October 1, 2014

Business & technology: Making advances in Florida

Advances are being made in the fields of business, engineering, computer science, agriculture, physical education, astronomy, history, psychology, politics, marine science and music.

Amy Keller | 6/1/2012

Marine Science

» Hello, Old Chum
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In 2001, after a spate of highly publicized shark attacks, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission banned shark feeding on the basis that it was altering the animals’ natural foraging behavior. But research out of the University of Miami suggests otherwise. Neil Hammerschlag and his team monitored the movement of tiger sharks along the coast of Florida, where feeding is banned, and in the Bahamas, where dive operators use chum to attract sharks. Hammerschlag expected the tiger sharks in the Bahamas to hang around the chumming sites year-round. “But it’s not influencing their long-term migrations,” he says. “The take-home message of this study,” Hammerschlag says, “is rather than rushing to make conclusions based on fear, we should actually do the science and base our policies on fact and the data.”

Shark
[Photo: Jim Abernathy]

Music

» Preemie Pacifier
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One of the biggest hurdles that premature babies face is learning the breathe-suck-swallow reflex. A device invented by Jayne Standley, a longtime researcher and professor in the Florida State University College of Music, helps speed the process. Stanley invented a musical pacifier that encourages babies to learn this reflex through a pacifier that plays a soft lullaby every time they successfully suck on it. FSU has licensed the PAL (Pacifier Activated Lullaby) device to a startup in St. Johns County called Powers Device Technologies. The company expects its first units to begin reaching hospitals in the next couple of months.

Musical Pacifier
A musical pacifer helps premature babies learn the breathe-suck-swallow reflex. [Photo: Bill Lax/Florida State Universiy]

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Comic-book and gaming stores are expanding across Florida. The state's major comic & video game themed conventions continue to generate increased interest and revenue. What's your level of participation in the world of comics & gaming?

  • All in! I love gaming and/or comics! We're in a new Golden Age of entertainment!
  • I manage the occasional game or graphic novel, from time to time...
  • Does Candy Crush count?
  • Are you kidding? I don't have time for any of that stuff...

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