Dirty Birds?

A Miller School of Medicine infectious disease research team led by associate professor of medicine Silvia Munoz-Price spent a month collecting stool samples from seagulls on Miami Beach. Their findings, published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, revealed that 14 percent of the sampled population carried a resistant strain of E. coli also seen in humans with urinary tract infections. It’s unclear if the gulls were infected by humans, or vice versa. What is clear, says Munoz-Price, is that the birds now represent a reservoir for resistant organisms. “That’s why it’s always a good idea to shower immediately after going to the beach,” she advises.

Earthquake Risk Factors

An eye-opening study presented at the American Geophysical Union shows that hurricanes and typhoons may trigger earthquakes. Data from magnitude 6 and above quakes in Taiwan and Haiti showed a strong temporal correlation, with large earthquakes occurring within four years after a very wet tropical cyclone season, says presenter Shimon Wdowinski, associate research professor of marine geology and geophysics at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. “Landslides and severe erosion from heavy rainfall remove ground material,” he explains, “releasing the stress load and encouraging movement along faults.”

Social Shopping Network

Facebook and Twitter icons affect buyer behavior, a study by the School of Business Administration, Empirica Research, and StyleCaster Media Group finds. “The mere presence of social media icons on a Web page where we shop appears to cause us to feel as if our purchases are being watched by our social network,” says assistant professor of marketing Claudia Townsend. An icon near a potentially embarrassing purchase reduces the likelihood of sealing the deal by 25 percent. If it’s an item we’d be proud to show off, the icon’s presence increases buying probability by 25 percent. The consumer need not even remember seeing the icon.