Jan. 7, 2014
Andrew Francis, an associate professor of economics, recently won one of five Senior Superlative prizes handed out by the National Public Radio Show The Academic Minute. Francis topped the “Most Likely to Blow Your Mind” category for his evaluation of exactly which pill started the sexual revolution.
“Traditional explanations for this sexual revolution have focused on the spread of the birth control pill, increasingly permissive attitudes toward sex, and shifting moral values during the 1960s and 1970s,” Francis said in an interview broadcast on NPR. “Many interrelated factors undoubtedly played a role in shaping modern sexuality. Nevertheless, in a recently published study, I explored a rather surprising explanation: the discovery of penicillin.”
Penicillin led to a drastic reduction in the number of syphilis cases and deaths from 1947-1957, and Francis found that risky sexual behavior began to rise during the mid to late 1950s, a period coinciding with the drop in syphilis cases. He continued: “I also discovered that risky sexual behavior was inversely associated with syphilis deaths…. these results had fascinating implications. For one, they cast the sexual revolution in a new light. Also, they implied that the emergence of HIV/AIDS in the early 1980s was facilitated by the collapse of syphilis in the 1950s.”
Francis published his findings in a 2013 issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior.
To hear the entire interview, click here.
Dec. 11, 2013
According to recently published research by Emily Bianchi, assistant professor of organization and management, well-educated college graduates who earned their degrees in a recession are more satisfied with their jobs.
The findings appear in her paper “The Bright Side of Bad Times: The Affective Advantages of Entering the Workforce in a Recession,” published in the most recent issue of Administrative Science Quarterly.
Bianchi analyzed data from two large government-run surveys that have been active since the 1970s, and a third cross-sectional study. She found that they showed that people who earned their degrees during economic downturns were more satisfied with their current jobs than those who first looked for work during more prosperous economic times. In the paper, she concluded that “while past research on job satisfaction has focused largely on situational and dispositional antecedents, these results suggest that early workforce conditions also can have lasting implications for how people affectively evaluate their jobs.”
An article about the study on the Emory News Center website stated that the findings are surprising given the well-documented negative financial aspects of graduating in a recession. Recession graduates earn less money and often hold less prestigious jobs. Bianchi argues that this conclusion is consistent with recent research in psychology that reveals that some adversity is associated with greater happiness than either too much or too little. “Too much adversity can be emotionally debilitating,” Bianchi said. “Too little can weaken resilience, allowing people to magnify and exaggerate the bumps of everyday life.”
Yahoo News also picked up the story.
Nov. 13, 2013
A pair of fossilized footprints discovered by an Emory paleontologist are thought to be Australia’s oldest known bird tracks. The thin-toed prints were pressed into a sandy riverbank more than 100 million years ago, according to Anthony Martin, professor of practice in the Department of Environmental Studies. Martin specializes in trace fossils, including those of tracks, burrows, and nests.
“These tracks are evidence that we had sizeable, flying birds living alongside other kinds of dinosaurs on these polar, river floodplains, about 105 million years ago,” according to Martin.
The tracks were likely made by two individual birds that were about the size of a great egret or small heron. Rear-pointing toes helped distinguish the tracks as avian, as opposed to a third nearby fossil track that was discovered at the same time that were made by a theropod, a two-footed non-avian dinosaur.
Martin added that a long drag mark on one of the two bird tracks particularly interested him: “I immediately knew what it was—a flight landing track—because I've seen many similar tracks made by egrets and herons on the sandy beaches of Georgia.”
An analysis of the footprints written by Martin and his colleagues at Monash University and the Museum Victoria in Melbourne appear in a recent issue of the journal Paleontology. The story was also picked up by a number of other publications.
To read about Anthony’s findings in Science Daily, click here.
To read about the findings on NBC News, click here.
To read the research paper in Paleontology, click here.
Photo Credit: Anthony Martin