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Research

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

October 29, 2015

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

K-State in the News

PG&E and the American Institute of Architects Announce Winners of Zero Net Energy Design Competition

10/23/15 Yahoo! Finance
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and the American Institute of Architects, California Council (AIACC) today announced the winners of the fifth annual Architecture at Zero competition for zero net energy (ZNE) building design. The competition has awarded the six student and professional winners with a total of $25,000 in prizes.
For the fifth year of the PG&E-sponsored competition, contestants designed a hypothetical ZNE building on University of California, San Francisco’s (UCSF) Mission Bay campus. Winners were chosen out of over 30 entries that designed plans for multi-family housing that will be a ZNE structure – which produces as much clean energy as it uses during a year through a combination of energy efficiency and on-site renewable energy generation. 

Winners for student entries:

  • Citation Award to: “Breeze Block” by students from across the nation at Cornell University in New York, N.Y.; Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan.; and Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore. 
America’s Top Superstitions — And Where They Come From

10/21/15 Yahoo! Health
Superstitions are also learned and spread around societies, Donald A. Saucier, PhD, a professor of psychological sciences at Kansas State University, tells Yahoo Health. “If we knock on wood, and then something bad doesn’t happen, we may think that we stopped a bad event by knocking on wood,” he says. “As we learn these associations, we may discuss them with others, and over time, may embed them in our culture.”

8 Indoor Pollutants That Are Making You Miserable — and How to Get Rid of Them

10/26/15 Salon.com
According to the Kansas State University National Radon Program Services, one out of 15 homes nationally — about 6 percent — may have elevated indoor radon levels that should be lower. To test your home for radon levels, visit the EPA website.

7 Ways to Get Your Home and Garden Ready for Winter

10/22/15 The Wichita Eagle
Leaves have already started falling, and soon they will become a carpet on lawns. You want to be sure that a thick covering of leaves doesn’t sit on the grass for an extended period because the plants need the sun to make carbohydrates through the winter, Ward Upham of K-State says in this week’s Horticulture 2015 newsletter. An easy way to do this is to keep the lawnmower handy, and mow the leaves before they get too thick – while you can still see grass peeking through the them, Upham says. Don’t bag the leaves – unless you want to carry them off to a compost pile – but let them break down right on the grass. Mow as often as necessary to avoid thick carpets of leaves.

Study: Distribution of Small, Medium Mammals Expected to Shift Northward in Warming Climate

10/21/15 Alaska Dispatch News
Populations of furry mammals ranging from tiny shrews, mice and voles to stocky wolverines and marmots will likely move north as Alaska's climate warms, says a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey. ... The study used DNA to map out population responses to climate changes over the past thousands of years. Tissue samples taken from museum specimens and from the field show patterns of genetic mutations that reveal such evolution, said lead author Andrew Hope, formerly with the USGS and now a research assistant professor at Kansas State University.

From Our Peers

Strategy Session

10/25/15 Bloomberg
Mike Wakefield's analytical eye goes beyond the college classroom and his work with Pueblo's entrepreneurs. Recently, the Colorado State University-Pueblo management professor, who also helps organize the annual Pueblo Entrepreneurship Competition, presented local business leaders with his assessment of Pueblo's current economic strengths and weaknesses. He also reviewed some of the ideas out there for growing jobs and wages.

Hurricane Patricia Makes Landfall as Mexico Braces for Floods

10/23/15 Washington Post
Before it weakened, Patricia was the most powerful storm ever in the Eastern Pacific and Atlantic basins, and topped the list of the strongest systems recorded anywhere in the world since 1970, including Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,000 people in the Philippines in 2013, said Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the Colorado State University seasonal hurricane forecast.

21 Hurricanes and Typhoons That Shattered Records in 2015

10/22/15 Mashable
On average, El Niño years have higher readings on a scale known as the "Accumulated Cyclone Energy", or ACE, index. This index measures both a storm's intensity and its lifespan. To date, the ACE index across parts of the Pacific is off the charts, says Philip Klotzbach, a research scientist at Colorado State University.

Gene Therapy Could Aid Weight Loss Without Affecting Bone Loss, New Research Finds

10/21/15 Science Daily
Delivering the hormone leptin directly to the brain through gene therapy aids weight loss without the significant side effect of bone loss, according to new collaborative research from Oregon State University and University of Florida.

This Massive Wave Machine Is for Science, Not Fun

10/22/15 Wired
The project isn’t about making really big waves for the sake of making really big waves, though, says Dan Cox, a coastal engineering professor at Oregon State University, which houses the largest research wave machine in North America. The purpose of wave machines is pretty simple: to see how human-made structures—breakwaters, seawalls, giant concrete blocks—stand up to crashing waves and giant storms before millions of people trust them to protect them from the elements. For wave machines, “bigger is better, because you don’t have to worry about scale effects,” Cox says. A giant machine sidesteps factors like surface tension and sand grain size that, at the wrong scale, could screw up results.

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 American Association of University Women offers three award categories to support women at various stages of their academic careers including Dissertation Fellowships, Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowships, and Faculty Level Summer/Short-Term Research Publication Grants.
Check out this week's new funding opportunities. 

RSCAD Trending Topics

As Congress Eyes Patent Reform, It Meets Opposition From Universities

In Congress, patent reform has long been a contentious issue, perhaps ever since the Constitution included protections for the “Progress of Science and useful Arts” in 1787. But with the growth of technology in recent years, long-running disputes between tech companies, biotech firms, and even research universities about how best to tackle thorny issues of intellectual property have also animated legislative debates.

The Science of "Little House on the Prairie"

Wilder’s reflections on her life experiences have spurred some scientists to use remarkable research techniques to clarify details from the books that seem a little too incredible. Finding the site of a schoolhouse where she taught that hasn’t existed for decades; a terrible winter of blizzards pounding the Ingalls’ small town day after day—for months; Laura’s sister being blinded by a fever that shouldn’t normally cause that kind of damage.
“Scientists are a bit like detectives,” said Barb Mayes Boustead, a presenter and co-organizer of this year’s conference, held in July at South Dakota State University. “We see something that isn’t explained, and we want to find the evidence that will help explain it. There is no shortage of aspects of Laura’s life and writings to investigate.”

The Lab That Knows Where Your Time Really Goes

There is a widespread perception in Western countries that life today is much busier than it once was, thanks to the unending demands of work, family, chores, smartphones and e-mails. But the diaries tell a different story: “We do not get indicators at all that people are more frantic,” says John Robinson, a sociologist who works with time-use diaries at the University of Maryland, College Park. In fact, when paid and unpaid work are totted up, the average number of hours worked every week has not changed much since the 1980s in most countries of the developed world.

Heads Up — Data Collection for the 2015 Life Sciences Industry Census is Underway

The Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute (KCALSI) has tracked the region’s life sciences company inventory since 2003. Conducted every three years, reports have been published in 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012 – and the 2015 report will be available in January of 2016. The life sciences census is an invaluable tool shared with business and civic leaders, legislators, economic developers, and many others. Remarkably, the 2012 report was downloaded by persons in 23 other states outside Kansas and Missouri.

Information about NSF’s Public Access Policy, Pilot, and How You Can Help

About the Pilot
In order to gain early feedback on NSF’s Public Access solution for publications, NSF will begin a pilot following release of the “Beta” version of the NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) in December/January 2015. The pilot will provide NSF with early feedback from the research community to evaluate the NSF Public Access solution from both the public’s perspective and from that of the Principal Investigator (PIs) and co-PI(s).
Who can participate in the Pilot?
PIs or co-PIs from any active or closed awards from NSF are encouraged to participate in the pilot provided they know their Research.gov/FastLane credentials and have a copy of the published journal or juried conference paper.  Additionally, NSF will reach out to select PIs/co-PIs with recent awards to elicit volunteers for an enhanced pilot.  These PIs/co-PIs will be asked to use NSF-PAR and several new project reporting features during the period of the pilot.
How you can help
As we approach the “Beta” launch, we would appreciate your assistance in encouraging PIs/co-PIs to begin voluntarily depositing publications in NSF-PAR starting in December/January 2015. Detailed instructions on how to deposit publications in NSF-PAR will be available on Research.gov.

For more information on Public Access, please see the Public Access Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).  If you have any questions about the upcoming Public Access pilot, please feel free to reach out by emailing nsf-par@nsf.gov
NHLBI's Novel, Innovative Tools to Increase Public Awareness and Knowledge of Sickle Cell Disease Undergraduate Challenge

Sickle cell disease [SCD] is the most common genetic disorder in the United States. There is a lack of awareness about SCD and associated complications. Where there is some awareness, there are also misunderstandings about the disease that need to be addressed such as the following: SCD is contagious; if one has the disease they will die young; if the parents are not sick from SCD, the children could never have SCD; and SCD only affects African Americans. Stigma also remains associated with SCD. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, funds both research to improve the health of people with SCD and the training and career development of scientists and physicians dedicated to advancing the care of the afflicted. Research saves lives as demonstrated by the increased life expectancy and the decreased disease burden of those suffering with SCD who receive optimal therapy. To help address this problem, the NHLBI has launched this Challenge.