News In Brief

Get Ready for Relay for Life: Saturday, April 27-28
The American Cancer Society will be holding Relay for Life, a 24-hour walkathon featuring entertainment, prizes and food, aimed at raising awareness about cancer research. The event will begin on Saturday at noon in Aldrich Park. Donations of $150 per team are required to register for the event.

Study Gives Insight on Bloggers and Their Reading Habits
In the first project of its kind, UC Irvine researchers Bill Tomlinson, an informatics professor, and Eric Baumer, a doctoral student in international studies and East-Asian culture, studied the habit-forming effects of blogging. Although the test was a small-scale study that focused in-depth on the blogging habits of 15 participants, the authors believe that the study could pave the way for future large-scale efforts.
Among the study’s findings were that blog readers have a different opinion of what defines a blog than the traditional academic definition. As blog-reading progresses it becomes more habitual and less content-oriented, and the timing of a blog post is not as relevant as the blogs that surround it.
The traditional academic definition of a blog defines the term as a frequently modified Web page that lists entries in reverse chronological order. However, according to the study’s participants, blogs cannot be defined as easily due to a number of other factors that are needed to determine a blog. These characteristics range from technical concerns, such as whether or not the page contains a Really Simple Syndication feed, to how often visitors comment on the Web site.
The study showed that while individuals may begin reading blogs to look for content they are interested in, they are often not brought back to the blog for the same reason. In the same vein as compulsive e-mail checking, readers will often revisit blogs out of habit rather than an honest desire to learn new information.
According to the research, blogs are often more appealing to readers, not because the information they contain is timely or relevant, but because they touch on content that the reader is already interested in. This occurs because blogs with similar content are often lumped together and therefore have an ingrained audience.

New Environmental Institute Created to Study Sustainable Resources, Global Change and Energy
In a new effort to study the way that the environment and society interact, UC Irvine announced that it has established the UC Irvine Environment Institute: Global Change, Energy and Sustainable Resources.
The project will bring professors together to work on a multitude of projects ranging from pollution to climate change to emerging energy technologies.
The institute will also offer grants to teams of researchers based on a series of factors