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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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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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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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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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Which Diaper is More Absorbent, Huggies or Pampers?

Shramko et al. | Sep 19, 2013

Which Diaper is More Absorbent, Huggies or Pampers?

The authors here investigate the absorbency of two leading brands of diapers. They find that Huggies Little Snugglers absorb over 50% more salt water than Pampers Swaddlers, although both absorb significantly more fluid than what an average newborn can produce.

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The Effect of Music on Heart Rate

Agrawal et al. | Apr 25, 2013

The Effect of Music on Heart Rate

Different songs can seem to evoke different emotions. Here the authors demonstrate that different songs can have a significant effect on the heart rate of listeners. A slower song slows heart rate, and a faster song increases it.

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Isolation of Microbes From Common Household Surfaces

Gajanan et al. | Jan 27, 2013

Isolation of Microbes From Common Household Surfaces

Microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi live everywhere in the world around us. The authors here demonstrate that these predominantly harmless microbes can be isolated from many household locations that appear "clean." Further, they test the cleaning power of 70% ethanol and suggest that many "clean" surfaces are not in fact "sterile."

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Effectiveness of Biodegradable Plastic in Preventing Food Spoilage

Zhang et al. | Mar 20, 2012

Effectiveness of Biodegradable Plastic in Preventing Food Spoilage

Most people put little thought into the type of plastic wrap they use to store their leftovers. This study investigates the differences between biodegradable plastic wrap and non-biodegradable plastic wrap in their ability to prevent food spoilage. Does one work better than the other? Read more to find out!

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