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About 4.5 pounds. That’s the amount of garbage—used coffee grounds, unwanted mail, old mattresses, broken electronics, plastic wrappers, greasy pizza boxes—that the average American generates every day. In 2015, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent available data, we collectively tossed 262.4 million tons of stuff. Solid waste generation peaked at 4.74 pounds per person per day in 2000. However, the rate of 4.48 pounds per person per day in 2015 is slightly higher than the 2014 rate, which was 4.45 pounds per person per day. The current recycling rate is only 34 percent. As part of the Keep America Beautiful Initiative and America Recycles Day, you can take the pledge to reduce the amount of waste you produce, recycle more and buy products made with recycled content!

Please join us at the Open House Nov. 29

Open House: UIT is 'putting on the RITS' to evaluate current services, develop new opportunities in research & training

Here is your invitation! Please join us!

Ravi Vadapalli, director, Research IT Services, and his team members in Data Science and Analytics and High-Performance Computing are inviting faculty and staff to their offices on Nov. 29 in the General Academic Building, Room 535. Visitors interested in learning more about STEM- and non-STEM-related uses of research computing services can drop by anytime between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and meet the staff.

Note: Presentations are scheduled at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. with a special presentation for the non-STEM audience at 2:30 p.m. The RITS team also will use this event to help gather information to evaluate their current services and develop new opportunities in support of research and training needs.

Learn more at the Open House about these exciting opportunities!

• Talon 4 HPC-capacity planning
• Condominium clusters & data storage   
• The ASSUR2E Student Program connecting technology & domain experts
• Cloud & Autonomic Computing Center affiliate site at UNT
• NSF XSEDE Resources
• North Texas Consortium for Data, Analytics, Research & Engagement
• Data Science & Analytics support for non-STEM researchers
• Research development & matchmaking
• Data Center tours

Rsvp by sending an email to University IT,, to help us plan the seating and refreshments for you!

Bookmark in SafariNetwork Connection: Some internet recycling

By Philip Baczewski, executive director, University IT
I recently ran across an essay by Steve Rousseau, an editor at the internet aggregator site, entitled, "Remember Bookmarks?". His primary point is that most people's internet use is driven by following feeds on Facebook, Twitter, or other services which leads to a lack of internal control over internet viewing. He states, "We can't leave our consumption habits up to algorithms developed by profit-seeking companies that claim to know us better than we know ourselves. The feeds are destroying us. But buried within your web browser lies a solution. That solution is the bookmark." Read more.

Campus Computing: E-waste—where does it all go?

shredded hardware piecesWith continuous upgrades required to keep a university computing, did you ever wonder what happens to your old computer after you receive a new one?

When old computers and TVs end up in landfills, the toxic metals and flame retardants they contain can cause environmental problems. Donating used (but still operating) electronics for reuse extends the lives of valuable products and keeps them out of the waste stream for a longer period of time.

It takes several UNT departments working together to properly dispose of data processing equipment and other e-related waste, such as batteries. More than 4.4 million tons of electronic equipment in the U.S. are recycled each year, which helps prevent valuable material from going into the waste stream.

At UNT, experts in information technology, risk management and property management often are involved to identify, dismantle, track and dispose of computers and other data processing waste. However, the recycling team in Facilities Services does not handle computers. Not because computers and other data-processing equipment are not recylced—they are, but the disposition of data processing equipment is prescribed by Texas Government Code and must follow a particular process for proper disposition. Read more.

UNT Eagle Alert SystemHelp Desk FYI: Do you know how to update your Eagle Alert information?

As temperatures fall, but an ice store, now is a good time to update your contact information in the UNT Eagle Alert System. The system notifies the UNT community with immediate emergency information about critical or emergency situations affecting the safety and wellbeing of people on and around the UNT campus. Students, faculty and staff can update their phone number online through the MyUNT portal,, by logging in with valid UNT credentials—your EUID and password. In the top of the right column, look for Eagle Alert, then click on “Update your information.” Read more.

Data modelResearch Matters: Reference category and interpreting regression coefficients in R

By Jonathan Starkweather, consultant, Data Science and Analytics
The primary purpose of this article is to illustrate the interpretation of categorical variables as predictors and outcome in the context of traditional regression and logistic regression. First, we must understand how R identifies categorical variables. The R language identifies categorical variables as ‘factors’ which can be ‘ordered’ or not. Throughout this article we will be dealing with unordered factors (i.e., strictly discrete categorical variables). The categories of a factor are identified as ‘levels’ of the factor. Read more.

Marco Buongiorno NardelliHotspot: Marco Buongiorno Nardelli in the Zone

Musician, Chemist, Physicist: A Renaissance Man

He probably became a musician first. Marco Buongiorno Nardelli says he started to study and make music when he was only six years old, but his interest in the sciences came early to him too. Now he is a flutist, composer and distinguished research professor in physics and chemistry—a man of many talents and areas of knowledge.

"Serendipity, opportunity, chance, ambition, determination, you name it"—these are what Marco says helped him get from Rome, Italy, to Denton, Texas. "I started a journey long ago and I am still traveling," he said. Working as a teacher for 11 years at North Carolina State University, Marco joint the UNT faculty in 2012. Read more.

Texas Recycles Computers—a program for personal devices

ErgonomicsIf your personal cell phone, laptop, or other device is still in working condition, you can give it a “second life” by donating it to a school or nonprofit organization — there are even mail-in donation programs. Or return your e-scrap to the manufacturer or retailer; many companies refurbish electronic devices for resale. Look for e-scrap collection events in your community — they may be organized as fundraisers for local schools or charities.

You can ensure your computer hard drive doesn’t become a treasure chest for identity thieves. When recycling phones and computers, always clear your personal data. You can find out how by asking the manufacturer or using an R2 Solutions-certified recycling company. Use a program that overwrites or wipes the hard drive many times. Or remove the hard drive, and physically destroy it.

For free computer recycling for your personal devices, find the brand of your computer and check the Texas Recycles Computers website. Information about recycling your television is available through the Texas Recycles TVs Program. The Telecommunications Industry Association maintains a list called E-cycling Central: Find a Recycler where you can find companies to recycle your electronics.

Research IT Services Updates

DSA + HPC = UNT innovates, collaborates for disaster resilience

Data analysis is a strength at UNT, one of the first universities in the nation to co-host high-performance computing with data science and analytics services in one office. Non-STEM expertise also is a strength at UNT with more than 32,000 students enrolled in colleges that are not STEM-based. Under Ravi Vadapalli, director for Research IT Services, a new collaboration is underway to pair widespread expertise with computing.

“UNT is uniquely positioned with nine non-STEM colleges out of 12. We seek to join experts in social sciences, health and public service, business and other non-STEM areas with those in math, science, engineering and information technology,” says Vadapalli. “No other university in Texas is in a better position to do this.” These engagements will lead to innovative research, training and funding opportunities. Read more.

Internal IT collaborations provide opportunities for more external collaborations

UNT is one of the first universities in the nation to co-host high-performance computing with data science and analytics services in one office. This unique capacity under the name of Research IT Services was formed under the guidance of Philip Baczewski, executive director, University IT, who brought together UNT experts in data science and analytics with high-performance computing into one collaborative team. Read more.


Chancellor Lesa RoeChancellor celebrates one-year anniversary

Oct. 26, 2018 – October 9 marked my one-year anniversary with the UNT System and I wanted to thank each and every team member across our system for their support and hard work during my first 12 months as Chancellor.

During my first year on the job I’ve spent a significant amount of time learning, by listening to our presidents, faculty, staff, students, alumni, supporters and community members. Read more.

EDUCAUSE 2019 top 10 IT issues in higher educationWhat’s important and where to focus in 2019

EDUCAUSE announces the Top 10 IT issues in higher education

The 2019 issues selected by members of the EDUCAUSE community were announced in a Featured Session at the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference on Nov. 1, 2018. Watch the session video. The EDUCAUSE Review feature article and additional resources will be published in January 2019.

Wise giving in the wake of California’s wildfires

By Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
California continues to be plagued by wildfires — including the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles and the Camp Fire in Northern California, now one of the deadliest in the state’s history. Dozens of people have lost their lives, thousands of homes and business have been destroyed, and more than 250,000 Californians have been forced to leave their homes. If you’re looking for a way to help those in need, do some research to ensure that your donation will go to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised. Read more.

University IT Calendar

HPC Office Hours, Nov. 21 and 28, 1–2 p.m., GAB, Room 535
UIT Research IT Services Open House, Nov. 29, 2018, GAB, Room 535
Drupal Help Clinic, Dec. 17, 1-3 p.m., Chilton Hall, Room 270
Drupal Help Clinic, Jan. 16, 10 a.m.–noon, Chilton Hall, Room 270

Editor's Note: Please note that information in each edition of Benchmarks Online is likely to change or degrade over time, especially the links to various websites. For current information on a specific topic, search the UNT website, UNT's UIT Help Desk or the world wide web. Email your questions and comments to the UNT University Information Technology Department or call 940-565-2324.