September 17: UF In The News, 9/13/21 - 9/16/21

New materials can make Florida condos more durable. Almost no one uses them — The Miami Herald, 9/12/21
Some research engineers believe there are better ways to build along the beach with improved materials that can resist or even eliminate corrosion. But the broader building construction industry lags behind.

“One of the things you hear in the construction industry a lot is ‘I’ve been doing this for thirty years,’” said Christopher Ferraro, a professor at the University of Florida's Department of Civil & Coastal Engineering.  

“And thank goodness I never got punched for it, but I said, ‘Well, I guess it takes thirty-one to figure out how to do it right,’” he added. 

This doctor spread false information about COVID. She still kept her medical license — NPR, 9/14/21
Misinformation continues as cases of COVID-19 surge nationwide, mainly in areas with low rates of vaccination. Other doctors working in those places are understandably frustrated.

“We would like there to be some easy answer out there, some medication that’s been around forever that we could just take from home," says Sonja Rasmussen, a pediatrician and epidemiologist with UF. 

The problem, she says, is that so far the alternative therapies such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine have not been proven effective against COVID-19.

Why internet shutdowns are a growing problem — Lifewire, 9/14/21
Governments across the world are increasingly turning to internet shutdowns to control information. Despite the increasing frequency of internet shutdowns, free speech is getting harder to repress, said Andrew Selepak, a social media professor at UF.

“It is easy for a despot or authoritarian government to shut down a newspaper, or radio or television station because there is a physical location that can be found, shutdown, taken over, or even destroyed,” Selepak said. “But with a smartphone, anyone anywhere can have their voice heard.”

Five-minute trick can help reduce the 'beauty premium' in hiring interviews — The Gainesville, Sun 9/14/21
UF professor Joyce Bono and two co-authors penned an op-ed discussing the findings of their study that attractive people are more likely to land jobs and get promoted in their careers, and how to get around that. 

Teen surfer bitten by shark in Florida speaks out about terrifying encounter — Good Morning America, 9/15/21
Hurricane Larry’s winds created a desirable environment for surfing in Volusia County. It was also perfect for sharks. 

A feeding frenzy occurs on the beaches in the fall, said George Burgess, the former director of UF’s program for shark research. Add surfers, “and you’re going to have an unholy mix that most inevitably results in a bite.”

The Independent also covered the story

Florida woman on paddleboard has frightful, up-close encounter with giant, hissing alligator — WUFT, 9/15/21
An alligator got a little too up-close and personal for a Florida woman paddleboarding in the Silver River in Marion County. Now, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials are investigating the incident. 

“Croc Doc” Sidney Godfrey, a UF wildlife biologist, said video from the encounter wasn’t enough to draw any conclusions.

“That animal probably had a lot of previous human interaction, people probably feeding it,” he said. “They get too close to people and you have encounters like that.”

The Associated Press and WTSP reported similar articles.  

Analysis: How Wall Street's hottest dealmaking trend fizzled — Reuters, 9/16/21
Wall Street’s mood toward special purpose acquisition (SPAC) company deals has soured. Companies have abandoned SPAC deals for initial public offerings in recent weeks, while many SPAC investigators are selling their shares in the open market. 

UF finance professor Jay Ritter weighs in.