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Volume 54, Number 12   October 30, 2006         

    Announcements    News    Events   Newsmakers


Race and reality shows
Melissa Camacho
, assistant professor of broadcast and electronic communication arts, commented on the reality television show "Flavor of Love" in an Oct. 14 Contra Costa Times article. "Bottom line, you may not think you're having a discussion of race when you're watching the show, but a racial discussion is, indeed, taking place," she said. "It's being done visually and it's taking place in the back of your mind."

Healthcare closet
Research by Brian de Vries, professor of gerontology, was cited in an Oct. 19 San Francisco Chronicle story on gay and lesbian seniors. The story discussed the difficulties that aging members of the LGBT community face as they reach a stage when they are in more need of health care and other social services. To underscore that point, de Vries confirmed "his research has shown that at least a third of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender seniors have not disclosed their sexual orientation to their physicians."

Chinatown still home
"Whether you're living in the Sunset or other parts of the city, you'll return to Chinatown because that remains the cultural and political center of the Chinese-American community," said David Lee, lecturer of political science, in an Oct. 21 Associated Press article that ran in the San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Examiner and other newspapers and newspaper Web sites.

Explicitly correct
An Oct. 25 story in the Hartford Courant featured comments by John Burks, professor of journalism, on the contrast between how new and traditional media handle explicit details in news stories. Burks said newspapers have already defined themselves as family friendly and aren't likely to change that approach. "I cannot imagine the mainstream news media blowing its doors wide open, not even 'over their own dead bodies.' For better or for worse, mainstream news media is locked in place, certain of its correctitude," he said.

Glow-in-the-dark mushrooms
On Oct. 27, National Geographic News online featured an article and photographs of fungi species discovered in Brazil by biology Professor Dennis Desjardin and two colleagues in Brazil. They have discovered more than 10 glowing fungi species -- four that are new to science -- in Brazil's tropical forests. "Did luminescence evolve 16 different times in the genus Mycena, or did it evolve only a few times and was lost hundreds of times during the course of evolution?" Desjardin said. To find out, Desjardin's research team extracts and sequences DNA from the glowing mushrooms. They develop a mushroom "family tree" to help determine when the glow came into sight in fungi.

Yiddish theater revival
The Oct. 27 edition of the j., Northern California's Jewish newspaper, featured an article on the Theatre Arts Department's production of "Stars: A Yiddish Theatre Revue in English." Researching archival material, theatre arts Professor Joel Schechter found the long-lost 1937 play "We Live and Laugh" by Joseph Bergren. Schechter and two Jewish studies students adapted the original play into "Stars," a play within a play in which various former Yiddish theater players discuss how to save the genre. "For some reason, the students end up singing better in Yiddish than in English," Schechter said. "Maybe the Yiddish spirit lives, even if they don’t know it." "Stars" plays on campus and at other San Francisco locations through Nov. 5.

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