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Center for Arts and Humanities named for David G. Pollart

David Pollart.

Washington State University has announced a generous philanthropic investment in the Center for Arts and Humanities at WSU’s College of Arts and Sciences from alumnus David Pollart to support new educational programs, research, and creative activity that cross traditional academic boundaries. In recognition of his transformational support, the center will be named the David G. Pollart Center for Arts and Humanities.

“The David G. Pollart Center for Arts and Humanities will enhance and grow programming and scholarship in the arts, music and humanities for generations to come,” said Kirk Schulz, president of WSU. “This recent addition to the WSU system offers opportunities for the campus—and public in general—to encounter new ideas and discover new passions. With Mr. Pollart’s investment, the center is poised to reach even greater heights.”

Pollart’s gift of more than $1.5 million provides perpetual annual funding for arts, music and humanities programming, including student engagement opportunities like internships and study abroad. In addition, it will support artist-in-residency collaborations with the Department of Fine Arts, School of Music, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and other humanities departments.

Todd Butler.

“The center was established in 2019 to be a ‘front door’ to the creativity, challenge and meaning that the arts and humanities can bring to all of us,” said Todd Butler, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “David’s gift has flung that door wide-open to magnify the visibility of the arts and humanities across our university, positioning the Pollart Center to thrive for generations to come.”

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WSU Insider


Were These Beetles Once as Valuable as Gemstones?

The discovery of 2,000-year-old, iridescent green figeater beetle (Cotinis mutabilis) jewelry at two sites at Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah may help solve a long-standing historical mystery.

For years, archaeologists have debated why decorative metals and semi-precious stones have never been uncovered in the American Southwest from the period 500 BCE to 500 CE, when Basketmaker II society was in the thick of an agricultural revolution. It’s a major exception to a universal cultural shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture with which those artifacts are almost always associated.

William Lipe.

Archaeologist William D. Lipe, a professor emeritus at Washington State University in Pullman, agrees that the iridescent beetle adornments from Bears Ears were prestige goods and status symbols. But, he says, the artifacts, which date to around 70-60 BCE, are by no means the first ones associated with Basketmaker II society. It’s just that archaeologists have historically interpreted objects made of perishable materials as less valuable than those made from metal or stone, in part because they were less likely to survive the last 2,000 years than the decorative metal and stone goods of other early agricultural societies.

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Atlas Obscura
Real Clear Science

Meteorological analysis of the deadly June 2021 Pacific Northwest heat wave

What was different about the deadly, record-breaking heat wave in June 2021 that made it so much more extreme than anything the Pacific Northwest had experienced before?

Dmitri Kalashnikov.

Like a doctor diagnosing a patient, Portland State University climate scientist Paul Loikith and former PSU master’s student and current Washington State University Vancouver Ph.D. student in environmental science Dmitri Kalashnikov sought out to provide a detailed meteorological analysis of the progression of the heat wave, comparing the atmospheric conditions associated with the 2021 event with other historical events. Their findings are published in the journal Monthly Weather Review.

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Few people seem to find real joy in JOMO

Most people who ranked high in “joy of missing out” or JOMO also reported high levels of social anxiety in a recent Washington State University-led study.

The term JOMO has been popularized as a healthy enjoyment of solitude in almost direct opposition to the negative FOMO, the “fear of missing out” people may have when seeing others having fun experiences without them. In an analysis of two samples of adults, researchers found mixed results when it comes to JOMO with evidence that there is some anxiety behind the joy.

Chris Barry.

“In general, a lot of people like being connected,” said Chris Barry, a WSU psychology professor and lead author of the paper published in Telematics and Informatics Reports. “When trying to assess JOMO, we found that some people were enjoying missing out, not for the solitude or a Zen-like, calming experience of being able to regroup, but more to avoid social interaction.”

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Popular Science
India Engineering News

Ask Dr. Universe: Who invented games?


Board games, video games, a long piece of yarn… I love them all. I took a break from batting around a catnip-filled mouse toy to talk about your question with my friend, Jordan Clapper, a Washington State University professor in languages, cultures, and race, who told me the answer is a mystery.

“That’s almost impossible to know—for some really fun reasons,” Clapper said. “Every culture has games. It even extends beyond being human. If you’ve ever seen a dog or a cat play, they’re playing a game.“

The earliest board game we’ve found is more than 4,600 years old. Archaeologist Leonard Woolley dug it up in a tomb from Sumer (modern-day Iraq). That tomb was in the Royal Cemetery of Ur, so he named it the Royal Game of Ur.

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Dr. Universe