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Donald Trump Didn’t Kill Political Advertising

What worked for him—social media and free media coverage of his rallies—won’t work for most candidates, especially in next year’s midterms.

The failure of campaign ads in the last U.S. presidential race became the conventional wisdom, with the general election seen as the ultimate judge. At the presidential level, the importance of ads remains an open question thanks to the sitting president.

Travis Ridout
Travis Ridout

But Travis Ridout, a government professor at Washington State University, thinks ads still matter—that they’re worth spending millions on. “There is a different dynamic at play,” said Ridout, who co-directs the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks political ads. “When you’re dealing with, say, a House race, oftentimes the challenger isn’t someone people have heard of before. Advertising can be very effective at introducing a candidate.”

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New Republic

WSU scientists help detect gravitational waves for third time

Sukanta Bose

Three billion years ago in a distant galaxy, two massive black holes slammed together, merged into one and sent space–time vibrations, known as gravitational waves, shooting out into the universe.

The waves passed through Earth and were detected early this year by an international team of scientists, including WSU physicists Sukanta Bose, Bernard Hall and Nairwita Mazumder.

The newfound black hole, first reported in the journal Physical Review Letters in June, has a mass about 49 times that of the sun. The collision that produced it released more power in an instant than is radiated by all the stars and galaxies in the universe at any moment.

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WSU News

Five CAS faculty among 12 Smith Teaching and Learning award winners

Five College of Arts & Sciences faculty, from four departments and two campuses, are among 12 faculty University-wide whose projects aimed at enhancing undergraduate learning will be funded by the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Teaching and Learning Endowment.

The winning project proposals address teaching and learning issues and improvements, support WSU learning goals, such as critical thinking and communication, and reflect a commitment to resolve factors raised by recent degree assessments.

“Many of the projects detail teaching innovations designed to better support deep, life-long learning,” said Mary F. Wack, vice provost for undergraduate education. “Some tap into emerging or discipline-specific pedagogies. Others support further growth of unique projects already under way.”

The first impact of the grants will be felt by thousands of undergraduates as early as fall classes.

“As methods and results are shared with other WSU faculty and through academic publications, the ultimate impact of these WSU grants will be very far reaching,” Wack said.

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WSU News

Eclipse to cast ‘deep’ shadow across southern Washington state

Michael Allen
Michael Allen

Parts of Washington state will be treated to an extraordinary show during what NASA is calling the “Great American Eclipse” on Aug. 21, even though the sun won’t completely disappear. As the total eclipse cuts a swath across neighboring Oregon and Idaho, some locations in the state will enjoy a “deep partial eclipse,” said astronomer Michael Allen of Washington State University.

“With most of the sun obscured by the moon, it will get partially dark,” he said, similar to very early in the morning. “The stars won’t come out, but for about two minutes, daylight will definitely be dimmer.”

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WSU News

Long-term cannabis use linked to muted stress response WSU study shows

Carrie Cuttler
Carrie Cuttler

A new study by Washington State University psychology researchers reveals a dampened physiological response to stress in chronic cannabis users.

Using a nationally recognized procedure designed to provoke elevated levels of stress, Carrie Cuttler, clinical assistant professor of psychology, Ryan McLaughlin, assistant professor of integrative physiology and neuroscience, and colleagues in the WSU Department of Psychology examined levels of the stress hormone cortisol in both chronic cannabis users and non-users.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the effects of acute stress on salivary cortisol levels in chronic cannabis users compared to non-users,” Cuttler said.

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