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Efficacy of rotten and fresh fruit extracts as the photosensitive dye for dye-sensitized solar cells

Jayasankar et al. | Jan 16, 2019

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Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) use dye as the photoactive material, which capture the incoming photon of light and use the energy to excite electrons. Research in DSSCs has centered around improving the efficacy of photosensitive dyes. A fruit's color is defined by a unique set of molecules, known as a pigment profile, which changes as a fruit progresses from ripe to rotten. This project investigates the use of fresh and rotten fruit extracts as the photoactive dye in a DSSC.

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Characterization of drought tolerance in Arabidopsis mutant fry1-6

Kim et al. | Jan 07, 2019

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In a world where water shortage is becoming an increasing concern, and where population increase seems inevitable, food shortage is an overwhelming concern for many. In this paper, the authors aim to characterize a drought-resistant strain of A. thaliana, investigating the cause for its water resistance. These and similar studies help us learn how plants could be engineered to improve their ability to flourish in a changing climate.

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The role of race in the stereotyping of a speaker’s accent as native or non-native

Bhuvanagiri et al. | Jan 07, 2019

Multicultural

In the modern world, communication and mobility are no longer obstacles. A natural consequence is that people from all over the world are mixing like never before and national identity can no longer be determined simply by a person's appearance or manner of speech. In this article, the authors study how a person's accent interferes with the perception of a their national identity and proposes ways to eliminate such biases.

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Emotional and Psychological Effect of Music on People

Nolt et al. | Jan 03, 2019

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Nolt and Elwonger examine how different types of music impact our emotional and physical states. They found that music can influence a subject's emotional state, with sad music inspiring sadness and exciting music bringing excitement. They were not able to find a clear relationship between heart rate and music type. Music's effect on emotional state can be useful when designing novel therapies for emotional and mental disorders.

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The Cohesiveness of the Oscillating Belousov-Zhabotinsky Reaction

Gottlieb et al. | Dec 18, 2018

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In this study the author undertakes a careful characterization of a special type of chemical reaction, called an oscillating Belousov-Zhabotinsky (or B-Z) reaction, which has a number of existing applications in biomedical engineering as well as the potential to be useful in future developments in other fields of science and engineering. Specifically, she uses experimental measurements in combination with computational analysis to investigate whether the reaction is cohesive – that is, whether the oscillations between chemical states will remain consistent or change over time as the reaction progresses. Her results indicate that the reaction is not cohesive, providing an important foundation for the development of future technologies using B-Z reactions.

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An Analysis on Exoplanets and How They are Affected by Different Factors in Their Star Systems

Selph et al. | Dec 06, 2018

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In this article, the authors systematically study whether the type of a star is correlated with the number of planets it can support. Their study shows that medium-sized stars are likely to support more than one planet, just like the case in our solar system. They predict that, of the hundreds of planets beyond our solar system, 6% might be habitable. As humans work to travel further and further into space, some of those might truly be suited for human life.

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The Development of a Highly Sensitive Home Diagnosis Kit for Group A Streptococcus Bacteria (GAS)

Mai et al. | Dec 05, 2018

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In this article, Mai et al. have developed a do-it-yourself kit for the detection of Strep A bacterial infections. While Strep A infections require antibiotic administration, viral infections, which can present with similar symptoms, often resolve on their own. The problem with delayed antibiotic treatment is an increasing risk of complications. Currently an accurate diagnosis requires that patients make the trip to the hospital where sensitive tests can be performed. The method described here, bundled into a commercially available kit, could help speed up the identification of such bacterial infections. When presented with symptoms of a sore throat and fever, you could just buy the kit at your local pharmacy, perform the simple yet highly accurate and sensitive test, and know whether an urgent trip to the doctor's for an antibiotic prescription is necessary. How convenient!

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The Effects of Post-Consumer Waste Polystyrene on the Rate of Mealworm Consumption

Green et al. | Nov 29, 2018

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In a world where plastic waste accumulation is threatening both land and sea life, Green et al. investigate the ability of mealworms to breakdown polystyrene, a non-recyclable form of petrochemical-based polymer we use in our daily lives. They confirm that these organisms, can degrade various forms of polystyrene, even after it has been put to use in our daily lives. Although the efficiency of the degradation process still requires improvement, the good news is, the worms are tiny and themselves are biodegradable, so we can use plenty of them without worrying about space and how to get rid of them. This is very promising and certainly good news for the planet.

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The Effect of Concentration on the Pressure of a Sodium Chloride Solution Inside Dialysis Tubing

Dye et al. | Nov 13, 2018

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In this study, the authors investigate the effects of sodium levels on blood pressure, one of the most common medical problems worldwide. They used a simulated blood vessel constructed from dialysis tubing to carefully analyze pressure changes resulting from various levels of sodium in the external solution. They found that when the sodium concentration in the simulated blood vessel was higher than the external fluid, internal pressure increased, while the reverse was true when the sodium concentration was lower than in the surrounding environment. These results highlight the potential for sodium concentration to have a significant effect on blood pressure in humans by affecting the rate of osmosis across the boundaries of actual blood vessels.

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The Effect of Lyrical and Instrumental Music on Reading Comprehension Tasks

Herring et al. | Nov 01, 2018

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Herring and Scott investigated how specific types of background music affected 8th and 9th graders' performance on a reading comprehension task. In the study, their results indicated that music with English lyrics led to lower reading comprehension scores, while foreign language and instrumental music was comparable to no music at all. The authors therefore recommend that teachers avoid playing English language music for students completing reading tasks in order to minimize distractions and improve work efficiency.

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Optimizing Interplanetary Travel Using a Genetic Algorithm

Murali et al. | Oct 28, 2018

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In this work, the authors develop an algorithm that solves the problem of efficient space travel between planets. This is a problem that could soon be of relevance as mankind continues to expand its exploration of outer space, and potentially attempt to inhabit it.

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Artificial Intelligence Networks Towards Learning Without Forgetting

Kreiman et al. | Oct 26, 2018

Recent developments in neural networks

In their paper, Kreiman et al. examined what it takes for an artificial neural network to be able to perform well on a new task without forgetting its previous knowledge. By comparing methods that stop task forgetting, they found that longer training times and maintenance of the most important connections in a particular task while training on a new one helped the neural network maintain its performance on both tasks. The authors hope that this proof-of-principle research will someday contribute to artificial intelligence that better mimics natural human intelligence.

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Sports are not Colorblind: The Role of Race and Segregation in NFL Positions

Coleman et al. | Oct 23, 2018

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In this study, the authors conducted a statistical investigation into the history of position-based racial segregation in the NFL. Specifically, they focused on the cornerback position, which they hypothesized would be occupied disproportionately by black players due to their historical stereotyping as more suitable for positions requiring extreme athletic ability. Using publicly available datasets on the demographics of NFL players over the past several decades, they confirmed their hypothesis that the cornerback position is skewed towards black players. They additionally discovered that, unlike in the quarterback position, this trend has shown no sign of decreasing over time.

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Astragalus membranaceus root concentration and exposure time: Role in heat stress diminution in C. elegans

Chen et al. | Oct 17, 2018

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In this study, the authors investigated the biological mechanism underlying the actions of a traditional medicinal plant, Astragalus membranaceus. Using C. elegans as an experimental model, they tested the effects of AM root on heat stress responses. Their results suggest that AM root extract may enhance the activity of endogenous pathways that mediate cellular responses to heat stress.

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Using DNA Barcodes to Evaluate Ecosystem Health in the SWRCMS Reserve

Horton et al. | Sep 27, 2018

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Although the United States maintains millions of square kilometers of nature reserves to protect the biodiversity of the specimens living there, little is known about how confining these species within designated protected lands influences the genetic variation required for a healthy population. In this study, the authors sequenced genetic barcodes of insects from a recently established nature reserve, the Southwestern Riverside County Multi-Species Reserve (SWRCMSR), and a non-protected area, the Mt. San Jacinto College (MSJC) Menifee campus, to compare the genetic variation between the two populations. Their results demonstrated that the midge fly population from the SWRCMSR had fewer unique DNA barcode sequence changes than the MSJC population, indicating that the comparatively younger nature reserve's population had likely not yet established its own unique genetic drift changes.

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Can children acquire their parents’ history of fracture?

Boulis et al. | Sep 24, 2018

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While the genetic basis of hip fracture risk has been studied extensively in adults, it is not known whether parental history of bone fractures affects their children's fracture risk. In this article, the authors investigated whether a parental history of bone fractures influences the rate of fractures in their children. They found that adolescent children whose parents had a more extensive history of fractures were more likely to have a history of fractures themselves, suggesting that parents' medical histories may be an important consideration in future pediatric health research.

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The Prevalence of Brain-Eating Roundworm Baylisascaris procyonis in Merrick County, Nebraska

Reeves et al. | Sep 20, 2018

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The authors investigated an important parasite-host relationship between the raccoon roundworm and the raccoon to understand how parasite prevalence is affected by location. They found that the parasite infection was more prevalent in raccoons found closer to human dwellings, though the number of roundworm eggs was not significantly different. These results are important human health, since roundworm infection is lethal to humans and can be transmitted from raccoons to humans - the authors suggest that more research into this parasite and awareness of its prevalence is needed to prevent disease.

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Effects of Paan Extracts on Periodontal Ligament and Osteosarcoma Cells

Venkatachalam et al. | Sep 20, 2018

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In South Asian countries, the major cause of oral cancer is reported to be chewing paan, which is comprised of betel leaf daubed with slaked lime paste and areca nut. To investigate how paan may contribute to the onset of cancer, the authors treated two immortalized cell lines with extracts of betel leaf, areca nut, and lime and evaluated how these treatments affected cell proliferation and cell death. Initial results indicate that while betel leaf alone may inhibit cell growth, areca nut promoted cancer cell survival and proliferation, even when co-treated with betel leaf. These data suggest that areca nut could exacerbate the progression of oral cancer in humans.

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Increasing Average Yearly Temperature in Two U.S. Cities Shows Evidence for Climate Change

Savage et al. | Sep 20, 2018

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The authors were interested in whether they could observe the effects of climate change by analyzing historical temperature data of two U.S. cities. They predicted that they should observe a warming trend in both cities. Their results showed that despite yearly variations, warming trends can be observed both in Rochester, NY and Seattle, WA which fit the predictions of climate change forecasts.

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