Heard on the Hill: Love is in the air for really old insects, too; Obama’s budget reflects increases in many higher ed programs; those against the “woo” in Rock Chalk Chant appear to be gaining ground

Your happy Valentine’s Day edition of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• Nothing says Valentine’s Day like insects in love. And a KU professor has helped use really old insect fossils to help resurrect a love song from the Jurassic period.

Michael Engel, KU’s entomology curator, has recreated the mating call of the insect. The researchers were able to look closely at the wing structure to determine how they might have sounded when rubbed together.

You can hear it here.

The research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The really old cricket song has even inspired a YouTube duet with some nice, angst-y lyrics. A sample below, along with the video:

“oh you ancient cricket

where ever you are

i’m reaching out to from the future

i know your lonely heart”

I don’t know if that will make any Valentine’s Day cards, but there you have it.

• Here’s a quick look at who got Happy Valentine’s Day cards in President Barack Obama’s 2013 fiscal year budget, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Pell Grant maximums would go up to $5,635, an $85 increase. There’s the $1 billion “Race to the Top” fund to reward colleges that keep prices down and value high.

More money, too, for federal work study ($1.1 billion), and the Perkins Loan Program (from $1 billion to $8 billion). But the formula for the programs, as Inside Higher Ed reports, would be reworked to reward colleges who graduate students who get jobs and pay off their loans while keeping net tuition low.

Research also got a nice Valentine’s Day smooch in the budget, as the National Institutes of Health got no net funding increase, but new policies would increase the money available for research grants by 7 percent (surely good news for KU’s Cancer Center, which is looking for some of that grant money this year in the form of National Cancer Institute designation).

The National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Standards and Technology Laboratories and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, would all see increased budgets in Obama’s plan.

Republicans in Congress will still have a say, though, before anything is settled.

• One group who’s definitely feeling more loved these days are the legion of basketball fans who have campaigned against the “woo” in the Rock Chalk Chant.

I’ve been keeping up on the posts in the Facebook group (which now boasts more than 1,100 members), and they seem to indicate that the “woo” was nearly non-existent at the Oklahoma State game.

They’re close to declaring victory, it seems. The effort got quite a bit of media attention (after Heard on the Hill mentioned it, of course), and, while I haven’t heard it myself recently, it seems as if students might be agreeing with the anti-woo crowd.

• I’ll be your Valentine if you submit a tip for Heard on the Hill to ahyland@ljworld.com.