sealPurdue Story Ideas

January 18, 2002

JOURNALISTS: Here are story ideas and a list of selected Purdue events during the next two weeks.

Ag economist's model predicts tax impacts

As the Indiana General Assembly debates plans to restructure state taxes, a Purdue Agricultural economist has a tool for predicting the outcome of tax changes on Indiana families. Larry DeBoer has developed a model, or spreadsheet, that calculates tax impacts using data on Hoosier incomes, home values and expenditures based on sales and excise taxes. The governor and state legislators have used the model in formulating their tax proposals. DeBoer can demonstrate how the model works and customize tax scenarios for news story purposes.

CONTACT: Larry DeBoer. (765) 494-4314,

Purdue expert says Microsoft shift
just first step to information security

Purdue information security expert Eugene H. Spafford says Microsoft's shift to a focus on security is only part of what is needed to secure information from threats of terrorism and ensure privacy.

"While this is an important first step, we cannot hope to protect our information infrastructure without a sustained, broadly-directed commitment to focus on security issues from both industry and government," Spafford says.

He says Purdue experts have been working for more than a decade to inform the public about the need for information security and its importance in developing our software infrastructure. "Unfortunately, security concerns have often taken a back seat to issues of cost and speed, and these warnings have been ignored," Spafford says.

Spafford says recent events may be changing that situation. "Coverage in the national press has noted a high-profile convert: Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft," he says. "Following a lengthy series of serious security flaws in Microsoft products, coupled with the aftermath of 9/11 and a recent National Academy of Sciences panel report suggesting that commercial firms be held liable for faulty software security, Mr. Gates issued a memo to all Microsoft employees directing that good security become the number one priority in future development."

Spafford, professor of computer sciences and director of Purdue's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS), testified before a congressional committee on Oct. 10 about issues needed to secure information from threats, including terrorism. His Congressional testimony is available online.

CONTACT: Eugene Spafford, (765) 494-7825;

Purdue community to volunteer on MLK day

Staff, faculty and students will use part of their university holiday on Monday (1/21) to participate in "Affirming the Dream VII: A Day of Service" in honor Martin Luther King Jr. From 9 a.m. to noon., volunteers will assist more than 25 non-profit agencies in the Greater Lafayette area and then share a luncheon. The media are welcome to shoot footage and photos and interview the volunteers.

CONTACT: Angela Walker, Diversity Resource Office, (765) 494-7307.

Ag Fish Fry to feature Bob Dole

Bob Dole will be the headline speaker when the Fish Fry moves to Cumberland Place Exhibition Center in West Lafayette at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2.

Dole was the Republican candidate for president in 1996, vice presidential candidate in 1976 and served as Senate leader of the Republican Party for 12 years. For the first time since 1958, the Fish Fry will move out of the Purdue Armory and off campus. Prior to the Fish Fry, the annual Ag Forecast also will be held in the University Inn Conference Center, adjacent to Cumberland Place. A discussion on environmental issues and the new farm bill legislation will feature panelists Jim Moseley, deputy secretary of agriculture, and a representative of the Environmental Protection Agency. Orion Samuelson, host of U.S. Farm Report, will moderate the discussion, which will start at 9:15 a.m. Admission to the Ag Forecast is free.

CONTACT: Beth Forbes, Purdue Ag Communications, (765) 494-2722.

Former Diversity Resource Office director retires

Myra DeBow Mason, Indianapolis, has retired as an academic adviser for Purdue's Undergraduate Studies Program. Mason came to Purdue in 1993, when she served as the first director of what is now the Diversity Resource Office. She joined the Undergraduate Studies Program staff in 1998.

In addition to her service to Purdue, Mason had been active with several community organizations, including the Lafayette Crisis Center and the Race Unity Coalition. She also served as co-chair of the Holocaust Remembrance Conference Committee.

CONTACT: Susan Aufderheide, Undergraduate Studies Program director, (765) 494-0843.


• Monday, Jan. 21. 7 p.m., Loeb Playhouse. "Service Learning as a Life Changing Experience: A White Freedom Rider Speaks." David Fankhauser, a professor of biology and chemistry at Cleremont College in Cincinnati and a white freedom rider of the 1960s civil rights movement, will speak. The speech is a highlight of the Affirming the Dream VII: Acts of Kindness /Acts of Justice program sponsored by the Diversity Resource Office. CONTACT: Angela Walker at (765) 494-7307,

• Monday, Jan. 28. University Senate meeting – canceled.

• Friday, Feb. 8. 9 a.m. Stewart Center, Room 326. Board of Trustees meeting.

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

* To the Purdue News and Photos Page