A&S in the News: October 1-7, 2017

Weight Loss Behavior

Weight man-age-mentPsychology Today – Oct. 1

My training as a clinical psychologist requires rotating through various clinical settings—hospitals, inpatient facilities, community and university health centers—to hone my skills. In my current capacity as a behaviorist at a weight loss medicine clinic, I work alongside patients to identify their weight loss goals and modify the behaviors sabotaging them. (Christina Pierpaoli Parker, MA, is fourth-year graduate student in the Clinical Geropsychology doctoral program at The University of Alabama under the mentorship of Drs. Forrest Scogin and Martha R. Crowther.)

Hiking in Alabama

Student hikes her way through AlabamaCrimson White – Oct. 1

There’s a lot more to the state of Alabama than Bryant-Denny Stadium or that classic Lynyrd Skynyrd song. Abigail Sisti, a junior biology major from Virginia Beach, Virginia realized this and decided to spend her junior year exploring the state she calls home during the school year by visiting every state park in the Heart of Dixie.

Las Vegas Shooting

Adam Lankford
Dr. Adam Lankford

Dozens dead and hundreds injured in Las Vegas shootingWyoming Public Radio – Oct. 2

A gunman opened fire on concertgoers in Las Vegas Sunday night, making it the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history, according to police. Hellish gunfire in Las Vegas last night. Raining down on a concert crowd with nowhere to hide. Worst mass shooting in American history. We will go to Vegas in this hour to recreate the terrible scene and first response to it. This hour, On Point: The Las Vegas massacre, as it unfolded. –Tom Ashbrook. Guests Joe Schoenmann, senior producer at KNPR, Nevada Public Radio. Host of KNPR’s State of Nevada. @joedowntownlv. Adam Lankford, criminology professor at The University of Alabama.
National Public Radio – Oct. 2

Gun Homicides

How U.S. compares to rest of world when it comes to gun homicidesUSA Today – Oct. 2

The United States is in a class of its own when it comes to gun homicides.  The U.S. saw on average 8,592 gun homicides each year — 2.7 gun homicides for every 100,000 people — between 2010 and 2015, according to the latest data from the Small Arms Survey, a Geneva-based research initiative that tracks guns.  . . . After 35 people were killed and 23 injured in a mass shooting in Tasmania in 1996, the Australian government worked with political groups to institute legislation to restrict gun availability, including a buy-back program that reduced firearms in the country by 20%, he said.  “They haven’t had anything like what they experienced before in terms of mass shootings,” said Adam Lankford, a professor at The University of Alabama’s Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice.


More immigration would mean more DemocratsNational Review – Oct. 3

One of the chief criticisms of the DREAM Act (or of any amnesty) is that it will have long-lasting repercussions on legal immigration. Once naturalized, “Dreamers” can sponsor their parents and other family members, turning what was supposed to be a limited amnesty for longtime U.S. residents into an unintended surge in legal immigration . . . . More to the point, however, The University of Alabama political scientist George Hawley has shown that the natural-conservative storyline is more myth than fact. Immigrants, as well as Hispanics and Asians of any nativity, are to the left of the average American voter on fiscal issues. For example, according to Pew, 75 percent of Hispanics say they would prefer a bigger government with more services over a smaller government with fewer services, compared with just 41 percent of the general public. Hawley notes that Hispanics do show conservative tendencies on abortion, but social issues do not seem to motivate their vote as much as economic ones.

Human Evolution

Paleoanthropologist presents discoveriesCrimson White – Oct. 3

Lee Berger, a National Geographic explorer-in-residence, world-renowned paleoanthropologist and one of 2016’s 100 most influential people in the world according to Time magazine, spoke to members of the UA community on Monday night. Berger made his mark on history when he discovered two new species of hominids, Australopithecus Sediba and Homo naledi. These discoveries may challenge the way we think of human evolution.  “This was definitely an exciting event,” said John Whitley, a post-doctoral researcher in the department of chemical engineering. “I had a subscription to National Geographic and I remembered reading about Homo naledi. I saw the news saying that the guy who discovered it was going to be here, so I decided to come.”

‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’

‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’ to run this week at Marian Gallaway TheatreCrimson White – Oct. 3

Students are bringing to life a play written by the famed German playwright, Bertolt Brecht, this week at the Marian Gallaway Theatre.  UA Theatre and Dance will present the play “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” this week. The show, originally written by Brecht, follows a war-torn village as its people try to recuperate after the violence. Annie Levy, who heads the MFA Directing program here at the university, will direct the show. She chose “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” partly because Brecht, a German playwright and poet, wrote plays that are typically more difficult than others to produce. Brecht’s influential writing presented an intriguing creative challenge.

Mass Killers

Mass killers like the Vegas shooter should not be named in news coverage, experts sayNewsweek – Oct. 3

A group of more than 140 experts are urging the media to stop naming mass killers in their coverage of shootings. A letter—signed by scholars, professors and law enforcement professionals—was provided to Newsweek on Tuesday, two days after a gunman opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, killing at least 59 and injuring more than 500 others … The letter, organized by Adam Lankford, a criminology professor at The University of Alabama, and Eric Madfis, a sociology professor at the University of Washington, Tacoma, urges journalists to report everything but names and faces “in as much detail as desired” (such as background stories, potential risk factors and warning signs).
National Post – Oct. 3
Live Science – Oct. 3
Newser – Oct. 4
Forensic Mag – Oct. 5

Civilian Firearms

Americans own 42 percent of the world’s 650 million civilian firearmsAtlanta Journal-Constitution – Oct. 3

Las Vegas (59), Orlando (49), Virginia Tech (32), Newtown (26) — the number of people killed in mass shootings in the United States is growing … The U.S. has more mass shootings than any other country in the world, according to a study last year led by criminal justice professor Adam Lankford of The University of Alabama. A mass shooting is defined as involving four or more people. Lankford studied mass shootings in 171 countries and found that between 1966-2012 at least a third of them took place in the U.S. In 2016, there were 383 mass shootings in the U.S., according to the Gun Violence Archive, an online research tool. The year before that, 333.
WGN 9 (Chicago, Illinois) – Oct. 3
Providence Journal (Rhode Island) – Oct. 3
WGCL-CBS (Atlanta, Georgia) – Oct. 3
CNN International – Oct. 3

Mixed Media Gallery

Noted mixed media artist’s gallery debuts FridayTuscaloosa News – Oct. 3

The public is invited to the Friday debut of a gallery of works created by a noted mixed media artist at The University of Alabama. Fred Nall Hollis, who goes by the name Nall, will meet the public at 2:30 p.m. and give a lecture at 3 p.m. in the third floor rotunda of Carmichael Hall. Nall is an Alabama native and UA alumnus who is now based in Fairhope. He is a former artist in residence at UA and spent 45 years living in France. His work is influenced by Salvador Dali and his creations have been promoted by celebrities such as Ringo Starr and the prince of Monaco.

Native American Festival

Moundville Native American Festival begins WednesdayTuscaloosa News – Oct. 4

Thousands of people are expected to attend the 29th annual Moundville Native American Festival, which begins Wednesday. The festival is held at The University of Alabama’s Moundville Archaeological Park, a 320-acre site on the banks of the Black Warrior that preserves about two dozen earthen mounds built hundreds of years ago.
WVUA-23 (Tuscaloosa) – Oct. 5

Global Warming

In Iceland stream, possible glimpse of warming futureEnvironmental News Network – Oct. 4

When a normally cold stream in Iceland was warmed, the make-up of life inside changed as larger organisms thrived while smaller ones struggled, according to two papers published by researchers from The University of Alabama.

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz, asked if he’s interacting with Texans, says he’s done 17 ‘town halls’ in 2017Houston Chronicle (Texas) – Oct. 4
He’s not Waldo. But could it be that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas doesn’t get personally grilled by constituents very often? Cruz, a Republican poised to seek re-election in 2018, hardly has a reputation of avoiding attention. After all, he ran for president shortly after making waves in Washington and held on as the last viable Republican alternate to Donald Trump … But The University of Alabama political scientist Joe Smith commented: “Employees know that their employer has arranged for and endorsed the visit, and that therefore assertive questions are not welcome.”
Austin American-Statesman – Oct. 8

Music Sculpture

Music sculpture unveiled for city entranceFlorence Times Daily – Oct. 5
A trumpeter will greet motorists crossing O’Neal Bridge into the city next year. The 20-foot aluminum abstract sculpture will depict a jazz/blues musician in the birthplace of W.C. Handy, Father of the Blues. It is part of an area-wide acknowledgement of the role of music in the Shoals. The City Council this week approved a $35,000 contract with The University of Alabama for art professor Craig Wedderspoon to create the sculpture.

Public Viewing Night

Astronomy department offers public viewing nights of skyTuscaloosa News – Oct. 5

What: Public viewing night to observe the sky through equipment provided by the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Observers will be able to see the full Moon, Saturn and Albireo, which Jimmy Irwin, associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, described as a “double star with contrasting colors—one blue, one orange.”

Romantic Fires

There’s a scientific explanation for why fires are so romanticThe Cut – Oct. 5

If you want me to open up, plop me down in front of a crackling fire. When I met my boyfriend, Mo, neither of us was that eager to jump into a new relationship. We’re both reserved people by nature, each with a divorce already under our belts, and the thought of starting something new felt daunting … Research sheds a little light (no pun intended): A 2014 University of Alabama study, for example, found that people were more social while watching a fire. They also had lower blood pressure, suggesting that they were more relaxed.
Yahoo! – Oct. 6

Alabama Governor Race

UA political science professor emeritus discusses Alabama’s gubernatorial raceABC 33/40 (Birmingham) – Oct. 5

Dr. Bill Stewart taught politics at Alabama and is a published author. He says Governor Ivey’s current title gives her an edge. Democrats are optimistic according to Dr. Stewart due to recent violations by three top Republicans in Montgomery. The author is also predicting a heavy voter turnout since this is a strong two-party race.
ABC 33/40 (Birmingham) – Oct. 5

Kneeling During the National Anthem

Plenty of service members are likely to sympathize with #TakeAKneeWashington Post – Oct. 6

Is kneeling during the national anthem disrespectful to the American flag, and by extension, to the U.S. military? That’s the charge President Trump recently leveled at NFL players who began “taking a knee,” to use the athletes’ language, to protest police brutality against people of color. But underneath that charge is an unexamined assumption that veterans and service members would not share the athletes’ views — and are white. . . .  (Allen Linken is an assistant professor of political science at The University of Alabama.  Gracie Smith is an undergraduate student at The University of Alabama.)


ISIS reveals details about gunman, continues claiming VegasBrisbane News (Australia) – Oct. 6

After claiming last week’s deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas with a vague claim, now the Islamic State militant group has taken credit for the shooting but this time, with a more specific claim about the gunman … Meanwhile, Adam Lankford, a University of Alabama criminologist and researcher who tracks global mass shootings has said individuals who carry out such crimes tend to have suicidal motives or appear indifferent to life or death, perceive themselves as victims or seek attention and fame. Lankford has warned that without explicit statements from Paddock about his reasons for the attack, determining a motive is mostly speculation.
Manila News (Philippines) – Oct. 6


Abortion clearly a ‘difficult issue’ for Alabama Democrats as Doug Jones pushes pro-choice stanceAl.com – Oct. 7

After Josh Crowley listened to Doug Jones’ interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd late last month, he took to Facebook and urged his friends to ignore the Senate hopeful’s pro-choice stance on abortion … William Stewart, a professor emeritus of political sciences at The University of Alabama, said that despite the recent massacre in Las Vegas, gun rights are likely not to rise to the top of social concerns during the Senate campaign.

Governor Ivey

Gov. Ivey on Roy Moore: ‘Anyone elected to office’ should be pro-developmentGears of Biz – Oct. 7

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Friday she will support ex-judge Roy Moore in December’s U.S. Senate general election, and expects him and “anyone elected to office” to be “pro-economic development.” Ivey called for the special Senate election, won by Moore, eight days after taking office back in April, and has put her support behind Moore’s insurgent candidacy since Tuesday’s Republican runoff … William Stewart, a professor emeritus of political science at The University of Alabama and a longtime observer of state politics, said he believes Moore could be problematic for Ivey as she campaigns next summer. The 2018 gubernatorial race is already a crowded one ahead of the June 5 primaries.