UA in the News: Aug. 9, 2012
August 9, 2012 - Filed under: UA in the News
Snail thought extinct found in the Cahaba River
Birmingham News – Aug. 9
Using the gastropod equivalent of dental records, a University of Alabama graduate student has positively identified a snail, declared extinct in 2000, as being alive in a small but thriving colony in the Cahaba River. Researchers believe the find may be a sign that pollution reductions resulting from the Clean Water Act as well as improvements made to the river by conservationists may be paying off. “To be able to find a species that was thought to be extinct is always encouraging,” said Nathan Whelan, the 26-year-old doctoral student, “especially considering biodiversity and conservation stories are not typically positive these days.” Tracking down the oblong rocksnail involved hunches, field work and electron microscopes, a process that became its own version of CSI — Cahaba Snail Investigation. Details of the discovery were published Wednesday in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.
Millions of American men consumed by fantasy
WBEZ Radio (Chicago) – Aug. 8
Fathers, husbands, brothers and countrymen are lost to it each year. Tens of millions of men are consumed by it: Side effects often include selective hearing, lazy eyes, sleeplessness, mood swings and elevated blood pressure. It’s been known to both ignite wars and rekindle relationships. It’s fantasy football (and baseball if you’re into that sort of thing). The Fantasy Sports Trade Association — yes, there’s a trade association — estimates that some 34 million Americans manage a fantasy franchise. The fantasy sport industry is a multibillion-dollar phenomenon that is altering the culture, consumption and economy of sports. Much has been made of Twitter’s explosion of users but Andrew Billings, a sports media expert and the Ronald Reagan Chair of Broadcasting at the University of Alabama, says media minds should pay more attention to the fantasy world. Recent Pew Research Center estimates put Twitter 10 million users behind fantasy sports.
Girl with cerebral palsy inspires children’s book
CBS 42 (Birmingham) – Aug. 8
When Favor Harless was 19 weeks pregnant with her daughter, Emma, her water broke. Her family was told that it wasn’t likely the baby would survive. By some miracle, Harless remained on strick bed rest in the hospital until she was able to deliver at 28 weeks. As an infant, Emma Collins was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Doctors told her mother that she would never be able to walk without a cane or wheelchair. Emma defied those odds. Last week, the 6 year-old graduated from The RISE School on the University of Alabama campus. Emma walked to the podium, without any type of assistance other than the braces on her legs, to receive her diploma. Harless says she knew her daughter would amount to great things, and describes Emma as her miracle child. Emma’s story, spirit, and daily life proved to be an inspiration for a family friend. Molly Taylor was keeping Emma while her mother worked. Taylor was reading Cinderella to Emma. It was her favorite book, but Taylor wasn’t satisfied. She explains that in all of the books that Emma had, none of the characters looked like her. So Taylor wrote Special Shoes, a book that showed real moments from Emma’s life with her family. Special Shoes became Emma’s favorite bedtime story. Taylor had never published anything before, but after awhile, she realized Emma’s story could touch other lives. Special Shoes was published in late July. Taylor submitted pictures of Emma and her family so that the illustrators would be able to use their likeness in the story.
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Aug. 8
The University of Alabama campus is quiet for now, but very soon, all of that will change. Tomorrow, about 1,200 students are expected to make the move into the residence halls. Thursday begins a 10-day move-in for undergraduates. The department of housing expects about 8,000 students to move in by the time classes start for the fall semester.
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Aug. 8
With the new season comes some new changes to the University of Alabama campus for home games. According to Gina Johnson with UA Gameday operations, a new paved parking lot that will hold 700 vehicles will be available behind UA’s nursing school. Johnson says the sidewalks on the quad will be widened two feet on both sides to allow for better traffic flow. And one of the biggest additions to the downtown area on Gamedays, Government Plaza will be used as a space for fans to watch the game. “There s going to be children s activities, there s going to be big screen TVs for viewing.”
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.