GYM SHORTS

Swimming

The Texas Longhorns' men's and women's teams dominated Friday's Southwest Conference Relays at the UH Natatorium.

The Texas men scored 202 of a possible 224 points, with Southern Methodist a distant second at 142.

The UT women, who finished third at last year's NCAAs, were even more impressive with a final 208, taking 11 of the 16 events. Texas never placed lower than second in any event.

Houston, which does not have a men's team, was severely outclassed, placing sixth in the six-team field with 64 points.

The Cougars' best finish was third in two events. Maria Rivera, Kathleen Hayes, Alexandra Heyns and Kristen de la Torre combined for a time of 1:53.44 in the 200-meter medley relay, just behind second-place Texas A&M at 1:52.28.

The team of Rivera, Ashley Hinson and Marisol Monasterio clocked in at 3:02.16 in the 300-meter backstroke relay behind Texas Christian (2:58.66) and UT (2:50.07).

Houston diving didn't fare much better with a fourth-place finish in the one-meter diving and fifth place in the three-meter competition. Texas took both women's events and the men's three-meter diving.

Southern Methodist grabbed the one-meter title.

 

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UNIVERSITY ENTERING THE CYBER ERA

by Kenny McIntire

News Reporter

An 18-month project by UH College of Business Administration students is going to make campus information a little easier to access this spring.

The project is a Kiosk computer program that is part of a decision information systems special problems class led by Michael Parks, Ph.D.

A Kiosk is a touch screen computer that would help students find any information by pressing the corresponding button on the screen. Maps, events and other information can be accessed.

Along with computer technology, the Kiosk involves VHS video and stereo sound that informs the user, Parks said. All the work was done by students in Parks' class during the past year and a half.

"We had hoped to have it working this fall, but we've been trying to work out small bugs in the program before we let people use it. The real challenge has been trying to integrate what the past groups have done and get it to work with the current groups," Parks said. The students working on the project have changed from semester to semester.

This kind of technology has had a great response from the business world, Parks said. Conoco donated the network lines and IBM supplied some of the hardware.

Parks said two Kiosks will be installed in Melcher Hall in the spring of 1994. The University Center will house a third unit.

"Our goal would be to have 100 of these around campus in a network system. If every building had one, then people could get any information they desired at their fingertips," he said.

Students in the class said they all enjoyed the challenge of developing this project. Students were grouped and put in charge of designing a button on the Kiosk screen.

Cristoph Graham, an MIS senior, said it's "fun, but it can be frustrating when you have to work through all the bugs and try to incorporate the aspect of making it visually appealing along with making the program work."

Michael Khushf, a business administration senior, has been with the project from the beginning and feels that this technology is expanding. "It is so user-friendly and visually appealing with actual video incorporated in it that more and more places will be wanting to install it."

Other class members got some personal satisfaction from the project.

Mike Yovan, an MIS major, said, "It's satisfying to know that what you're doing is going to be seen and used by other students. The work is more enjoyable since you know that it is going to a practical use."

Derek Green, a senior MIS major, said, "Everyone has come together and learned to critique each other to make it better. It has been tough because there are so many aspects to the Kiosk."

A extra project that some of the students are working on is a Kiosk that would be installed at gas stations. People could access traffic conditions, sports and news while they are pumping their gas, Parks said.

Parks said that funding for the on-campus Kiosk system should not be a problem. "I've displayed this for administration and faculty and they all loved it. The problem is not convincing someone to fund it, but to get someone to write a check."

 

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CANDIDATES SEEK STUDENT SUPPORT

by Scott McGregor and Lara Hall

News Reporters

Reducing crime in the UH area is among the goals of District E city council candidates Kevin Bruce Hromas and Agnes Aaron.

District E includes the UH area at its northern boundary and extends down to the Johnson Space Center. Hromas and Aaron are among the eight candidates running against incumbent Frank Mancuso.

"I would like to work with UH in fighting the crime and drug problems, and offer an assisting hand to reduce the amount of crime in this part of the district," said Aaron.

Hromas said, "Because the district is so diverse, each area has its own very specific problems. I would like to incorporate more community involvement on the part of the campus and students. I hope to involve not only the students who live on campus, but the commuters also."

In order to do this Hromas has developed a three step plan that he hopes will bring more control back to the communities.

Step 1: Form citizens advisory groups.

Step 2: Hromas suggests returning control of neighborhood parks to the neighborhoods. "This would give a sense of pride and ownership back to the area. People will feel safe sending their kids to the park, and they might even go with them, providing more adult supervision," Hromas said.

Step 3: The phase of his plan that requires the most participation from residents is called "citizens on patrol." Hromas said this is where students could become most involved.

"UH students can help in the neighborhoods around campus. Students and area residents can get control of their neighborhoods back, and make the campus a safer place. I think this will give students a sense of community responsibility, and keep them involved. We also want to encourage neighborhoods that already have groups like this to help others get a program started," said Hromas.

"I want to get rid of the me against them feeling and establish a sense of community identity," Hromas said.

 

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NON-DEGREE PROGRAM GETS RECOGNITION

by Kevin Patton

Daily Cougar Staff

Not every student at UH is pursuing a degree, some are on campus for the Continuing Education Program.

The Division of Continuing Education and Off-Campus Institutes may be hidden to the degree-seeking student, but it serves more than 9,000 students annually.

Through its decentralized system, DCEOCI uses four separate locations where a student can take courses: the central campus; West Houston Institute at Cinco Ranch; the North Houston Institute; and the Texas Medical Center Institute.

"Most of our people are not the regular, credit students. We deal with corporations and non-profit organizations, and often we are the only contact the community has with the university," said Lois Phillips, assistant vice-president and executive director of DCEOCI.

The DCEOCI offers 25 different courses ranging from the Kids University, a program for children grades 1-8, to the Consortium for Environmental Management.

"In an urban school you have to be able to respond to a changing market place. And when you sit in a city like Houston, change is inevitable," said Phillips.

For this reason, the department provides training programs to area businesses.

The program's Accelerated Language Program offering courses in Spanish, Russian, French, German, Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese has received national acclaim.

"Our uniqueness is based on the programs we have. The national Continuing Education Organization has asked us to do a presentation on our language program," Phillips said.

Zully A. Tillis, UH professor of Spanish, said,"(This method of teaching) is more effective, the people retain more with the visual and audio stimuli."

Tillis' classroom wall displays colored posters with Spanish words. These fill every space on the wall. Fifteen students sit in a circle around "Juanita," (Tillis) their liaison to Spanish culture and language for a week. The salsa music plays low as the students break for 10 minutes. The class starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m. The Spanish III class will continue through Friday; most classes last a week.

"It's been too early to tell (how effective the class is), but it's been fun," said Joe Goins, a continuing education student.

The DCEOCI was founded in 1992, with the merging of the Off-Campus Institutes Office and the Department of Continuing Education.

 

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RESEARCHERS BATTLE THE GRE

by Karen Snelling

Daily Cougar Staff

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) plagues many students who want to enter graduate school. This long and complicated exam is required for admission into most master’s and doctoral programs, as well as being the basis for many awards, scholarships and teaching assistantships.

However, as a result of studies initiated by Kaplan Educational Centers, a test preparation company, specific portions of the GRE could be tamed or, alternatively, simply eliminated.

Kaplan researchers have discovered a method that provides correct answers to a portion of the mathematical GRE questions without resorting to any numerical calculations.

Kaplan's research focuses specifically on the Pattern Identification (PI) questions, a section that first appeared on the GRE in October 1993 in the analytical portion of the exam. PI questions test a student's ability to identify and characterize numerical patterns.

Jose Ferreira, Kaplan's director of GRE programs, said their researchers have found a serious flaw in the PI questions that could force Educational Testing Service (ETS) to remove it altogether from future tests.

"Because students who have no idea what they're doing can still get many questions right, it's extremely unlikely that ETS will be able to use this item on future exams," Ferreira said.

PI questions ask students to find patterns in five digit sets. For example, the digits: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 are related by adding two to the previous number. Then students must determine if the pattern is consistent throughout the set. In the example: 2, 4, 8, 24, the addition of twos doesn’t work.

The test becomes more difficult as students face numerical patterns generated by increasingly complex formulas. For example, students could find themselves working with sets related by the addition of three then multiplied by four.

"For most students, PI questions are confusing and time-consuming," Ferreira said. "We feel they aren't a good measure of students' abilities."

The Kaplan method shows students ways pick out patterns in numerical sets based on how the digits change – whether they increase or decrease.

Scarlett W. Martin, a Kaplan public relations coordinator, said that Kaplan's research suggests that standardized tests aren't as revealing as some might think.

"These findings question the validity of standardized tests," she said "How much do they really apply to a student's future?

 

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INSTINCT FATALLY FUNNY

by Glenn R. Wilson Jr.

Daily Cougar Staff

If there was ever a genre ripe and ready for satire it's this whole psychosexual-woman-with-a-grudge-and-an-ice-pick stuff Hollywood has been pumping out lately.

Now comes <I>Fatal Instinct<P>, which is exactly what the ads say about it: a killer comedy.

Director Carl Reiner has assembled a cast of actors more renowned for their serious acting credentials than for their comedic skills. And their playing it straight in front of all the surrounding stupidity is one of the joys of this film.

Armand Assante comes directly out of his <I>Mambo Kings<P> role and assumes the part of Ned Ravine, a cop who is also a lawyer. First he jails them, then he bails them.

Kate Nelligan, a respected British stage actress, is deliciously evil as Ravine's wife. She is plotting with her lover to murder her husband in order to collect on a "triple indemnity" clause in his life insurance.

In order to collect though, he has to be shot with a pistol, then fall from a moving train and drown in a pool of fresh water. As everyone knows, these are serious risks during train travel.

Then there is the real-life psycho-in-waiting, Sean Young as Lola Cain, a woman with inexplicably sticky shoes.

Lola is a mysterious blonde who desires Ned in the worst ways, but Ned won't betray his wife – at least not right away.

The last part of this trio of femmes fatales is Sherilyn Fenn as Laura, Ned's trusty secretary who has a powerful crush on him. Around his office she's a lot like Radar O'Reilly on the old <I>M*A*S*H<P> television show and she's always looking out for Ned's backside.

Throw in some very funny bad guys and you have the makings of a very funny film.

David O'Malley's script is dead solid perfect, with laughs in all the right places. It makes fun of so many films at once that you'll have trouble counting them all.

If there is a problem with this movie it's the same one that most films of the <I>Airplane<P> style suffer from: When the jokes work, they really work, and when they fall flat, they really fall flat.

Fortunately, they come at you so fast that before you have time to groan about a bad one, another is already on the way.

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