Monthly Archives: May 2011

Making classical music with young musicians for 60 years!

If you put 100 children ages 6-12 in a room for an hour and a half, you’d expect a fair amount of squirming, right? This is the era of the shortened attention span, after all. Some giggling here, whispering there, one or two sharp rebukes?

Not at rehearsals of the Youth Orchestras of Fresno (YOOF), continues the above nice article in the Fresno Bee, about the concert coming up this Sunday to mark the 60th anniversary of YOOF. As you may know from a previous posting here, my older daughter, Sanzari, has been playing violin with YOOF for a couple of years now. She will be on stage again on Sunday, as part of a much larger group of musicians, mostly young, but also some older alumni creating some unique sounds. Try to be at the Saroyan Theatre in downtown Fresno for the concert if you can (see YOOF website linked above for ticket info).

The two younger groups within YOOF – Youth Chamber and Youth Symphony Orchestras – performed another concert on May 15th. Here are some images I was able to capture of the young kids enjoying making some wonderful music led by their irrepressibly energetic and buoyant conductor Thomas Loewenheim.

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

I tried to capture the mood with close-ups, sticking to my 300mm telephoto lens for the most part – let me know what you think of the results. Oh, and note that it was Kaberi who posted the images to her Flickr account before I got around to it – so the link will take you to her photostream!

Monsoonal mood outside my California window

Is this a May afternoon in central California? Or along the west coast of my native India? Have I fallen asleep, and let my seasonal nostalgia, that longing for the real monsoon, drag me halfway around the world? How, where, did this rare moody monsoonal storm come from, here now?

Posted via email from a leaf warbler’s gleanings

From Silent Spring to Silent Night: A Tale of Toads and Men

As the semester winds down here at Fresno State, the Tri Beta Biology Club has a couple more special treats for us. For this week’s Biology Colloquium, we bring you a real role model in Dr. Tyrone Hayes, an African American field biologist (yes, they exist, despite the stereotype) who became one of the youngest Full Professors at the University of California Berkeley. He will share his groundbreaking (and corporation-shaking) research on the effects of the herbicide Atrazine on amphibians, a taxon that has been in global decline for some time now, with pesticides hammering some of the nails in their collective coffin. Here’s an excerpt about Dr. Hayes’ work from the PBS documentary Frogs: The Thin Green Line:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBbkwlGM7X0&hl=en&fs=1&hd=1]

And if that isn’t enough to grab your interest, this might:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MxrH4lN0-A&hl=en&fs=1]
Here are details of the colloquium:
Tri Beta Biology Club presents:

FROM SILENT SPRING TO SILENT NIGHT: A TALE OF TOADS AND MEN


Dr. Tyrone Hayes
Professor of Integrative Biology
University of Californa, Berkeley
on Friday, May 6, 2011
at 3:00 PM in AG 109 (download maps here)

The herbicide, atrazine, is a potent endocrine disruptor. My laboratory’s studies in amphibians have shown that atrazine both demasculinizes and feminizes exposed males at levels as low as 0.1 ppb. Our previous worked examined morphological effects, including the loss of androgen-dependent sexually dimorphic features, and the development of estrogen-dependent features in exposed males. These findings are consistent with an induction of aromatase, resulting in decreased androgen secretion and inappropriate estrogen synthesis and secretion. Our ongoing studies focus on behavioral effects in male frogs exposed throughout life and demonstrate both the loss of male reproductive behavior and the induction of female-typical behavior in exposed males. These data on amphibians and the proposed mechanism are consistent with findings across vertebrate classes, including humans, and raise concern about the role of this common environmental contaminant in reproductive hormone-dependent cancers and declining fertility in humans.

Call the Biology department (559•278•2001) for more information. You can also download the flyer here.