Category Archives: Off-topic but relevant

Off topic: Does football mean anything to students?

Screenshot of student surveyA student group distributed a survey over the weekend, seeking input on GHOE (homecoming, if you’re not from around here). It has come to this: They don’t even bother mentioning the football game in the context of favorite events. Or in the entire survey.

If other events are more popular with students, that’s understandable. Not everyone is a football fan or even a sports fan. But if football isn’t even in the conversation when students are talking about homecoming, it’s worth asking what football and intercollegiate athletics mean to students today.  Do they mean anything?

Considering the national conversation going on about the role of athletics in higher education … and the conversations at HBCUs about the role of athletics at historically black universities … it might be worth asking students how much or how little they care about sports.

And if the GHOE survey is any indication, the next question might be what the intercollegiate athletics program means to the university if it doesn’t engage the students.

Of course, at A&T one answer is obvious: Football provides a reason to have a band.  And with our band, that does matter.  But the day may be coming when someone needs to ask whether that’s all and whether that’s enough.

A story about Ron McNair, wonderfully animated

Ron McNair’s brother, Carl, tells the story. The animation is just beautiful.

This comes from an organization called StoryCorps. Thank you, HBCU Digest, for passing this along.

For those of you who aren’t Aggies, Ron McNair was a graduate of A&T. He is remembered here.

12 thoughts on evolution for a snowy Darwin Day

Tyson: The good thing about science is that it's true whether you believe it or not."

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Maher (from

Darwin Day is observed on February 12 each year. This year in Greensboro, everyone was too busy thinking about how to get home from work to have any thoughts deeper than our seven inches of snow. Today, just about everyone is stuck at home, so we all can think as deeply as we please about anything. Perhaps global warming will relieve humanity of the need to evolve into an animal that can cope with snow.

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
Charles DarwinThe Origin of Species

Creation is not an event that happened in 4004 BC; it is a process that began some 10 billion years ago and is still under way.
Theodosius Dobzhansky, “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution”

Evolution, of course, is not something that simply applies to life here on earth; it applies to the whole universe.
John Polkinghorne

Each human being exists because there’s something they have to offer for the evolution of the universe that only they can fulfill.
Herbie Hancock

Of course in science there are things that are open to doubt and things need to be discussed. But among the things that science does know, evolution is about as certain as anything we know.
Richard Dawkins

Evolution is an indispensable component of any satisfying explanation of our psychology.
Steven Pinker

I’m still my parent’s child, I’m still me, but I made a choice. I evolved into Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I think it has to do with evolution.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Darwin’s theory of evolution is a framework by which we understand the diversity of life on Earth.
Neil deGrasse Tyson

I want to grow. I want to be better. You grow. We all grow. We’re made to grow. You either evolve, or you disappear.
Tupac Shakur

As far as I’m concerned, if there is a supreme being then He chose organic evolution as a way of bringing into existence the natural world … which doesn’t seem to me to be necessarily blasphemous at all.
David Attenborough

I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious views of anyone.
Charles DarwinThe Origin of Species


State senator: 16 UNC campuses may be too many; “We might need to go from 16 down to 15, 14 …”

“I think our members definitely envision that there could be some consolidation between campuses, and we might need to go from 16 down to 15, 14, something like that.”

— State Sen. Pete Brunstetter, co-chairman, Senate Appropriations Committee

Click here for more on the possible closing of entire UNC  campuses.

N.C. A&T STEM Early College students recognized; proposed street extension through farm draws fire

Lab coat for the STEM Early College at N.C. A&T

Photo from WFMY News2,

Two items from the local news media worth noting:

“Some early college students whose experiment will be sent into space got a surprise bonus for their work.

“Six STEM Early College at N.C. A&T students were chosen to send a science experiment to the International Space Station (ISS). As an added bonus on Monday, Guilford County Schools Superintendent Mo Green and NC A&T’s Chancellor, Dr. Harold Martin, presented the students with their own lab coats.”

WFMY News2, via

“Students, professors, alumni and neighbors of N.C. A&T had a word Monday evening for the proposed Florida Street project across part of the school’s 492-acre farm.


“No way should the road be extended from East Lee Street through the new Gateway University Research Center and across part of the A&T farm, an audience of several hundred turned out to say emphatically.”

News & Record




Academic freedom issue at Appalachian State

The News & Observer ( reports today on a controversy involving the Appalachian State administration and a tenured Sociology professor:

Linda Foulsham, director of equity, diversity and compliance, on Dr. Jammie Price: “Her pedagogy appears to be consistently confrontational, belittling, angry, critical, and destructive of the potential for a valuable educational experience for her students. Whether or not students felt demeaned or harassed based on their race, sex, political affiliation, status as an athlete or status as an Appalachian student, there is a consistent pattern of Dr. Price making students feel uncomfortable.”

Dr. Price on the Appalachian State administration: “The whole experience here at App State has been, it’s like going back in time. It’s like it’s 1950 here. … It’s a club. They do whatever they want to do. If a woman says that’s not how it should be or expresses discontent, they put her in her place.”

Aggie Fitness Day (with free fruit smoothies!)

Flyer for Aggie fitness Day

Weekend read: Boom time for Mozambique

A good, long-ish read for the weekend. From The Guardian, “Boom time for Mozambique, once the basket case of Africa”:

“The national currency was the best performing in the world against the dollar. Investment is pouring in on an unprecedented scale; as if to prove that history has a sense of irony, Portuguese feeling Europe’s economic pain are flocking back to the former colony, scenting better prospects than at home. Increasingly this is the rule, not the exception in Africa, which has boasted six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies in the past decade. The first oil discovery in Kenya was confirmed on Monday, while the British firm BG Group announced that one of its gas fields off the Tanzanian coast was bigger than expected and could lead to billions of pounds of investment. Bankers, analysts and politicians have never been so bullish about the continent, which barely 10 years ago was regarded as a basket case.”

50 years later, Attles recalls Wilt’s biggest game

OK, this has nothing to do with research, but it does involve an Aggie worth remembering and his participation in an event the like of which we’re likely to never see. If you’re not interested in basketball, so long and we’ll see you next time.

“On March 2, 1962, Al Attles went 8-for-8 from the field while flipping in 17 points during the Philadelphia Warriors’ victory over the New York Knicks.”

Attles was a second-year player from N.C. A&T.  He had a nice little game that night, but no one noticed then and no one remembers now.  All anyone remembers about that legendary night is Wilt Chamberlain.  At, Attles, a Basketball Hall of Fame member and one of the greatest Aggie athletes ever, reflects on an astounding game and an astounding teammate.

An up-close look at Duke’s lemurs

The Duke Lemur Center has the largest group of lemurs in the world outside their native Madagascar.  Tours are given Mondays through Saturdays (details here), and they give you the opportunity to get a very close look at the little prosimian primates. You’re never going to get a better opportunity without actually going to Madagascar.

A lemur enjoys an afternoon snack at the Duke Lemur Center.

A lemur with a leafy green afternoon snack at the Duke Lemur Center.

Free-ranging lemurs at Duke

Out in the woods: Lemurs who respond well to training get to run free (within limits) when the weather is sufficiently warm (above 40 for three straight days).

Sign at the Lemur Center: "Caution: Animals will bite"

Be advised.