UA in the News: Jan. 21, 2015

University of Alabama history professor Forrest McDonald remembered as ‘giant’ in his field
Tuscaloosa News – Jan. 20
“Friends and former colleagues remembered University of Alabama history professor emeritus Forrest McDonald as a giant in his field, an internationally-known scholar whose passion in the classroom also made him a favorite on campus. “He was a giant. I think that is the best word to summarize it,” said George Rable, the Charles Summersell Chair in Southern History at UA. McDonald, a distinguished university research professor emeritus of history, died Tuesday at Hospice of West Alabama. He was 89.

UA student veterans, CAPS director comment on new voting technology
Fox 6 (Birmingham) – Jan. 19
Alabama gets to be a trailblazer this election cycle. For the first time, overseas military will be able to cast votes online.

Rival programs raise awareness for wildlife conservation
Crimson White – Jan. 20
On the sidelines of a football game Big Al and The Tiger are full of life, but in the wild their counterparts are being killed at an alarming rate. So while The University of Alabama and Clemson University’s football teams took to the field as rivals, Alabama’s Tide for Tusks and Clemson’s Tigers for Tigers took to social media as partners in the fight for conservation. Created at the University in 2013, Tide for Tusks raises awareness for the poaching of African elephants and works to promote a deeper understanding of the trafficking of endangered wildlife.  Similarly, Tigers for Tigers is a national coalition that is present on eight college campuses with tiger mascots. They work to prevent tiger extinction and raise awareness regarding poaching, trafficking and habitat loss.

Morgan County home sales increase in November second best in state
Decatur Daily – Jan. 21
The possibility of increased interest rates on home loans appears to have fueled an increase in home sales in Morgan County in November, when sales for the month jumped 20 percent from the previous November. The 83 homes sold in the county in November — the latest data available — were a 20.3 percent increase from 69 houses sold in November 2014, according to the University of Alabama’s Alabama Center for Real Estate. Only Lee County, with a 29 percent increase for the month, fared better than Morgan County. Freddie Thomas, president of the Morgan County Association of Realtors, said mortgage interest rates hovering in the 4 percent range helped fuel the increase.

Mentally Challenging Activities Key to a Healthy Aging Mind
Bio Science Technology – Jan. 19
One of the greatest challenges associated with the growing numbers of aged adults is how to maintain a healthy aging mind. Taking up a new mental challenge such as digital photography or quilting may help maintain cognitive vitality, say researchers reporting in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience. Recent evidence suggests that engaging in enjoyable and enriching lifestyle activities may be associated with maintaining cognitive vitality. However, the underlying mechanism accounting for cognitive enhancement effects have been poorly understood … Ian McDonough, who is now an assistant professor of Psychology at the University of Alabama and was first author on the study, said: “The study clearly illustrates that the enhanced neural efficiency was a direct consequence of participation in a demanding learning environment. The findings superficially confirm the familiar adage regarding cognitive aging of ‘Use it or lose it.'”