UC Merced Connect: Tour to bring info, gelato to campus

October 23, 2012 

After a six-week jaunt promoting awareness and support for the UC system, the Onward California mobile tour will make its final stop in Merced on Thursday.

The mobile tour, in a bright ice cream truck, offers activities such as a photo booth and free gelato.

Each of the University of California's 10 campuses has a flavor of gelato-on-a-stick named after it.

UC Merced's is Cognitive Chocolate, chosen because science professors here helped IBM develop experimental computer chips designed to emulate the brain's abilities for perception, action and cognition.

Naia Gelato, based in Contra Costa County, helped by suggesting top flavors.

Everyone who visits the tour's UC Merced stop — from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the top of Scholars Lane — will get free gelato bars, courtesy of Naia. The tour also will be at Merced's Market on Main event at night. The tour's stop coincides with the beginning of the campus's Founders Day events.

Turnout has been exceptional, said Jason Simon, director of marketing and communications services for the UC Office of the President.

"We've had a lot of vocal support not just for UC, but in the idea that the university is out connecting directly with Californians and sharing its story," Simon said.

"People are concerned about the state budget cuts over the past four years and the impact on the university's future," Simon said. "They are eager to help and add the voice of support."

Language and politics

In politics, it's not just what you say, it's how you say it. In an election year, as people are being hit with political messages, it might be reassuring or distressing to discover the more subtle aspects of language can make a make a powerful difference on Election Day.

How candidates frame their messages might be as important as basic content, argues Professor Teenie Matlock in an article she wrote for the November- December 2012 issue of American Scientist, out this month.

Last year, Sigma Xi, the National Scientific Research Society, named Matlock its Young Investigator of the Year, and her lecture at the national meeting in October 2011 was such a hit, she was invited to write an article for the society's flagship publication, American Scientist, according to UC Merced's Sigma Xi chapter.

Her article, "Framing Political Messages with Grammar and Metaphor," discusses work in a 2011 issue of Political Psychology on grammar in political messages and the electability of political candidates.

In that work, she and co-author Caitlin Fausey, a researcher at Indiana University, discovered small differences in grammatical aspect — for instance, whether a description mentions that a candidate "was having an affair" vs. "had an affair" — can shift voter confidence.

The article discusses this year's presidential race and evaluates how both political parties are using motion metaphors.

President Barack Obama's campaign messages emphasize forward motion using the simple campaign slogan "Forward," and Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign messages emphasize other movement, such as "turn America around," and "America's comeback team" to imply that the country has been going in the wrong direction.

UC Merced Connect is a collection of news items written by the University Communications staff. To contact them, e-mail communications@ucmerced.edu.

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