Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.
• What do KU mascots do in the summer, when there’s no school-sanctioned sporting events for them to prowl around at?
Apparently, they get to participate in a few events of their own, at the Mascot Games, a charity event held in Florida at the end of July that involves all sorts of mascots competing in gladiator-themed games.
It’s the 19th year for the event, which benefits the Orlando-based New Hope for Kids charity, which grants wishes to ailing children.
Both Big Jay and Baby Jay participated this summer, though they were split up into different teams.
Baby Jay was on the red team, with Stormy of the Carolina Hurricanes, Junction Jack of the Houston Astros, Sabretooth of the Buffalo Sabres, Bucky Badger from the University of Wisconsin and Rocky the Bull from the University of South Florida.
Big Jay was on the green team, with Rowdy of the Dallas Cowboys, Rax from the Buffalo Bandits, Lil Red from the University of Nebraska, Storm Dawg from the Tampa Bay Storm, Rodney Ram from Virginia Commonwealth University and Alberta from the University of Florida.
I’d have figured the green team would have been superior (I wouldn’t mess with anything named Storm Dawg). But an event organizer told me (yes, I actually sent an email to get the results of the competition), Baby Jay’s team was the one that managed to take home a first-place finish in one of the three different competitions the mascots held.
• If it’s a little hot for you, you might want to consider hooking up with KU’s ecology and evolutionary biology department.
Because they get to take trips to Antarctica. I don’t know about you, but a nice long sojourn to a vast, frozen land would do me just fine these days.
Andrew Schwendemann, a doctoral student working under Thomas N. Taylor, distinguished professor of paleobiology, made the trip last winter, when it probably wasn’t as fun.
He was looking for fossilized plant roots from 240 million years ago to provide evidence of the oldest known plant-fungi symbiotic relationship.
According to a post on the KU Biodiversity Institute’s website, the relationship allowed the fungus to obtain carbon from the plant, and the plant to obtain nutrients from the fungus.
Schwendemann went to Antarctica last winter in the Transantarctic Mountains, and came back with 10,300 pounds of fossils.
The plant-fungus research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
• If you’re looking for something to do after the first full day of classes this semester on Aug. 22, you can meander over to the Lied Center that evening for some hypnosis from stage hypnotist Michael C. Anthony, in a free event sponsored by Student Union Activities.
The event is intended for KU students, and volunteers will be taken from the audience. So if listening to professors explain syllabi all day long won’t put you to sleep, this should serve as another opportunity.
• You’re getting sleepy… very sleepy… you’re loading up your email program… you’re typing “email@example.com” in the “To” box… you’re sending me a tip for Heard on the Hill… very sleepy… you’re slowly — very slowly — clicking “Send”…