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Sunday, Dec 02 2012 11:00 PM

HITS & MISSES: New dorm could be big draw for CSUB

By The Bakersfield Californian

HIT: A new student housing complex has been approved at Cal State Bakersfield, pushing the local CSU closer toward becoming a destination school.

CSU officials agreed to allocate $41.3 million to the project, which will contain rooms for 500 students as well as study rooms, lounges, classrooms, a game room and a multipurpose room. The dormitory will be located on the northeast side of the campus at the south end of Don Hart Drive East, north of Kroll Way, where grass fields currently exist. Construction is slated to start late next year and students could move in starting in 2015.

This is another big step in CSUB's progress that will help attract students from other states and countries, which adds to the educational experience of all.

HIT: A different kind of hero

Here's the kind of story we should all keep in mind as we head into the holiday season. A woman visiting New York City last week snapped a photo of a police officer giving socks and boots to a homeless man sitting barefoot on the sidewalk in the cold. The photo taken by the woman, who is a police officer from Arizona, has since gone viral. The New York officer was identified as 25-year-old Lawrence DePrimo of Long Island. After seeing the shoeless man, DePrimo went into a Skechers shoe store and bought a pair of $75 boots for the man.

The woman who took the photo wrote in a note to the NYPD: "I have been in law enforcement for 17 years. I was never so impressed in my life. ... The reminder this officer gave to our profession in his presentation of human kindness has not been lost on myself or any of the Arizona law enforcement officials with whom this story has been shared."

MISS: It's not the end of the world

Few people have taken the doomsday prediction that the world will end on Dec. 21 seriously. But some do, including suicidal teens and young children for whom a stupid hoax can become a terrifying thought. That's why NASA scientists last week took to the Internet for a Web chat to reach out to the younger set and reassure them the world is not ending.

"While this is a joke to some people and a mystery to others, there is a core of people who are truly concerned," David Morrison, an astrobiologist at NASA Ames Research Center.

Another NASA scientist noted during the chat that concerns about the Earth's fate would be better focused on more gradual events, like global warming. "The greatest threat to Earth in 2012, at the end of this year and in the future, is just from the human race itself," said Mitzi Adams, a NASA heliophysicist.

MISS: Autism linked to air pollution

A new study has found children exposed to high levels of traffic-related air pollution in the womb and their first year of life were three times more likely to be diagnosed with autism. The study is yet another to connect living near freeways with adverse health impacts on children. The study's authors noted that their research is not definitive proof that air pollution causes autism. But, if validated, the study could carry significant implications in the San Joaquin Valley, which experiences high concentrations of air pollution. In particular, nitrogen dioxide and particulate pollution were found to have the strongest links with autism. Smog, or ozone pollution, had none.

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