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Is Cloud Cover One of the Effects of Climate Change?

Crair et al. | Mar 27, 2014

Is Cloud Cover One of the Effects of Climate Change?

Climate change is one of the most controversial challenges humans face. Here the authors investigate the dual role of clouds - to reflect incoming light away from the Earth and to reflect heat energy back toward the Earth's surface. They find that the amount of incident light energy and surface temperature decreases as the sky becomes cloudier. These results will inform longer-term studies that may compare against the amount of energy clouds reflect back toward the Earth.

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A Simple Printing Solution to Aid Deficit Reduction

Mirchandani et al. | Mar 09, 2014

A Simple Printing Solution to Aid Deficit Reduction

The printing-related expenditure that is budgeted in 2014 for U.S. Federal agencies is $1.8 billion. A sample of five publically available documents produced by various federal agencies is analyzed and the cost savings arising from a change in font type are estimated. The analysis predicts that the Government’s annual savings by switching to Garamond are likely to be about $234 million with worst-case savings of $62 million and best-case savings of $394 million. Indirect benefits arising from a less detrimental impact on the environment due to lower ink production and disposal volumes are not included in these estimates. Times New Roman is not as efficient as Garamond, and the third federally-recommended font, Century Gothic, is actually worse on average than the fonts used in the sample documents.

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The Development and Maximization of a Novel Photosynthetic Microbial Fuel Cell Using Rhodospirillum rubrum

Gomez et al. | Mar 02, 2014

The Development and Maximization of a Novel Photosynthetic Microbial Fuel Cell Using <em>Rhodospirillum rubrum</em>

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are bio-electrochemical systems that utilize bacteria and are promising forms of alternative energy. Similar to chemical fuel cells, MFCs employ both an anode (accepts electrons) and a cathode (donates electrons), but in these devices the live bacteria donate the electrons necessary for current. In this study, the authors assess the functionality of a photosynthetic MFC that utilizes a purple non-sulfur bacterium. The MFC prototype they constructed was found to function over a range of environmental conditions, suggesting its potential use in industrial models.

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Development of Two New Efficient Means of Wastewater Treatment

Bao et al. | Feb 06, 2014

Development of Two New Efficient Means of Wastewater Treatment

The water we use must be treated and cleaned before we release it back into the environment. Here, the authors investigate two new techniques for purifying dissolved impurities from waste water. Their findings may give rise to more cheaper and more efficient water treatment and help keep the planet greener.

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Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma: An Analysis of Drug Therapy Options through Interaction Maps and Graph Theory

Gupta et al. | Feb 04, 2014

Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma: An Analysis of Drug Therapy Options through Interaction Maps and Graph Theory

Cancer is often caused by improper function of a few proteins, and sometimes it takes only a few proteins to malfunction to cause drastic changes in cells. Here the authors look at the genes that were mutated in patients with a type of pancreatic cancer to identify proteins that are important in causing cancer. They also determined which proteins currently lack effective treatment, and suggest that certain proteins (named KRAS, CDKN2A, and RBBP8) are the most important candidates for developing drugs to treat pancreatic cancer.

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Investigating KNOX Gene Expression in Aquilegia Petal Spur Development

Hossain et al. | Feb 03, 2014

Investigating KNOX Gene Expression in Aquilegia Petal Spur Development

Plants, and all other multi-cellular organisms, develop through the coordinated action of many sets of genes. The authors here investigate the genes, in a class named KNOX, potentially responsible for organizing a certain part of Aquilegia (columbine) flowers called petal spurs. Through the technique Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), they find that certain KNOX genes are expressed non-uniformly in petal spurs, suggesting that they may be involved, perhaps in a cell-specific manner. This research will help guide future efforts toward understanding how many beautiful flowers develop their unique shapes.

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Characterization and Phylogenetic Analysis of the Cytochrome B Gene (cytb) in Salvelinus fontinalis, Salmo trutta and Salvelinus fontinalis X Salmo trutta Within the Lake Champlain Basin

Palermo et al. | Jan 24, 2014

Characterization and Phylogenetic Analysis of the Cytochrome B Gene (<em>cytb</em>) in <em>Salvelinus fontinalis</em>,<em> Salmo trutta</em> and <em>Salvelinus fontinalis X Salmo trutta</em> Within the Lake Champlain Basin

Recent declines in the brook trout population of the Lake Champlain Basin have made the genetic screening of this and other trout species of utmost importance. In this study, the authors collected and analyzed 21 DNA samples from Lake Champlain Basin trout populations and performed a phylogenetic analysis on these samples using the cytochrome b gene. The findings presented in this study may influence future habitat decisions in this region.

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The Effect of Ethanol Concentration on Beta-Cell Development in Zebrafish

Payne et al. | Jan 15, 2014

The Effect of Ethanol Concentration on Beta-Cell Development in Zebrafish

Alcohol is known to cause various developmental diseases including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Here the authors investigate the effect of ethanol on the development of zebrafish beta cells, the part of the pancreas associated with Type 1 Diabetes. They find that exposure to ethanol does adversely affect beta-cell development, suggesting that alcohol ingestion during pregnancy may be linked to diabetes in newborns.

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More Efficient Helicopter Blades Based on Whale Tubercles

Weitzman et al. | Dec 22, 2013

More Efficient Helicopter Blades Based on Whale Tubercles

Biomimicry is the practice of applying models and systems found in nature to improve the efficiency and usefulness of human technologies. In this study, the authors designed helicopter blades with tubercle structures similar to those found on the tails of humpback whales. The authors found that certain arrangements of these tubercle structures improved the windspeed and efficiency of a model helicopter.

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