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The Daily brief: July 18, 2011

Three Books | “War ethics” is the theme for the Class of 2015’s Three Books, which include “March” by Geraldine Brooks, “The Violence of Peace: America’s Wars in the Age of Obama” by Stephen Carter ’76 (a former Daily editor) and “One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer” by Nathaniel Fick. For the first time in the program’s eight-year history, incoming freshmen received a letter explaining why the books were chosen and offering questions to ponder. Political science professor Scott Sagan, who was the faculty member responsible for selecting the books this year, said he chose them in part because “war is too important for young people at a major university to ignore.”

Art center | The Palo Alto Art Center kicked off its $7.9 million renovation project last weekend with a groundbreaking ceremony. The planned improvements include reconfigured exhibition spaces, upgraded HVAC, and a children’s wing with gallery space and classrooms. The Art Center is expected to reopen in summer 2012.

Alcohol vulnerability | Binge drinking has a much more pronounced negative effect on the development of teenage girls’ brains than it does on boys’, according to a joint study by Stanford and UC-San Diego researchers. The study found that activity dropped significantly in several brain regions relative to the girls’ non-drinking peers, both male and female. ‘Long after a young person – middle school to college – enjoys recovery from a hangover, this study shows that risk to cognitive and brain functions endures,” said School of Medicine professor Edith Sullivan.

JediBot | “The robot is, like, hauling back and swinging at you, so yeah, it definitely feels real, the sword’s coming at you.” – aeronautics and astronautics graduate student Tim Jenkins, discussing a robotic arm that uses a hacked Microsoft Kinect to track opponents’ motions and carry on lightsaber fights. See the video here.

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