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Research

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

June 16, 2016

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

Announcements from the Office of the Vice President for Research

In Case You Missed It

If you haven't kept up with K-State Today, be sure to read these items:

Small Business Innovation Research Road Show

The SBIR Road Tour is a national outreach effort to convey the non-dilutive technology funding opportunity provided through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Federal and State Program Managers representing $2.5 billion in early stage funding have been invited to present at a series of events to technology entrepreneurs and innovation supporters from across the United States. The group is coming to Wichita on June 30. Read more and register. Note: A UAV/UAS panel and networking event is also slated for June 29.

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 Endowment for the Humanities Media Projects Program supports film, television, and radio projects that engage general audiences with humanities ideas in creative and appealing ways. All projects must be grounded in humanities scholarship in disciplines such as history, art history, film studies, literature, drama, religious studies, philosophy, or anthropology. Two tracks are available: Production Grants and Development Grants. 

K-State in the News

Wheat Looks Good as Kansas Harvest Begins Amid Low Prices

6/11/16 Yahoo! Finance
Wheat prices have averaged $4.90 a bushel in the past year, marking a steep plunge from their peak of $7.77 during the 2012 drought, said Dan O'Brien, the Extension specialist in grain markets at Kansas State University.

New Food Label Changes Aim to Better Inform

6/7/16 Salina Journal
Sandy Procter, Kansas State University nutrition specialist, said she is looking forward to the changes. “This change in the Nutrition Facts label is a long time coming,” Procter said. “We’re looking forward to having an improved source of information on food so consumers can make a wiser choices.”

Finding Healthier Food Options in Kansas’ Small Towns

6/11/16 The Wichita Eagle
Their take-home advice is that the stores are critical to the sustainability of their small towns, said David Procter, director of the Center for Engagement and Community Development and the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy at Kansas State University. The problem: of the 675 communities in Kansas, 51 percent have no supermarkets, he said.

New Class of Lasers Invented

6/8/16 Science Daily
The new lasers were invented by Brian Washburn and Kristan Corwin, both associate professors of physics at Kansas State University's College of Arts & Sciences, along with Andrew Jones, a May 2012 doctoral graduate in physics, and Rajesh Kadel, a May 2014 doctoral graduate in physics.

A Common Enemy: Through Clinical Trials, Veterinarian Fights Cancer in Animals, Humans

6/13/16 EurekAlert!
Raelene Wouda's passion for improving cancer treatment starts with our four-legged friends. Wouda, Kansas State University assistant professor of clinical sciences, is conducting clinical trials to treat cancers in dogs, cats and other companion animals.

From Our Peers 

Hiking, Hunting Have Minor Effects on Mammals in Protected Eastern Forests

6/8/16 Bloomberg
A North Carolina State University study of mammals in protected Eastern forests found that hiking and hunting caused minor effects on wildlife distribution. The six-state study, part of the eMammal project, used citizen science camera traps to determine whether recreation activity disrupted wildlife in 32 protected forests.

Technology is Improving — Why is Rural Broadband Access Still a Problem?

6/8/16 SF Gate (by Brian Whitacre, Oklahoma State University)
There is a well-documented “digital divide” between rural and urban areas when it comes to broadband access. As of 2015, 74 percent of households in urban areas of the U.S. had residential broadband connections, compared with only 64 percent of rural households. This gap has persisted over time. My own research reveals that broadband adoption can help improve the economy in these rural areas (including increasing income, lowering unemployment rates and creating jobs). In addition, we know that roughly 40 percent of the rural-urban adoption gap is because rural areas don’t have the same level of broadband access.

Bad Behavior May Not Be a Result of Bad Parenting, But a Lack of Common Language

6/7/16 Science Daily
New research from Iowa State University suggests this language barrier can have negative consequences for adolescent self-control and aggressive behavior. Thomas Schofield, lead author and assistant professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State, says better understanding this dynamic and improving communication between parents and teens may have major social implications.

How Will Automated Technology Affect Communication-Related Jobs?

6/8/16 Science Daily
While most people tend to think that automation affects only certain sectors of labor (especially work performed in blue-collar professions), the computerized automation of communication will have a serious impact on a wide variety of fields. A new study recently published in the National Communication Association's journal Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies and featured in the association's newly released research digest, Communication Currents, examines the social and political impact of this transformation. What happens, asks author and Communication scholar Joshua Reeves of Oregon State University, if people increasingly rely on automated machines to carry out the socially essential work of communicating with one another? Reeves argues that automation of communication raises broad social, economic, and political concerns.

RSCAD Trending Topics

KCALSI One Health Innovations Symposium: The Nexus of Human and Animal Medicine

In partnership with the Schools of Veterinary Medicine at University of Missouri and Kansas State University, the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute will present a two day symposium focused on the translational and comparative aspects of human and animal medicine. The August 28 – 29 event entitled “One Health Innovations – The Nexus of Human and Animal Medicine” will be held at the Kansas City Convention Center.

Environmental Protection Agency Releases EJSCREEN Tool

EJSCREEN is EPA’s environmental justice tool for highlighting places that may have higher environmental burdens and vulnerable populations. The tool offers a variety of powerful data and mapping capabilities that enable users to access environmental and demographic information at high geographic resolution, across the entire country. EPA released EJSCREEN to the public in June of 2015, and after a year of public engagement and collecting feedback from stakeholders, EPA is announcing the release of the latest version of the tool.

Panel Endorses ‘Gene Drive’ Technology That Can Alter Entire Species

A revolutionary technology known as “gene drive,” which for the first time gives humans the power to alter or perhaps eliminate entire populations of organisms in the wild, has stirred both excitement and fear since scientists proposed a means to construct it two years ago. Scientists dream of deploying gene drive, for example, to wipe out malaria-carrying mosquitoes that cause the deaths of 300,000 African children each year, or invasive rodents that damage island ecosystems. But some experts have warned that the technique could lead to unforeseen harm to the environment. Some scientists have called on the federal government to regulate it, and some environmental watchdogs have called for a moratorium.

ARPA-E Announces $25 Million in Funding to Increase the Energy Efficiency of Datacenters 

Find this and other news and funding opportunities from the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy in the agency’s monthly newsletter. 

Governance of Dual-Use Technologies: Theory and Practice

A new book on an important research compliance topic is available from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. The PDF download is free.

Lawmakers Reject Proposal That Would Have Schooled Them on Tech

Even as complicated technology shapes the national debate about privacy and surveillance, politicians on Capitol Hill recently voted to reject a proposal that would have provided the science and tech education they so desperately need. Lawmakers voted on Friday against an amendment that would have revived the Office of Technology Assessment, a tech advisory body created by an Act of Congress in 1972 that provided lawmakers with detailed and unbiased research on science and tech issues to help inform their decisions until it was killed in 1995 by lawmakers. Rep. Mark Takano (D—California) introduced an amendment last Monday to the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act 2017 that would have allocated $2.5 million to revive the OTA. The amendment was rejected, however, on Friday by a vote of 223 to 179.

Nighttime Light Pollution Covers Nearly 80% of the Globe

The Milky Way’s luminous glow has inspired stories, paintings, songs, and poems for centuries: Japanese and Chinese folklore describe it as a river separating two lovers; in Greek legend, it is the spilled breast milk of the goddess Hera. Now, however, one-third of people cannot see Earth’s galaxy at night because of artificial lighting, which affects nearly 80% of the globe. The findings, part of a new atlas of worldwide light pollution, suggest that the problem is poised to get worse without regulatory action.

Pitt Researcher Contracts Zika Virus After Being Stuck With Needle In Lab

A University of Pittsburgh researcher contracted the Zika virus after accidentally sticking herself with a needle. The Allegheny County Health Department confirms that she is the fourth confirmed case of Zika virus in the county. It’s a unique case because the woman did not travel to an affected area, nor was she infected through sexual transmission.

Junk Science is Hazardous to your Health

Have you heard about the latest study? Coffee fights cancer. Pizza and French fries are as addictive as crack. Midnight snacks hamper our ability to retain memories. Actually, what’s really bad for our brains is all the junk science being reported as gospel. According to Pew Research, “79 percent of scientists believe it is a major problem for science that news reports don’t distinguish between well-founded and nonwell-founded scientific findings.” The cable TV comedian John Oliver recently took to the airwaves to blast the media for dividing public opinion and scientific knowledge. He and scientists are right to be critical. Despite endless reports on the “latest study,” most reporters aren’t trained to evaluate research. Journalists report things which seem bizarre or scary because they grab viewers and draw website clicks. They rely on press releases distributed by university press offices that are designed to attract journalists’ attention, and often overstate the conclusions of the actual research.