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Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities, and Discovery (RSCAD) News

June 11, 2015

The weekly RSCAD newsletter provides the latest research news, funding opportunities and academic trends.

K-State in the News

First Recipient Named for SPIE Endowed Scholarship at Arizona’s OSC

06/03/15 Houston Chronicle
The first recipient of a new scholarship sponsored by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, has been announced by the College of Optical Sciences (OSC) at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Yukun Qin has been selected recipient of the SPIE Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship in Optical Sciences for the 2015-2016 academic year, said OSC Senior Director of Development Kaye Rowan. Qin, who is majoring in physics and mathematics at Kansas State University, said that it was working with lasers that attracted him to optical sciences. His physics department’s major concentration in atomic molecule optical physics gave him the opportunity to use ultrafast, ultra-intense laser pulses to study the structure and dynamics of atoms and molecules. An undergraduate symposium connected him with OSC scientists, and his decision to do graduate work in optical sciences was set.

Survey Shows Growers Responding to Glyphosate Resistance with More Diversified Weed Management Programs
06/03/15 Houston Chronicle
survey featured in the most recent issue of the journal Weed Technology shows that glyphosate-resistant weeds have begun to change the weed management practices used by growers. Researchers at Kansas State University surveyed crop consultants in the fall of 2012 about weed management in western Kansas—a region where glyphosate-resistant kochia is on the rise. Kochia is found in crop fields, rangelands, and pastures throughout the Great Plains, including the western United States and Canada.
Fungal Disease Noted in Kansas Winter Wheat Crop
06/05/15 Yahoo! News
"So far we have found moderate amounts of scab in southeast and east-central Kansas. Wheat in central and western Kansas appears to have only trace levels of the disease," Erick DeWolf, a plant pathologist with Kansas State University, said in an e-mail on Thursday.
Why It's Time to Tech a Break

06/04/15 The Telegraph
Health benefits of a technology break include reduced stress, increased productivity, improved sleep and more sociable behaviour. We might think that making ourselves available 24/7 may give us a competitive edge, but a 2011 study at Kansas State University found that the reverse is true. Researchers concluded that continuing to communicate with colleagues after hours not only creates stress, but also prevents the relaxation time your brain needs after a long work day in preparation for the next. 

Millions of Noisy, Rare Cicadas Emerge in Kansas After 17 Years

06/03/15 ABC News
Millions of cicadas have emerged from the ground in central Kansas, capping off a 17-year lifespan spent, in large part, burrowed in the dirt. The tiny, red-eyed insects spend the better part of two decades below ground – feeding on tree roots for nutrition and undergoing five phases of development – before returning to the surface, where they make their presence known, loudly, much to the chagrin of nearby humans. “The sound is deafening,” associate professor Jason Griffin of Kansas State University told ABC News, “and the people get pretty frustrated.”

"Charlie, Charlie, Are You There?" Why Teens are Summoning Demons, Explained
06/05/15 Vox
Donald Saucier, a psychology professor at Kansas State University, agrees that the social element of Charlie Charlie is key to its appeal. "Superstitions are socially transmitted. You learn their value from other people. For teens, it's a period where social influence is very strong, and I think they're probably more prone to social influence. It stands to reason they'd be more prone to superstition."

From Our Peers

How Europe's Climate Policies Have Led to More Trees Being Cut Down in the U.S. 
06/02/15 MSN.com
Robert C. Abt, a professor of forestry at North Carolina State University who has extensively studied the pellet industry, acknowledged that companies and their critics often clash over what constitutes "waste" timber.
Marriage Today: Rich-Poor Gap, Later Vows, Gays Gain Access

06/07/15 MSN.com
Tera Jordan, a professor of human development at Iowa State University, has studied various aspects of marriage and relationships among black Americans. She sees a need for multiple changes — more access to good-paying jobs, better educational opportunities, a lowering of the incarceration rate for young black men. Her advice to young adults wondering about marriage: "Be clear about your goals, be patient. Finish your education." 

A New Way to Find Out What Lies Beneath
06/08/15 The Washington Post
Colorado State University archaeologist Chris Fisher found out about lidar in 2009. He was surveying the ruins of Angamuco in west-central Mexico the traditional way, with a line of grad students and assistants walking carefully while looking at the ground for bits of ceramics, the remains of an old foundation or even a tomb. He had expected to find a settlement, but instead he happened upon a major city of the Purepecha empire, rivals of the Aztecs in the centuries immediately preceding the Spanish conquest of Mexico in 1519.
The Losers—and Winners—of the US Avian Flu Outbreak

06/05/15 CNBC
"We certainly did not anticipate an outbreak this big, so we are going through unchartered waters now," said Maro Ibarburu, an associate scientist and business analyst at Iowa State University's Egg Industry Center.

Dwindling Large-Mammal Populations Create Ripple Effects

06/06/15 LiveScience
"We need to do a better job of informing researchers and the public of the critical need for more research in developing countries," said William Ripple, distinguished professor of ecology at Oregon State University and the leading author of a new studyCollapse of the World's Largest Herbivores. This study highlighted the decline of 74 of the animals. 

Mind Your Own Business: Can a Messy Desk Mess Up Your Career?
06/08/15 NewsOK
Oklahoma City health care attorney Teresa Burkett said her workspace these days is her computer and her phone. “I’ll go with the creativity excuse (for her messy desk),” Burkett said, “because most of my creative community projects lie in piles on that overflowing desk, not client matters. Client matters are tidy and in order, right on the computer screen.” Lisa Smith, a special projects coordinator at Oklahoma State University, agrees, quoting Albert Einstein, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

New Funding Opportunities

The Funding Connection

The Funding Connection is a weekly publication of Research & Sponsored Programs. For more information about individual programs and for applications, please e-mail research@k-state.edu or call 785 532-6195.

Check out this week's new funding opportunities.

RSCAD Trending Topics

Tenure Firmly in Place, but Colleges Grow Wary of Lasting Commitments
Gov. Scott Walker’s move to weaken tenure in the Wisconsin public university system is bold — and, at least for a while, it is likely to remain an outlier. Tenure is such a central part of the fabric of American higher education that it is difficult to tamper with, said Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education, even as colleges and universities face many of the same economic pressures as businesses, and public institutions grapple with state funding cuts. “The question is whether other states will follow Wisconsin’s lead,” Mr. Hartle said Friday. “It’s way too early to say, but we don’t see any movement in that direction.
Studying Politics or Playing Politics? Scholarly Experiments Sometimes Blur the Line
The allure of experiments has led some academics to walk a fine line between observing politics and playing politics. And it’s not always clear where that line is. The embrace of field experiments in political science marks a historical shift .... For centuries, scholars relied on qualitative methods, and later statistics, to understand how politics works. Since the turn of the century, however, scholars have increasingly teamed up with campaigns and political-action groups to run field tests on the American electorate.
CRISPR, the Disruptor
Three years ago, Bruce Conklin came across a method that made him change the course of his lab. Conklin, a geneticist at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, California, had been trying to work out how variations in DNA affect various human diseases, but his tools were cumbersome. When he worked with cells from patients, it was hard to know which sequences were important for disease and which were just background noise. And engineering a mutation into cells was expensive and laborious work. “It was a student's entire thesis to change one gene,” he says. Then, in 2012, he read about a newly published technique called CRISPR that would allow researchers to quickly change the DNA of nearly any organism — including humans. Soon after, Conklin abandoned his previous approach to modelling disease and adopted this new one. His lab is now feverishly altering genes associated with various heart conditions. “CRISPR is turning everything on its head,” he says.
How to Advocate for the Liberal Arts: the State-University Edition
As grantsmanship is to STEM fields, advocacy must become for the liberal arts, if a broad-based humanistic education is to remain part of the public university. Those of us in the liberal arts are generally spared the relentless grind of grant applications that keep the lights on and the doors open in the sciences — but we also get less practice in explaining what we do and why it ought to be funded. That needs to change.
Research Continuity: Be Prepared
The loss of a principal investigator owing to an accident or illness can not only set junior lab members adrift emotionally, it can also put their careers in jeopardy. But they can establish ways to keep their careers from becoming unhinged (see 'Setback savers'). Collaborative networks can help to keep funding in place, and a hard look at the progress of their research and career path will help them to work out where to go next.
The Secret to Hitting Your Writing Goals May Be Simple: Peer Pressure
It’s summertime, when scholars dream of doing all the writing they didn’t find time for during the academic year. But some have found a year-round, low-budget solution to the academic writer’s time crunch: Schedule a meeting.