by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor

When people appear comatose, how can we know their wishes?

A Michigan Tech researcher says many non-communicative individuals may actually be able to express themselves better than is widely thought.

Syd Johnson, assistant professor of philosophy, has just published a paper in the American Journal of Bioethics: Neuroscience that argues that even patients with severe brain injuries could have more self-determination and empowerment. "New research with people using just their brains to communicate reveals that more of them might be able to make their own decisions," she says.

Those decisions can literally be life and death, and the first question a caregiver should ask is "How do we determine if they are capable--as an ordinary person would be--of making these decisions?" Johnson asks.

Read the full news story online.

Lecture Focuses on Community Health

"Does Your Community Impact Your Health?" is the title of a health lecture/brown bag lunch to be held Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 11 a.m. in the Memorial Union Building.

Dr. Gregory S. Holzman will be discussing the link between people and the health of their communities. He is the associate chair of preventive medicine and medical director of the Family Medicine Network at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine.

Holzman says access to health care doesn’t necessarily lead to a healthy population. In his talk, he will ask, “Should we rethink health care and focus resources on prevention? Can we be healthy if our community is not?”

The public is invited to join Holzman at this Your Health Lecture and brown bag lunch to learn more about keeping the Keweenaw healthy.

The Your Health Lecture Series is a collaborative community event sponsored by Michigan Tech, Portage Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Upper Peninsula Region Campus.

Dr. Holzman was previously chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Community Health, where he worked on several public health policy issues, ranging from smoke-free legislation to funding for a statewide trauma system. He has special interests in social determinants of health, health promotion and disease prevention, elimination of health disparities and building better integration between clinical medicine, public health, and community-based organizations.

Dining Services Annual Day-Before Thanksgiving Pie Sale

Dining Services is holding their Annual Day-Before Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Sale. The delicious nine-inch homemade pumpkin pies sell for only $3.50 each and can be ordered by e-mailing All orders must be placed by 4:30 p.m. on Monday Nov. 25. You may pick up and pay for your pies in the Memorial Union Food Court on Wednesday Nov. 27 from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Price Lowered on Lot 11 for 2014

Starting tomorrow at 8 a.m., you can email either or to reserve your spot in the lot 11 guaranteed parking lot. We have lowered the price of the permit for 2014 to $250, which will make this first-come first-served lot even more appealing. Please email as soon as possible to ensure your chances of receiving a lot 11 permit.

First Blue Line Luncheon Set for Friday

The Michigan Tech Blue Line Club will host the first Blue Line Luncheon of 2013-14 this Friday (Nov. 8) in the Grant Hockey Educational Center at the SDC. The event is open to all and is cosponsored by the Blue Line Club and Coaches Corner Cafe.

At the luncheon, Coach Pearson will review the season so far. A few current hockey student-athletes will be present as well.

The luncheon runs from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and cost is $9 per person.

Nominations Open for Making a Difference Awards

Nominations are now open for Staff Making a Difference Awards. Nominate a deserving coworker for one of the following categories: rookie award, serving others, outstanding supervisor, creative solutions, above and beyond, unsung hero and bringing out the best. Each award recipient receives $500 (less applicable deductions).

Staff Council is coordinating the awards and has streamlined the nomination form and criteria for 2013. Please visit online to download the form and instructions. Nominations will be accepted until 5 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6.

For more information, contact Wendy Davis at or 7-2416.

Library Matters: Upcoming November Workshops

The Van Pelt and Opie Library is offering three workshops in November.

Basic Patent Searching
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 5:30-7 p.m.
This workshop will cover basic patent searching in the USPTO website database using the recommended "Seven Step Strategy." We will discuss why keyword searching of patents must be supplemented with a classification search; how to identify relevant patent classes and search within them; and how to cross-reference related classes.
Click here to register.

Advanced Patent Searching
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 5:30-7 p.m.
This workshop will cover other database options aside from the USPTO website to search for patents, including patents issued in countries other than the US. We will explore Espacenet, PatentScope and Google Patents; and discuss some advanced searching strategies.
Click here to register.

Citation Searching for Faculty and Graduate Students
Thursday, Nov. 14, 12-1 p.m.
This workshop will demonstrate finding articles that cite your articles in a variety of databases that the library offers. We will also discuss methods of estimating impact factor.
Click here to register.

If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Lucchesi at or 7-3379.

Celebrate Christmas at the Rozsa with Cantus

The Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts and Minnesota Public Radio proudly present "Cantus: All is Calm, the Christmas Truce of 1914," by Peter Rothstein, on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 7:30 p.m. The performance includes musical arrangements by Erick Licthe and Timothy Takach and recalls the remarkable World War I truce between Allied Forces and German soldiers on Christmas Eve, 1914.

In addition to the performance, there will be a free pre-show discussion in the Rozsa Lobby at 6:30 p.m. with WGGL program host Jeff Esworthy and members of Cantus, and the performance will be followed by a post-show Christmas reception in the Rozsa Lobby. This performance is sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio, and each ticket will include admission to the concert and a CD of the music by Cantus. To make the evening complete, enjoy a special pre-show dinner at the Shelden Grill, in the Magnuson Franklin Square Inn, featuring a unique menu, and buy-one-get-one-half-off prices for anyone with tickets to the Cantus performance. For dinner reservations, please call the Shelden Grill at 482-4882.

Tickets are $19 for adults, $5 for Michigan Tech students and $8 for youth 17 and under. For tickets, go online, or call Ticketing Operations at the Student Development Complex, 7–2073, or visit in person. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours, and will only open two hours prior to show times.

Visual and Performing Arts Department Announces the 2014 Great Lakes Showcase

The call for entries has been released for this year’s Great Lakes Showcase, a juried exhibition of art and craft that highlights work from our community and the region. Held in the Rozsa Gallery Feb. 28 to Mar. 28, the GLS encourages the Michigan Tech community to share its creativity. Cash awards sponsored in part by the Offices of President, Provost and Dean recognize artwork in 3D and 2D categories. The prospectus with information and entry form is available outside the VPA Office in Walker 209, at arts centers around the community, and online. Contact Sarah Fayen Scarlett with questions at

Reminder: Recreation Hosts School's Out, the SDC's In Friday

Coinciding with the full day or 1/2 day off for most local schools on Friday, Nov. 8, Michigan Tech Recreation is hosting its second "School's Out, the SDC's In!" event. For $8, local youth receive an SDC "School's Out" all inclusive day pass, which includes access to the pool, multipurpose room and ice rink. Children 11 and under require adult supervision. The Fitness Center is available to students 16 and older only. Highlights include:

Multipurpose Room (basketball, volleyball and more)
8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.

Open Skate
12:30-2:30 p.m. (skate rental not available)

Open Swim
8-9 a.m., 10-11:30 a.m. and 2-9 p.m.

Meal deals at the Coaches Corner (additional charge).

Participants who show their School's Out wristband at the Ticket Office only pay $8 for the hockey game Friday, Nov. 8 versus Michigan State.

For more information, visit online or call 7-2975.

SFRES Forum Friday

The School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science will host a SFRES forum on Friday, Nov. 8, at 3 p.m., with a social to follow at 4 p.m. This will be in room G002 of the Forestry building with the social in the school's atrium. All are invited to attend.

The speaker will be Molly Cavaleri, assistant professor in SFRES. Cavaleri will discuss her journey in the development and implementation of a field-scale warming experiment in Puerto Rico, the first of its kind in any tropical forest. Cavaleri will explore why this type of experiment is critical to our understanding of terrestrial feedbacks to climate change. In addition, she will discuss what she has learned along the way about networking, proposal writing, collaborative relationships, workshop development, opportunities for collaboration and strategic manuscript preparation.

CTL Tip of the Week

New Feature: Relative Margins of Error in Canvas Quiz Formula Questions

Canvas has recently added yet another new feature to its Quizzes tool--Relative Error in Quiz Formula Questions. Canvas will compute responses for Quiz Formula questions based on relative error in addition to absolute error. Margins of error can now be created as a percentage, not just as a point value (up to three decimal places). More information can found on this page.

This new feature will not only be handy, but also essential for mathematical questions in which the answer could vary by orders of magnitude. If students are asked to use a formula to determine an answer that could vary between one and 100,000, then having to enter a realistic numerical margin of error could be impractical, if not impossible. Expressing the margin of error as a percentage would work nicely though. This is another important step in the process of Canvas maturing by responding to the needs of its customer base.

The CTL Tip of the Week is brought to you by the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). For more general information or help with Canvas at Michigan Tech, be sure to visit Canvas One Stop.


The much anticipated book on early hockey history by Canada's Prime Minister has been released. In "A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs and The Rise of Professional Hockey," Stephen Harper describes the role of Doc Gibson in making Houghton the birthplace of professional hockey, and draws on research work by Bill Sproule (CEE) and includes photographs from the Michigan Tech Archives/Copper Country Historical Collection.