[Currents headergraphic]

February 23, 1998

Making the News

National Geographic interviewed biophysicist David Deamer for a story on "The Rise of Life on Earth." A striking photo of molecules in the lab, taken by Deamer, accompanies a caption about his work on the conditions that may have formed the first cells.

California's coast is receiving a one-two punch from the season's heavy rainstorms, geologist Gary Griggs told a reporter from the Santa Cruz County Sentinel. Bluffs along the coast are being battered by enormous waves from below and intensive runoff from above. Griggs also noted many curious sightseers are reckless, given that those spots, which are so fascinating to look at, are also unstable and dangerous: "Be careful," he warned. "People need to realize this isn't a theme park." Griggs also spoke on camera when KNTV-Channel 11 news covered the story of mud slides and land movement in the Santa Cruz Mountains. With this level of deep saturation, Griggs said, we can expect to see ground continuing to move for some time after the rains stop.

India Today International interviewed historian Dilip Basu for a story on legendary musician Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Basu noted that Khan has been instrumental in bringing a rich musical tradition to America. The story also discussed Basu's effort to create an archive of Khan's music at UCSC.

Going for the gold? When historian John Dizikes received a phone call from an Associated Press reporter in Japan, it was something of a surprise, but he gamely volunteered to discuss Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati's use of marijuana. Dizikes, who has researched attitudes toward sports and athletic conduct in the 20th century, noted that this situation is less an issue of sportsmanship and more a bellwether of conflicting attitudes about drug use. "This is very much part of the almost hysterical anxiety about drugs," Dizikes said. "It didn't help him win. We say, 'Don't be dumb,' and we know what that means. It means the worst thing is getting caught."

For a special Valentine's Day issue, Metro Santa Cruz sought out biologist Barry Sinervo for an article on the mating habits of the animal world. Sinervo shared his insights into the love triangles of certain male lizards in the Pacheco Pass area and the monogamous lives of the sleepy lizards of Australia.

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