May 17: UF in the News 5/14/21-5/17/21

SWFL woman dies after reaction to fire ant bites — WINK News, 5/13/21
A Southwest Florida woman has made it her mission to educate people about fire ants, and how their bites can cause a severe anaphylactic reaction in some — and in rare cases, death. 

Roberto Pereira, a research scientist in the Urban Entomology Laboratory at UF, explains how cases of people dying from fire ant bites are rare and how humans aren’t the only ones who get bitten by the red critters. 

Florida fossil hunter finds set of Dire wolf teeth — NBC2 News, 5/13/21
A Florida fossil hunter found a set of teeth of a Dire Wolf, an extinct canine that called the Sunshine State home 12,000 years ago. 

Richard Hulbert, a vertebrate paleontologist at UF, talks about how long ago these canines appeared in Florida and how long they were around. 

How new social media platforms could finally give us what we want — Lifewire, 5/13/21
Social media in 2021 is dominated by only a few companies. However, adding more platforms into the mix could provide users the experiences they feel are missing.

Experts say that, while there’s a ton of new platforms out there to discover, it’s all about standing out from the crowd to get our collective attention. 

“It's a bit hit-or-miss of what platforms are going to make it. It's got to be something that users can't get somewhere else,” said Andrew Selepak, a social media professor at UF.

Can't tell when fruits and veggies are going bad? UF researchers want to help — The Gainesville Sun, 5/15/21
Post-harvest researcher Tie Liu, an assistant professor with UF/IFAS, knows what it’s like to have an avocado go from under-ripe to too squishy seemingly overnight. 

Liu shares how he’s working on the possibility of creating a handheld or wearable device to test food freshness beyond what human senses are capable of finding.

A scratched hint of ancient ties stirs national furies in Europe — The New York Times, 5/16/21
Czech archaeologists say marks found on a cattle bone are sixth-century Germanic runes, in a Slavic settlement. The finding has provoked an academic and nationalist brawl.

Florin Curta, a professor of history and archaeology at UF, said there “can be no doubt” that the marks on the Lany bone are Germanic runes and that this constitutes a “very important discovery.” But he questioned the Masaryk University team’s view that the people who lived in Lany when the bone was incised were Slavs who had migrated into the area. More likely, he said, is that they were locals who spoke and wrote a Germanic language.

Miami tries to make vaccinations easy: 'Wherever people are that's where we will be' — WLRN, 5/17/21
In most of the U.S., the initial scramble to get a coronavirus vaccine is over, so the campaign to convince or reach those who haven't gotten shots yet continues to ramp up. 

Dr. Cindy Prins, an epidemiologist at UF, shares how understanding the nuances of Florida’s populations and their needs will help reach those who have not been vaccinated yet. 

Why did I just get dive-bombed by a mockingbird? Spring in Florida, that’s why. — Tampa Bay Times, 5/17/21
Mark Hostetler, professor of wildlife ecology and conservation with UF/IFAS, explains why an unwitting soul might be strolling down a sidewalk in St. Petersburg, walking a park in Palatka, or headed to a Miami mailbox, when suddenly a none-too-happy bird appears, dive-bombing and blitzing the startled pedestrian.