Ph.D. Candidate Lisa Beirn Receives Fellowship from Golf Course Association

Lisa Beirn

Lisa Beirn

Ph.D. candidate Lisa Beirn is one of three recipients of a $5,000 postgraduate grant by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, as part of the Watson Fellowship Program. Beirn, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, also recently won a 2013 Gerald O. Mott Scholarship for Meritorious Graduate Students in Crop Science, awarded by the Crop Science Society of America and the Agronomic Science Foundation. Read more about Beirn’s Watson Fellowship.

Arctic warming tied to extreme weather

The dramatic loss of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean due to rapid Arctic warming has altered the polar-region jet stream and helped to bring on extreme weather events of recent years, including the Midwest drought of 2012, record flooding rains of 2013, and the harsh, cold 2013-2014 winter, according to a climate-change expert at Rutgers University. Jennifer Francis, an atmospheric research professor at Rutgers University’s Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, said, in the past 30 years, climate change has dramatically altered the Arctic Ocean, with sea ice volume now just one-fourth of what it was in the 1980s.

Read the entire article at KXLO Country Radio »

Alumni Story: Steven Gomez (Cook ’01, GSNB ’10): Thinking Outside the Bun

Steve in his test kitchen.

Steve Gomez in his test kitchen.

The next time you go into a Taco Bell, look for the poster promoting the Doritos Locos Taco and thank alumnus Steve Gomez for his role in making this wildly popular taste treat a reality.

An article in Business Insider describes it this way: “The Doritos Locos Taco is one of the most successful food innovations of all time. Taco Bell released the product in 2012 and sold more than a billion units the first year. The fast food company had to hire an estimated 15,000 workers to keep up with the demand.”

The distinctive orange shell – mimicking the Nacho Cheese Doritos corn chip – is filled with the traditional seasoned ground beef, lettuce and cheddar cheese in the “regular” version, and topped with chopped tomatoes and sour cream in the “supreme” edition. It looks like a very simple dish. But don’t tell that to Steve, who worked in test kitchens in Taco Bell’s Irvine, California, headquarters and manufacturing plants around the country for years to perfect it. [Read more...]

Into the Maelstrom

When 40 climate experts huddled in a small conference room near Washington, D.C., last September, all eyes were on an atmospheric scientist named Jennifer Francis. Three years ago, Francis proposed that the warming Arctic is changing weather patterns in temperate latitudes by altering the behavior of the northern polar jet stream, the high, fast-moving river of air that snakes around the top of the world. The idea neatly linked climate change to weather, and it has resonated with the press, the public, and powerful policymakers. But that day, Francis knew that many of her colleagues—including some in that room—were deeply skeptical of the idea, and irritated by its high profile.

Read the entire article at ScienceMag.org »

Sneeze, wheeze, allergies: Valley’s drought making it worse

The drought is drying up Valley farms — but not noses. The dry, warm spring has kicked allergy season into overdrive. Pollen counts began spiking early, in February instead of their typical arrival this month, and except for a storm or two in March there hasn’t been rain to wash the pollen away. In addition to starting earlier, the pollen season could last longer, said Dr. Leonard Bielory, a professor at Rutgers University Center for Environmental Prediction in New Jersey.

Read the entire article at The Modesto Bee »