My research has officially made it into the news! Yesterday, an article (below) was published about my research on Safari Club International Foundation's online news source. No too major but it's one heck of a start and very exciting! Now I guess I better produce because we've officially told the world. No turning back now.
Weekly Update: SCI Foundation Funds Lion Genetics Project
Despite the array of propaganda in today’s media that paints a bleak picture for African lion populations, the truth is, most of the facts are false. We don’t know how many lions lived in Africa a century ago. We don’t even know how many lions existed a quarter-century ago. And for genetics, there currently is a lack of knowledge about genetic diversity of lions.
Genetic diversity is directly related to a species’ ability to survive and thrive. Generally speaking, the higher the genetic diversity in a population, the more resilient that population is to threats on their survival. Threats may include in-breeding depression, disease, competition from other species, and changes in habitat, among others. Understanding the resiliency of a species can give great insight into the future of that animal. Therefore, SCI Foundation has recently funded a study to examine both historic and present day African lion (Panthera leo) genetic samples to determine whether any changes in the genetic make-up of this species over the last 100 years has any indication on its ability to thrive.
Using modern biotechnology, this collaborative study with Texas A&M is using genetic samples dating back to the early 1900s to document historical lion population numbers and changes in overall genetic diversity. Tissue, bone and hide samples will be collected from over 10 museums in the U.S., Europe and Africa.
With this information, researchers will compare levels of genetic diversity from lions in the past to provide a baseline for determining the genetic health of current populations. Ultimately this project has the ability to set the record straight amongst the emotional cries about the downfall and genetic vulnerability of the lion. Science is the cornerstone of wildlife management and this research could provide much needed insight into an issue where feelings often trump fact.
Twice a week, SCI Foundation informs readers about conservation initiatives happening worldwide and updates them on SCI Foundation’s news, projects and events. Tuesdays are dedicated to an Issue of the Week and Thursday’s Weekly Updates will provide an inside look into research and our other science-based conservation efforts. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more SCI Foundation news.
There is another patient in the US with Ebola, marking the third to be diagnosed with the disease within our borders (also all in the state of Texas). But, there is still no need to panic (and this coming from someone who catches just about everything so, really, don’t panic).
Here are some facts about Ebola:
Patient #1 caught Ebola while traveling in Africa (kind of a dick move to bring it back with him). Patients #2 and #3 were his nurses. These nurses were in close contact with a dying Ebola patient in a quarantine facility. Although fully gowned and gloved, they were constantly handling very infectious material and the simple act of taking off gloves improperly after tending to the patient could have led to contamination and infection. Walking past someone with a fever won’t do it.
I love the movies Outbreak and Contagion but don’t go off and watch them, freaking yourself out to a point where you become a hermit sitting in a bath of hand sanitizer. Use them as a learning tool (mostly of what not to do). Ebola isn't airborne and it has an Ro of 2 (pictured; H1N1 (swine flu) is 1.6). There is always the possibility that the virus could evolve into something more serious (like the initial virus did in both movies) but, technically, that is true for any virus. Do you sit around worrying about when the flu is going to evolve into a flesh-eating zombie-creating virus? No, that would be silly and a waste of your precious mind-power.
So, go buy yourself some hand sanitizer, wash your hands regularly and don’t let people get their bodily fluids on you. Not only will you not get Ebola, you won't get the common cold or the flu either (BONUS)!
To whom it may concern:
There has been a major overcrowding issue within the Consideration Seating area of Kyle Field this season. This section requires ticket holders to be seated but the amount of tickets sold for this section does not allow the space for the holder to, in fact, be seated. This is a major liability issue for the stadium and the Consideration Seating section needs to be renumbered taking into consideration that many of the ticket holders sitting in this section are not there because they don’t want to stand during the game but because they are physically unable. Breaking attendance records should not come before the wellbeing of your patrons.
At this week’s game against Ole Miss (October 11, 2014) my ticket was for section 236, 3rd row, seat 7, however, I was unable to sit in my designated seat. This wasn’t an issue of other patrons sitting in incorrect seats; it was an issue of overcrowding. [Included] is a photo demonstrating how we were attempting to fit in the space allotted.
There were four of us displaced from our purchased seats in my row alone. The other three ticket holders were able to stand on empty bleachers close to our section but I am physically unable as I am a physically disabled student and require Consideration Seating to attend football games.
As pictured, I tried sitting on the edge of the seat, leaning forward but was in too much pain to endure this position for more than half a quarter. I asked the attendant, who was being as helpful as he could, to see a supervisor but the supervisor was of no help. All they did was check that we were all holding tickets for this section, which we all were, but did nothing to alleviate the situation. In pain, I asked the attendant if I could get a chair to sit in the wheelchair area but he said that is only available when set up before the game. Since I was under the impression my ticket would allow me enough space to sit, I could not have possibly been able to set this up before the game. I had to sit by myself on the ledge of the stairs, which I would assume is against fire code, as there were no other seating options available to me, as informed by said attendant.
As mentioned above, this section requires ticket holders to be seated and, therefore, needs to provide enough room for ALL ticket holders in this section to sit. Actions should be taken to alleviate this situation to prevent any potentially more serious situations for disabled patrons from occurring.
Remember that time when I was the asshole on crutches who's car died blocking the entrance to the parking garage. Oh wait, that was today!
Apparently I'm in the middle of a bit of a streak of bad luck. Along with my ASO titer rising, I hurt my foot having too much fun at a wedding putting me on crutches for the past two weeks. Then, this morning, I had a conveniently inconvenient inconvenience waiting to get into the Central Campus Garage.
To get into this garage, you have to go through a gate. When the garage is full (which it always is before my class which is located next door and, therefore, the most convenient place to park when you're on crutches and don't have a handicap parking pass) the gate will not open until a handful of cars have left, not as each vehicle leaves the garage opening a new spot. Well, I got to the gate in plenty of time to wait for the wave of students to leave from class which opens the gate at around 10:30am for approximately 20 cars (I've missed it the past few classes and had to park at the University Garage which means crutching half-way across campus, which is totally for the birds and I wasn't going to endure that again). It was just before 10am and I was third in line so I turned off my truck to wait. At 10:13am I went to turn my truck back on and..... nothing. Tried again..... NOTHING! Well, shit. I promptly called AAA and my wonderful bosses/fatherly-figures/saviors-during-my-compiling-ailments-in-CS and it was a race for who could get to me first to give me a jump before the gate opened and I became "the asshole." I got out of my truck and knocked on the windows of everyone behind me, telling them about my predicament and apologizing profusely. I got one "bless your heart" but mostly vacant stares. Luckily, there was just enough room between my truck and the pillar for people to squeak by once the gate opened and the AAA guy got there in just enough time to jump my car and get me through the gate before it closed again! Did I mention that I already had an appointment to take my truck in for an oil change and inspection tomorrow? Looks like I'll be adding a battery change to the list.
I am a biologist and my life is crap!