A&S in the News – August 12-18

Dancer Madison Fendley finding new ways to express her art
Dothan Eagle – Aug. 13
It’s not every day you meet a college student pursuing a double major in dance and political science. But Madison Fendley has a plan ‒ dance, choreograph and then maybe law school. A 2014 graduate of Houston Academy, 20-year-old Fendley is a rising junior at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Like other young dancers, she toyed with the idea of forgoing college to chase her dreams of becoming a professional dancer. But after much discussion and prayer, Fendley chose the college path and it seems to be working for her. “I’ve always said my dream job would be to be Beyonce’s backup dancer and Beyonce’s lawyer,” Fendley joked. “Or, maybe being a lobbyist for the arts.” In April, she was named the University of Alabama’s Outstanding Sophomore during the university’s Honors Day. It was an honor that she had to apply for by submitting her resume, transcript and an essay. Then in June, Fendley received word that her sophomore choreography film had been selected for showing at a film festival held by Dance Camera West, a California-based nonprofit organization that promotes the art of dance and dance on film.

Fruit-fly diet impacts descendants, researcher finds
Phys.org – Aug. 16
For a fruit fly, what its grandparents ate may affect how much it weighs. But the passing down of a body type based on diet is not a simple cause and effect, a University of Alabama researcher has found. The significance of the research is that similar relationships between generational diet and obesity may hold true for humans as well. Dr. Laura Reed, UA assistant professor of biological sciences, studies obesity by experimenting on multiple generations of fruit flies, or Drosophila melanogaster. She and her colleagues fed some fruit fly larvae on a high-fat diet and a control group on a regular diet. The paper containing the results, “Genetic and sex-specific transgenerational effects of a high fat diet in Drosophila Melanogaster,” published Aug. 12, in the journal PLOS ONE.

Experts worry Trump’s war on America’s democratic institutions could do long-term damage
Toronto Star – Aug. 17
Donald Trump is fond of saying “believe me.” He might as well add: don’t believe anyone else. . . . George Hawley, author of the book Right-Wing Critics of American Conservatism and a University of Alabama political science professor, said conservative intellectuals have strategically dealt in anti-establishment populism “with the understanding that they would always be able to remain in control of it.” The Tea Party, he said, was a genuine populist movement whose energy party elites channelled into the kinds of business-friendly policies favoured by the Chamber of Commerce. “And now they find themselves completely aghast: they see that someone else is coming along and using those exact same latent tendencies in the electorate to fuel his own rise and is completely not beholden to them, and they’re utterly horrified,” Hawley said.

Also making headlines…