Dept. of Geography News & Events this Week - 10/7/14

October 7, 2014

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Party polarization of the House of Representatives through time, with a focus on which members continue to participate across party lines. The topic of our Coffee Hour this Friday with Clio Andris.


  • A Human Factors Lab paper led by Jinlong Yang was accepted by the journal, Cartography and Geographic Information Science. The paper is titled, “The cognition of change: Scaling deformations in mind and spatial theories.”
  • Guido Cervone, Mark Coletti, and Rebecca Goolsby (Office for Naval Research), had a poster accepted for the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics’ Computational Science and Engineering conference for 2015. The poster is on “Using Non-authoritative Crowdsourced Data to Augment Remote Sensing Data for the Fukushima Diachii Nuclear Incident.”
  • Anna (Brendle) Kennedy (BS ’02) and husband Steven Kennedy welcomed Miriam (Mia) Frances Kennedy to the world on April 6, 2014. She weighed 7 lbs. 10 oz. and was 20 inches long at birth.


October 10 Coffee Hour: Clio Andris “The Rise of Partisanship and the Emergence of Super-Cooperators in the U.S. Congress”

It is widely reported that partisanship between Democrat and Republican legislators in the United States Congress is at an historic high, resulting in a lack of productivity and innovation in Congress. We quantify the level of cooperation between Democrat and Republican Party members in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949-2012.

  • 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
  • Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m.
  • The lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.
  • Coffee Hour To Go
  • Next Week: tba

Photo Gallery: Octocopter UAV test flight
Guido Cervone, associate professor of geography and cyberscience; Alexander Savelyev, doctoral student in geography; and Ross Caruso, undergraduate student in meteorology, tested the octocopter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for programmed flight maneuvers and safety.

Penn State commits to historic 20 percent energy reduction
Penn State has joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge and pledged to reduce its building portfolio’s energy use by 20 percent over the next decade. With a commitment of 28 million square feet, Penn State becomes the largest university in the program, topping Michigan State (20 million square feet) and the University of Virginia (15 million).

From the AAG Newsletter: Toward a More Healthy Discipline
I have had several bouts of depression that have left me drained and feeling vulnerable, and anxiety is something I’ve come to live with but only after years of therapy and different forms of treatment. I haven’t felt ashamed of this, but then again I don’t make a habit of talking about my illness or mental health in general. But prompted by some wonderful colleagues who are proposing a new AAG committee on mental health in the discipline, that’s exactly what I want to do in this column.

Helping GIS students select research topics
In this podcast, Directions Magazine editors Joe Francica and Adena Schutzberg (M.S. ’88) talk about how hard it can be for GIS students to pick research topics. Having too many topics to choose from or lacking understanding of spatial principles can make the search more difficult, Francica says. Among their tips are for students to clarify their interests and get feedback from peers.


Last week’s mystery dog was Harley, belonging to Barbara Luther. Karen Cox was the first to respond with the correct answer. Send a photo of your dog to for our mystery dog of the week!