A&S in the News – Oct. 21- 28

Stars Exhibit Mysterious Behavior
ITech Post – Oct. 22

The universe has many mysteries that astronomers are still trying to figure out. As new discoveries are made, new questions are being raised as well. Many stars are still a mystery, and some stars do have peculiar behavior, such as those that have been found to have conditions that should have destroyed them yet are instead building them up. Dr. Jimmy Irwin is an astronomer from the University of Alabama an Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy. He is joined by a team of three undergraduate student researchers. Together they have discovered that there has been a massive flare of energy from X-ray binary stars in two galaxies, according to Science Daily.

Halloween and child development: Does trick-or-treating help our kids learn to socialize?
AL.com – Oct. 27

Plenty of parents understand the value Halloween can bring to their children’s lives, though it actually goes a little further than padding their annual collection of candy. Parent-child activities associated with the holiday incorporate core developmental exercises for children, plus the season help nurture important social skills during the school year, according to one psychology professor at the University of Alabama. Ansley Gilpin, UA associate professor of psychology and lead researcher at UA’s “Knowledge in Development Lab,” says that parents should seize the opportunity to be creative, get outside and spend time with their children. The developmental benefits might surprise you. “Halloween is age-scalable, too,” Gilpin said, according to UA News. “A baby is happy to go out and see things, touch a pumpkin, crumble leaves in their hands – it’s an enriching experience. For toddlers, they get to taste things they haven’t eaten before, experience a new art project, get to dress up and pretend.

A history of Halloween
Montgomery Advertiser – Oct. 27

Warty-nosed witches, ghouls, goblins, Transformers, princesses and clowns stalking neighborhood streets upon nightfall for the sweet taste of candy wasn’t always what Halloween was about. Michael J. Altman, an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Alabama who specializes in American religious cultures, said thousands of years ago, Halloween started as European harvest festival celebrations, such as the Wicca holiday of Samhain. “So the pre-Christian tradition of Halloween was an end of the season festival going from the period of the year where we go from life, which is agriculturally having grown all of our crops and harvested them, to transitioning to winter where crops die and the days became shorter and nights become longer,” Altman said. “And, along with those long nights of no crops came people thinking about the dead. The agricultural metaphors were a big part of it. Even though all of us don’t farm nowadays, we still feel that transition from the heat of summer and its brightness, to the cold, longer nights and dead leaves of winter. So, that idea has stayed with us.”

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