Archive for Thursday, March 15, 2012

Heard on the Hill: More brackets track everything from social media impact to proximity to equator; brown recluse research gets national attention; journalism school makes top 10 list

March 15, 2012


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• Boy, there sure are a ton of ways you can have a competition among the 68 teams in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament.

Everyone, apparently, loves a good bracket and a good competition. So people all over the place have been having competitions among teams in the tournament pool.

KU won this one, which measured teams’ “Social Media Power Ranking.”

This was, admittedly, an inexact science. Here’s how they came up with the rankings: the number of Facebook fans for each college basketball team plus the number of Twitter followers for each college basketball Twitter handle, all divided by the number of students attending the university. At least, divided by what Wikipedia says the number of students attending the university is.

Colleague Christine Metz pointed me to the site, which has a whole host of crazy brackets. (Florida wins the closest-to-the-equator bracket!)

Christine, a proud Lehigh graduate, was eager to point out that her university’s $57,200 median starting salary was good enough to make the Mountain Hawks national champs. (KU didn’t make it out of the first round in that one, by the way).

I told her as long as Lehigh beats Duke, it’s all good.

ABC News picked up on some KU research on the brown recluse spider that we wrote about last May.

Erin Saupe, a KU graduate student, did her master’s thesis on the brown recluse spider and how climate change may mean the spider will move northward to states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York.

And after all that, she got to be featured on a national news site, too. Although she wasn't as vociferous as some of the academics quoted, who resorted to mild curse words to describe the media's coverage of spider bites.

• College Magazine has honored KU’s School of Journalism as one of the (unranked) top 10 in the country, according to this online list.

The magazine said it considered “admittance criteria, distinguished faculty, ranked campus media outlets, available technology and internship opportunities” when creating its list.

• I’ll stop writing about silly brackets soon, I promise. It’ll help if you send me good tips to


Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

One of the stupidest statements that I have ever heard a woman make was about the brown recluse spider. I knew full well that the location and construction of her home made it a virtual certainty that they were in the walls, I fully understand what the habits of the brown recluse spider are, how to recognize them, and the ways in which people get bitten by them.

So, I once started to explain to her how she and her young daughters could easily avoid any problems by simply being aware of them, recognizing them, and using a very few simple precautions.

She immediately and very loudly interrupted me by telling me that she didn't want to hear any of that, because she was once bitten by one and almost died.

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