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Is Cloud Cover One of the Effects of Climate Change?

Crair et al. | Mar 27, 2014


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.


A Simple Printing Solution to Aid Deficit Reduction

Mirchandani et al. | Mar 09, 2014

Mirchandani suvir 2014 0

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.


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

Gomez et al. | Mar 02, 2014

Gomez 0

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.


Development of Two New Efficient Means of Wastewater Treatment

Bao et al. | Feb 06, 2014

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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.


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

Gupta et al. | Feb 04, 2014

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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.


Investigating KNOX Gene Expression in Aquilegia Petal Spur Development

Hossain et al. | Feb 03, 2014

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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.


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

Palermo stock

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.


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

Payne et al. | Jan 15, 2014

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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.


More Efficient Helicopter Blades Based on Whale Tubercles

Weitzman et al. | Dec 22, 2013

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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.


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

Mathur et al. | Dec 19, 2013

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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.


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

Han et al. | Dec 02, 2013


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.


The Effect of UV Treatment on the Degradation of Compostable Polylactic Acid

Zhang et al. | Nov 28, 2013

Zhang catherine 2013 0

Polylactic acid (PLA) is a bio-based, compostable plastic that is comparable in cost to petroleum-based plastics. This study aims to evaluate the effects of UV treatment and mechanical chopping on the degradation of PLA. Based on their findings, the authors propose an alternative PLA degradation process that may be more time and energy efficient than current processes.


Which diaper is more absorbent, Huggies or Pampers?

Shramko et al. | Sep 19, 2013

Shramko 0

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.


The Effects of Micro-Algae Characteristics on the Bioremediation Rate of Deepwater Horizon Crude Oil

Cao et al. | Jun 17, 2013

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Environmental disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill can be devastating to ecosystems for long periods of time. Safer, cheaper, and more effective methods of oil clean-up are needed to clean up oil spills in the future. Here, the authors investigate the ability of natural ocean algae to process crude oil into less toxic chemicals. They identify Coccochloris elabens as a particularly promising algae for future bioremediation efforts.


Determining the Habitable Zone Around a Star

Lee et al. | May 29, 2013

Lee yeonsoo 0

Life requires many things, including a hospitable temperature, elements, and energy. Here the authors utilize Newton's laws of physics and information relating a star's luminosity and temperature to determine the minimum and maximum masses and luminosities of planets and stars that would support life as we know it. This work can be used to determine the likelihood of a planet being able to support life based on attributes we can measure from here on Earth.


The effect of font type on a school’s ink cost

Mirchandani et al. | May 10, 2013

Mirchandani 2013 2

Your choice of font can impact more than style. Here the authors demonstrate that font choice can affect the amount of ink a given print-out requires. The authors estimate that a switch to Garamond font, size 12, by all teachers in his school district would save almost $21,000 annually.


The effect of music on heart rate

Agrawal et al. | Apr 25, 2013

Agrawal 0

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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