Bees vanish across the world

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Bumblebees were added to the endangered species list under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this past month. In recent years the National Resource Defense Council reports that since 1990, 25 percent of the honey bee population has disappeared. Many crops such as almonds, avocados, onions, and apples are dependent upon the survival of bees to grow.

Published in conjunction with  wbir

Governor Haslam proposes gas tax increase

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Governor Haslam proposes a seven cent increase in the gasoline tax in his state of the state address. The tax revenue pays for anticipated road and infrastructure projects across the state. The proposal raises the current tax to twenty-eight point four cents per gallon of gas. The Improve Act plans for a 2030 completion date for the tax-funded road and infrastructure projects. I spoke with Tennessee residents about how the legislation impacts their wallets.

Published in conjunction with  wbir

Governor Haslam proposes substantial education budget

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Each year a group of 32 university students lobby in Nashville before Governor Haslam’s State of the State Address. These students discuss the statewide outsourcing plan and how the university supports facility workers. Governor Haslam proposes a budget for higher education construction projects across Tennessee.

Published in conjunction with  wbir

UT reflects on hate and bias during the fall semester

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Several acts of hate and bias have occurred this semester at the University of Tennessee. These hate and bias incidents make various campus communities feel disconnected. The University’s Bias Incident Reporting Team reports nineteen incidents of bias for this semester.

Published in conjunction with  wbir

Student protest erupts at the University of Tennessee Knoxville after 2016 election

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Students at the University of Tennessee protest in response to the United States Presidential election.

Smokey’s Pantry works to end hunger for the university community

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Food insecurity is a growing problem on college campuses. The University of Tennessee is no exception.

Knoxville leader finds animals a happy home

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Over five to six thousand animals pass through the Young Williams Animal Center each year. With so many animals, the center requires a strong and compassionate leader. The Young Williams Animal Center has found a home for 4253 pets for this year.

Standard Apartments push back original opening date

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Over 600 residents live in a constant state of uncertainty in the Knoxville area. An apartment complex on the corner of 17th Street and White Avenue pushes back the grand opening date for residents.

The Standard sends weekly emails to update construction progress for residents. The most recent email predicts an October 12th completion date. The Standard charges no rent until residents move-in to their apartments and compensates each resident with a 125-dollar weekly gift card.

Design Thinking reinvents the student creativity process

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee (UT) Science Forum presented Dr. David Matthews’s Design Thinking lecture this past Friday.

The desire for a better future is the foundation for Design Thinking. Dr. Matthews highlighted how, “design is about going somewhere we have never been before.”

Dr. Matthews engaged the audience as he discussed the applications of Design Thinking.

Dr. Matthews engaged the audience as he discussed the applications of Design Thinking.

UT Science Forum President Amanda Womac noted that, “this topic today is definitely outside of the typical concept of what people think about science.” President Womac emphasized how design science uses empathy and community building to impact societal systems.

Positive impacts to society arise as Design Thinking addresses wicked problems. Wicked problems include societal and cultural barriers that lack a clear solution.

Dr. Matthews has worked in Haiti with the wicked problem of poverty. While designing in Haiti, Dr. Matthews focused on material poverty. Dr. Matthews used the strained resources to redesign for impactful change.

Within the creative process Dr. Matthews found that, “integrity, culture, and how we embrace those ideas are important to design.”

Dr. Matthews is the Associate Dean of Facilities and Technology and Chair of Interior Design in the College of Architecture and Design. Any college major is open to Dr. Matthews’s Design 130 and 430 courses, which integrate the process of Design Thinking.

Dinosaurs still exist as modern birds

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee (UT) Science Forum guest speaker Dr. Colin Sumrall revealed that modern-day birds are living descendants of dinosaurs.

Dr. Sumrall is an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UT. For ten years Dr. Sumrall has taught the Age of the Dinosaurs class. The class explains how the dinosaur lineage did not end 65 million years ago when an asteroid hit Earth.

The skulls of the Seagull and the Allosaurus dinosaur have similarly structured holes of the jaw and eye socket.

The skulls of the Seagull and the Allosaurus dinosaur have similarly structured jaws and eye sockets.

According to Dr. Sumrall, “the idea of dinosaur extinction is 19th-century science.”

The mass extinction killed the largest predator dinosaurs, but seven or eight small dinosaur lineages survived.

Dr. Sumrall referred to the mass extinction as, “a pseudo-extinction because rather than the last dinosaur on Earth die, we simply changed the name of the last dinosaur on Earth to bird.”

The bird lineage began with the dinosaur Archaeopteryx. Over time dinosaur characteristics of a stiff tail and three toes evolved in present-day birds.

The Archaeopteryx fossil cast displays evidence of feathers and enlargement of the brain seen in birds today.

The Archaeopteryx fossil cast displays evidence of feathers and enlargement of the brain seen in birds today.

An extra hinge jaw and a wishbone are dinosaur adaptations that help birds fly. These adaptations support Dr. Sumrall’s belief that, “all birds are equally related to dinosaurs.”

Although people have not recognized the dinosaur and bird genealogy, Dr. Sumrall insisted that the, “lineage persists regardless of our opinion of them.”