May 13: UF in the News 5/11/21-5/13/21

Barn owls being used as natural way to rid farms of rodents — WPTV, 5/11/21
Rodents are a $30 million problem for farmers. But Richard Raid, a plant pathology professor at the UF/IFAS Everglades Research & Education Center, has been studying how barn owls can help control the number of rodents on a farm instead of using toxic chemicals to get rid of them. 

Love Bugs are back: University of Florida professor discusses how to keep a clean car — WCJB, 5/11/21
May marks the month that the unloveable love bug returns to North Central Florida. Norm Leppla, director of the Integrated Pest Management of UF/IFAS and professor of entomology,  provides a few tips on how to deal with the flying critters.

Best bug sprays of 2021 — CNN, 5/11/21
CNN goes "hands-on" with bug repellents to test how they feel, how they smell and everything else you'd want to know about a bug spray before you use one. All this after consulting with multiple experts — which include Eva Buckner, assistant professor and state extension specialist at UF/IFAS’ Medical Entomology Laboratory — to ensure listed repellents are actually effective at, well, repelling bugs.

Why the Sun Belt may pick the next president — CNN, 5/12/21 
The battleground states across the industrial Midwest have functioned as the decisive tipping point of American politics for at least 30 years, especially in presidential elections. But the latest Census Bureau findings on both overall population growth and voter turnout in 2020 signal that the Sun Belt will increasingly rival, and potentially replace, the Rust Belt as the central battlefield in US elections.Michael McDonald, a UF political scientist considered one of the leading experts on voter turnout, weighs in on the 2020 voter turnout. 

You’re not supposed to walk on the sea oats. But air show camera crews did. — The Sun-Sentinel, 5/12/21
A horrified onlooker snapped photos of several TV cameramen and reporters standing on the roped-off sand dune amid fragile sea oats with a sign atop that clearly warned: “Dune Protection Area. Do Not Enter.

Walking on sea oats is not good for the plant; damage to just one stem can cause substantial harm to all the roots and underground stems that connect all the plants, said Scott Jackson, a UF/IFAS Extension Agent with the Florida Sea Grant program in Panama City.

Case dropped against gun-toting fisherman YouTuber Michael Taylor arrested in Brevard — Florida Today, 5/13/21 
Known by his tens of thousands of YouTube fans as "SoloYaker" and "The Armed Fisherman," 41-year-old Michael Taylor was arrested in late March for allegedly illegally recording a phone call with a Brevard Parks and Recreation employee. Last week he was notified that the State Attorney filed no information in the case.

Frank LoMonte, a freedom of information law expert at the University of Florida, said that while most interactions with public officials can be freely recorded, a phone call with just one person would still require consent. 

The world needs a product like Instagram Youth — Bloomberg, 5/13/21
Critics of Instagram Youth are quick to point out the possible psychological impact of social media. 

But Facebook’s argument is this: Many 10-year-olds are already using social media and lie about their age to get on these apps. If that’s the case, why not build an app with parental controls to try to make the experience safer?

Stacey Steinberg, a lawyer and children’s privacy expert at the University of Florida, discusses the upside of a limited social media environment for kids before they get to the “adult” versions of these apps. 

UF lecturer's new American Muslim rom-com, 'Americanish,' to premiere May 23 — The Gainesville Sun, 5/13/21
The first American Muslim romantic comedy film made by American Muslim women debuts in late May after almost a decade of hard work from University of Florida telecommunications lecturer Iman Zawahry and her partner, Aizzah Fatima.

It's called "Americanish," and it follows the stories of two sisters, Sam and Maryam, and their cousin, Ameera, as the three marriage-aged women navigate the complexities of romance, culture, careers, education and family in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York.

Experts say panic buying created the gas shortage — WCJB, 5/13/21
Economists are saying there would’ve been enough gas for another two weeks to fit the usual demand, but panic buying has taken the reins and has left many gas stations empty, or close to it.

“Panic buying exacerbates shortages, and in some cases, like this one, it seems like it’s overwhelmingly responsible for what’s happening,” said Dr. Thomas Knight, chair of the Economics Department at the University of Florida.