Matching Items (118)

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Emergence of New Technology and Statistical Analysis to Explore Aging Patterns in Latent Fingerprint Analysis

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Abstract Latent fingerprints are a critical component of the evidence that is captured and analyzed from crime scenes and presented for convictions in court. Although fingerprint science has been used for many years in forensics, it is not without many

Abstract Latent fingerprints are a critical component of the evidence that is captured and analyzed from crime scenes and presented for convictions in court. Although fingerprint science has been used for many years in forensics, it is not without many criticisms and critiques from those that believe it is too subjective. Researchers from many disciplines have tried to refute this claim by completing experiments that would eventually lead to a fingerprint aging technique as well as providing statistical models and mathematical support. In this literature review, the research that has been widely published and talked about in this field was reviewed and analyzed to determine what aspects of the experiments are benefitting the study of degradation. By carefully combing through the methods and results of each study, it can be determined where future focuses should be and what disciplines need to be exploited for knowledge. Lastly, an important aspect of the experiments in recent years have depended on the collaboration with statistics so this evidence was examined to identify what models are realistic in determining error rates and likelihood ratios to support latent fingerprint evidence in court. After a thorough review, it is seen that although large strides have been taken to study the degradation of fingerprints, the day where fingerprints will be able to be definitively aged may be ways away. The current experiments have provided methods such as three-dimensional and visual parameters that could potentially find the solution, but also uncovered methods such as immunolabeling and chemical composition that face major challenges. From the statistically point of view, researchers are very close in developing equations that exploit the likelihood ratios of similarity and even calculate the various possible error rates. The evidence found in this review shows that science is one step closer to the age determination of fingerprints.

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2018-05

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Shark conservation and the impact of forensic science on current conservation efforts

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Marine conservation faces the unique challenge of trying to assess and protect species, like sharks, that have long migration tracks and are often targeted by fishing vessels in open and international waters. Over the last two decades, several large predatory

Marine conservation faces the unique challenge of trying to assess and protect species, like sharks, that have long migration tracks and are often targeted by fishing vessels in open and international waters. Over the last two decades, several large predatory shark populations have been greatly depleted despite local and international organizations designed to help regulate and prevent predator removal to avoid disturbing the food web those sharks balance (Myers, Baum, Shepherd, Powers, & Peterson, 2007). Forensic science is a powerful tool that could give shark conservation efforts an edge on identifying shark species currently being targeted by unsustainable fisheries in international waters. Allowing offenders who break international conservation laws to be prosecuted for their crimes. Unfortunately, this unique and powerful tool has not been given the opportunity to be utilized as it should be. An overview of national and international agencies, organizations, and laws disclosed a strong foundation for wildlife conservation. However, current international organizations and laws that govern international waters leave much to be desired in regards to protecting shark species that are threatened due to being popular targets for fishing vessels. This paper examines the level of forensic science involvement in shark conservation efforts through a literature review, revealing a severe lack of real-life application of forensic science to marine conservation cases. Current issues that marine wildlife forensic science encounters while attempting to increase forensic capability. And finally, presenting proposals for the future, and new challenges, which aim to strengthen the relationship between forensic science and marine conservation.

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2018-05

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Latina Women in STEM: How Race and Class Shape the Experiences of Undergraduate Women in STEM Majors at Arizona State University

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Women and people of color are some of the most underrepresented groups in the STEM field (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The purpose of this study was to uncover the barriers that undergraduate Hispanic women, as well as other women

Women and people of color are some of the most underrepresented groups in the STEM field (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The purpose of this study was to uncover the barriers that undergraduate Hispanic women, as well as other women of color, face while pursuing an education in a STEM-related major at Arizona State University (ASU). In-depth interviews were conducted with 13 adult participants to dig deeper into the experiences of each woman and analyze how race and class overlap in each of the women's experiences. The concept of intersectionality was used to highlight various barriers such as perceptions of working versus middle-class students, the experience of being a first-generation college student, diversity campus-wide and in the classroom, effects of stereotyping, and impacts of mentorships. All women, no matter their gender, race, or socioeconomic status, faced struggles with stereotyping, marginalization, and isolation. Women in STEM majors at ASU performed better when provided with positive mentorships and grew aspirations to become a professional in the STEM field when encouraged and guided by someone who helped them build their scientific identities. Working-class women suffered from severe stress related to finances, family support, employment, and stereotyping. Reforming the culture of STEM fields in higher education will allow women to achieve success, further build their scientific identities, and increase the rate of women graduating with STEM degrees.

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2018-05

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Seed Beetle Abundance and Diversity in Urban and Rural Sites

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The spread of urbanization leads to habitat fragmentation and deterioration and changes the composition of ecosystems for species all over the world. Different groups of organisms are impacted differently, and insects have experienced loss in diversity and abundance due to

The spread of urbanization leads to habitat fragmentation and deterioration and changes the composition of ecosystems for species all over the world. Different groups of organisms are impacted differently, and insects have experienced loss in diversity and abundance due to changing environmental factors. Here, I collected seed beetles across 12 urban and rural sites in Phoenix, Arizona, to analyze the effects of urbanization and habitat variation on beetle diversity and abundance. I found that urbanization, host tree origin, and environmental factors such as tree diversity and density had no impact on overall beetle diversity and abundance. Beetles were found to have higher density on hosts with a higher density of pods. In assessing individual beetle species, some beetles exhibited higher density in rural sites with native trees, and some were found more commonly on nonnative tree species. The observed differences in beetle density demonstrate the range of effects urbanization and environmental features can have on insect species. By studying ecosystem interactions alongside changing environments, we can better predict the role urbanization and human development can have on different organisms.

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2018-05

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Defining the Limitations of Illumina Amplicon Sequencing as it Relates to Community Diversity Analysis

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The termite Coptotermes gestroi is a small subterranean termite originating from Southeast Asia. The hindgut of C. gestroi contains five distinct species of parabasalid: Pseudotrichonympha leei, two undescribed species from the genus Holomastigotoides, and two undescribed species from the genus

The termite Coptotermes gestroi is a small subterranean termite originating from Southeast Asia. The hindgut of C. gestroi contains five distinct species of parabasalid: Pseudotrichonympha leei, two undescribed species from the genus Holomastigotoides, and two undescribed species from the genus Cononympha. This study investigates the protist symbionts in C. gestroi and the relationship between their relative abundance as inferred by Illumina sequence reads and the directly observed abundances for each protist genus. Illumina amplicon sequencing as a means of DNA analysis is a proven method for identification and diversity analysis, although the specific ratios of sequence reads to cell abundance in protists is not well known. In this study, protist communities were observed under light microscopy; cells were counted under hemocytometer and characterized at the molecular level using Illumina amplicon sequencing. When comparing sequence read abundances to cell abundances, some general trends were found in both analysis methods. Cononmypha repeatedly formed the majority of the community, while Holomastigotoides and Pseudotrichonympha were responsible for a smaller yet similar portion of the population. Cell counts and sequence reads were also compared using an assumed linear model, with R2 values generated to quantify the relationship between both. The results suggest that Illumina sequencing can be used to obtain rough estimates of community diversity, but the high variability within the data suggest that the read abundances should be treated with caution.

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2018-05

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Calculative Thought with a Meditative Purpose: Forensic Science and Hermeneutic Thought

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As human beings we go through the world interpreting – seeing a situation, gathering context, and making a decision on the meaning of the thing we just experienced. The philosopher Martin Heidegger calls this way of being hermeneutics – a

As human beings we go through the world interpreting – seeing a situation, gathering context, and making a decision on the meaning of the thing we just experienced. The philosopher Martin Heidegger calls this way of being hermeneutics – a practice of interpretation. This method of approach does not ignore a person’s bias, instead bias is highlighted, understood, and possibly even overcome. In the following pages the basic definition and process of hermeneutics will be discussed. Leading into the difference between calculative and meditative thought – scientific and philosophical – in order to later discuss the possibility and need to merge the two in the field of Forensic Science. Forensic Scientist uses hermeneutic thought by way of merging calculative and meditative thinking. In order to support this claim artistic renderings of ‘the pieces of an unknowable whole’ were created to literally illustrate this truth.
Forensic science is tasked with using calculative thinking with scientifically accepted methods of measurement and detection as well as the meditative task of applying their data to messy, real-world events. In order to support my supposition of forensic scientists being hermeneutical workers, three paintings were created. The three paintings can be considered a tryptic of sorts due to the context in which they are presented: forensic science. They each tell a story that is weaved within each other – spatter indicating violence long past, the empty void of a body gone, and the cold decomposition of a victim found. It is the forensic scientist that must interpret each piece separately and is tasked with finding how and why they are put together. The hermeneutical work of the forensic scientist interpreting a crime scene uses the same methods as one who interprets text. A forensic scientist opens possibilities of meaning in the same way that Martin Heidegger’s hermeneutic circle does. There is interplay between the interpreter (the forensic scientist) and the text (the crime scene), questions are formed (what happened here?) and responses are made (evidence found at the scene). This question and response outlook is what make the forensic scientist a hermeneutic thinker.

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2018-05

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Synthesis of Bexarotene Analogs for the Treatment of Breast Cancer

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Bexarotene is a synthetic analog of 9-cis-retinoic acid and ligand for the retinoid X receptor which has a history of clinical success in the treatment of T-cell lymphoma. Bexarotene has also shown potential for treating a variety of other cancers,

Bexarotene is a synthetic analog of 9-cis-retinoic acid and ligand for the retinoid X receptor which has a history of clinical success in the treatment of T-cell lymphoma. Bexarotene has also shown potential for treating a variety of other cancers, which we seek to explore in this project. The potential of bexarotene lies in its unique mechanisms and wide application, however, it has shown limited effectiveness thus far in the treatment of breast and lung cancer, with moderate levels of efficacy and symptoms such as cutaneous toxicity, hyperlipidemia, and hypothyroidism. For this project several analogs of bexarotene were synthesized with the intentions of making a more potent ligand that can be used to treat these carcinomas while minimizing harmful side effects. We were successful in synthesizing a large variety of analogs over the span of roughly two years, including iso-chroman derivatives of bexarotene and NEt-TMN, in addition to a new series of analogs of the reported NEt-TMN derivative. These analogs were analyzed via melting point determination and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to confirm the molecular structure and determine purity, and it is our intent to continue with further testing of these compounds to determine their effectiveness as well as the side effects they are likely to cause with levels of toxicity. Recent studies suggest that continuing the analysis of these compounds and other rexinoids like the ones described herein is a worthwhile endeavor as similar rexinoids have shown in numerous assays to be more potent and less toxic in the treatment of cancers when compared with bexarotene.

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2019-05

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Elucidating the effects of estrous cycle on social stress-induced amphetamine sensitization in female rats

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Consequences of drug abuse and addiction affect both men and women, but women tend to rapidly progress through drug addiction phases, have higher drug dependency, and have higher relapse rates. Ovarian hormones fluctuate with female reproductive cycles and are thought

Consequences of drug abuse and addiction affect both men and women, but women tend to rapidly progress through drug addiction phases, have higher drug dependency, and have higher relapse rates. Ovarian hormones fluctuate with female reproductive cycles and are thought to cause increased sensitivity to psychostimulants. Additionally, intermittent social defeat stress induces social avoidance, weight loss, and long-lasting cross-sensitization to psychostimulants, which is associated with increased FosB/ΔFosB expression in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell. In this study, we examined the estrous cycle in female rats on social defeat stress-induced amphetamine cross-sensitization through FosB/ΔFosB expression in the NAc shell. Every third day for ten days, we induced social defeat stress in rats through short confrontations with a lactating female resident rat and her pups. In parallel, a group of rats were handled for control. Vaginal swabs were taken daily to assess estrous stage. Ten days after the last stress exposure, rats were administered a low dose of amphetamine (0.5 mg/kg, i.p.), which induced cross-sensitization in stressed rats, evidenced by enhanced locomotor activity. Approximately 3-10 days after amphetamine challenge, brain tissue was collected for immunohistochemistry analyses. Stressed female rats had lower body weight gain, higher social avoidance, and increased FosB/ΔFosB expression in the NAc shell. Differences in FosB/ΔFosB expression in the NAc shell was also observed in handled animals in different estrous stages. Furthermore, rats in proestrous/estrous stages displayed enhanced social defeat stress-induced amphetamine cross-sensitization in comparison to rats in metestrous/diestrous stages. Elucidating the effects of the female reproductive cycle on drug use may provide a novel approach to treatments or therapies in preventing women’s stress-induced vulnerability to substance abuse.

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2019-05

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Black Widows on an Urban Heat Island: Understanding Physiological Responses to Global Change

Description

The steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) controls molting in arthropods. The timing of 20E production, and subsequent developmental transitions, is regulated by a variety of factors including nutrition and photoperiod. Environmental factors, such as temperature, play a critical role in regulation

The steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) controls molting in arthropods. The timing of 20E production, and subsequent developmental transitions, is regulated by a variety of factors including nutrition and photoperiod. Environmental factors, such as temperature, play a critical role in regulation as well. The increasing prevalence of urban heat islands (UHI), or areas with elevated temperature due to retained heat by built structures, in response to rapid urbanization has made it critical to understand how organisms respond to elevating global temperatures. Some arthropods, such as the Western black widow spider, Latrodectus hesperus, appear to thrive under UHI conditions, but the physiological mechanism underlying their success has not been explored. Recently, we have shown that L. hesperus, a troublesome urban pest, in fact responds to urban heat island conditions in Phoenix, AZ with delayed development, reduced body mass, and increased mortality. Here we look at the relationship between 20E levels and development in spiderlings reared under desert (27ᵒC), intermediate (30ᵒC), and urban (33ᵒC) temperatures, filling a noticeable gap in not only understanding ecdysteroids’ role in arachnid development but how incremental changes in environmental conditions affect the regulation of this process. Developmental progression and hemolymph 20E titers were recorded for several families of spiders collected from across the urban Phoenix area with data spanning from day 55 to 75 of development, focusing on the second developmental instar. We found that 33°C, but not 30°C, led to 1) a significantly higher production of 20E throughout development, 2) a reduced and delayed molt-inducing 20E peak, and 3) noticeable reductions in growth rate and mass. At 30°C, a variable response is seen in molt timing, without the negative impacts on size and mortality as seen at 33°C, suggesting that at UHI temperatures, the optimal developmental temperature threshold has been surpassed.

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2019-05

Applications of Deep Neural Networks to Neurocognitive Poetics: A Quantitative Study of the Project Gutenberg English Poetry Corpus

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With the advent of sophisticated computer technology, we increasingly see the use of computational techniques in the study of problems from a variety of disciplines, including the humanities. In a field such as poetry, where classic works are subject to

With the advent of sophisticated computer technology, we increasingly see the use of computational techniques in the study of problems from a variety of disciplines, including the humanities. In a field such as poetry, where classic works are subject to frequent re-analysis over the course of years, decades, or even centuries, there is a certain demand for fresh approaches to familiar tasks, and such breaks from convention may even be necessary for the advancement of the field. Existing quantitative studies of poetry have employed computational techniques in their analyses, however, there remains work to be done with regards to the deployment of deep neural networks on large corpora of poetry to classify portions of the works contained therein based on certain features. While applications of neural networks to social media sites, consumer reviews, and other web-originated data are common within computational linguistics and natural language processing, comparatively little work has been done on the computational analysis of poetry using the same techniques. In this work, I begin to lay out the first steps for the study of poetry using neural networks. Using a convolutional neural network to classify author birth date, I was able to not only extract a non-trivial signal from the data, but also identify the presence of clustering within by-author model accuracy. While definitive conclusions about the cause of this clustering were not reached, investigation of this clustering reveals immense heterogeneity in the traits of accurately classified authors. Further study may unpack this clustering and reveal key insights about how temporal information is encoded in poetry. The study of poetry using neural networks remains very open but exhibits potential to be an interesting and deep area of work.

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2019-05