sealPurdue Story Ideas, Events

JOURNALISTS: Here are story ideas and a list of selected Purdue events during the next two weeks.

September 23, 2002

Story Ideas

1. Protecting pets against insect-borne diseases
2. Activities highlight Discover Purdue Week
3. Expert identifies consequences of war with Iraq
4. Talk provides an important business strategy
5. Understanding burnout helps adolescent athletes
6. Purdue expert explains reality show phenomenon

Purdue Events

Friday, Sept. 27 – Purdue president to present jersey to Bill Cosby


Economist will comment on costs of W. Coast port shutdown

David Hummels, an international economist, is doing research on the cost of time in transporting goods internationally. He can discuss the lockout of West Coast longshoremen by shipping lines and the ripple effects in the economy.

"Every day in shipping is worth 1 percent of the final price of goods," says Hummels, an associate professor of economics in Purdue University's Krannert School of Management.

"In goods that have a high rate of technological obsolescence, such as consumer electronics products, the depreciation rate goes up to 2.5 percent per day."

Hummels uses the term "fragility" to describe businesses' reliance on the global supply chain.

CONTACT: Hummels, (765) 494-4495,

Protecting pets against insect-borne diseases

Dogs and cats are unlikely to become ill if exposed to West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes, according to Purdue University veterinarians. But it's important to protect pets from insect bites because they can be infected with other diseases.

Owners should use pet-approved tick and flea controls and limit pets' exposure to areas infested by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas, said Lynn Guptill, Purdue small animal veterinarian. Pets can become ill if sprayed with repellent formulated for human use, she said.

"Though the most effective repellents for people are those with diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET), this can make pets sick," Guptill said. "Only use products approved for pets."

In addition, some flea collars, sprays and oral medications are specifically for a dog or specifically for a cat and can't be used interchangeably.

Although evidence of West Nile can be found in pets' blood, other tick-borne illnesses, such as ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and mosquito- or flea-borne diseases, such as heartworm, are the ones that sicken pets, Guptill said.

CONTACT: Lynn Guptill, (765) 494-1107,

Activities highlight Discover Purdue Week

From Sept. 19-28, the university will celebrate Discover Purdue Week with a full slate of groundbreakings and special events, culminating in the announcement of the largest fund-raising campaign ever for any college or university in Indiana. Two of the largest gifts in the history of Purdue will be announced, and numerous major building projects will move from the wish list to reality. Discover Purdue Week is part of the theme, coined last fall, which invites the public to learn about the university – its leadership and its potential for economic development, research and education. A media advisory outlining events planned during the week is available on the Web

Expert identifies consequences of war with Iraq

Polls show American support for waging war on Iraq, but a Purdue professor wants to point out the long-term consequences of an invasion.

Harry Targ, a political science professor with an interest in U.S. foreign policy, can talk about the potential number of Iraq and American casualties, the cost for United States and Indiana, as well as the potential impact on other international relationships.

"Starting a war with Iraq could really sour our relations with Russia, China and France," said Targ, who is the coordinator for the peace studies minor at Purdue. "More importantly, a war in Iraq could destabilize the Middle East even more."

War with Iraq is expected to cost the United States $100 billion, Targ said. Indiana's contribution to that total is estimated at $1.5 billion.

"During the current atmosphere of economic stagnation that's a lot of money," he said.

CONTACT: Targ, (765) 494-4169,

Talk provides an important business strategy

Businesses looking to market their products may capitalize on word-of-mouth strategies, which can have benefits over more costly marketing means, according to a Purdue University agribusiness expert. Joan Fulton, associate professor of agricultural economics, said talk can be very valuable.

"The buzz associated with word-of-mouth marketing stays with people," she said. "They remember what they hear about a product from their peers and, in turn, share that with others."

In surveys of participants in two different peer-to-peer educational teleconference series – one for a corn insecticide and the other for a new animal health product – she found that the participants retained the information they received up to three years after the event. During a typical teleconference, a moderator with knowledge of the specific business market facilitates the discussion. Participants share their views on the product's features, benefits and shortcomings.

"Participants in the corn product discussion considered information gleaned through interactive conversations to be far more important than that attributed to television, radio or the Internet," she said. In the other conferences, which involved veterinarians and animal health professionals, the participants noted that peer conversations were more important than information presented by manufacturer representatives. The surveys were coordinated through the Center for Food and Agricultural Business.

CONTACT: Joan Fulton, (765) 494-0594,

Understanding burnout helps adolescent athletes

Alan Smith, a Purdue health and kinesiology expert on adolescents, can talk about what "burnout" and how the term is misused, and overused, in the athletic community.

"Research shows how social relationships may contribute to burnout," said Smith, who focuses on how peer relationships affect adolescent athletes. "Burnout is about more than just training volume."

Peer relationships are one of many issues that should be considered when talking about burnout, said Smith, a researcher who studies youth sport issues.

Smith also can provide tips on what parents and coaches can watch for to make sure young athletes don't overdo it, as well as how to help them get the most out of their athletic participation.

Contact: Smith, (765) 496-6002,

Purdue expert explains reality show phenomenon

Once again, prime time television viewers are gearing up for the fall premiers of their favorite reality television shows, such as "Survivor: Thailand" and "Fear Factor."

Glenn Sparks, a Purdue communications expert in mass media, can talk about why people are attracted to reality television programming.

"Many of these shows encourage us to get deeply involved in the lives of a few people, and that is often symbolic of our lack of relationships that we have individually," Sparks said. "We are living vicariously through these programs."

Sparks, whose specialty is cognitive and emotional effects of media, has authored "Media Effects Research," and is the co-author for "Refrigerator Rights," a book due out in November that deals with the loss of close interpersonal relationships in America.

CONTACT: Sparks, (765) 494-3316,



Purdue president to present jersey to Bill Cosby

• Friday, Sept. 27. 8 p.m. Purdue President Martin C. Jischke will present a Purdue jersey to comedian Bill Cosby at the start of Cosby's performance in the Elliott Hall of Music. Jischke will thank Cosby for his fourth performance at Purdue and for being a frequent part of Purdue's history as the university celebrates the Convocations Centennial Season. CONTACT: Todd Wetzel, Purdue Convocations director, (765) 494-9712,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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