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  1. Public Comment on the CPSC’s Proposed Rule: Safety Standard Addressing Blade-Contact Injuries on Table Saws [Download]

    Title: Public Comment on the CPSC’s Proposed Rule: Safety Standard Addressing Blade-Contact Injuries on Table Saws
    Author: Miller, Sofie E.
    Description: The George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center improves regulatory policy through research, education, and outreach. As part of its mission, the Center conducts careful and independent analyses to assess rulemaking proposals from the perspective of the public interest. This comment on the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s proposed rule establishing performance standards for table saws does not represent the views of any particular affected party or special interest, but is designed to evaluate the effect of CPSC’s proposal on overall consumer welfare. Table saws, a category which includes bench, cabinet, and contractor saws, caused an estimated 54,800 blade-contact injuries in 2015. As a result, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has determined that there is an unnecessary risk of blade injuries from table saws, and is proposing a standard to limit this risk by requiring table saw manufacturers to “meet a performance requirement for table saws that limits the depth of a cut to the specified test probe, upon making contact with the saw blade at an approach rate of 1.0m/s, to 3.5 mm.”
    Keywords: Regulation, Administrative Law, Economic Analysis, Public Interest, Public Policy, Regulatory Studies , Regulatory Policy, Public Comments
    Date Uploaded: 09/13/2017
  2. Rethinking Empowerment: Evidence from Local Empowerment Zone Programs [Download]

    Title: Rethinking Empowerment: Evidence from Local Empowerment Zone Programs
    Author: Rich, Michael
    Description: The legacy of the federal government's Empowerment Zone initiative is contested. The evidence undergirding the initiative's legacy, however, is based primarily on models that estimate national effects. We use an alternative evaluation strategy that places greater emphasis on local Empowerment Zones as distinct programs. Our findings show that several cities did produce improvements that likely can be attributed to the EZ initiative. The results, however, are not consistent across outcomes or cities. Our findings suggest that what happens locally is a vital concern for federal urban policy and also informative for local communities with responsibility for crafting and executing revitalization strategies.
    Keywords: Politics, Governance, Urban poverty, Empowerment
    Date Uploaded: 05/08/2017
  3. Characterizing the role of Ecdysone induced protein 74EF in the length of sperm in males and seminal receptacle in females of D. [Download]

    Title: Characterizing the role of Ecdysone induced protein 74EF in the length of sperm in males and seminal receptacle in females of D.
    Author: Chebbo, Sharif
    Description: Sperm of D. melanogaster are among the longest known and are evolving in concert with the female's long, coiled sperm storage organ, the seminal receptacle (SR). During sperm competition, long sperm outcompete short sperm but primarily in long SRs, providing a post-copulatory analog to male trait-female preference coevolution, commonly modeled in pre-copulatory sexual selection. Sperm and SRs are also likely coevolving via Fisherian runaway sexual selection, as evidenced by a recently discovered genetic correlation between these two traits. We previously identified a number of candidate genes influencing sperm length using a RAD QTL sequencing approach and have prioritized Ecdysone induced protein 74EF (Eip74EF) due to its role in autophagy during development, post-meiotic expression during spermatogenesis (when spermatid elongation occurs), the presence of multiple SNP markers within the gene, and signatures of rapid evolution under positive selection among the 12 Drosophila genomes. We have found that knockout mutant males have shorter sperm, suggesting that Eip74EF acts on the positive regulation of sperm length. We are also investigating female mutants to determine if a similar pattern exists for SR length. If so, Eip74EF may have pleiotropic effects on both sperm length and SR length and may therefore be a key to the molecular mechanism of Fisherian runaway sexual selection. Both male and female mutants also have decreased fertility relative to control flies, and males have reduced sperm competitive success, consistent with the expectation that shorter sperm are weaker competitors.
    Keywords: Research Days 2017, Drosophila, Reproductive traits, Phototropic effects, Sperm, Seminal recepticle
    Date Uploaded: 04/26/2017
  4. Stigmatizing Effects of Perceived Responsibility for Causing and Resolving One's Eating Disorder [Download]

    Title: Stigmatizing Effects of Perceived Responsibility for Causing and Resolving One's Eating Disorder
    Author: Porcelli, Sabrina
    Description: Individuals who have eating disorders or are obese experience stigmatization, which can lead to a variety of negative outcomes including further disordered eating and lower self-esteem (Puhl & Suh, 2015). Research on stigmatization of individuals with eating disorders and contributors to it is important to improve public understanding and enhance treatment effectiveness. In the present study, we examine perceptions of individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN) and binge eating disorder (BED) in relation to views of a client's responsibility for having an eating disorder and for overcoming it. This study expands upon previous research, in which responsibility for solving one's problem is understudied. The goals of the study are: (1) to compare stigmatizing perceptions of young women with BED and AN, and (2) drawing on Brickman et al. (1982), to explore the implications for stigmatization of information presented by a therapist about, and participants' perceptions of, the client's personal responsibility for causing and resolving her eating disorder. We hypothesized that high responsibility for causing the disorder would have more negative implications than high responsibility for resolving it. Participants read a one-page vignette describing a female college student diagnosed with either AN or BED. One of five therapist assessments of the client was then presented: Low responsibility for cause/Low responsibility for solution, High responsibility for cause/low responsibility for solution, Low responsibility for cause/High responsibility for solution, High responsibility for cause/High responsibility for solution, and a Control/No further information condition. Scales measured perceived causality and responsibility, and multiple aspects of stigma. The client with BED was viewed as more personally responsible for causing her condition than the woman with AN; however, the woman with AN was viewed as more impaired or maladjusted, confirming previous research. Responsibility for causing one's eating disorder was found to have a greater impact on stigmatization than responsibility for resolving the disorder. This was especially clear when participants' perceptions of responsibility rather than manipulated responsibility were analyzed. Although the results confirm previous research in some respects, they leave open questions about the influence of responsibility for solving one's disorder on stigmatization.
    Keywords: Research Days 2017, Eating disorders, Anorexia, Binge eating disorder, Responsibility for cause, Responsibility for solution
    Date Uploaded: 04/26/2017
  5. Examining States' Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) [Download]

    Title: Examining States' Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
    Author: Goehring, Benjamin
    Description: The replacement of Aid for Families with Dependent Children with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in 1996 revoked qualifying families' legal guarantee of cash assistance benefits and instituted a state-administered block grant program. Reflecting contemporary concerns over rising cash assistance caseloads and centralized government, TANF gives each state an annual block grant and the authority to allocate the funds in any way "reasonably calculated" to realize its statutory goals. States utilize this flexibility to fund a wide variety of programs in addition to cash assistance for needy families, including work supports, childcare assistance, pregnancy prevention initiatives, and refundable tax credits. Although consequential, little progress has been made in answering how states' allocations of their TANF block grants have changed over time and what political, economic, and social factors correlate with states' TANF expenditures. My research aims to further scholarship concerning both questions. Drawing on data published by the Administration for Children and Families, I created a database of every state's TANF expenditures in ten funding categories between fiscal years 1998 and 2013. To overcome significant methodological challenges in the data, I used funding categories developed by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and calculated three-year moving averages of the expenditures. Drawing on this database, I undertake a descriptive analysis of states' TANF spending. My findings indicate that over time, states shifted their expenditures away from cash assistance toward other sources, including pregnancy prevention initiatives and refundable tax credits. The reductions in cash assistance expenditures were dramatic: The median state spent 22% of its total TANF funds on cash assistance in fiscal year 2013, a decrease of 30% from fiscal year 1998. My descriptive study is the foundation for an analysis of what state-level factors, such as change in cash assistance caseload, partisan control of government, proportion of African Americans in the population, and proportion of Hispanics in the population correlate with states' TANF expenditures. Preliminary findings indicate that states diverted expenditures away from cash assistance as cash assistance caseloads decreased, implying a rational basis for reallocation. However, results also suggest strong and significant negative relationships between the proportions of African Americans and Hispanics in a state and cash assistance spending. If corroborated by further analysis, these findings would fit within broader themes in the welfare literature concerning the significance of race and ethnicity in United States' social policy.
    Keywords: Research Days 2017, social policy, TANF
    Date Uploaded: 04/17/2017
  6. Numerical Investigations of Pattern Formation in Binary Systems [Download]

    Title: Numerical Investigations of Pattern Formation in Binary Systems
    Author: Jiajun Lu
    Description: In this paper, we investigate pattern formation in a two-phase system on a two-dimensional manifold by numerically computing the minimizers of a Cahn-Hilliard-like model for micro-phase separation of diblock copolymers. The total energy of the system includes a short-range term - a Landau free energy and a long-range term - the Otha-Kawasaki functional. The short range term favors large domains with minimum perimeter and the long-range inhibitory term favors small domains. The balance of these terms leads to minimizers with a variety of patterns, including single droplets, droplet assemblies, stripes, wriggled stripes and combinations thereof. We compare the results of our numerical simulations with known analytical results and discuss the stability of the computed solutions and the role of key parameters in pattern formation. For demonstration purposes, we focus on the triaxial ellipsoid, but our methods are general and can be applied to higher genus surfaces and surfaces with boundaries.
    Keywords: Research Days 2017, Cahn-Hilliard, Landau free energy, Otha-Kawasaki functional, Pattern formation, Math, Maths, Mathematics, Two-dimensional manifold
    Date Uploaded: 04/17/2017
  7. Homeric Similes: A Compendium of Similes in the Iliad and Odyssey [Download]

    Title: Homeric Similes: A Compendium of Similes in the Iliad and Odyssey
    Author: Ziolkowski, John
    Description: Research on similes in Homer has been an important topic of Homeric scholarship both in analyzing individual similes and investigating their use in the larger framework of the two epics. There does not exist, however, a resource where one can find a listing of all the similes in these poems. Our compendium fills this gap and having it available online enhances its use to scholars around the world. In addition to providing the Greek text and an English translation of all the similes in the Iliad (344) and Odyssey (128), we discuss the problem of defining and distinguishing this rhetorical trope from other similar linguistic features. We have also provided ten appendices that deal with various issues involving similes. These will be useful to anyone investigating the types of similes, their function or distribution within each book of the two epic poems, their speakers, and other pertinent statistics.
    Keywords: Homer(ic), Iliad, Odyssey, Simile(s), Metaphor(s)
    Date Uploaded: 11/08/2016
  8. Gender and Violent Extremism: Examining the Psychology of Women Participating in Non-State Armed Groups [Download]

    Title: Gender and Violent Extremism: Examining the Psychology of Women Participating in Non-State Armed Groups
    Author: Dougherty, Rebecca
    Description: There is a presumption that women do not use violence as a means of exercising their political will, because most traditional notions of femininity emphasize motherhood, peacefulness, and stability. Like the repressive power relations between men and women in Islamic State society, the norms that dominated Western culture throughout the early 20th century mirror those affecting women under the IS regime in many ways. In Northern Ireland, these norms shaped women's identities prior to, during, and after the conflict; analysis of female fighters in Northern Ireland provides a parallel context for understanding women participating in other violent non-state armed groups like IS. This paper seeks to understand which factors make women vulnerable or averse to radicalization, and asks: do these factors differ from those that drive men into violent extremist groups? Understanding similarities and differences between men and women with regard to radicalization will enable policymakers to develop policies that effectively prevent and disrupt violent extremism.
    Keywords: Radicalization, Violent extremism, Gender, Feminism
    Date Uploaded: 05/23/2016
  9. "I Want It That Way": Teenybopper Music and the Girling of Boy Bands [Download]

    Title: "I Want It That Way": Teenybopper Music and the Girling of Boy Bands
    Author: Wald, Gayle
    Description: This article uses the Backstreet Boys and N'Sync as examples of boy bands that have attracted significant followings of girl fans. It critiques the devaluing of girls' musical aesthetics and suggests alternative means for understanding the popularity of boy bands in terms of the "girliness" of "boy" performers and the multiple opportunities for gender and sexual identifications and modes of gendered sociality afforded by boy band performance.
    Keywords: popular music, fandom, boy bands, girls, Backstreet Boys, N'Sync
    Date Uploaded: 10/30/2015
  10. Predictive Collaborative Robots via Deep Reinforcement Learning [Download]

    Title: Predictive Collaborative Robots via Deep Reinforcement Learning
    Author: Barnes, Scott
    Description: In recent years, advances in the field of collaborative robotics have enabled people and robots to work in a shared environment. However, the complexity of modeling human-robot interaction and difficulty of automating many tasks has restricted the application range of collaborative robots. This research introduces a model free reinforcement learning-based framework capable of learning to perform new tasks, as well as learning the human behaviors associated with those tasks, enabling a robotic system to work directly with people to complete a shared objective. By utilizing data captured from a camera mounted above the workspace, this framework acts as an adaptive control system that enables a collaborative robot to adjust to changes in its environment in real time. First, a classification neural network is trained to model the probability distribution of human behaviors associated with a specific task based on data collected on that task being performed. Then, a Deep Q Network is trained in simulation, converging to an optimal decision policy based on the rewards it receives for the outcomes of actions it selects. In contrast to traditional approaches to programming robots, this system 'learns' generalizable policies that allow it to adapt to dynamic environments, enabling high levels of performance in scenarios it has never encountered before. This system was implemented on a collaborative assembly task both in simulation and in physical space, in which the objective was to assemble a series of parts in a specific order in collaboration with a person. This resulted in an average efficiency increase 21.6% over the person working alone while maintaining a high standard of safety. This novel approach to addressing human-robot interaction enables collaborative robots to become predictive rather than reactive, resulting in safer and more efficient collaboration.
    Keywords: Research Days 2017, Collaborative robotics, Deep reinforcement learning, Human-Robot interaction
    Date Uploaded: 05/18/2017