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

October 15, 2015

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

K-State in the News

Kansas Cropland Values Down This Year Amid Low Grain Prices

10/06/15 Huffington Post
Low grain prices are driving down Kansas cropland values this year, while high prices for cattle are pushing up the value of pastures. The value of Kansas cropland as of August slipped to an average $2,210 per acre, which was down 2.2 percent compared to last year, according to Agriculture Department survey data. But the average value of Kansas pasture land rose nearly 7 percent, to $1,390 per acre. Kansas State University agricultural economist Mykel Taylor researched property valuation records of actual sales transactions and found that they tended to be higher than those reported on government surveys, although general trends are the same. Taylor said Tuesday that her estimate is more reflective of the actual real estate market as it is happening, rather than a survey that asks landowners for their opinion of what their land may be worth.

Research Beefing Up Steaks, Hamburgers With Healthy Omega-3s

12/09/15 Huffington Post
People have long been told they can decrease their risk of heart disease by eating more omega-3 fatty acids, the kind salmon get from algae. It inspired researchers at Kansas State University: Could the steaks and hamburgers from cattle fattened on algae pass on those healthy fats? Separately, some Texas grocery stores are selling beef products fortified with omega-3 through flaxseed, a trial run so successful that orders have quadrupled since it began seven months ago. And a nationwide study shows consumers would be willing to pay $1.85 a pound more for enriched steaks and 79 cents a pound more for enhanced ground beef, Kansas State agricultural economist Sean Fox said.

Four Land-Grant Institutions Celebrate Cooperative Extension Innovation with Twitter Town Hall

10/07/15 Bloomberg
Extension educators and researchers from the University of the District of Columbia, North Dakota State University, Kansas State University, and the Southern University Ag Center (La.) will partner with Agriculture Is America, a national communications initiative aimed at highlighting the nation's land-grant institutions, to host a joint Twitter town hall on Wednesday October 14th from 9:30 am 10 am CT. The experts will answer questions regarding youth development, gardening, nutrition, and unmanned aerial systems, among other agricultural topics.

Douglas County Residents Warned of Ash Borer Discovery

10/11/15 Washington Times
State and federal agriculture officials have confirmed the presence of the emerald ash borer in a Douglas County community southeast of Lawrence, and experts say there are few options for dealing with the invasive insect. ... “It’s just sickening what they can do to the ash trees,” said Marlin Bates, a horticulture agent with Kansas State University Extension in Douglas County.

Cheerios Gluten-Free Misstep Prompts Quick Actions by General Mills

10/11/15 Star Tribune
“In one way, I was surprised about [the recall], and in another way I wasn’t,” said Jon Faubion, a grain science professor at Kansas State University. General Mills “is really committed to this and it has put a lot of time and money into it. But I’m not surprised just given the huge challenge.”

Genetics: Wheat Quality Can Be Improved Through New Method

10/8/15 Science World Report
Wheat scientists at Kansas State University have developed a new method of improving wheat varieties and quality, according to a new study"What we did is develop a strategy that can be used as a model to explore genomic resources for gene mining from distant wild relatives of wheat," said Vijay Tiwari, the study's lead author and research associate in the plant pathology department.

From Our Peers

Dielectric Film Has Refractive Index Close to Air for Photonics Applications

10/12/15 Bloomberg
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a dielectric film that has optical and electrical properties similar to air, but is strong enough to be incorporated into electronic and photonic devices - making them both more efficient and more mechanically stable.

In Lieu of Wedding Gifts, Researcher Launches Lab Campaign
10/11/15 San Francisco Gate
When she walked across the stage at Auburn University in the summer of 2011, Dr. Esther Ngumbi's thoughts were 8,000 miles away in her home community of Mabafweni, Kenya. There's a saying in Mabafweni: The roots of education are bitter, but the fruits are sweet.
Ngumbi came to Auburn in 2008 to earn a PhD in entomology. She has since graduated, completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Georgia Tech, and found her way back to the Plains to work in the College of Agriculture. Her research is dedicated to feeding the world sustainably by studying how the interactions between plants and soil bacteria improve growth, repel insects and tolerate stress.
All the while, she remembered Mabafweni. ...
Friday, Ngumbi is traveling back to Kenya for her wedding on Oct. 17 to the graphic designer she has been dating for six years. And instead of registering for towels, pans or china, Ngumbi launched a campaign to help ensure she wouldn't be the only woman from her community of 20,000 to earn a PhD.
How Much You Should Worry About 3 Common 'Robot Apocalypse' Scenarios

10/08/15 Business Insider
... Some modern computers already have a form of self-awareness, says Tom Dietterich, director of Intelligent Systems at Oregon State University. And even if that rudimentary consciousness improves to human-like levels, we're unlikely to be seen us as a threat.

Helping Preschoolers Develop Self-Regulation is Goal of Oregon State Researcher's New Book

10/06/15 OregonLive.com
Before kids can learn, they need to know how to learn. That's where self-regulation comes in, according to Megan McClelland, the Katherine E. Smith Endowed Professor in Child Development at Oregon State University. Self-regulation is the umbrella term for skills such as planning ahead, paying attention, remembering and following instructions, and controlling impulses and emotions.

USDA Awards $113 Million to Support Specialty Crop Production, Grow Opportunities for Rural Communities

10/05/15 USDA
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today awarded more than $113 million in program grants to support farmers growing fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops, also known as "specialty crops," through research, agricultural extension activities, and programs to increase demand and address the needs of America's specialty crop industry.

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 Bard Graduate Center invites applications for research fellowships for collections-based research at the Bard Graduate Center or elsewhere in New York. Eligible disciplines and fields of study include (but are not limited to) art history, architecture and design history, economic and cultural history, history of technology, philosophy, anthropology, and archaeology. Writing or reading projects are also accepted in which being part of the Center’s dynamic research environment is intellectually valuable.
Check out this week's new funding opportunities. 

RSCAD Trending Topics

How Scientists Fool Themselves — And How They Can Stop

This is the big problem in science that no one is talking about: even an honest person is a master of self-deception. Our brains evolved long ago on the African savannah, where jumping to plausible conclusions about the location of ripe fruit or the presence of a predator was a matter of survival. But a smart strategy for evading lions does not necessarily translate well to a modern laboratory, where tenure may be riding on the analysis of terabytes of multidimensional data. In today's environment, our talent for jumping to conclusions makes it all too easy to find false patterns in randomness, to ignore alternative explanations for a result or to accept 'reasonable' outcomes without question — that is, to ceaselessly lead ourselves astray without realizing it.

Journal Publishers Rethink a Research Mainstay: Peer Review

The peer-review system, a bedrock of modern science, is under a tremendous strain. The number of published scientific papers has been growing at a rate of 5 percent a year. Facing cutthroat job markets, researchers slice their work into a panoply of studies — salami science, some call it — to bolster their appearance in metrics employed by tenure-and-promotion committees. With each new paper, requests for peer review ripple outward; the ripples are so aggregated that it now feels, especially to experienced scientists, like a daily tsunami.

US and Canada Partner to Invest $21 Million for Research Hubs in Developing Countries

The National Institutes of Health and other U.S. and Canadian partners are investing $20.9 million dollars over five years to establish seven regional research and training centers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The Global Environmental and Occupational Health (GEOHealth) Hubs will consist of multidisciplinary groups of researchers and partner organizations collaborating on common research and training topics that address environmental and/or occupational health issues.

Scientists Grow Primitive Human Kidneys In A Dish

For the first time, primitive human kidneys have been created in a laboratory dish, by using stem cells. Although the kidneys cannot perform the functions of a fully formed adult kidney, the researchers hope the achievement will someday lead to new ways to treat people suffering from kidney failure. 

NBAF Think and Do Challenge: Enhancing Collaboration, Innovation, Talent and Training

The U.S. agriculture industry comprises a critical infrastructure that contributes more than $1 trillion to the U.S. economy every year. In 2022, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) will open the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kansas. This state-of-the-art maximum biocontainment facility will offer leading-edge capabilities to help protect our food supply and the nation’s public health.