the participants.

Women are better at expressing social pain than men, Vangelisti says, possibly because of social conditioning—the idea that men should be the “strong, silent type” and refrain from expressing their emotions. But the study’s results, she says, beg the question of how and why ibuprofen affects the two sexes differently.

“It’s possible that taking physical pain relievers provides men with more cognitive resources to express the pain they feel,” says Vangelisti of her findings. “There’s some evidence that, for men, the part of the brain that enables them to regulate their emotions is linked to the part of the brain that processes physical and social pain. If that’s the case, taking a physical pain reliever may affect men’s ability to hide or suppress their social pain.”

The results of Vangelisti’s study may expose differences in the ways women and men might best help each other deal with their hurt feelings and may help to address the way men and women think about and express feelings, as well as measuring the degree to which physical and social pain are linked.

“If our findings hold up for younger people, it also could help us address differences in the way children and adolescents think about and respond to socially painful situations like bullying,” says Vangelisti.

So does that mean we should all start popping ibuprofen whenever our feelings are hurt? Absolutely not, says Vangelisti. “In time, we may see psychiatrists prescribing painkillers for social pain—judiciously, I hope—but right now there are too many unanswered questions that our study has raised for this to be considered a viable treatment.”

Illustration by Melissa Reese

 

 

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Princeton Review Ranks UT’s Student Health Services 10th in the Nation

 

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UT’s University Health Services is the 10th-best university health care provider in the nation, at least in the eyes of the Princeton Review.

The popular test-prep company released its annual “Best 379 Colleges” guidebook this week, including 62 ranked categories ranging from the serious (“Great Financial Aid,” “Best Quality of Life”) to the tongue-in-cheek (“Reefer Madness,” “Is it Food?”). The top-20 lists are based entirely on student surveys, so they’re more about sharing students’ opinions than providing a rigorous national analysis.

Coming in at no. 10 on the “Best Health Services” list, UT was slotted after Whitman College and before Mills College.

At University Health Services’ 40,000-square-foot facility in the Student Services Building, UT students can get checkups, vaccinations, and X-rays; see a physical therapist; and put together a personalized plan with a nutritionist, among other services. There’s also a 24/7 advice hotline students can call to speak with a nurse.

UT wasn’t included on any of the 61 other Princeton Review lists this year, and administrators surely breathed a collective sigh of relief not to see us on the “Best Party Schools” list, which the university has graced in years past.

Photo by Andrew Mendoza

 

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Why Is There a Hook ’em Sign in the Aggies’ New Locker Room?

 

Aggie Barbershop
You’ve probably heard by now that Texas A&M players blast hip-hop and have a grand old time at practice, that head coach Kevin Sumlin arrives at recruiting trips via a solid gold helicopter, and other Aggieland hyperbole, but what you may not have seen is a conspicuous tribute to the Longhorns in the Aggies’ locker room barbershop. Yes, they have a barbershop in their swanky new facility.

There, squeezed between a portrait of the 12th Man and an an enormous pair of sword-handled scissors is a hand performing a sideways Hook ‘em. A&M fans are already going nuts—understandably—on Twitter, as the the gesture is seen as an affront to all that is Aggie. Brad Marquart, A&M’s assistant media relations director posted an image of the mural, and explained its relevance as such:

The hand is supposedly meant to denote the letter “H,” for Houston, with the L-shaped hand below—which fans say looks like Texas Tech’s Guns Up gesture—signaling Louisiana. Whatever it is meant to represent, to Longhorn fans, this just fuels the fire of a rivalry once thought dead. And it’s a nice comeback for the Horns on the heels of A&M fans raking Texas over the coals over the misspelling of “Texas” on the footer of its football media guide two weeks ago.

Image via Brad Marquardt on Twitter (@bradthejag)

 

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The Best Things About Life at UT

 

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Every University of Texas student and alumnus has something they love about life on the Forty Acres and beyond. Some favorites are perennial (cheering yourself hoarse at a football game) while others are new (paddle-boarding on Lady Bird Lake), but there has always been something for everyone. UT students on Reddit, the popular news aggregating/time-sucking website, recently put together a list of their favorite things about UT-Austin. Surprisingly, a few of the flashier spots, like the pool at Gregory Gym or the SAC, didn’t get a mention, while obscure places like the secret print room at the Blanton Museum of Art did. Here are some of the highlights:

Stir fry at J2

J2, the buffet-style dining hall on the second floor of Jester, has some hits (the VIP line, steak night) and some misses (the pizza), but their stir fry station is always on point. It’s made fresh to order, and there are dozens of ingredient options. Order it with noodles instead of rice, though; you’ll get more bang for your buck. Or just go back for seconds.

Napping in the Union

The Union’s third floor is the unofficial napping headquarters for students. Push some of the plush chairs together, curl up, put some headphones on, and float off to dreamland. Perfect for those odd, unpredictable moments of downtime.

The Life Science Library

Besides the Architecture Library in Battle Hall (which deserves an honorable mention), this library is the closest UT gets to Hogwarts. It’s the self-proclaimed “most beautiful library” on campus, and the high ceilings and exquisite decorations that fill the library back that up.

Office Hours

As one user put it, “Your profs are some of the coolest, smartest, most interesting people you’ll ever meet.”

Sports!

Admittedly, football and basketball have been, at best, disappointing to watch over the last few years. But those are only two sports at a school that excels in a so many others. Swimming and diving, volleyball, soccer, baseball, even Quidditch—all are storied teams with national titles under their belts. And if simply spectating sports doesn’t do it for you, there are always the intramural leagues for us mere mortals.

Campus (All of It)

If you don’t think the Forty Acres is beautiful, take a trip to College Station. From studying (read: sleeping) on the South Mall with a beautiful view of the Tower on one side and the Capitol on the other to the pick-up games and picnic dates on the grass in front of the LBJ Library, the UT campus is by far one of the best things about going to Texas.

People Watching

With 55,000 students on campus during the school year, it’s impossible not to notice some interesting people walking around. Maybe you’ll see a girl walking her bunny around campus. Maybe you’ll come across the slacklining club practicing on the West Mall. There’s never a dull moment.

Austin 

Come for the school, stay for the city. Where else in Texas can you forgo class in favor of jumping into one of a dozen gorgeous swimming holes? Where else will no one judge you as you rush to your 8 a.m. class with bed head and unkempt clothes? Where else will you run into Elijah Wood outside his $1 million house or Ryan Gosling in line for Mrs. P’s? Longhorns take full advantage of the privileges offered by such a weird, wonderful city.

Agree? Disagree? Post your favorite thing about UT in the comments.

Above: The Life Science Library. 

Photo by Sandy Carson.

 

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UT Scored Three Top Rankings This Week

 

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Not that Longhorns are the bragging type, but pardon us while we pat ourselves on the back for a moment: The university seems to be on a bit of a hot streak when it comes to the rankings game.

Last week, the World University Rankings slotted us at 29th out of all universities on the planet. That’s a hard one to top, but then three more accolades came in this week. Get the skinny on them below.

  • According to Hollywood Reporter, UT has the 10th-best film school in the country. Reputation factored heavily into the results, which were based on a survey of 2,300 industry insiders. The magazine also called out UT for having the “starriest alumni,” which will come as no surprise to Matthew McConaughy and Wes Anderson fans. And ours is the only film school outside of California to send students to Hollywood for a semester.
  • Money‘s annual ranking of the best values in public colleges included UT at no. 17. The methodology of this ranking considered factors like graduation rates, cost of attendance, how much debt students are left with, and average salaries after graduation. According to the survey, young Longhorns earn $50,400 on average.
  • UT is the 19th-best value in the United States, at least in Forbes book. The business magazine’s annual Top Colleges rankings factored in everything from student satisfaction and academic success to grad rates and even how many graduates win Oscars and Nobel prizes.

Photo by Thomas Bougher.

 

 

 

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Adm. William H. McRaven Will Be UT’s Next Chancellor

 

Adm. William McRaven Will Be UT's Next Chancellor

Adm. William McRaven, BJ ’77, Life Member, Distinguished Alumnus, was named sole finalist for the position of Chancellor of the UT System at a meeting of the UT System Board of Regents Tuesday evening. Regents met by phone to discuss their choice to succeed current chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, who announced his resignation earlier this year. In his new position, McRaven will serve as the chief administrative officer of the System, which is currently composed of nine universities and six health institutions, though UT-Brownsville and UT-Pan American are poised to be folded into the new UT-Rio Grande Valley.

After a half-hour phone call, the regents voted unanimously to approve McRaven as the sole finalist for the position.

Texas Exes president Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison welcomed the announcement, calling McRaven “a superb choice to be the next chancellor of the University of Texas System.”

“He has an impeccable reputation rising to the highest levels of the U.S. Navy; managing large operations and budgets,” Hutchison, LLB ’67, BA ’92, Life Member, Distinguished Alumna, said in a statement Tuesday. “That he is a UT alumnus and a Texas Exes Life Member is icing on the cake!”

McRaven was widely rumored to be the top finalist in recent weeks, though Dallas Federal Reserve chief Richard Fisher was also mentioned. Last Friday, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) announced that McRaven would be stepping down from its helm, adding more fuel to fire of speculation around his candidacy.

No stranger to running large, complex agencies, McRaven has been at the head of USSOCOM since 2011. In his previous role as the head of Joint Special Operations Command, he directed Operation Neptune Spear, the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011. His long and distinguished military career began at UT, where he was a member of UT’s Naval ROTC unit.

In May, McRaven served as the university’s commencement speaker, cautioning grads to make their beds in a speech that went viral after the Texas Exes posted it on YouTube.

“In [Navy] SEAL training there is a bell,” he said. “A brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see. All you have to do to quit is ring the bell. Ring the bell and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o’clock. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the freezing cold swims … If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.”

Cigarroa, whose tenure at the top of the System has seen the establishment of a new university in his native Rio Grande Valley, as well as two medical schools in Austin and the Valley, will return to his first career as a pediatric surgeon. Earlier this year, Cigarroa told reporters that his resignation was not related to ongoing tensions between UT-Austin and some members of the UT System board.

Those tensions were at least partially defused this month, when UT-Austin president Bill Powers came to an agreement with Cigarroa to step down at the end of next year’s legislative session. Cigarroa has previously encouraged Powers to step down earlier, and many believed Powers would be fired by regents before the 11th-hour deal was made.

The new chancellor will join a number of new UT officials in 2015. Aside from new men’s athletics director Steve Patterson, BBA ’80, JD ’84, and head football coach Charlie Strong (who has implemented some military-like discipline lately), McRaven will join a new UT-Austin president and director of admissions—all while shepherding the newest System institutions and monitoring the as-yet undetermined fate of regent Wallace Hall.

“McRaven is a nationally and internationally respected leader and a true American hero,” regents chairman Paul Foster said in a statement released shortly after the vote. “His decades-long experience in proven strategic leadership, teamwork, vision, decision making, discipline, and working directly with national and world leaders make him an excellent choice—among a pool of extraordinarily distinguished candidates–to guide the UT System into its next chapter of greatness.”

Photo by Marsha Miller.

 

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World University Rankings Put UT at 29th

 

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We’re No. 29!

OK, so 29th may not initially sound like the most impressive number for a school that likes to pride itself on being No. 1, but being named the 29th-best university on the planet really isn’t too shabby. That’s the accolade UT snagged last week when the latest numbers from the Center for World University Rankings were released.

The rankings evaluate schools across eight criteria, from quality of education (which determines the bulk of the ranking) and alumni employment to patents and publications. Only 21 other American universities came out ahead of UT, and the only other Texas school to crack the top 100 was the UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Last year, UT came in at 27th in the same ranking, and we were 25th in 2012.

Photo by Amyn Kassam.

 

 

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