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

August 13, 2015

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

K-State in the News

Kansas Cattle Inventory on the Upswing After Drought Years

08/06/15 Huffington Post
The situation was different not too long ago, according to Leroy Russell, Shawnee County agriculture agent for Kansas State University Research and Extension. Drought conditions had been drying up Kansas' ponds and pushing up prices for livestock feed, which prompted farmers to sell off cattle or send them to packing plants. "They were shipping them out because we didn't have water sources," he said.

Forget the Naughty Step! Reasoning With Children is the Best Way to Make Them Stop Misbehaving

08/06/15 Daily Mail
Psychologists from Kansas State University analysed health data covering 13,000 adults and discovered the influence of DAT1, which transports the chemical dopamine to the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s responses to reward and pleasure. They found that in children, DAT1 leads to ‘mild’ bad behaviour such as playing truant, but not serious bad behaviour such as violent crime. However, they also discovered it provides positive leadership qualities in adults who often went on to become the heads of companies or lead divisions within a company. Psychologists believe those with DAT1 learn early on to push boundaries. 

Hey Couples, It's Time to Stop Fighting Over Money 

08/08/15 New York Post
I want to spend. You want to save. This marriage is on the rocks. Even the healthiest of unions can be endangered by money disputes, according to a Kansas State University study. “Arguments about money are by far the top predictor of divorce,” said Sonya Britt, assistant professor of family studies and human services and program director of personal financial planning at Kansas State.

Novel Fatigue Syndrome in Feedlot Cattle Discovered
08/04/15 Science Daily
Researchers at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, in collaboration with colleagues at Iowa State University and Texas Tech University, have discovered a novel fatigue syndrome affecting feedlot cattle. The syndrome is similar to one affecting the swine industry.
NSF Awards Grants for Study of Nepal Earthquake

08/05/15 EurekAlert!
What led to the quake, and when and where is Nepal's next one likely to occur? How can people recover more quickly from future earthquakes? To help find answers, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has funded RAPID—or rapid response—awards for scientists and engineers studying events tied to the earthquake. NSF's Directorate for Geosciences has awarded approximately $480,000; its Directorate for Engineering $280,000. RAPID awards are given for research that requires urgent access to data, facilities or specialized equipment, such as obtaining seismic measurements following a major quake.

[Awardees include] Bimal Paul, Kansas State University: Contribution of Linking Networks in Nepalese Earthquake Response: A Case Study

Keeping Beef in the Center of the Plate

08/10/15 EurekAlert!
A 2014 survey by Sullivan, Higdon and Sink cites antibiotic usage as consumers' top concern regarding livestock production. While most producers still see antibiotics are a necessity for animal health, there is potential to reduce their use. This was further explored by Dr. Daniel Thomson, a Professor of Production Medicine and Epidemiology, and Director of the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University. "I'm afraid we will lose our tools if we don't use our technology more responsibly," said Thomson.

He indicated that antibiotic usage can be decreased in modern beef systems if more focus is applied to keeping cattle healthier from the get-go. He suggests making improvements in pre-and perinatal nutrition, neonatal calf housing and management, weaning calf management, transportation and overall better nutritional management throughout animals' lifespans. "We've been treating antibiotics as the panacea to keep animals healthy, oftentimes using them to replace the human-animal interaction," said Thomson. "In the end, strategies that improve animal health will decrease antibiotic usage, which by theory will decrease antibiotic resistance."

From Our Peers

Sandcastles Inspire New Nanoparticle Binding Technique

08/06/15 Bloomberg
If you want to form very flexible chains of nanoparticles in liquid in order to build tiny robots with flexible joints or make magnetically self-healing gels, you need to revert to childhood and think about sandcastles. In a paper published this week in Nature Materials, researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill show that magnetic nanoparticles encased in oily liquid shells can bind together in water, much like sand particles mixed with the right amount of water can form sandcastles.   

It’s Like ‘A Clockwork Orange’ But For Dieting
08/09/15 Yahoo! News
What does Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange have to do with obesity research? Just as Alex, the book’s (and the Stanley Kubrick film’s) main character, is physiologically trained to become physically ill when he considers the “ultra-violence” he so loved, learning to be a little bit disgusted by the foods we desire despite how unhealthy they are could help us avoid them. That’s the gist of a new study published this week in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers from the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, and Denver VA Medical Center used what’s called subliminal priming to condition a group of test subjects to become less interested in eating high-calorie foods such as french fries.
Why an Increase in Boring Study Results is an Important Advance for Medicine

08/06/15 Washington Post
"If there’s anything disappointing about this, it's that greater transparency might result in discovering that there are fewer significant benefits from some interventions than we had thought," said Robert Kaplan, chief science officer of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. "It is, in my opinion, a significant improvement in science."

Kaplan and Veronica Irvin from Oregon State University set out to study the effect transparency requirements that went into effect around the year 2000 had on clinical trial results. They expected they might see fewer positive results once researchers were required to report ahead of time what they were planning to study and how. And that's exactly what they saw.

Bureau of Land Management Bat Study Aims to Find Roosts

08/09/15 Houston Chronicle
In her eight years catching bats, Nadja Schmidt has learned lessons about them. First, they are fragile. Second, they should not be feared. "A lot of pictures make them look scary," she said. "But they eat mosquitoes. They don't bite that hard, except for the big ones." Schmidt, a wildlife technician with the U.S. Forest Service, was among a team of bat catchers hat trekked out into the High Desert east of Bend on a recent Monday night. The mission was part of a two-year Bureau of Land Management project trying to determine where western long-eared myotis bats go during the daytime, said Christopher "Digger" Anthony, wildlife biologist with the BLM in Prineville.

"The main thing is to identify their roosts," said Anthony, who is leading the research as part of his master graduate studies with Oregon State University in Corvallis. Figuring out where the bats go during the day will fill in gaps in knowledge about what habitats are most important for the flying mammals.

Great Plains Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Emissions Could Be Eliminated

08/07/15 Science Daily
Researchers from the Natural Resource Ecology Lab at Colorado State University and their partners have completed a historical analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. Great Plains that demonstrates the potential to completely eliminate agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from the region.

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.

Highlight from this week's Funding Connection:
The National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program seeks proposals from outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as well as in STEM education.

Check out this week's new funding opportunities.

RSCAD Trending Topics

How This Chemist Unwittingly Helped Spawn the Synthetic Drug Industry

Despite the growing diversity of these synthetic cannabinoids, ... experts say many of them share a common ancestor in Huffman's work. The blueprints that he and others published in academic journals led to hundreds of new species of drugs that authorities have struggled to track. How that happened is a familiar tale of unintended consequences in a rapidly interconnected world. Like ecstasy or LSD, synthetic cannabinoids mark the latest example of a substance hatched in medical research that metamorphosed into a rampant street drug. 

Drone Researchers See the Technology Grounded by Federal Safety Rules

Unmanned drones could very soon be delivering medical supplies to third-world villages, saving lives in disaster zones, and dropping packages on the porches of suburban American homes. Those and thousands of other uses are part of a future that Ella M. Atkins, an associate professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, hopes her research will help bring about. One problem: She and hundreds of other university scientists and their students, she says, find their work stymied by government restrictions on their efforts to fly such devices.

American Psychological Association Bans Members From Military Interrogations

The American Psychological Association approved a resolution on Friday to bar its members from involvement in national-security interrogations, a move meant to resolve a longstanding controversy over the role of psychologists in the harsh questioning of terrorism suspects.

That's Not Funny!

Two of the most respected American comedians, Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld, have discussed the unique problems that comics face on college campuses. In November, Rock told Frank Rich in an interview for New York magazine that he no longer plays colleges, because they’re “too conservative.” He didn’t necessarily mean that the students were Republican; he meant that they were far too eager “not to offend anybody.” In college gigs, he said, “you can’t even be offensive on your way to being inoffensive.” Then, in June, Seinfeld reopened the debate—and set off a frenzied round of op-eds—when he said in a radio interview that comics warn him not to “go near colleges—they’re so PC.”

Don't Fear The Wild Animals, Researchers Tell Salad-Makers

For the past nine years, some of America's biggest producers of fresh salad greens and vegetables have been waging a quiet war on wildlife surrounding their fields, all in an effort to keep your veggies free of contamination from disease-causing bacteria. Now, a fresh analysis of safety data suggests that the effort is mostly in vain. Clearing away wildlife habitat does not make food any safer.

The Future of Science Will Soon Be Upon Us

As the staff of the European Commission head for the beaches this August, they have been asked to ponder the future of science. Research commissioner Carlos Moedas has announced his priorities as being “open science” and “open innovation”, and invited his team to report back with its ideas on how to achieve that. These goals sound laudable enough, but they're really rather anodyne. Sadly, the commission has closed the door on a more ambitious project. This time last year, it sought views on Science 2.0. That term infers truly radical change — including rapid evolution of the two main pillars that underpin science: the research paper and the single-investigator grant.

The Afterlife of the Mind

“Don’t pull the Max Brod trick on me,” Michel Foucault is said to have admonished friends. The philosopher and historian did Kafka one better by including a blunt, categorical line in his will: “No posthumous publications.”