Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.
• USA Today released earlier this month its annual list of expenditures and revenues in big-time college sports.
KU’s athletics corporation brought in $74.8 million in revenue and spent just under $72 million.
One interesting bit from the report is that contributions to athletics seem to have fallen off since 2008, when they took in $37 million. In 2010, that had fallen to $16.2 million (you remember what was going on in 2010, right?). In 2011, the year this report was taken, contributions had gone back up to $18.8 million.
There may be some reason to question those contribution figures, however. One thing that raised a few eyebrows back when this data was released was the seemingly huge profit margins Kansas State was seeing, as they reported $69.9 million in revenue and $46 million in expenses.
“We had a great year, but we didn’t put $23 million in the bank,” assistant athletic director Kenny Lannou told the Kansas City Star. “We’re probably in the neighborhood of a $3-$4-million cash surplus.”
He told the paper that several large contributions were actually pledges that will be distributed over several years and were listed as one-time donations on the report.
• Thanks to a few tipsters who alerted me to some reviews of a new book written by Laura Moriarty, a local author and KU creative writing assistant professor.
USA Today named her as a “Hot summer author” in this one, because “Downton Abbey” actress Elizabeth McGovern narrates the audiobook of the upcoming “The Chaperone,” which is due to be released on June 5.
The newspaper offered a brief description of the plot:
“In 1922, Louise Brooks, the Kansas teenager who will be transformed into a star of the silent screen, travels to New York for dance lessons accompanied by Cora Carlisle, a middle-aged chaperone who has hidden motives for taking the trip.”
They also mention that Cora is the name of the character McGovern plays on Downton Abbey (and, yes, I’ll admit I’ve actually seen an episode or two of the PBS show). Moriarty said if she’d realized that she probably would have chosen a new name.
• Apparently, being outside is good for the noggin.
That’s a lesson learned from an upcoming paper from KU psychologist Ruth Ann Atchley that was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal recently.
She measured the “mental benefits of hiking in the middle of nowhere,” by partnering with the nonprofit Outward Bound, which apparently takes people on those sojourns to the middle of nowhere.
The results? Hikers in the middle of nature showed a nearly 50 percent increase in their performance on a standard test of creativity, the newspaper reported.
"There's a growing advantage over time to being in nature," Atchley told the newspaper. "We think that it peaks after about three days of really getting away, turning off the cellphone. It's when you have an extended period of time surrounded by that softly fascinating environment that you start seeing all kinds of positive effects in how your mind works."
• OK, so this time, everyone should go outside before thinking up all those tips you’re going to send me at email@example.com. That way, they’ll be super-creative and stuff.