DR/TL (Didn't Read/Too Long)

October 25, 2018

 

ANIMALS

Alligators on the beach and mountain lions in the park turn out not to be unexpected results of animals expanding their territory; animals may actually just be returning to territory they traditionally inhabited before their populations collapsed. * It was a busy lemur season. Two pairs of twins were born, both to critically endangered species: Mae and Judith to red-ruffed lemurs, and Harriot and Helene to black-and-white ruffed lemurs. Elagabalus, a Coquerel’s sifaka, was born to mom Pia, once the mate of Jovian (famed as Zoboomafoo, who died in 2014). Elagabalus is the first offspring of his dad, Pontius. (All sifakas in that family are named for Roman nobles; Elagabalus, since you’re wondering, was Roman emperor from 218 to 222). * Three babies were born to blue-eyed black lemurs, one of the most endangered species in the world, including one, Ranomasina, by C-section to parents who may be the last lemurs the Lemur Center ever imports from Madagascar. *  The way animals use energy to move—whether with muscles, like mammals, or, say, with spring-like arrangements of exoskeletons, like fleas or lobsters—appears to follow general principles common to animals, plants, fungi, and machines that use elastic structures to maximize kinetic energy.


PEOPLE

Historically black colleges and universities pay more to issue bond debt than non-HBCUs. Can you guess the reason? Yep. That’s the reason. * Since 1989, seniors have grown wealthier and families with children have become poorer. Within the groups, the wealth gap between the richest 1 percent of seniors and seniors overall has remained relatively stable; but while the richest families with children have seen their net worth rise significantly, overall families with children have seen their wealth diminish. * Every little bit helps—even climbing stairs or walking across a parking lot. Short bursts of exercise throughout the day reduce risks of disease and death. * Children share more when they believe sharing is right; belief that sharing is a rule or is popular influences them less. * After high school, women’s exercise rates quickly drop; the drop is especially significant for women of color. * Black men have a higher chance of dying from prostate cancer than white men, but they may respond better to hormone and steroid therapies for that cancer than white men. * Chances are you can see your pet better than your pet can see you; human eyes may see at least four times as much detail as a cat or dog does, and many more times the detail perceived by species like fish or insects. * An adhesive based on that produced by the sandcastle worm might help improve surgical interventions in human bone healing. * Fear of American-style medical malpractice claims seems to inspire unneeded tests that raise the cost of health care about 5 percent—and those tests don’t improve outcomes. * Local news deserts are widespread and bleak; 20 percent of small communities in a study did not have access to a single local news story in a week.


MISCELLANY
Fracking might be just as dangerous to water supplies as your environmentalist friends have been claiming it is. * Not only can research labs use different cells to perform different parts of a bioengineering process, they also can come up with a framework to know when using multiple cells is the way to go. * Worldwide, less than one-third of radiologists are female; the percentage is even lower in the United States (27.2). * An enzyme inhibitor that didn’t live up to its promise as a cancer drug may provide hope as a treatment for tuberculosis. * Happy with the way stormwater retention ponds filter nitrogen from rainwater, preventing both erosion and algae blooms in the rivers they feed, scientists still worried that with all that filtered nitrogen the ponds might emit the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. Not to worry: In that capacity stormwater ponds behave no differently than other ponds. * Turns out guns actually do kill people. If you replaced larger-caliber with smaller-caliber guns and changed nothing else, you would reduce gun deaths by 39.5 percent. * Duke scientists will be involved in an effort to make the world’s first practical quantum computer. (We would try to explain how quantum computing works, but it would just make you cry. Us too.)


DUKE

After twelve years as director of the Duke Lemur Center, Anne Yoder stepped down. During her tenure, the Lemur Center got its new name (it used to be the Primate Center), enjoyed a $10.4 million remodeling, and saw the birth of 285 lemurs. Greg Dye, director of operations and administration, serves as interim director. * Phail Wynn, longtime vice president for Durham and regional affairs, died in July, shortly after his retirement; 1,800 people attended his memorial service in Duke Chapel. Stelfanie Williams '98 takes over the position, now called vice president for Durham affairs. * Steve Nowicki left  his role as dean and vice provost for undergraduate education to return to teaching, also leaving a position he was the first to hold in 2007. He was succeeded by Gary Bennett Ph.D. ’02, a psychology and neuroscience professor and founding director of Duke’s undergraduate global health major. * Robert P. Behringer ’70, Ph.D. ’75, James B. Duke Professor of physics and a member of the Duke community for nearly fifty years, died in July; he was a pioneer in the physics of granular materials like sand. * Duke Dining banned the use of disposable plastics from all thirty-four campus eating venues. * After seven years at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN), R. Alison Adcock has been promoted to the position of director. * Paula D. McClain, dean of the graduate school, has been elected the next president of the American Political Science Association. * Dave Kennedy, who has helped lead record-setting fundraising efforts at Stanford, is the new vice president of alumni affairs and development.