IU in the News

A daily digest of media coverage about Indiana University

December 15, 2020
IU in the News is a daily review of the important news stories relating to Indiana University. It is not intended to be an all-inclusive gathering of news, and no editorial revisions are made to the content, which is presented as it was initially published or broadcast.

IU Making Headlines

The New York Times

Fruit flies are essential to science. So are the workers who keep them alive.

The rooms that make up the Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center at Indiana University are lined wall to wall with identical shelves. Each shelf is filled with uniform racks, and each rack with indistinguishable glass vials. The tens of thousands of fruit fly types within the vials, though, are each magnificently different. Some have eyes that fluoresce pink. Some jump when you shine a red light on them. Some have short bodies and iridescent curly wings, and look "like little ballerinas," said Carol Sylvester, who helps care for them. Each variety doubles as a unique research tool, and it has taken decades to introduce the traits that make them useful. If left unattended, the flies would die in a matter of weeks, marooning entire scientific disciplines. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, workers across industries have held the world together, taking on great personal risk to care for sick patients, maintain supply chains and keep people fed. But other essential jobs are less well-known. At the Stock Center dozens of employees have come to work each day, through a lockdown and afterward, to minister to the flies that underpin scientific research.

The Bloomington Herald-Times

IU students share student teaching experiences

While student teaching at Edgewood Primary School this semester, Gabbi Jenkins, an Indiana University student studying elementary education, said she learned many things that just come with experience, from lesson planning to how to communicate with parents. “I think I learned more in this semester of student teaching than I could have in years of school," Jenkins said. She thinks that would be the case even in a year that does not have added stresses of a pandemic, since even though prior field experience was valuable, student teaching was her first time teaching every day. Jenkins was among the IU students who student taught in schools in Monroe County this semester. The future teachers adjusted to COVID-19 precautions, navigated changing school instructional models at times, whether in person, hybrid, online or a combination, and generally learned what it takes to be a teacher.

IU Voices in the News

The Atlantic

How science beat the virus

The pandemic's opportunities also fell inequitably upon the scientific community. In March, Congress awarded $75 million to the National Science Foundation to fast-track studies that could quickly contribute to the pandemic response. "That money just went," says Cassidy Sugimoto of Indiana University, who was on rotation at the agency at the time. "It was a first-come, first-served environment. It advantaged people who were aware of the system and could act upon it quickly." But not all scientists could pivot to COVID‑19, or pivot with equal speed. ... When scientists discovered the microbes responsible for tuberculosis, plague, cholera, dysentery, and syphilis, most fixated on these newly identified nemeses. Societal factors were seen as overly political distractions for researchers who sought to "be as 'objective' as possible," says Elaine Hernandez, a medical sociologist at Indiana University. In the U.S., medicine fractured. New departments of sociology and cultural anthropology kept their eye on the societal side of health, while the nation's first schools of public health focused instead on fights between germs and individuals. This rift widened as improvements in hygiene, living standards, nutrition, and sanitation lengthened life spans: The more social conditions improved, the more readily they could be ignored.

Iowa Public Media

Always a small group, Black farmers in Iowa have dwindled to very few

Valerie Grim, a professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University who earned her doctorate in history at Iowa State, says Black landowners, particularly in the South but likely elsewhere, too, wanted ownership to root their families in a homeland. "It wasn't perceived from my research as something that you purchase in order to get you and your kids to a place where then you go somewhere else," Grim said. "That's not my experience in talking to Black landowners at all. It was always property that you kept to protect your family, so if your kids went north, they got in trouble, they could come back home."

LA Weekly

Science continues to confirm cannabis combats cancer

In a recent study, Thomas M. Clark, Ph.D., head of a recent analysis, found that "the anticancer effects of cannabis outweigh the carcinogenic effects even in the airways and bladder, where carcinogen exposure is high." Clark headed an August analysis directly on the issue of cannabis and cancer, supported by his sabbatical leave from Indiana University South Bend. At first, Clark had three hypotheses: cannabis increases cancer risk, the benefits and risks of using cannabis canceled out, or cannabis lowers cancer risk.  ... In the words of Clark, "decreased cancer risk in cannabis users should not be surprising, as cannabis and cannabinoids decrease obesity, inhibit chronic inflammation, reduce fasting insulin levels and insulin sensitivity, and have direct antitumor actions."  

E and E News

EPA cost-benefit rule could undermine Biden climate action

EPA last week pushed out a major rule on environmental analysis in the twilight of President Trump's term, a move that could bolster legal challenges to climate rules ushered in by the incoming Biden administration.The new rule, proposed in June and finalized last Wednesday, adds requirements to the cost-benefit analysis for new Clean Air Act rules crafted by EPA, including mandating separate review of targeted benefits versus indirect co-benefits like greenhouse gas emission reductions. ... John Graham, professor at Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs and current EPA Science Advisory Board chair, doesn't see potential challenges to the new rule getting very far. "I don't think that near-term legal challenges to the new [cost-benefit] rule will succeed because the courts will not enter the fray unless the stakeholders or the agency make a case that a specific EPA rulemaking is obstructed or weakened because of the (cost-benefit) rule," Graham wrote in an email.

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