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

September 10, 2015

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

K-State in the News

7 Money Secrets the Rich Don't Want You to Know

09/06/15 MSN India News
Author Paul Sullivan and colleague Brad Klontz, a clinical psychologist with an academic appointment at Kansas State University, conducted research on the difference in spending habits of the 1 percent and the 5 percent. The 1 percent spent 30 percent less on eating out and saved it for retirement instead. "And that, more than the cost of a Starbuck's latte, is what, over time, separates the wealthy from everyone else on the wrong side of the thin green line," Sullivan wrote in Fortune.

This Century-Old Eastern European Custom Might Actually Make Kids Love Math

09/06/15 Business Insider
Math circles originated in Eastern Europe more than a century ago but did not arrive in the United States until quite recently — one account dates their arrival to the launch of a math circle in Boston in 1994. Today, there are more than 200 groups across the country.

While math circles—or matematicheskie kruzhki in Russian—have traditionally been for middle and high-school students, Natasha Rozhkovskaya, associate professor of mathematics at Kansas State University, recently wrote the first guide to math circles for elementary school children. Rozhkovskaya, who hails originally from Novosibirsk, Russia, leads a math circle at KSU in Manhattan, Kansas. I asked her why these clubs are, well, multiplying.

Is This the Solution to Crazy High Textbook Prices?

09/01/15 Time Magazine
Earlier this year, U.S. PIRG [Public Interest Research Group] reviewed open textbook programs at five colleges: the University of Massachusetts AmherstKansas State University, Tacoma Community College, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Maryland. At UMass Amherst, for example, the university spent $60,000 on faculty grants to produce open textbooks and students saved roughly $1 million. On average, students at the five schools saved $128 per course.

Your Food Has Been, Perhaps Forever, Genetically Modified

09/05/15 Kansas City Star
European and Asian markets have long resisted GMOs — partly because of consumer attitudes and partly out of efforts to give their farmers protection against imports from America’s prolific ag exports. That’s changed some U.S. planting strategies. For instance, some American farmers switched from GMO corn to GMO-less sorghum this year when the Chinese moved to block the import of certain varieties for livestock feed.

“We have a segmented marketplace, whether it’s people concerned about gluten or GMOs or other things,” said Daniel O’Brien, an extension agricultural economist with Kansas State University. “But GMO is still much bigger than the rest.” 

Insights Into the Mechanisms of Fine-Tuning Wheat for Diverse Environments

09/02/15 Science Daily
A Kansas State University wheat geneticist is part of a breakthrough study that identifies one of the wheat genes that controls response to low temperature exposure, a process called vernalization. Natural variation in vernalization genes defines when the plant begins to flower and is critical for adaptation to different environments.

From Our Peers

Colorado Tax Limits Have Led to Inequities, Unintended Consequences in School Funding

09/01/15 Bloomberg
"Since the early 1990s, Colorado has enacted layers of reform in pursuit of two conflicting goals lower property taxes and well-funded public schools," said Phyllis Resnick, lead economist for the Colorado Futures Center at Colorado State University and lead author of the Lincoln Institute working paper, Measuring the Impact of Tax and Expenditure Limits on Public School Finance in Colorado. "The result is greater inequality and inconsistency, and surprisingly, a greater tax burden for most Coloradans."  

Bayer Launches a Comprehensive, Educational Web Destination to Inform Soybean Growers About the Threat of Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS)
09/01/15 Bloomberg
At www.soysds.com, growers will have access to a host of educational resources that will provide a complete overview of the disease and its impact; helping them to develop a management strategy for reducing potential production risk. Comprised of third-party insights and proprietary research, including reports from researchers at Iowa State University, Purdue University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, among others, original articles and instructional images, www.soysds.com, serves as a one-stop repository for anyone seeking valuable information on SDS.
Study: Are We Shifting to Fewer, Weaker Atlantic Hurricanes?

08/31/15 Huffington Post
Scientists at Colorado State University, including the professor who pioneered hurricane seasonal prognostication, say they are seeing a localized cooling and salinity level drop in the North Atlantic near Greenland. Those conditions, they theorize, change local weather and ocean patterns and form an on-again, off-again cycle in hurricane activity that they trace back to the late 1800s.

It’s Just That Feeling

09/01/15 Slate
Science fiction and media hype are party to blame for our apprehension. But it’s also a fascinating matter of psychology—one that has to do with the basic human instinct to run from prying eyes. Brian Mennecke, an associate professor at Iowa State University who conducts consumer research, explains that facial recognition technology tends to give people the unpleasant feeling that they’re being singled out and cornered. It’s not the idea of being seen that’s unnerving, but rather the fear of then being remembered and followed, he says.

NSF Awards Maximum Support to Iowa State-Based Center for Biorenewable Chemicals

09/03/15 EurekAlert!
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has added three years and $8.48 million to the grant supporting the NSF Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals based at Iowa State University. That brings NSF's total funding of the center (known as CBiRC, "See-burk") to the maximum allowed: 10 years and $35.26 million. NSF support of the center began in September 2008 and will end in August 2018. After that, the center must be self-supporting.

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 Department of Justice seeks proposals for basic or applied research and development projects that will increase the body of knowledge to guide and inform forensic science policy and practice or result in the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods that have the potential for forensic application.
Check out this week's new funding opportunities. 

RSCAD Trending Topics

Universities Are Falling Behind on Reproducibility Reform, Scientists Say

When it comes to ensuring that their faculty members produce rigorous, reproducible research, universities are not making the grade, according to a critique published on Tuesday in the journal Nature by a trio of scientists.

Oliver Sacks: Diverse Elements in Harmony

Dr. Sacks, who died of cancer early Sunday, was renowned for his literary explorations of the extremes of human experience and behavior, writings that became best-sellers and were adapted for stage and screen. Trained as a neurologist, he ventured widely in his clinical case histories, drawing on philosophy, biology, chemistry, psychiatry, neuroscience and other disciplines with a virtuosity that was always accompanied by hundreds of footnotes. His personal biography was similarly broad-ranging: He was not just a doctor or an author but a biker, a swimmer, a scuba diver, a weight lifter who squatted 600 pounds. He had spent some time addicted to amphetamines. He had taken a motorcycle trip to the Grand Canyon with the Hells Angels. In person, what was striking about Dr. Sacks was his enthusiasm about whatever idea or object had caught his attention. It could be contagious to those around him and probably accounted in large part for his ability to bring sometimes daunting scientific material to a wide general audience.

The Journal of Proposals, Ideas, Data and More

With so many science journals already in existence, it is rare for a new title to draw attention. But researchers and publishing experts are taking notice of Research Ideas and Outcomes, or RIO, an open-access journal that launched on 1 September. As well as standard articles, the journal will publish proposals, experimental designs, data and software, and aims to cover "research from all stages of the research cycle", according to the press release.

How Political Scientists Can Be Rigorous and Relevant at the Same Time

The American Political Science Association is beginning its annual meetings tomorrow — hopefully with a bit less drama than how things went last year.
These meetings are usually a moment for stock-taking among political scientists about their standing in terms of rigor and relevancy.  The glib answer is “better than Uzbekistan.” The less-than-glib answer is more complicated.

Academic Scientists Are Foot Soldiers in Battle Over Bioengineered Foods

In the vast lobbying campaign over the safety of genetically modified foods, academic researchers are turning up on both sides of the debate, paid by biotechnology and organic agribusinesses to provide “the gloss of impartiality and weight of authority that come with a professor’s pedigree,” according to The New York Times.

US Agencies Plan Research-Ethics Overhaul

After years of uncertainty, the US government has revived an effort to update regulations that govern human-subjects research. The revision would be the most significant change to the rules since they were introduced in 1991. On 2 September, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a proposal to address concerns that have emerged since the regulations — known collectively as the 'Common Rule' — took effect more than two decades ago. These issues include the need for overlapping ethics reviews of studies conducted at multiple sites, and the rise of genomic technologies that can identify the donors of anonymized samples.