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Holiday experts: Light, eating, toys and movies

December 7, 2012

LED Christmas bulb in green

Light-emitting diode lights stay cool to the touch and use less than one-fourth the electricity of old-style incandescent lights.

UC Davis has the following experts who can talk about a wide range of holiday topics, from energy-efficient holiday lights and Christmas toys to year-end movies.

’Tis the season to save energy

Michael Siminovitch, director of the California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis, can talk about light-emitting diode (LED) lights that come in vibrant colors, stay cool to the touch and use less than one-fourth the electricity of old-style incandescent lights. Siminovitch can also offer other ideas for saving energy at home without giving up lighting quality or comfort. Contact: Michael Siminovitch, California Lighting Technology Center, (530) 747-3835, mjsiminovitch@ucdavis.edu.

Fit and healthy feasting

Health-conscious individuals can enjoy holiday foods without fear of weight-gain, maintains Liz Applegate, director of sports nutrition in the UC Davis nutrition department. She offers tips for eating festively but sensibly to avoid either feeling deprived or adding unwanted pounds. For example, she advises that holiday partygoers eat a small meal beforehand to avoid being famished, and then just sample a few food favorites at the party. Applegate notes that many traditional holiday foods have health benefits, such as  pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce and the molasses found in gingerbread. Applegate is the author of several nutrition and fitness books including "Eat Your Way to a Healthy Heart.”  She can be reached at eaapplegate@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-6682.

Toys, Christmas, world design

UC Davis environmental design professor emeritus Dolph Gotelli collects toys and Christmas memorabilia as part of his a lifelong visual design scholarship. He has mounted a number of museum exhibitions using toys from his collections. Gotelli can talk about Christmas rituals, Santa Claus and design in cultures around the world. He also boasts one of the largest shopping bag collections in the world. Gotelli can articulate the importance of imagination and argues that today's material culture — toys, movies, etc. — is devoid of stimulation. Contact: Dolph Gotelli, Environmental Design, (916) 941-7532, degotelli@ucdavis.edu.

End-of-year movies

Dean Simonton, a professor of psychology and an expert on human creativity, has subjected thousands of feature-length, English-language, narrative films to a battery of statistical tests to get at the formulas for cinematic success. Among his findings: Major film awards tend to go to movies that are released in the final months of the year; studios save their best for winter, when Oscar and other major award nominations accumulate and ballots circulate. Simonton can also talk about what makes a great movie or a terrible movie. He cannot comment on newly released films individually. He is working on a new book on social science in cinema. Contact: Dean Simonton, Psychology, dksimonton@ucdavis.edu.

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