Students Out PR Professionals

As a Valdosta State University student, we nicknamed the student paper the Speculator. Incorrectly reading between the lines were their specialty. Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes were part of their standard. But it was amusing to see them go after the administration. Not so much to be reported on when I made big mistakes.

As university staff, I made the Spectator in information technology articles on viruses, online elections, WebCT upgrade, and the portal. At first they made me nervous because I worried about them finding out about the skeletons. After a couple interviews, it became obvious they had no idea about the skeletons and would only cursory look at the topic without digging very deep. So it would good publicity and exposure.

The Red & Black as a daily published much more that the Speculator. Last year the paper moved to a weekly print but daily web. This week several students (Editor-in-Chief, other editors, photographers, etc) all quit in reaction to a memo placing editorial control in the hands of non-students and hiring professionals to take over more decisions in the creative process. Immediately the students setup a web site, Red and Dead, a Twitter account @redanddead815, a Facebook page. Their Twitter account was suspended for gaining followers too quickly.

At present, the whole story is extremely one-sided. A couple statements from the R&B board against the draft memo, dozens of statements, bloggers, and newspaper articles like the Chronicle of Higher Education, New York Times, and Washington Post critical of the board. It is like the board is not even trying? Or unaware or unable to use the public relations avenues available to them. None of this means they are in the wrong or think they are in the wrong. It just helps the rush to judgment against them.

Maybe these students are in the wrong field? Public relations seems to be their strength.

DNA for Everyone

Originally posted to DNA for Everyone.

So, 60 Minutes has broadcast a report on the tracing of DNA. Leslie made a statement, "The are just two bits of DNA which remain pure. The Y chromosome which passes directly from father to son. And something called mitochondrial DNA which passes unchanged from mother to child." Logically speaking, if the mDNA really passes unchanged with every generation, then everyone has the exact same mDNA. However, that is not the case. A limited number of aberrations have occurred in the mDNA over time. Those changes are called markers and passed from mother to child. Identification of these markers and estimating when and which groups they occurred is the process behind identifying to whom an individual is related.

Leslie did make a really good point. As you trace back through the Y chromosome and mDNA, the further back one goes, the smaller the ratio of these markers can provide. So going back one generation, you can see info on both individuals. Going back to the second generation, you can only see 2 of 4 individuals, three see 2 of 8, eight see 2 of 256, etc.

Another fuzziness the report failed to explain is the testing really only matches individuals to currently living individuals who share similar markers. So, you don't really see who your ancestors are. An African-American woman showcased, got back several matches to individuals belonging to tribes in Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and Senegal. I have first and second cousins all over the place. Is it right to assume only individuals taken from Africa and brought to the Americas are the ones who have left the tribe? It seems hard to believe family members left in Africa occupy the same huts as when we left.

A good book to read on Y chromosome and mDNA tracing to determine the origins of all the world's population to common ancestors in Africa is The Journey of Man by Spencer Wells. That is a little further back.
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Transracial Adoption

NPR : Mother and Son Offer Transracial Adoption Insights:

Morning Edition, July 23, 2007 · When Judy Stigger and her husband decided to adopt, they chose children who very obviously didn’t look like them.

“If you’re a very private person, this is probably very hard to do because people are curious and do ask how much the baby cost and whether or not that’s one of those crack babies,” Judy Stigger says. “The questions are amazing that people feel free to ask.”

People asked those questions because the Stiggers are white. And in Chicago — almost three decades ago — they adopted two children who are biracial.

Read moreTransracial Adoption

Scary

Virginia Tech shootings – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The Virginia Tech shootings were committed by an unidentified gunman on April 16, 2007, at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, United States. Government officials have confirmed 32 people (including the shooter) dead,[1][2][3] though school officials report 33 deaths, and most news outlets are reporting between 22 and 32 deaths,[4] which would make it the deadliest civilian shooting in U.S. history.