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Monday, April 5, 2010


Note that the official name of the school is Leland Stanford Junior University. When I first saw this presidential seal nearly 52 years ago, I thought I had come to a junior college. Why that German motto? Click on this piece by former Stanford President Gerhard Casper, born in Germany, who on his inauguration joked that he was selected because the trustees wanted someone who could pronounce those words.

One of my regrets is that I never took that quarter or two off to attend one of the Stanford University overseas campuses. I guess I wanted to graduate in less than four years, and that would have been impossible if I so did.

In the latest issue of STANFORD, I noticed that the school now has something they never did in my days: campuses in the Orient. President John Hennessey reported on:

1...a biodesign program in Singapore. This effort is not associated with any academic institution, but with Biopolis, which I wrote about in SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity. However, a fellowship link is being established with the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University.

2. In the late '50's, Provost Frederick Terman, who was instrumental in creating Silicon Valley, was the inspiration for one of his graduate students, Irwin Ho, plan and develop Taiwan's Science Park, which now has 500 companies and $25 billion annual revenues, providing 10% of the country's Gross National Product.

3. The Stanford International Initiative is helping to save humanity. One, the Rural Education Action Project, works with the outlying poor of China, establishing links between the environment and protests. You can expect them to be kicked out of the country sometime soon. A second is the Cross-Cultural Design team with Peking University, working to eradicate Hepatitis B, an ailment that kills a million/year in the Orient.

4. The Bing Overseas Studies Program (wasn't there when I was...but that was a half a century ago) has provided opportunities for 27,000 students, and now also has campuses in Kyoto, Queensland (coastal studies), Berlin, Capetown, Florence, Madrid, Moscow, Oxford, Paris and Santiago. Sounds like the itinerary for one of my typical around the world trips. Hmmmm...

The magazine also featured:

1. Sustainable Stanford, the Energy and Climate Change Plan with a budget of $250 million, primarily focused on campus energy use to save $639 million over the next 40 years. Yes, they think far into the future.

2, Fifty students and faculty attended the 15th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change this past December in Copenhagen, the gathering that most jeered as almost useless. Led by Professor Stephen Schneider, the Group of 50 joined 170,000 ( a lot of people, but how many went from the University of Hawaii??) and they did all they could to end up with a viable agreement. So they failed, but the experience will last a lifetime.

3. 32,000 applications were received for the class of 2014. 2,300 will be accepted for a rate of 7.6%. Harvard's rate this year was 6.9%, Yale 7.5%, Princeton 8% and MIT 10%.

4. Stanford graduates Kenneth Suslick and Paul Rhodes founded iSense, and are close to diagnosing early-stage lung cancer using a breathalyzer-type device. Someday, smell tests show promise for diabetes, kidney diseases and range of other illnesses. Ever wonder why a dog is used for searches? Well, the human nose has around 30 million olfactory receptors. A dog has upwards of a billion. DARPA is also interested in this electronic pathway to detect explosives and biological weapons.

5. Did you know that a Stanford female professor, Clelia Mosher, a century ago, began taking sex surveys, fully 50 years before Alfred Kinsey? According to this article by Kara Platoni, the results, kept under wraps, were startling.


The Dow Jones Industrials jumped 47 to 10,974, with world markets all up. The Japan Nikkei is now at 11,339. Gold increased $11/toz to $1133 and crude oil is nearing $87/barrel.

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