[Currents headergraphic]

July 21, 1997


Ronnie Lipschutz stepped up to the microphone to do live, on-air analysis on KION-TV on June 30, as Hong Kong's shift to Chinese rule became a reality. . . . Also in politics, Dan Wirls penned an op-ed that appeared in the Santa Cruz County Sentinel about the scandal behind unbridled military spending. . . . Manuel Pastor of Latin American and Latino studies spoke with the Sentinel about the outcome of the recent elections in Mexico.

The Associated Press tapped sociologist Herman Gray for insight into the newfound popularity of television's The Amos 'n Andy Show. The show, 20 episodes of which were recently released on videocassette, was the target of protests by the NAACP until it was pulled from syndication in 1966. Society has undergone considerable transformation in the ensuing decades, said Gray, who finds the show funny though not without an element of discomfort. Locally, the story appeared in the Santa Cruz County Sentinel and the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian.

"Heavenly High-Tech," a lengthy article in the Sunday San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle, paid homage to the fading practice of studying the heavens from chilly mountaintop observatories. Today, astronomers often use technology to conduct their observing runs from miles away. Soon, many scientists at UCSC will run their observations at Hawaii's W. M. Keck Observatory from their own offices in Santa Cruz. The article featured our own Steven Vogt, rightfully described as a "master spectroscopist" and the former adviser of planet-hunter and alumnus Geoffrey Marcy; Keck Telescope designer Jerry Nelson; and Sandy Faber, who commented that she prefers going to the observatory to work directly with the staff there.

Bill Domhoff, professor emeritus of psychology, was a prominent figure in a recent New Scientist write-up about a new, pragmatic approach to the study of dreams. Domhoff, an advocate of the more scientific approach to dream analysis, has spent years compiling a vast database of what different kinds of people dream with an eye toward establishing a good baseline of information that will enable psychologists to identify quirks in the dream lives of individuals.

Conservation biologist Michael Soule, professor emeritus of environmental studies, expressed his doubts about some popular habitat conservation strategies in a recent Science magazine article. In many cases, he said, the plans do more harm than good. Habitat conservation plans are at the center of the fight over the Endangered Species Act, which Congress may be close to rewriting.

Scholarship recipients Marjan Rotting, Manuel Bravo Jr., and Erin Broderick were profiled in the San Mateo County Times. The students, all of whom are community college transfers, have received Karl S. Pister Leadership Opportunity Award Program scholarships to attend UCSC this fall.

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