Covered.CA registration session

Coffee or Health Care?

With the deadline quickly approaching to sign up for health care through Covered California, there’s a big push on campus to educate students, their families and part-time SJSU employees about the program, and help them sign up. An estimated six percent of the SJSU student population or 1,800 students are uninsured.

“One thing we learned from a survey last year is that students aren’t coming from the perspective that they feel invincible, or aren’t interested in health insurance. They just assumed they couldn’t afford it,” said Professor Anji Buckner, SJSU health science lecturer and faculty lead on the CSU Health Insurance Education Project (HIEP).

As Low As $1 Monthly

Professor Buckner says students are surprised to find out that health coverage through Covered California can cost as little as a dollar a month. She says, in general, SJSU students are paying anywhere from $1 to $100 month, depending on the type of plan they choose, and the subsidies they qualify for.

Students who earn less than $16,000 a year, and who are not dependents, are eligible for free health insurance through Medi -Cal. Professor Buckner asks students, “How many cups of coffee do you buy a week, because you may be able to buy health insurance for about the same price.”

$325 Fine

The CSU Health Insurance Education Project has emphasized the tax penalty more this year because the fine for not having health insurance in 2015 has tripled to $325, or two percent of annual income, whichever is greater. The deadline to apply for Covered California is Feb. 15.

“I think it’s important for students to understand what their rights and responsibilities are in order to make informed decisions and realize the consequences,” said Professor Buckner.

Students can learn more about different health care plans and costs by attending an enrollment support event 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Clark Hall Fishbowl rooms.

egg logger

Gaining a Birds-eye View

Did you know some wild birds turn their eggs 50 to 60 times a day during nesting season? Or in some species, the temperature of an egg inside a nest drops about 2.5 degrees from day to night?

Those are just some of the findings Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Scott Shaffer discovered during recent studies with his new high-tech egg loggers.

“The egg loggers open up a lot of new territory to explore what the birds are doing,” said Professor Shaffer, a wildlife biologist in the College of Science.

Micro-electronic eggs

Associate Professor Scott Shaffer

Associate Professor Scott Shaffer (photo by Muhamed Causevic, ’15 BFA Graphic Design)

The egg loggers look like real eggs, but they’re far from it. The eggs are plastic, and made on a 3-D printer. Inside are micro-electronics similar to those used in smart devices such as tablets and cell phones.

An accelerometer and magnetometer measure motion and angle changes in three dimensions, and a thermistor monitors temperature.

Each sensor takes a reading every second, and gives researchers more definite estimates to calculate three-dimensional movements, and create 3-D animations of movement patterns, something not available until now.

Improving hatching rates

Egg turning is critical for embryonic development in most bird species. The information provided by the egg loggers could help researchers learn how to improve hatching rates of artificially incubated eggs.

In addition, researchers are seeking to better understand how man-made disturbances affect hatching success, and even learn how birds laden with certain contaminates like mercury influence hormone levels.

Shaffer and his team developed advanced egg loggers and placed them in the nests of five different-size bird species in geographic locations ranging from the tropics to Antarctica.

The research was funded in part by the California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB).

egg logger

The egg loggers look like real eggs, but they’re far from it (photo by Muhamed Causevic, ’15 BFA Graphic Design).

Technology aiding ecology

“From an ecological view, my long-term goal is to investigate whether birds turn their eggs differently based on the number of eggs in a nest, nest type, age and experience of parent birds, or breeding environment,” Professor Shaffer said.

Bio-logging technology has been used since the mid 1960s, but rapid changes in microprocessors have reduced component size and increased the sophistication of senor technology.

“It allows us to study wild animals in ways that weren’t possible 30 or 40 years ago,” Shaffer said.

“The Barbershop Diaries” Debuts

What’s in a barbershop? One heck of a story.

At a shop just blocks from campus, meet the owner, an engineering college dropout seeking salvation after serving time; his old college buddy, now a Hollywood star; a lesbian barber juggling a domestic relationship and her mother’s stage-four breast cancer; a Muslim struggling to find a quiet place to pray between cuts; an Ethiopian immigrant spending his jobless benefits on barber school; and many more people who have found a home at the Barbers Inc.

Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications Michael Cheers and his students premiere their documentary “The Barbershop Diaries” 3 p.m. Feb. 8 at Morris Dailey Auditorium. They’ll also unveil an online portrait gallery saluting South Bay barbers and beauty salon owners.

 

Lights, Camera, Action: New TV Studio Opens

Update Crew

A large green screen spans the wall behind the wood and glass anchor desk, which was donated by NBC Bay Area (School of Journalism and Mass Communications image).

Next time you watch the student TV news program “Update News,” you’ll be catching more than just the latest news stories.

You’ll see a crisp, high-definition picture, next generation LED lighting, professional graphics and a sleek news set – all made possible by a new technically advanced studio.  The facility will be used for all kinds of video productions.

Students can practice being on camera on a professional set for delivering news, making commercials, even an audition tape. It’s wonderful,” said Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications Diane Guerrazzi.

Students are producing “Update News” in the new space now, and will begin taping the PBS news magazine “Equal Time” there this semester. Studio and Engineering Manager Juan Serna says with new skills, “students can leave here and get a job” in the profession.

Master control room and studio

Crews gutted the 30-year old analog studio, and built the new structure from scratch in 2014. The facility has two rooms: a 420-square-foot master control room, and a 900-square-foot studio.

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

Photo: Christina Olivas

The master control room is the operation’s central command center, containing large HD monitors, a multi-camera switcher, news computer system and a motion graphics system.

The studio is where the anchors sit. A large green screen spans the wall behind the wood and glass anchor desk, which was donated by NBC Bay Area. Three Sony HD cameras sit in front of the news set, and an LED light grid hangs overhead.  Both rooms are handicap accessible.

The new technology and advanced facility is allowing students to produce the same high quality newscasts that professional broadcasters do. They can create professional newscasts including shots from other locations, write copy with sophisticated newsroom software, and create motion graphics to help tell their stories.

Open for business

The $800,000 studio was paid for by an $8.7 million dollar endowment from the late Jack and Emma Anderson.  Guerazzi says, “the endowment was an amazing gift. So needed.”

Photo: Christina Olivas

Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications Diane Guerrazzi and Studio and Engineering Manager Juan Serna. Photo: Christina Olivas

The journalism school plans to work with other SJSU departments and outside groups. It wants to generate enough revenue from projects to pay costs and for advances over time. For now, the value for media students getting a unique, hands-on learning experience is priceless.

campus gate with clouds

California Shatters Weather Record

campus gate with clouds

Climate change hit home in 2014, when California shattered hot weather records, according to the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science (David Schmitz photo).

California shattered its all-time annual temperature record in 2014 with record highs throughout the state. Data from San Jose State University’s Department of Meteorology and Climate Science shows the annual average temperature in the state spiked unexpectedly in 2014.

The average temperature in the Golden State in 2014 was 63 degrees Fahrenheit. That is 4 degrees above normal and more than 2 degrees hotter than the previous high set during the Dust Bowl era – 1934.

While many of us were worrying about the drought, we were quietly crushing previous temperature records for our state,” said Alison Bridger, chair of the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science.

Professor Bridger attributes the record heat to climate change, driven by increasing amounts of greenhouse gases. Last week, both NOAA and NASA announced that 2014 was the warmest year on record when averaged for the entire globe.

“The record California heat brings the reality of climate change closer to home for all of us in the state,” she said.

El Nino, Drought

Data from the state has long shown steady warming, but 2014 was exceptional. Eugene Cordero, professor, Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, says the rising temperature can impact the state in many ways:

“Warmer temperatures directly affect our agriculture, not to mention precious water resources,” Professor Cordero said.

Both Bridger and Cordero emphasized that the global warmth of 2014 is particularly remarkable since it was a non-El Nino year.  Oceans store heat, which is pumped into the atmosphere during an El Nino event.  When the next big El Nino develops, scientists around the world expect the atmosphere to heat up even more.

The data comes from the Congressional Temperature Trends report compiled by Professor Cordero, University of Maryland Associate Research Scientist, Clark Weaver and colleagues.  The report uses annual temperature records from NOAA’s National Climate Data Center.