UI professor seeks to harness strength of amoeba into computer cores

Sure, you can look down your nose at the lowly amoeba, with its single cell, but the little protozoan has a trick up its sleeve, if it had a sleeve, that people certainly don't.

It can split in two to make a copy of itself, which can make a copy of itself, which can make a copy of itself, which can ...

UI looking for options at Willard Airport

High-level University of Illinois administrators have been asking themselves the same question for a long time: why does the UI run its own airport?

Well, for the best of all possible reasons, it's always run the airport at Savoy. In May 1943, the Illinois General Assembly authorized the UI board of trustees to buy land for an airport. In 1944, federal funds were appropriated for construction of an airfield for possible defense use on land provided by a local government and, after completion, the UI owned and operated the airport.

Is happy face just made up?

Democratic presidential candidate and former North Carolina U.S. Senator John Edwards has received a lot of flak over his $400 haircut. Sure, he's got nice hair. But $400 for a haircut?

So perhaps it's no surprise that another controversial politician, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, is in a similar jam, public-relationswise, over a $600 fee he paid to a makeup artist and lighting consultant.

Urbana review board soon to be a reality

It's pretty clear that the Urbana City Council soon will pass an ordinance creating a police review board to oversee the department's civilian complaint process.

Two weeks ago, Mayor Laurel Prussing presented a draft ordinance to the council that drew objections from council members who contended that it wasn't tough enough. Since then, the mayor and council members have reached an apparent accommodation that should draw majority support from the council.

Officer's death a loss for everyone

Douglas County Chief Deputy Tommy Martin never flinched from his duty, and his dedication to his profession cost him his life.

City takes another shot at alcohol abuse

City council members in Champaign took another stab recently at trying to limit binge drinking by college students, giving a tentative OK to proposals restricting bars from using marketing tactics like celebrity bartenders, "shot girls" and private parties to sell their wares.

We have no particular objections to the city's efforts in this sphere. Binge drinking by young people has been a problem for decades, and someday someone may actually come up with a real solution to the problem. If the city wants to nibble around the edges of the drinking issue, it's fine with us.

Judicial nomination fights tawdry politics

President Bush this week nominated four distinguished judges and lawyers to seats on separate federal courts of appeal across the country. But it's anyone's guess whether his nominees will ever get a hearing scheduled before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, let alone an actual confirmation vote before the full Senate.

Governing by grandstanding

A group of Chicago area religious leaders delivered an ultimatum to state leaders the other day: pass a budget in the next week, or we'll "take over" the Capitol.

"We are prepared to take our complete delegation to the capital to take over," said the Rev. Ira Acree.

State's capital needs pile up

It seems the longer the legislative session goes, the more needs and problems are uncovered in Illinois government. Health care, education, pensions, utility rate reform, a weakening revenue stream from the Illinois Lottery, the backlog of payments to state vendors and now ... state buildings that are falling apart.

That last issue shouldn't surprise anyone who regularly visits classroom buildings at the University of Illinois, especially venerable Lincoln Hall, which has needed a refurbishing for years. But it turns out, according to a story in the Southern Illinoisan newspaper, that there are plenty of state-owned buildings that need repairs – including the state's main office building in downtown Chicago, the one Gov. Blagojevich once tried to lease. It needs $150,000 to repair a fire-control pump.

A rebate of dubious value

Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is out to use his office to save the world, or so he hopes.

The new state treasurer has started a partnership between his office and participating lending institutions (none is in Champaign or Vermilion counties; the nearest are in Decatur, Cropsey and Watseka) to provide a $1,000 rebate to purchasers of new hybrid, electric or fuel cell vehicles. He is promoting the program by using his own Ford Escape hybrid, an SUV that gets a not-so-impressive 29 miles per gallon.