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Think Inside the Box

#tbt In 1954, Jean Klopfer, an instructor at Washington State College, demonstrates apparatus used in her research project to determine the effect of light on color.  

Colors are perceived differently based on the kind of light in which the color is viewed. This has implications in the design of the interior environment related to selection of material finishes, and type of electric lighting to use. It’s part of a big piece of color theory called color perception. 

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When used by Google Search, PageRank finds the best website options in the search results. When adapted for use in the molecular world, PageRank can determine molecular shapes and chemical reactions without the expense, logistics and occasional danger of lab experiments.

But don’t just take it from us - push play above and hear from the WSU chemist who made this discovery. 

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Hopping on an airplane to anywhere is such a common form of travel now, its easy to forget how quickly and impressively humans have taken to the sky. We’ll be watching this documentary…will you?

(PS our favorite part is the lights of the planes taking off at night. What a cool visual.)

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This Jello-jiggler look alike can absorb more than 250 times its weight in water. 

Imagine several of these super-absorbant gels planted in a farmer’s field, retaining water in the soil through a drought. Since the hydrogel is biodegradable and made mostly of soy protein, it leaves less of an environmental impact than petroleum-based versions. And as an added bonus, the soy protein can be used as a source of nitrogen for the plants, helping them to grow. 

Water conservation AND helping plants grow? That’s what we call a win-win. 

Dig deeper: read more about WSU professor Jinwen Zhang’s discovery. 

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Cool picture. 

It’s hard to tell what this picture is at first glance, but it and hundreds of others like it have had a huge impact on how we think about reproductive health and age in women

WSU PhD candidate Ross Rowsey treated human egg cells like this one so chromosomes would glow green where they cross each other. By counting the crossovers, he could  test the “production-line hypothesis” that older eggs would have more chromosome errors.

“But our evidence suggests it’s not exactly that,” Rowsey tells KPLU News. “You form bad eggs — it’s going to happen — but it’s just as likely to happen early as late.”

Read more about Rowsey’s work in the WSU News and listen to the news report on KPLU.org

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Subtlety is not a bee’s strong point. 

While some animals prefer to hide their newly found source of food from competitors by communicating its location through inconspicuous signals or “whispers,” a few species of bees in Brazil prefer to sit on top of their food and “shout” as loud as they can.

The bee’s “shouting” lets would-be predators know, “mess with our flowers and we’ll mess you up.” 

Elinor Lichtenberg, now a post-doctoral researcher at WSU, conducted research into the communication methods of bee colonies as a Ph.D. student at UC San Diego. Read more about her work in the WSU News

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Kitty Forman always had the best life advice.
With the recent push to legalize recreational marijuana, would she be singing a different tune today? Maybe Kitty should meet Rebecca Craft whose research has shined new light on recreational marijuana and its side effects in women. 
Craft, a WSU professor of psychology, has been studying the effects of psychoactive drugs and found that women who use marijuana are more sensitive to the drug’s pain-relieving qualities, but are more likely to experience withdrawal or dependency. 
Cannabinoids have the ability to affect our perception of pain, which is especially important to women because research has shown that women suffer more pain throughout their lives than men, research which excluded the experience of childbirth. Add childbirth to the equation and it’s obvious why pain-relief is important to women. 
But is marijuana really the answer if it can lead to dependency? How can we address the problem of drug dependency and withdrawal in women when there is still very little research? 
Read more about Craft’s research in Washington State Magazine. 

Kitty Forman always had the best life advice.

With the recent push to legalize recreational marijuana, would she be singing a different tune today? Maybe Kitty should meet Rebecca Craft whose research has shined new light on recreational marijuana and its side effects in women. 

Craft, a WSU professor of psychology, has been studying the effects of psychoactive drugs and found that women who use marijuana are more sensitive to the drug’s pain-relieving qualities, but are more likely to experience withdrawal or dependency. 

Cannabinoids have the ability to affect our perception of pain, which is especially important to women because research has shown that women suffer more pain throughout their lives than men, research which excluded the experience of childbirth. Add childbirth to the equation and it’s obvious why pain-relief is important to women. 

But is marijuana really the answer if it can lead to dependency? How can we address the problem of drug dependency and withdrawal in women when there is still very little research? 

Read more about Craft’s research in Washington State Magazine

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Robotic Submarines Ready to Compete!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Did you know there’s a WSU club for people interested in building robotic submarines?

The RoboSub Club of Palouse includes students from WSU and the University of Idaho who are studying mechanical, electrical and computer engineering, and computer science. 

The students built the submarine featured above to compete against other schools’ subs in the annual AUVSI RoboSub Competition in San Diego. The submarines must complete challenges like shooting torpedoes at targets (how cool is that?) or using sonar to locate objects and move through doors (how cool is that?!) with no direct or remote control from the team.

Read more about the team here and watch the full video of the sub here

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What do you do with your iPad? Play games? Browse Tumblr? 

Well two WSU alumni working for Exo Labs have given iPads a greater purpose with their Focus Microscope Camera. This camera can record videos from an iPad connected to any microscope. This allows the users to create cool timelapse shots of microscopic creatures like the tetrahymena shown above. 

Check it out

See more cool timelapse videos at the Exo Labs YouTube channel

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Are Men’s Magazines giving Young Men the Wrong Idea?

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Where are young adults getting their information about sex? They don’t feel comfortable talking to their parents or other adults in their lives, so they turn to the internet, television, and magazines to answer their questions. 

And that could be seriously hurting how young men perceive sex. 

According to a study by WSU researchers and published in The Journal of Sex Research, young men who read men’s magazines like Maxim and Men’s Health are more likely to engage in unwanted sexual behavior and have skewed perceptions of consent.  

On the other hand, the study found that young women who read women’s magazines had greater intentions of refusing unwanted sexual behavior. 

So what exactly is causing this?

Could it be that men’s magazines are teaching young men to be forceful or are forceful young men more likely to read specific types of magazines? Could is be that women’s magazines help instill them with confidence or do more confident women just happen to read magazines more often? 

Read more about the study and its implications in the WSU News, ThinkProgress, and The Daily Evergreen

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WSU Discovery

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Eureka moments from Washington State.

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