June 17: UF in the News 6/14/21-6/17/21

Soils from Antartica seem to contain no life—something that's never been found — National Geographic, 6/16/21

Scientists have found soils from two windswept, rocky ridges in the interior of Antarctica that appear to harbor no life at all. This discovery, made by a team at the University of Colorado, Boulder, plays well with UF researcher Brent Christner's theory that soils from these remote areas can help refine the search for life on Mars.  


USF, four other Florida schools earn high worldwide rankings for patents— The Tampa Bay Times, 6/16/21

UF ranked among the top 15 schools in the world to be granted U.S. utility patents last year, according to a new report by the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association. It was based on data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

UF ranked at No. 11 with 140 patents awarded.


Antidepressants in waterways may make crayfish bolder, increasing risk of predation — National Geographic, 6/15/21

An antidepressant commonly detected in waterways could change crayfish behavior in ways that could harm them and their environment. In 2018, nearly one in eight people in the U.S. reported taking an SSRI. UF researchers A.J. and Lindsey Reisinger discovered crayfish exposed to moderate levels of the antidepressant citalopram, commonly sold as Celexa, spent significantly more time foraging for food and less time in hiding. The behavior could make the crayfish more vulnerable to predators, and their altered behavior could, over time, have other effects on stream ecosystems.

This research was also picked up by the Guardian, Yahoo! News, Inverse, and the Smithsonian Magazine


What Lordstown’s meltdown means for SPACs — The New York Times, 6/15/21

Two executive-level leaders at Lordstown, the electric vehicle manufacturer, abruptly resigned Monday after a board investigation had found “issues with the accuracy” of claims about orders for its yet-to-be-released electric truck. Shares of Lordstown fell sharply. The company went public via a SPAC last year. 

Would it have been different if the company went public in a traditional I.P.O.? “There are a lot of gray areas with the way I.P.O.s and public companies report orders,” said UF I.P.O. expert Jay Ritter. The order quality issue at Lordstown “is not something that typically gets caught by auditors or in the I.P.O. process,” he said.


An unemployment 'loophole' is stifling hiring? Some Panama City-area restaurants say yes — The Panama City News Herald, 6/15/21

Business owners in Panama City started to express concern that people are applying for jobs but not showing up for interviews to take advantage of a loophole in unemployment stipulations. Currently, unemployed people have to show proof they are applying for jobs to receive benefits. Hector Sandoval, director of the economic analysis program for the bureau of economic and business research at UF, said he believes it could take about a year for the state's economy to completely recover. 


Slip ‘N Slide game show shoot stopped by ‘explosive diarrhea’ — Vice, 6/15/21

Production was temporarily suspended for the upcoming NBC game show "Ultimate Slip 'N Slide" after as many as 40 crew members got sick with bouts of explosive diarrhea. At least one member of the crew tested positive for giardia, and “Giardia definitely can cause diarrhea,” Dr. Eric Jorge Nelson of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at UF told VICE. 

“I don’t want to be the person that outlaws slip ‘n slides,” Nelson said. “But the challenge with things like slip ‘n slides is that you're using tap water or well water, and if people step in things that have infectious agents or they themselves are shedding an infectious agent, then you could theoretically get it that way.” 


The science of strong business writing — The Harvard Business Review, 6/15/21

Brain scans are showing us in new detail exactly what entices readers. Scientists can see a group of midbrain neurons—the “reward circuit”—light up as people respond to everything from a simple metaphor to an unexpected story twist. 

Experiments by behavioral scientists at UF produced similar results. Brain images showed heightened activity in reward regions among people who read 12-second narratives that prompted pleasant images. 


‘The right to be forgotten’: Should teens’ social media posts disappear as they age? — The Washington Post, 6/14/21

Should what kids post online follow them into adulthood? And how do we call out hate speech made by children without creating a culture of constraint? The Washington Post asked UF legal skills professor Stacey Steinberg, who said, "We don’t want children to say offensive things online, but we also need to figure out what to do once that happens.”