Wandering Eye: A new arena for Baltimore?, books are unsurprisingly better than tablets for paying attention, and more

Kevin Litten at the Baltimore Business Journal broke the news last night that Cordish Cos. is testing the waters for a huge project: nestling a giant venue between the Power Plant and Harbor East that would replace the Royal Farms Arena (what some still like to call the Civic Center). Efforts to build it would be preceded by multiparty negotiations, since most of the land is city-owned and a good chunk of it is leased to H&S Properties Development Corp. If it goes through, though, Litten reports, the plan is for "an 'iconic' glass-encased building with sweeping waterfront views that is clearly aimed at becoming a landmark for the Inner Harbor and the skyline. A major water fountain attraction is also in the plan, sources say, and part of the project could involve filling a small harbor inlet that cuts between the two piers." Color it green and it sounds like the Emerald City. (Van Smith)

 

For paying attention, books on paper are superior to tablets and apps, a person whose whole career depends on your ability to pay attention declares. Naomi S. Baron, a language professor at American University, has a WaPo column discussing the pros and cons of the various formats, with this oh-so-surprising conclusion. "Don't get me wrong: Digital reading has some real advantages," she writes. "Ask people what they like most about reading on digital screens (a question I've put to several hundred university students in the United States, Germany, Japan and Slovakia), and you hear over and again about convenience: 'easy to carry' and 'compact.'" As for the book? "Much of what students liked about reading print involved their minds. They said 'it's easier to focus,' 'my spatial memory works best,' and 'feel like the content sticks in my head more easily.' Some also acknowledged they took more time with printed text and read more carefully—not really a surprise, since digital screens encourage scrolling and hasten us along to grab the next Web site or tweet." You don't say? (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

A bipartisan bill proposed in the Senate last summer would require universities to conduct anonymous surveys of students about their views of and experiences with sexual assault on campus. These climate surveys, which the White House had recommended earlier in 2014, would then have their results posted publicly online for prospective students and parents to see. In November, a few months after the bill was proposed, the Association of American Universities (AAU), which has been called "the most elite organization in higher education," decided that it was going to contract with research firm Westate to, as Inside Higher Ed explained, "develop and implement a campus 'climate survey' for any of its members institutions that wanted to participate. The association said that one goal of the project was to fend off Congressional efforts to require universities to annually survey their students about the prevalence of sexual assault." But now Inside Higher Ed reports that 15 of the AAU's 60 U.S. member universities have declined to participate in the study. Among those declining? Johns Hopkins University. When we called to ask why Hopkins isn't participating in the survey, university spokesman Dennis O'Shea said, "Because we are already deep into preparation for our own climate survey that is being conducted by a member of our own faculty": Jacquelyn Campbell, a professor in the School of Nursing. (Anna Walsh)

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