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UC Davis Magazine

Volume 28 · Number 4 · Summer 2011

End Notes

UC Davis Road Trip redux


Photo: Austin Sendak in T-shirt that reads, "1,000 yottabytes? That's hellabytes" Glenn and Judy Peruch check a campus map during a reprisal of a Road Trip with Huell Howser episode that featured UC Davis.

(Cheng Saechao/UC Davis)

Talk about amazing. The chance to retrace a 2007 public television program, Road Trip with Huell Howser: UC Davis, drew more than 400 people to campus in late May.

The tour grew out of KVIE public television's spring pledge drive. Viewers who pledged a $150 donation each got two tickets to the UC Davis event.

In addition to meeting Howser — known for saying "That's a-MAY-zing!" on his travel shows — KVIE supporters had the chance to visit more than 20 locations on campus, including several that Huell Howser filmed for Road Trip.

As part of the self-guided tour, patrons rode on a double-decker Unitrans bus; explored the UC Davis Arboretum's redwood grove and Mary Wattis Brown garden; experienced a Davis Shakespeare Ensemble performance; watched horses trot around the Horse Barn arena; saw Native American art at the C.N. Gorman Museum; enjoyed brunch at Segundo Dining Commons; and tasted UC Davis olive oil at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. Tour stops were selected to highlight UC Davis' academic strengths, the campus's beauty and the importance of public, land-grant universities to California.

For their KVIE donation, the tour goers also received gift Huell Howser T-shirts as well as UC Davis Olive Center soap and lip balm.

Film shoot

Emergency room doctors and nurses at UC Davis Medical Center starred in a movie, Gun Fight, that aired on HBO in April. It wasn't a Western.

Directed by two-time Academy Award winner for best documentary Barbara Kopple, Gun Fight looks at firearms and gun violence in the U.S.

Garen Wintemute, an ER doctor, public health epidemiologist and a nationally renowned expert on firearm violence and prevention, said producers contacted him in 2007 about participating in the project.

"They were interested in the epidemiologic research we were doing on gun shows and illegal gun markets," said Wintemute, who directs the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program and co-wrote a report, Inside Gun Shows: What Goes on When Everybody Thinks Nobody's Watching. "I recommended that they also use UC Davis Medical Center, one of the busiest regional trauma centers in the country, to look at the clinical side of gun violence."

Gun Fight also features Erik Laurin, associate professor of emergency medicine, and Lynette Scherer, chief of trauma and emergency surgery.


(Photo courtesy of ABC)

Swimming with sharks

Jason Lucash '06 dived into Shark Tank, an ABC reality show, this spring and emerged with a $150,000 investment for his company, OrigAudio.

The program, which aired in May, featured OrigAudio's product, Rock-It, a gadget that attaches to a music device and converts almost anything into a speaker.

Lucash said that he and his business partner, Mike Szymczak, are one of only two teams in the second season to have successfully negotiated their asking price.

The investor who took the bait was Robert Herjavec, a businessman who sold his first technology company for $100 million. He wasn't the only one to be impressed. Viewers from across the country rushed to the OrigAudio website.

"Twenty thousand people were trying to access the website within the first 30 seconds of the show, which made it crash," Lucash said. "Then it happened again in Central Time, then Mountain Time — than again in Pacific." The website crashed from too much traffic a total of seven times during the night. By the end of the following weekend, the company had sold 1,000 units — up from 90 units sold during a typical weekend.

OrigAudio also makes a cardboard speaker, which was chosen as one of Time magazine's top 50 inventions of 2009.