UA in the News: August 27, 2012
August 27, 2012 - Filed under: UA in the News
Taking care in Tuscaloosa
National Public Radio – Aug. 24
One of the first activities of the new school year at the University of Alabama is Hands On Tuscaloosa, a morning of community service. On Sat., Aug. 25, students can choose to refurbish a neighborhood baseball diamond, clean-up a local high school, create a carnival or do something else worthwhile. “We think it is important for students to get engaged as soon as they arrive on campus — both with each other and also with the Tuscaloosa community,” says Wahnee Sherman, Director of the University’s Community Service Center. Some 125 students are expected to participate.
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Aug. 25
Crimson White – Aug. 27
How to hush an air force jet engine – stick a sponge in it
Air Force Technology – Aug. 27
As hearing-loss associated compensation climbs, the USAF has been forced to hear cries for jet engine noise reduction technology. Liam Stoker investigates techniques that could reduce the roar of jet engines, including a revolutionary noise sponge. As the world’s air forces battle for aerial superiority, the hazardous conditions created by jet engine noise have led to a rapid increase in complaints of hearing loss. Complaints that have risen to such an extent that the US Navy labelled noise-induced hearing loss as the number one occupational health expense. Statistics tend to back up this claim, with disability payments paid to servicemen rapidly increasing since 1999 One such method to reduce engine noise that the US Air Force could entertain is a novel ‘noise sponge’, fitted inside an engine’s combustion chamber. Developed by University of Alabama, US, professor Ajay Agrawal, the device follows the thinking that prevention could well be better than cure. A jet engine’s distinctive roar is created by turbulence and vortices resulting from the flow of fuel and air entering the combustor. Differences in the vortices and turbulence create difference pressures within the engine. These different and fluctuating pressures create noise within the combustor, with the roar emanating from the engine as a result. Levels of noise are only exacerbated by the act of combustion occurring within the engine, the very definition of adding fuel to the flames. In response to the growing need for a reduction in jet engine noise, Ajay Agrawal developed the ‘noise sponge’, which is capable of softening the acoustic profile of a jet engine without capping its performance. Composed of heat and pressure-resistant hafnium carbide and silicon carbide, the device is simply fitted inside the combustion chamber and works in three ways.
Local Paralympians ready to compete
Guelph Mercury News (Ontario, Can.) – Aug. 26
Now it’s their turn. More than 4,200 Paralympians from 165 nations have gathered in London for the largest-ever Paralympics, a global showcase of the best disabled athletes in the world. What started shortly after the Second World War as a competition to rehabilitate those injured has turned into the largest sporting event of its kind. The 12-day competition, which kicks off on Wednesday, has smashed ticket sales records, with more than two million passes already sold. Canada, which finished seventh four years ago in Beijing with 50 medals, including 19 gold, is sending 145 athletes to London to compete in 15 sports, ranging from wheelchair basketball to blind judo. Katie Harnock will be a woman on a mission when she hits the wheelchair basketball court in London. She’s got one thing on her mind — taking home a medal. “I want a medal pretty badly, I’m not shy about saying that,” she said. “It’s the only one I don’t have, a Paralympic medal, and I’m going there to get one.” It’s the last big goal for the Kitchener-born, Elmira-raised veteran of the women’s wheelchair basketball team. She’s already earned gold and bronze hardware at the world championships and helped Canada take silver at the Parapan American Games in Guadalajara last fall. Harnock, 29, was born with spina bifida, a birth defect affecting her spinal cord. She first tried wheelchair basketball in her driveway at age 10. She played her first game at 13, getting clotheslined in the face at that match in an introduction to the sport’s physical side. By 16, she was playing competitively in Kitchener with the Twin City Spinners. In London, Harnock and the rest of her teammates are trying to redeem themselves after their gold-medal aspirations in Beijing ended with a fifth-place finish, despite entering those Games with a world No. 1 ranking. This time around, the team is ranked No. 3 in the world. The St. David Catholic Secondary School grad is on scholarship to the University of Alabama, where she plays for the university team and studies English. On the court, she’s a slick-shooting and smooth-dribbling point guard, while off it, she writes detective stories she hopes to one day publish.
UA theater program shifting its focus
Tuscaloosa News – Aug. 27
When “Hell” came to New York City, University of Alabama students rode it. UA acting professor Seth Panitch wrote his comedy “Hell: Paradise Found” years ago, and staged it with success in Los Angeles, but rewrote it recently to lead students to professional, big-city acting experience. The project featured recent graduate and undergrad students, some of whom earned degrees this spring, playing Gabriel, Eve, Adam, Lizzie Borden, Elvis Presley, Don Juan and more, in a two-week run at 59E59 Theatre, off-Broadway, in mid-July … Project such as “Hell,” and next summer’s “Alcestis,” which will again bring together Cuban professional actors and UA performers in a production that will play Tuscaloosa, Havana and New York City, are part of the UA Department of Theatre and Dance’s ongoing efforts to teach not just the art, but the craft, of performing. For roughly a decade, the department has shifted some energy toward musical theater, partly because that’s where jobs are. Raphael Crystal was hired as the director of the musical theater program in the same season that saw a long-in-the-making dream come true with SummerTide, a pro summer run for UA students, performed at Gulf Shores. Crystal, Panitch and other faculty also help students rehearse for a yearly New York showcase, facing top agents, directors and producers with scenes and songs students have honed all year.
UA business school updates website
Tuscaloosa News – Aug. 25
The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce debuted a new website this week in what it described as a rebranding effort to increase visibility and change perceptions of the business school. The new website and related designs and logos and signage designs were done by Red Square agency, an advertising and public relations company based in Mobile. A Culverhouse spokesman said the cost of the project was about $300,000. In a statement announcing the new website, Michael Hardin, who became dean of the business school in August 2011, said the college’s website was aging, inefficient and needed to be updated. “We found ourselves at a fork in the road that presented us with options: either piecing together new technologies and branding on the old website, or having the courage to start anew and embrace the new web and a new identity,” Hardin said in a statement. “It took courage to make that call, but we realized it needed to be done.” A college spokesman said the new site was designed to appeal to employers, human resource personnel and job recruiters who today frequently use college websites to search for graduating students to fill jobs.
Language can affect our emotions
Health24.com – Aug. 24
We use language every day to express our emotions, but can this language actually affect what and how we feel? Two new studies from Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, explore the ways in which the interaction between language and emotion influences our well-being … In an exposure therapy study, participants were split into different experimental groups and they were instructed to approach a spider over several consecutive days. One group was told to put their feelings into words by describing their negative emotions about approaching the spider. Another group was asked to ‘reappraise’ the situation by describing the spider using emotionally neutral words. Our memory for events is influenced by the language we use. When we talk about a past occurrence, we can describe it as ongoing (I was running) or already completed (I ran). To investigate whether using these different wordings might affect our mood and overall happiness, Will Hart of the University of Alabama conducted four experiments in which participants either recalled or experienced a positive, negative, or neutral event. They found that people who described a positive event with words that suggested it was ongoing felt more positive. And when they described a negative event in the same way, they felt more negative. The authors conclude that one potential way to improve mood could be to talk about negative past events as something that already happened as opposed to something that was happening.
Alabama Center for Real Estate hosts West Alabama Real Estate Summit
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Aug. 24
Today, the Alabama Center for Real Estate hosted the first West Alabama Real Estate Summit at the Bryant Conference Center. The summit focused on residential real estate. The executive director of the Alabama Center for Real Estate Grayson Glaze says rates are improving in the Tuscaloosa area and that the market is responding to the recovery. “Sales are improving in Tuscaloosa, and it’s going to be a gradual improvement this way as opposed to going straight up. But … the recovery is on. The Alabama Center for Real Estate is based at the University of Alabama.
Alabama Museum of Natural History is great for families
CBS 42 (Birmingham) – Aug. 24
This morning we head on an odyssey back in time. From artifacts to bones, your children are sure to get a fun-filled education out of this one. Rick Jackson is here looking out for you. I think we all get a little pumped when it comes to science … talking about the Alabama Museum of Natural History. A place so close, yet takes us so far away, preserving history that’s millions of years old. As you enter the staircase of the Alabama Museum of Natural History, you’ll come up close with just that, our natural history. Todd Hester, museum naturalist: “Some of the highlights of our collection are this blistosaurus that you see behind me here, which is also our state fossil.” A highlight, alright, stretching across the ceiling of the showroom. Hester: “That is a whale that lived 40 million years ago in the oceans of Alabama.” Sitting on the campus of the University of Alabama, the museum of natural history is a showcase of fossils and artifacts that you’ve read about in science books, the majority of it collected from right within the state.
UA baseball players help kids with disabilities learn the game of baseball
Fox 6 (Birmingham) – Aug. 25
A special field of angels helps kids with disabilities learn the game of baseball. It was started three years ago by Chris Bunn, whose son Noah has sight problems and other challenges. Each player is paired up with a buddy of the same age, who helps them around the bases today. Those buddies were members of the University of Alabama baseball team. Parents say there’s no greater joy than to see their kids happy.
UA filmmaker’s documentary shows at Birmingham’s Sidewalk Film Festival
CBS 42 (Birmingham) – Aug. 24
If you consider yourself a movie buff, we’ve got an event that should spark your interest. It’s called the Sidewalk Film Festival and it takes over the streets of downtown Birmingham starting tonight …This three-day event attracts filmmakers from across the country — more than 200 who all want the chance to screen their films to enthusiastic, eager crowds. But there’s also a lot of local flavor in this 14th annual event, including some films with ties to Tuscaloosa. Take the film you’re seeing now for example. It’s called “Eating Alabama,” and it’s the work of University of Alabama film professor Andrew Grace. It follows he and his wife’s efforts to eat food that was either raised or grown in Alabama. This film was a hit at South by Southwest. organizers here say this venue should stand out for filmmakers who’ve screened elsewhere.
Art exhibit comes to a close
Crimson White – Aug. 27
Wednesday is the last opportunity for students to see Aqueous, an art exhibit created and displayed by the summer Aqueous Media class, at the Ferguson Center Art Gallery. The exhibit opened with a reception on Aug. 2 and showcased the water-based works of students enrolled in the class, ART 305. “We discuss the history of water media and even grind some of our own ink, a practice that can be traced back thousands of years,” Herbert said. “In class, students begin to think about not only what they are making, but also the materials they are using.” Herbert offered her students the opportunity to display their finished works in an exhibit at the end of the summer. “It was very much up to the group whether or not we had a show,” Herbert said, “As work began to be made, I encouraged [the students] to think about how the artwork would be displayed, since often, work gets made without thought about where it will go when it leaves the studio.” Types of wet media showcased in the Aqueous exhibit included watercolor, colored inks, India ink and gesso. Additionally, students used dry media, such as charcoal and Xerox transfers, in their pieces. Erin Schopke, a senior majoring in mathematics, said Aqueous was her first time being included in an exhibit. One of her pieces, entitled “Aging,” explored the process of aging and rust and was done in ink, watercolor and gesso. Kristin Kelley, a senior majoring in studio art, was also featured in the show. Like Schopke, Aqueous was Kelley’s first exhibition, and she said she was excited to have had the opportunity. “To finally have your artwork displayed publicly for the whole University to see is a very strange feeling, but such a wonderful experience,” Kelley said.
The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.