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CAS in the Media Arts and Sciences Media Headlines

How Accurate Are Dog Years?

Up until recently, we thought that one year of human life equaled seven dog years. The origins of that myth are unknown. What we do know is that people have been trying to figure out a way to calculate dog years in human years since the 1200s.

An early example of this is an inscription at Westminster Abbey that dates back to the year 1268. Its inscription explains that one human year is equivalent to nine dog years. About 50 years ago, scientists lowered that number to seven. William Fortney, a Kansas State University veterinarian, told The Wall Street Journal, “My guess is it was a marketing ploy. It was a way to encourage owners to bring in their pets at least once a year.”

While scientists, veterinarians, and dog lovers have been trying to debunk the dog-years myth, it persists in books, news articles, and the popular imagination. “You can’t really kill the seven-year rule,” says Kelly M. Cassidy, curator of a biology museum at Washington State University, who in her spare time maintains an online compilation of dog-longevity studies.

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Frank S. Matsura: Portraits from the Borderlands photo exhibit to open at the MAC

Photographer Frank Sakae Matsura spent less than a decade in northern Washington state in the early 20th century but left an unforgettable visual legacy of the Okanogan River Valley.

Matsura, born in Japan in 1873, grew up in Tokyo. His family, from a line of samurai warriors, was aristocratic but he was orphaned and raised by an aunt and uncle, who taught him English at a school they started.

At some point, he was trained to use cameras and process photographs, and his prospects changed.

It’s not clear why, but Matsura left Japan in his 20s, and traveled to the Seattle area, and he briefly visited Alaska. In 1903, he answered a newspaper ad for a cook’s helper in the Elliott Hotel in Conconully, Washington, and stepped off a stagecoach in a frontier area where farmers were planting orchards, workers were building an irrigation dam and small towns were popping up wherever settlers put down roots.

While working at the hotel, Matsura also snapped photos and processed them in the hotel laundry.

Around 1907, Matsura opened a two-room photography studio in the town of Okanogan, where he did portrait sessions, sold postcards, novelty photos and scenic pictures. The diminutive man mostly used a 5-by-7 view camera to document the people and landscape of the Okanogan Valley for several years, creating an impressive portfolio of work that is still treasured today for the depth and breadth of the subject matter and the detail of the photos.

Michael Holloman.

Washington State University art and history professor Michael Holloman, who is also an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, has edited a group of Matsura’s portraits of American Indian neighbors into a new exhibit called “Frank S. Matsura: Portraits from the Borderland” which opens Saturday at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.

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The Spokesman Review

Sorry, weed probably does not make you more creative

Many cannabis users are convinced that the drug not only heightens their mood, but also their creativity.

Creative luminaries also seem to endorse this idea. Steve Jobs said that marijuana and hashish would make him “relaxed and creative” while astronomer and author Carl Sagan believed that cannabis helps produce “serenity and insight.” In the artistic sphere, Lady Gaga said she smokes “a lot of pot” when writing music, and Louis Armstrong called marijuana “an assistant and friend.”

Despite these popular beliefs about the creative potency of cannabis, scientific consensus has remained hazy. Now new research suggests that cannabis may not be a gateway drug to creativity after all.

Cannabis users tended to rate high on the openness personality trait, meaning they were more likely to seek out new experiences, which itself was bound to creativity. When researchers accounted for openness, the cannabis-creativity connection was no longer up to snuff.

Carrie Cuttler.

“This suggests that people who are open to experience are more likely to use cannabis, and they’re also more likely to be creative,” said Carrie Cuttler, psychology professor at Washington State University and an author of the study.

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The Washington Post
Independent Online

WSU Emeritus/Emerita Society gives awards, grants to undergraduate researchers

Members of CAS in anthropology, English, earth sciences, mathematics, and psychology are among those who received awards from the Washington State University Emeritus/Emerita Society for their research in arts and humanities.

“It’s a pleasure for the members of our Society to recognize the great research projects that our students are undertaking in subjects that span so many disciplines at WSU,” said Larry Fox, retired veterinary science and animal sciences professor. He represented the organization at the April 13 ceremonies where the seven students were honored. That event was hosted by the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement.

“This year’s award and grant recipients’ research and scholarship projects are among the best we’ve seen, and we look forward to seeing their work continue,” Fox said. “We wish that our support will help with that.”

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WSU Insider 

MLK Spirit Awards honor those making WSU a welcoming place

Several members of the College of Arts and Sciences were among 22 members of the broader Washington State University community honored with MLK Spirit Awards of 2023. The awards celebrate the life, legacy, and spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. by recognizing people who are dedicated to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice (DEIJ) and continue King’s work in an extraordinary way.


Chioma Heim, academic advisor in the Department of Psychology and a member of the MLK Spirit Award selection committee, said the winners have done amazing work to make WSU and Washington state more welcoming places for everyone.

“They are contributing in ways that will have long-lasting impacts in our communities,” Heim said. “They deserve to be recognized and celebrated.”

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WSU Insider