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Temperature and Precipitation Responses to a Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering Experiment Using the Community Climate System Model 4

Anderson et al. | Aug 19, 2014

Temperature and Precipitation Responses to a Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering Experiment Using the Community Climate System Model 4

We are changing our environment with steadily increasing carbon dioxide emissions, but we might be able to help. The authors here use a computer program called Community Climate System Model 4 to predict the effects of spraying small particles into the atmosphere to reflect away some of the sun's rays. The software predicts that this could reduce the amount of energy the Earth's atmosphere absorbs and may limit but will not completely counteract our carbon dioxide production.

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Focusing Sound Waves Using a Two-Dimensional Non-Linear System

Wehr et al. | Jul 07, 2014

Focusing Sound Waves Using a Two-Dimensional Non-Linear System

Sound waves can be amazingly powerful, especially when they work together. Here the authors create an “acoustic lens” that focuses sound waves on a single location. This makes the sound waves very powerful, capable of causing damage at a precise point. In the future, acoustic lenses like this could potentially be used to treat cancer by killing small tumors without surgery.

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The Prevalence of White Guilt Among American High School Students

Buadu et al. | Jun 03, 2014

The Prevalence of White Guilt Among American High School Students

Racial inequality has been a major issue throughout the history of the United States. In recent years, however, especially with the election of America's first black president, many have claimed that we have made progress and are moving towards a post-racial society. The authors of this study sought to test that claim by evaluating whether high school age students still experience a phenomenon known as white guilt. White guilt is defined as remorse or shame felt by people of Caucasian descent about racial inequality.

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Friend or Foe: Investigating the Relationship between a Corn Crop and a Native Ragweed Population

Wainwright et al. | May 07, 2014

Friend or Foe: Investigating the Relationship between a Corn Crop and a Native Ragweed Population

Farmers will need to increase crop yields to feed the world's growing population efficiently. The authors here investigate the effects of growing corn in the presence or absence of ragweed, an invasive weed found in many fields and gardens. Surprisingly, the authors found that corn grown in the presence of weeds grew taller and were more productive than corn that had weeds removed. This may help gardeners rethink the necessity of weeding, and may point a way to improve farm yields in the future.

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Mutation of the Catalytic Cysteine in Anopheles gambiae Transglutaminase 3 (AgTG3) Abolishes Plugin Crosslinking Activity without Disrupting Protein Folding Properties

Pham et al. | May 02, 2014

Mutation of the Catalytic Cysteine in <em>Anopheles gambiae</em> Transglutaminase 3 (AgTG3) Abolishes Plugin Crosslinking Activity without Disrupting Protein Folding Properties

Malaria is a major public health issue, especially in developing countries, and vector control is a major facet of malaria eradication efforts. Recently, sterile insect technique (SIT), or the release of sterile mosquitoes into the wild, has shown significant promise as a method of keeping vector populations under control. In this study, the authors investigate the Anopheles gambiae transglutaminase 3 protein (AgT3), which is essential to the mating of the Anopheles mosquito. They show that an active site mutation is able to abolish the activity of the AgT3 enzyme and propose it as a potential target for chemosterilant inhibitors.

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What Can You See in the Dark? The Effects of Contrast, Light, and Age on Contrast Sensitivity in Low Light

Virostek et al. | Apr 25, 2014

What Can You See in the Dark? The Effects of Contrast, Light, and Age on Contrast Sensitivity in Low Light

Many of us take our vision for granted, but rarely do we measure how well we can see. In this study, the authors investigate the ability of people of different ages to read progressively fainter letters in dark light. They find that the ability to see in dim light drops drastically after age 30. The ability to read fainter letters worsens after age 30 as well. These findings should help inform lighting decisions everywhere from restaurants to road signs.

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Is Cloud Cover One of the Effects of Climate Change?

Crair et al. | Mar 27, 2014

Is Cloud Cover One of the Effects of Climate Change?

Climate change is one of the most controversial challenges humans face. Here the authors investigate the dual role of clouds - to reflect incoming light away from the Earth and to reflect heat energy back toward the Earth's surface. They find that the amount of incident light energy and surface temperature decreases as the sky becomes cloudier. These results will inform longer-term studies that may compare against the amount of energy clouds reflect back toward the Earth.

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A Simple Printing Solution to Aid Deficit Reduction

Mirchandani et al. | Mar 09, 2014

A Simple Printing Solution to Aid Deficit Reduction

The printing-related expenditure that is budgeted in 2014 for U.S. Federal agencies is $1.8 billion. A sample of five publically available documents produced by various federal agencies is analyzed and the cost savings arising from a change in font type are estimated. The analysis predicts that the Government’s annual savings by switching to Garamond are likely to be about $234 million with worst-case savings of $62 million and best-case savings of $394 million. Indirect benefits arising from a less detrimental impact on the environment due to lower ink production and disposal volumes are not included in these estimates. Times New Roman is not as efficient as Garamond, and the third federally-recommended font, Century Gothic, is actually worse on average than the fonts used in the sample documents.

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The Development and Maximization of a Novel Photosynthetic Microbial Fuel Cell Using Rhodospirillum rubrum

Gomez et al. | Mar 02, 2014

The Development and Maximization of a Novel Photosynthetic Microbial Fuel Cell Using <em>Rhodospirillum rubrum</em>

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are bio-electrochemical systems that utilize bacteria and are promising forms of alternative energy. Similar to chemical fuel cells, MFCs employ both an anode (accepts electrons) and a cathode (donates electrons), but in these devices the live bacteria donate the electrons necessary for current. In this study, the authors assess the functionality of a photosynthetic MFC that utilizes a purple non-sulfur bacterium. The MFC prototype they constructed was found to function over a range of environmental conditions, suggesting its potential use in industrial models.

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Development of Two New Efficient Means of Wastewater Treatment

Bao et al. | Feb 06, 2014

Development of Two New Efficient Means of Wastewater Treatment

The water we use must be treated and cleaned before we release it back into the environment. Here, the authors investigate two new techniques for purifying dissolved impurities from waste water. Their findings may give rise to more cheaper and more efficient water treatment and help keep the planet greener.

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Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma: An Analysis of Drug Therapy Options through Interaction Maps and Graph Theory

Gupta et al. | Feb 04, 2014

Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma: An Analysis of Drug Therapy Options through Interaction Maps and Graph Theory

Cancer is often caused by improper function of a few proteins, and sometimes it takes only a few proteins to malfunction to cause drastic changes in cells. Here the authors look at the genes that were mutated in patients with a type of pancreatic cancer to identify proteins that are important in causing cancer. They also determined which proteins currently lack effective treatment, and suggest that certain proteins (named KRAS, CDKN2A, and RBBP8) are the most important candidates for developing drugs to treat pancreatic cancer.

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Investigating KNOX Gene Expression in Aquilegia Petal Spur Development

Hossain et al. | Feb 03, 2014

Investigating KNOX Gene Expression in Aquilegia Petal Spur Development

Plants, and all other multi-cellular organisms, develop through the coordinated action of many sets of genes. The authors here investigate the genes, in a class named KNOX, potentially responsible for organizing a certain part of Aquilegia (columbine) flowers called petal spurs. Through the technique Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), they find that certain KNOX genes are expressed non-uniformly in petal spurs, suggesting that they may be involved, perhaps in a cell-specific manner. This research will help guide future efforts toward understanding how many beautiful flowers develop their unique shapes.

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Characterization and Phylogenetic Analysis of the Cytochrome B Gene (cytb) in Salvelinus fontinalis, Salmo trutta and Salvelinus fontinalis X Salmo trutta within the Lake Champlain Basin

Palermo et al. | Jan 24, 2014

Characterization and Phylogenetic Analysis of the Cytochrome B Gene (<em>cytb</em>) in <em>Salvelinus fontinalis</em>,<em> Salmo trutta</em> and <em>Salvelinus fontinalis X Salmo trutta</em> within the Lake Champlain Basin

Recent declines in the brook trout population of the Lake Champlain Basin have made the genetic screening of this and other trout species of utmost importance. In this study, the authors collected and analyzed 21 DNA samples from Lake Champlain Basin trout populations and performed a phylogenetic analysis on these samples using the cytochrome b gene. The findings presented in this study may influence future habitat decisions in this region.

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The Effect of Ethanol Concentration on Beta-Cell Development in Zebrafish

Payne et al. | Jan 15, 2014

The Effect of Ethanol Concentration on Beta-Cell Development in Zebrafish

Alcohol is known to cause various developmental diseases including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Here the authors investigate the effect of ethanol on the development of zebrafish beta cells, the part of the pancreas associated with Type 1 Diabetes. They find that exposure to ethanol does adversely affect beta-cell development, suggesting that alcohol ingestion during pregnancy may be linked to diabetes in newborns.

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More Efficient Helicopter Blades Based on Whale Tubercles

Weitzman et al. | Dec 22, 2013

More Efficient Helicopter Blades Based on Whale Tubercles

Biomimicry is the practice of applying models and systems found in nature to improve the efficiency and usefulness of human technologies. In this study, the authors designed helicopter blades with tubercle structures similar to those found on the tails of humpback whales. The authors found that certain arrangements of these tubercle structures improved the windspeed and efficiency of a model helicopter.

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Allelopathic effects of kudzu (Pueraria montana) on seed germination and their potential use as a natural herbicide

Mathur et al. | Dec 19, 2013

Allelopathic effects of kudzu (<em>Pueraria montana</em>) on seed germination and their potential use as a natural herbicide

Plants in the wild compete with each other for nutrients and sunlight. Kudzu is a weed that is thought to secrete compounds that inhibit the growth of other plants. Here the authors find that certain parts of kudzu plants can block the germination of clover and dandelion seeds. These experiments may lead to a weed killer that is safe and naturally derived.

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An Investigative Analysis of Climate Change Using Historical and Modern Weather Data

Han et al. | Dec 02, 2013

An Investigative Analysis of Climate Change Using Historical and Modern Weather Data

Climate change is an important and contentious issue that has far-reaching implications for our future. The authors here compare primary temperature and precipitation data from almost 200 years ago against the present day. They find that the average annual temperature in Brooklyn, NY has risen significantly over this time, as has the frequency of precipitation, though not the amount of precipitation. These data stress the need for more ecologically-conscious choices in our daily lives.

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