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Geographic Distribution of Scripps National Spelling Bee Spellers Resembles Geographic Distribution of Child Population in US States upon Implementation of the RSVBee “Wildcard” Program

Kannankeril et al. | Aug 17, 2020

Geographic Distribution of Scripps National Spelling Bee Spellers Resembles Geographic Distribution of Child Population in US States upon Implementation of the RSVBee “Wildcard” Program

The Scripps National Spelling Bee (SNSB) is an iconic academic competition for United States (US) schoolchildren, held annually since 1925. However, the sizes and geographic distributions of sponsored regions are uneven. One state may send more than twice as many spellers as another state, despite similar numbers in child population. In 2018, the SNSB introduced a wildcard program known as RSVBee, which allowed students to apply to compete as a national finalist, even if they did not win their regional spelling bee. In this study, the authors tested the hypothesis that the geographic distribution of SNSB national finalists more closely matched the child population of the US after RSVBee was implemented.

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Developing a neural network to model the mechanical properties of 13-8 PH stainless steel alloy

Zeng et al. | Sep 10, 2023

Developing a neural network to model the mechanical properties of 13-8 PH stainless steel alloy
Image credit: Pixabay

We systematically evaluated the effects of raw material composition, heat treatment, and mechanical properties on 13-8PH stainless steel alloy. The results of the neural network models were in agreement with experimental results and aided in the evaluation of the effects of aging temperature on double shear strength. The data suggests that this model can be used to determine the appropriate 13-8PH alloy aging temperature needed to achieve the desired mechanical properties, eliminating the need for many costly trials and errors through re-heat treatments.

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The analysis of the viral transmission and structural interactions between the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein and the lymphocyte receptor integrin α4β7

Ganesh et al. | Apr 28, 2021

The analysis of the viral transmission and structural interactions between the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein and the lymphocyte receptor integrin α4β7

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infects approximately 40 million people globally, and one million people die every year from Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)-related illnesses. This study examined the interactions between the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein gp120 and the human lymphocyte receptor integrin α4β7, the putative first long-range receptor for the envelope glycoprotein of the virus in mucosal tissues. Presented data support the claim that the V1 loop is involved in the binding between α4β7 and the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein through molecular dockings.

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The Inhibitory Effect of Probiotics on the Growth and Biofilm Formation of Salmonella Sp.

Lee et al. | Jan 26, 2019

The Inhibitory Effect of Probiotics on the Growth and Biofilm Formation of Salmonella Sp.

Salmonella is a genus of bacteria responsible for over 90 million cases of intestinal illnesses yearly. Like many bacteria, Salmonella can create a biofilm matrix, which confers stronger resistance against antibiotics. However, there has been relatively little research on the inhibition of Salmonella biofilm formation, which is a crucial factor in its widespread growth. In this study, Lee and Kim quantitatively measure the effectiveness of several common probiotics in inhibiting Salmonella bacterial growth. They found concentration-dependent antibacterial effects varied among the probiotics tested, indicating the possibility of probiotic species-specific mechanisms of Salmonella growth inhibition.

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In silico modeling of emodin’s interactions with serine/threonine kinases and chitosan derivatives

Suresh et al. | Jan 10, 2022

<i>In silico</i> modeling of emodin’s interactions with serine/threonine kinases and chitosan derivatives

Here, through protein-ligand docking, the authors investigated the effect of the interaction of emodin with serine/threonine kinases, a subclass of kinases that is overexpressed in many cancers, which is implicated in phosphorylation cascades. Through molecular dynamics theyfound that emodin forms favorable interactions with chitosan and chitosan PEG (polyethylene glycol) copolymers, which could aid in loading drugs into nanoparticles (NPs) for targeted delivery to cancerous tissue. Both polymers demonstrated reasonable entrapment efficiencies, which encourages experimental exploration of emodin through targeted drug delivery vehicles and their anticancer activity.

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Trajectories Between Cigarette Smoking and Electronic Nicotine Delivery System Use Among Adults in the U.S.

Primack et al. | Apr 30, 2020

Trajectories Between Cigarette Smoking and Electronic Nicotine Delivery System Use Among Adults in the U.S.

In this study, the authors characterized the trends of cigarette use amongst people who do and don't use electronic nicotine delivery systems (or ENDS). This was done to help determine if the use of ENDS is aiding in helping smokers quit, as the data on this has been controversial. They found that use of ENDS among people either with or without previous cigarette usage were more likely to continue using cigarettes in the future. This is important information contributing to our understanding of ways to effectively (and not effectively) reduce cigarette use.

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A Study on the Coagulating Properties of the M. oleifera Seed

Lakshmanan et al. | Feb 14, 2020

A Study on the Coagulating Properties of the <em>M. oleifera</em> Seed

In this study, the authors investigate whether Moringa Oleifera seeds can serve as material to aid in purifying water. M. oleifera seeds have coagulating properties and the authors hypothesized that including it in a water filtration system would reduce particles, specifically bacteria, in water. Their results show that this system removed the largest percent of bacteria. When used in combination with cilantro, it was actually more efficient than the other techniques! These findings have important implications for creating better and more economical water purification systems.

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Reddit v. Wall Street: Why Redditors beat Wall Street at its own game

Bhakar et al. | Sep 13, 2022

Reddit v. Wall Street: Why Redditors beat Wall Street at its own game

Here the authors investigated the motivation of a short squeeze of GameStop stock where users of the internet forum Reddit drove a sudden increase in GameStop stock price during the start of 2021. They relied on both qualitative and quantitative analyses where they tracked activity on the r/WallStreetBets subreddit in relation to mentions of GameStop. With these methods they found that while initially the short squeeze was driven by financial motivations, later on emotional motivations became more important. They suggest that social phenomena can be dynamic and evolve necessitating mixed method approaches to study them.

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Evaluation of Microplastics in Japanese Fish Using Visual and Chemical Dissections

Srebnik et al. | Jan 20, 2021

Evaluation of Microplastics in Japanese Fish Using Visual and Chemical Dissections

Does the overuse of plastic in Japan poses an ecological risk to marine species and their consumers? Using visual and chemical dissection, all fish in this study were found to have microplastics present in their gastrointestinal tract, including two species that are typically eaten whole in Japan. Overall, these results are concerning as previous studies have found that microplastics can carry persistent organic pollutants. It is presumed that the increasing consumption of microplastics will have negative implications on organ systems such as the liver, gut, and hormones.

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