Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities, and Discovery (RSCAD) News
July 23, 2015
The weekly RSCAD newsletter provides the latest research news, funding opportunities and academic trends.
K-State in the News
Tiny reaping machines that pale in size to real-world combines pulled into a weedy wheat field Monday afternoon and began gathering grain in sacks. The miniature contraptions, each with a driver and a bagger, would move ahead and stop through the 3-acre patch, which had some 1,600 test plots of wheat. Each plot was collected in a separate bag, which was tied shut and tossed into a bin on a trailer. The plots are six rows wide and 15 feet long, said Sarah Battenfield, a doctoral student from Hennessey, Okla., who was working for Allan Fritz, a wheat breeder at Kansas State University.
07/16/15 SF Gate
Rich Llewelyn, an agricultural economist with K-State, said transitioning from row crops to produce would be difficult for farmers, because they would need new equipment and have to know they could sell their crops quickly.
07/16/15 Science Daily
Understanding what terms such as "natural," "organic" and "local" on food labels really mean is important before purchasing any food product, according to Kansas State University food safety specialist Londa Nwadike.
07/17/15 AmericanTowns.com and Manhattan Mercury
A Lawrence tech company will move to Manhattan to manufacture and engineer its products with help from Kansas State University and local businesses.
07/18/15 Topeka Capital-Journal
Kansas State University’s Salina campus has unveiled a degree program related to drones, despite the fact that much of how the industry will work remains up in the air.
From Our Peers
"If you can decide to exercise automatically, without having to convince yourself, you are more likely to stick to it," said study author Alison Phillips, an assistant professor of psychology at Iowa State University.
Consider this: Soon, you’ll be able to snack on chips that taste like bacon, made with seaweed that’s twice as nutritious as kale. America, meet dulse, a thin, leathery, reddish-brown seaweed that — ok, kind of looks like bacon — and grows on rocks, mollusks and other seaweed in northern waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It's a superfood packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, and tons of protein. People in northern Europe have long eaten it, but researchers at Oregon State University want to make it a huge thing in America and have recently patented a strain of dulse that can grow faster and more dependably than other strains.
07/20/15 Yahoo! Finance
"There is no federal agency that will recognize this as a legitimate crop," said Whitney Cranshaw, a Colorado State University entomologist and pesticide expert. "Regulators just bury their heads, and as a result, pest-management information regarding this crop devolves to Internet chats and hearsay."
Research from North Carolina State University shows that lightweight composite metal foams are effective at blocking X-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation, and are capable of absorbing the energy of high impact collisions. The finding means the metal foams hold promise for use in nuclear safety, space exploration and medical technology applications.
The U.S. oil and gas industry has grown rapidly in the past decade, creating thousands of new jobs across a broad geography. The digging performed around rigs and pipelines, though, does have a downside. It disturbs the soil and surrounding native vegetation, giving invasive weeds a chance to flourish. “In western North America, many energy developments coincide with infestations of downy brome, a nonnative annual grass that grows very aggressively,” says Danielle Johnston, Ph.D., a researcher with both Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Colorado State University.
New Funding Opportunities
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RSCAD Trending Topics
The literature on research ethics is rich with discussions of informed consent, the rights of research participants, and how to work sensitively with vulnerable populations. There is also considerable attention paid to how we work with nonacademic collaborators, such as people who work at community-based organizations. Given the abundance of writing on all of these topics, it is notable how little attention is given to those students with whom we often collaborate.
When colleagues first encouraged Eric Topol to start using Twitter several years ago, he resisted, assuming most of the content would have to do with what people had eaten for lunch or what some celebrity had said. “I thought it was just nonsense stuff,” says Topol, though he finally gave in and signed up for the microblogging site in November 2009. Now, five and a half years, 6,500 tweets, and 60,000 followers later, he’s changed his view. “It’s a pulse of what’s going on in science in the biomedical space,” he says. “I don’t know how you can keep up with your field today without the likes of Twitter.”
The new, 542-page independent review commissioned by the ethics committee of the American Psychological Association has generated considerable attention, replete with a front-page story in The New York Times. Documenting the alleged involvement of some of the nation’s leading psychologists in enhanced interrogations conducted by the military and intelligence agencies in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on America, the report accuses some association leaders of using their positions to protect the interrogation program from critics within the Central Intelligence Agency.
Such an interdisciplinary approach not only brings together the depth of expertise of faculty from different disciplines, but also draws on the breadth of knowledge that would help advance research and the sharing of ideas in broad ways. After all we are studying the same brain from different viewpoints.
Interdisciplinary endeavors are certainly growing in academia. Much of the recent funding initiatives of National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal funding agencies involve research that necessitates experts from multiple disciplines.
Undergraduate students are not being taught science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects as well as they need to be. Too often, faculty members talk at students rather than engaging them in activities that help them to learn and apply core scientific concepts and skills. Despite growing scholarship about effective teaching methods and meaningful ways to assess them, research universities rarely provide adequate incentives, support or rewards for the time that faculty members spend on improving teaching. And faculty members assign a low priority to undergraduate teaching compared to research. Efforts to improve undergraduate STEM education have been slow and piecemeal at best.
The time is now ripe for change. Today we can collect, analyse and assess individual and institutional data on teaching effectiveness and student outcomes in ways not previously possible. There are also successful models for supporting and rewarding scientists to be both excellent teachers and researchers.
A proposed regulation by US President Barack Obama that would extend overtime pay to millions of workers triggered fierce discussion among academics — including some who think that it could result in heftier pay for postdocs. If approved, the regulation would enable salaried workers who earn less than about US$50,400 per year to receive at least 1.5 times their usual rate for every extra hour worked beyond a 40-hour week.