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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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Physical Appearance and Its Effect on Trust

Ledesma et al. | Nov 09, 2020

Physical Appearance and Its Effect on Trust

Do different physical traits affect teenagers’ initial trust of an unknown person? Would they give greater trust to women and people of similar ethnicity? To test these hypotheses, the authors developed a survey to determine the sets of physical characteristics that affect a person's trustworthiness. They found that gender and expression were the main physical traits associated with how trustworthy an individual looks, while ethnicity was also important.

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Sepia bandensis ink inhibits polymerase chain reactions

Novoselov et al. | Sep 21, 2020

<em>Sepia bandensis</em> ink inhibits polymerase chain reactions

While cephalopods play significant roles in both ecosystems and medical research, there is currently no assembled genome. In an attempt to sequence the Sepia bandensis genome, it was found that there was inhibition from the organism during DNA extraction, resulting in PCR failure. In this study, researchers tested the hypothesis that S. bandensis ink inhibits PCR. They then assessed the impact of ink on multiple methods of DNA extraction

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FCRL3 Gene Association with Asthma and Allergic Rhinitis

Sheikh et al. | Aug 05, 2020

FCRL3 Gene Association with Asthma and Allergic Rhinitis

This study sought to determine if there is an association between the single nucleotide polymorphism rs7528684 of the Fc receptor-like-3 (FCRL3) gene and asthma or allergic rhinitis (AR). Based on previous studies in an Asian population, we hypothesized that participants with an AA genotype of FCRL3 would be more likely to have asthma and/or allergic rhinitis. To test the hypothesis, surveys were administered to participants, and genotyping was performed on spit samples via PCR, restriction digest, and gel electrophoresis.

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Varying Growth Hormone Levels in Chondrocytes Increases Proliferation Rate and Collagen Production by a Direct Pathway

Bennett et al. | Sep 03, 2019

Varying Growth Hormone Levels in Chondrocytes Increases Proliferation Rate and Collagen Production by a Direct Pathway

Bennett and Joykutty test whether growth hormone directly or indirectly affected the rate at which cartilage renewed itself. Growth hormone could exert a direct effect on cartilage or chondrocytes by modifying the expression of different genes, whereas an indirect effect would come from growth hormone stimulating insulin-like growth factor. The results from this research support the hypothesis that growth hormone increases proliferation rate using the direct pathway. This research can be used in the medical sciences for people who suffer from joint damage and other cartilage-related diseases, since the results demonstrated conditions that lead to increased proliferation of chondrocytes. These combined results could be applied in a clinical setting with the goal of allowing patient cartilage to renew itself at a faster pace, therefore keeping those patients out of pain from these chondrocyte-related diseases.

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LawCrypt: Secret Sharing for Attorney-Client Data in a Multi-Provider Cloud Architecture

Zhang et al. | Jul 19, 2020

LawCrypt: Secret Sharing for Attorney-Client Data in a Multi-Provider Cloud Architecture

In this study, the authors develop an architecture to implement in a cloud-based database used by law firms to ensure confidentiality, availability, and integrity of attorney documents while maintaining greater efficiency than traditional encryption algorithms. They assessed whether the architecture satisfies necessary criteria and tested the overall file sizes the architecture could process. The authors found that their system was able to handle larger file sizes and fit engineering criteria. This study presents a valuable new tool that can be used to ensure law firms have adequate security as they shift to using cloud-based storage systems for their files.

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Fingerprint patterns through genetics

O'Brien et al. | Dec 02, 2020

Fingerprint patterns through genetics

This study explores the link between fingerprints and genetics by analyzing familial fingerprints to show how the fingerprints between family members, and in particular siblings, could be very similar. The hypothesis was that the fingerprints between siblings would be very similar and the dominant fingerprint features within the family would be the same throughout the generations. Fingerprints between the siblings showed a trend of similarity, with only very small differences which makes these fingerprints unique. This work helps to support the link between fingerprints and genetics while providing a modern technological application.

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The Effect of Wind Mitigation Devices on Gabled Roofs

Kaufman et al. | Feb 20, 2021

The Effect of Wind Mitigation Devices on Gabled Roofs

The purpose of this study was to test devices installed on a gabled roof to see which reduced the actual uplift forces best. Three gabled birdhouse roofs were each modified with different mitigation devices: a rounded edge, a barrier shape, or an airfoil. The barrier edge had no significant effect on the time for the roof to blow off. The addition of airfoil devices on roofs, specifically in areas that are prone to hurricanes such as Florida, could keep roofs in place during hurricanes, thus reducing insurance bills, overall damage costs, and the loss of lives.

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Herbal Extracts Alter Amyloid Beta Levels in SH-SY5Y Neuroblastoma Cells

Xu et al. | Feb 25, 2020

Herbal Extracts Alter Amyloid Beta Levels in SH-SY5Y Neuroblastoma Cells

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a type of dementia that affects more than 5.5 million Americans, and there are no approved treatments that can delay the advancement of the disease. In this work, Xu and Mitchell test the effects of various herbal extracts (bugleweed, hops, sassafras, and white camphor) on Aβ1-40 peptide levels in human neuroblastoma cells. Their results suggest that bugleweed may have the potential to reduce Aβ1-40 levels through its anti-inflammatory properties.

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Assessing and Improving Machine Learning Model Predictions of Polymer Glass Transition Temperatures

Ramprasad et al. | Mar 18, 2020

Assessing and Improving Machine Learning Model Predictions of Polymer Glass Transition Temperatures

In this study, the authors test whether providing a larger dataset of glass transition temperatures (Tg) to train the machine-learning platform Polymer Genome would improve its accuracy. Polymer Genome is a machine learning based data-driven informatics platform for polymer property prediction and Tg is one property needed to design new polymers in silico. They found that training the model with their larger, curated dataset improved the algorithm's Tg, providing valuable improvements to this useful platform.

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