July 7: UF in the News, 07/01/2021-07/07-2021

Cynthia Barnett reveals the secret lives of seashells in ‘The sound of the sea” — Tampa Bay Times, 07/01/21
Cynthia Barnett, an environmental journalist who teaches at UF and recently published a book titled, "The Sound of the Sea," offers readers a fascinating history of the shell makers and of the multitude of ways they have interacted with and shaped human beings.
“We walk on a world of shell,” Barnett notes, and not just at the beach. “Shelled plankton and corals and mollusks made some of those oil reservoirs. ... They made the limestone aquifers that hold fresh water underground. The calcifying life-forms gave us mountains and they gave us marble.”

UF's supercomputer ranks first in the country for energy efficiency — Tampa Bay Times, 07/02/21

UF's new HiPerGator AI supercomputer is cranking out top rankings. Top500, which ranks high-power computing systems, ranked the computer most energy-efficient in the country and second worldwide on its Green500 list. It also ranked it No. 22 among most-powerful supercomputers worldwide, putting it second among supercomputers belonging to universities nationwide, and third in higher education overall.

Robinhood is earmarking 20% to 35% of its own IPO shares for customers. Why smaller investors should proceed with caution — CNBC Money Report, 07/02/21
Typically, smaller investors must wait until shares start trading on an exchange. And at that point, they might be paying more than those who got in early. The average first-day return for IPOs last year was 41.6%, according to data from IPO expert Jay Ritter, a finance professor at UF.

Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson plans July spaceflight to upstage Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin trip — Geekwire, 07/02/21
The billionaire space race is on: Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson is on the crew for the next test flight of the company’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane, which is scheduled to cross the 50-mile space frontier as early as July 11. Branson’s companions in the passenger cabin will be Beth Moses, chief astronaut instructor, who took a trip to space in February 2019; lead operations engineer Colin Bennett; and Sirisha Bandia, vice president of government affairs and research operations. Bandia will be in charge of an experiment from UF that requires several handheld fixation tubes to be activated at various points during the flight.

Did you lose your sense of taste or smell to COVID-19? Here’s when they could return — CNN, 07/03/21
Alisson Clark first knew she definitely had COVID-19 last September when she lost her sense of smell.
"I grabbed a cup of coffee in the morning, and it just tasted hot," said Clark, who is a national media strategist at the University of Florida. "I had felt so good while I was quarantining I thought maybe this was a false positive but then when that happened I thought 'OK, it's real,'" Clark said.

Why was Casey Anthony trial such a phenomenon? Experts cite power of cable news, rise of social media — Orlando Sentinel, 07/03/21
The disappearance of 2-year-old Caylee in 2008 and subsequent prosecution of her mother, Casey Anthony, for the Orlando toddler’s death transfixed the nation, leading to a made-for-TV spectacle of a trial with hundreds clamoring for a seat inside the courtroom.

The Casey Anthony case fits into a larger context of fascination with true crime stories in the U.S., a kind of “mediated voyeurism” that allows people to dip into the lives of strangers, said Clay Calvert, director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at UF.

For monarch butterflies, Florida’s cesspool of infection may leave many too weak to migrate — Miami Herald, 07/04/21
Why some butterflies break off toward the Sunshine State is one of the many mysteries of monarch behavior, but an emerging scientific debate revolves around thousands of South Florida enthusiasts who have planted butterfly gardens to help revive an iconic and at-risk species. Some scientists believe that the Florida diaspora, which has naturally existed for a long time, is being unnaturally coaxed into loafing year-round instead of migrating because of a widely imported tropical plant.

“The role of Florida in monarch migration is a complicated story,” said Jaret Daniels, regional expert and curator of lepidoptera (i.e. moths and butterflies) at the Florida Museum of Natural History at UF. Much like the human population of South Florida, he said, monarchs seem a mishmosh.

Guest Column: Children’s mental health during the Covid era is a serious challenge — Florida Times-Union  07/04/21
One of five children in the US is diagnosed with a mental health disorder including anxiety, depression, ADHD, and disruptive behavior. However, only 20% of these children gain access to mental health providers. The COVID pandemic has deepened this problem with increasing demand of services and limitations to obtaining care, according to a column by Stephanie Prudencio, DO, a pediatric resident at the UF College of Medicine.

Identifying the remains a burdensome task in condo collapse — Associated Press, 07/05/21 
With more than 115 people still unaccounted for as crews peel away layer after layer of the collapsed condo tower in South Florida, the task of collecting and identifying the dead could soon overwhelm the local medical examiner’s office. The federal government has sent a team of five people from UF to help with DNA analysis.