Matching Items (82)

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Mediums and Messengers: Congress and Technological Misunderstandings

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This thesis examines congressional discussions of media technologies at two distinct historical moments in order to see how Congress evaluated and sought to regulate technologies with the potential to reshape

This thesis examines congressional discussions of media technologies at two distinct historical moments in order to see how Congress evaluated and sought to regulate technologies with the potential to reshape public modes of thought and communication. Specifically, it examines congressional discussions centered around Television and the Fairness Doctrine, as well as Facebook and the recent scandal involving Cambridge Analytica by asking how Congress has understood what is at stake while attempting to regulate emerging media technologies. Specifically, it probes questions such as: What is assumed about the technologies while attempting to legislate them? What is treated as subject to assessment and revision; what is given priority for consideration over other alternate angles? How do the legal and political contexts in which these discussions are framed impact legislative proceedings and society’s ways of knowing and relating to the world?
While these moments are only a subset of such moments in US history, and Congress is only one of a range of forums in which such political discussions can take place, the thesis focuses on these cases because not only are they important in themselves, but also they reveal issues and approaches that are not unique to these moments. The thesis draws on the on the work of Neil Postman, who argues that the emergence and subsequent dominance of media like television have the capacity to alter the manner in which we think and thus have profound effects on the texture and character of American civic life. In this vein it uses a comparison of how lawmakers attempted to regulate television and social media platforms like Facebook to explore whether and how lawmakers have attended to the capacity of these media to shape public thought.
The thesis demonstrates that understanding of media’s epistemological influence is only ever tacitly acknowledged by lawmakers and is not regarded as an important consideration during evaluative legislative efforts. Instead, Congress tends to focus on matters that are of immediate concern and pragmatic in nature, eclipsing questions about how these technologies fundamentally alter our perceptions of the world and the ways we as individuals and as a society relate to it. By not taking such questions into account during our legislative proceedings, the thesis argues, we cede opportunities to employ and regulate technologies to better serve our cultural ideals and remain susceptible to unwanted forms of cultural erosion mediated by technologies.

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  • 2019-05

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Government Subsidization, Public Assistance, and the Socioeconomics of Type-Two Diabetes

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Type-two diabetes represents a pathological state of insulin resistance due to systemic, complex interactions between numerous identified and linked metabolic genes. According to current medical literature, the genetic predisposition to

Type-two diabetes represents a pathological state of insulin resistance due to systemic, complex interactions between numerous identified and linked metabolic genes. According to current medical literature, the genetic predisposition to type-two diabetes, coupled with environmental risk-factors, such as poverty and poor dietary habits, further exacerbate the risk of developing the disease. My research investigated the hypothesis that government poverty programs are associated with the surge in type-two diabetes among people of low socioeconomic status. My research suggests that government subsidies for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, Women Infants and Children, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, National School Lunch Program, and corn production influence individual dietary choices that lead to consumption of excessive amounts of refined sugars and fats and a surge in the prevalence of obesity, known risk-factors for developing type-two diabetes. These policies and programs may directly or indirectly promote and incentivize diets with excessive refined sugars and fats. As such, current programs paradoxically contradict current medical literature and direct individual choices that have increased the known risk-factors for developing type-two diabetes. Future efforts should reassess poverty and agricultural subsidy programs in relation to medical recommendations for diabetes prevention. The enormous societal and economic burden associated with type-two diabetes calls for further research to assess the efficacy of current public policy and the allocation of government funds.

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  • 2017-05

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Human Preconception Sex Selection: Informing the Public of Sex Selection Methods and Ethical Considerations

Description

Scientific and public interest in determining the sex of a child prior to conception has a longstanding history. Since at least the fourth century BC, people have been interested in

Scientific and public interest in determining the sex of a child prior to conception has a longstanding history. Since at least the fourth century BC, people have been interested in what determines whether a child will be a boy or a girl. It was not until the mid 1800s, when scientists first discovered female eggs and male sperm, and further learned that the combination of the genetic make-up of those sex cells began the process of conception, that science began to take precedence over popular beliefs and scientists began to make discoveries about the reproductive process in humans. In the mid-twentieth century, two methods of sex selection emerged based on the idea that human male sperm cells are physically different based on which sex chromosome they carry, either X or Y. The first type of method gained popularity in the 1960s and involved timing intercourse throughout the female menstrual cycle. The two timing methods of sex selection outlined in this paper are the Shettles Method and the Whelan Method. The second type of method was based on the idea that the physical differences between the two types of sperm cells allow for sperm cell separation using technology. The method that is outlined in this paper is called the Ericsson Method of Sperm Separation, and this paper also outlines a company called Microsort that utilizes this technology. However, many studies that tested the methods based on differences in the two types of male sperm were inconclusive, meaning that the methods were supported by some and rejected by others. Despite the evidence that can neither prove nor contest those methods with absolute certainty, their popularity has been maintained in the public eye. By questioning methods of sex selection since their early development, and often discovering that they are unreliable, scientists have increased the creative and technological capacity of the field of reproductive health. The presentation of these methods to the public, via published books on timing methods and company websites for sperm sorting, increased interest in, and influence of, sex selection within the global society. The purpose of explaining the history, interest, development, and impact of various sex selection methods in the mid-twentieth century based on the information that is available on them today is to show couples which methods have failed and provide them with the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision on how they choose to go about utilizing methods of sex selection. This paper also reflects on the ethical considerations of sex selection. The ethical considerations demonstrate the influence that sex selection has on both a global and local scale and how it is being managed in different parts of the world. This allows an individual member of the public to determine what they consider to be an ethical decision based on this information, in addition to an informed decision about the methods if they wish to go through with choosing the sex of their child.

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  • 2018-05

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Computational Analysis of Research in Mammalian Neocortical Neurogenesis

Description

Studies in neocortical neurogenesis have experienced an explosive growth since the early 2000s, measured by the increasing number of publications each year. I examine here the influence of Arnold Kriegstein

Studies in neocortical neurogenesis have experienced an explosive growth since the early 2000s, measured by the increasing number of publications each year. I examine here the influence of Arnold Kriegstein in the field using Topic Modeling, a set of algorithms that can be applied to a collection of texts to elucidate the central themes of said collection. Using a Java-based software called MALLET, I obtained data for his corpus, and compared it to the texts of other researchers in the field. This latter collection, which I dub "General Corpus", was separated by year from 2000 to 2014. I found that Kriegstein's most frequently discussed topic concerned highly unique terms such as GABA, glutamate, and receptor, which did not appear in any of the primary topics of the General Corpus. This was in contrast to my initial hypothesis that Kriegstein's importance stemmed from his examination of different phenomena that constitute the broader aspect of neocortical neurogenesis. I predicted that the terms in Kriegstein's primary topic would appear many times throughout the topics of the General Corpus, but it was not so, aside from the common ones such as neurons, cortical, and development. Taken in tandem with NIH Reporter data, these results suggest that Kriegstein obtains a large amount of research funding because his studies concern unique topics when compared to others in the field. The implications of these findings are especially relevant in a world where funding is becoming increasingly difficult to come by.

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  • 2015-05

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DEINSTITUTIONALIZATION AND ITS EFFECTS ON EMERGENCY MEDICINE

Description

Emergency departments (EDs) across the country have been forced to accommodate an ever-expanding population of mental health patients. This study surveyed physicians and social workers in order to determine the

Emergency departments (EDs) across the country have been forced to accommodate an ever-expanding population of mental health patients. This study surveyed physicians and social workers in order to determine the most commonly treated mental illnesses in the ED, common frustrations in the care of mental health patients, limitations in the provision of treatment, and possible changes and improvements to the treatment system for the future. Attitudes toward the deinstitutionalization movement of the 1960s also were assessed, as this movement is hypothesized to have contributed to the current strain on EDs with respect to treating mental health issues. In this thesis, the deinstirutionalization movement and possible implications for mental health treatment in EDs are reviewed' In addition, questionnaires were administered to a sample of 6 ED doctors and 2 ED social workers-. Survey responses suggest that more resources, including availability of ED staff psychiatrists and dedicated facilities for mental health patients' would offer improvements to the current system. With careful evaluation of the ability of the ED to meet the needs of mental health patients, alternative resources for more effective and successful treatment strategies may be developed that offer a compromise between institutionalization and the revolving door of the ED.

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Date Created
  • 2012-05

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Dismantling Legal Constraints to Contraception in the 1900s

Description

In the late nineteenth century, the Comstock Act of 1873 made the distribution of contraception illegal and classified contraception as an obscenity. Reflecting the predominant attitude towards contraception at the

In the late nineteenth century, the Comstock Act of 1873 made the distribution of contraception illegal and classified contraception as an obscenity. Reflecting the predominant attitude towards contraception at the time, the Comstock Act was the first federal anti-obscenity law that targeted contraception. However, social acceptance of birth control changed at the turn of the twentieth century. In this thesis, I analyzed legislation, advocates, and literature pertinent to that social change to report on the events leading up to the decriminalization of contraception. Because of the complexity of social history, I used legislation and court cases to track pivotal movements that reflected a change in the accessibility and acceptability of birth control. I focused on the efforts of two prominent birth control advocates, Margaret Sanger and Mary Dennett, and analyzed the impact of their efforts in that social movement. I learned that they incited court cases that questioned the validity of the Comstock Act and helped influence societal acceptance of birth control. Through my research, I discovered that the medicalization of contraception influenced its decriminalization and acceptance by society.

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Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Yuma, Arizona Pediatric Oncology Capacity Needs Assessment

Description

Yuma County, a primarily agricultural community on the border of Mexico and Arizona, has been deemed a “medical island surrounded by a sea of sand.”17 Yuma, Arizona consists of

Yuma County, a primarily agricultural community on the border of Mexico and Arizona, has been deemed a “medical island surrounded by a sea of sand.”17 Yuma, Arizona consists of over 200,000 people, with an additional 80,000 to 100,000 winter visitors.17 An extra 41,000 farm workers from California and 50,000 Mexicans on work visas travel to Yuma during the winter harvest season.17 Additionally, approximately 20% of residents live below the poverty line and 60% of the population is Hispanic in 2016.17 Unemployment in Yuma is also 50% higher than the national average, and has a 20% unemployment rate in 2016.17 Because these statistics are higher than the state and national averages, the Department of Health and Human Services have declared Yuma County as a “high needs area.”17 For all of these residents in Yuma County, Yuma Regional Medical Center is the sole healthcare provider.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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How Purported Scientific Failures Have Led to Advancements in IVF

Description

In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is currently a worldwide medical procedure designed to give infertile men and women the ability to have children of their own. An IVF procedure takes

In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is currently a worldwide medical procedure designed to give infertile men and women the ability to have children of their own. An IVF procedure takes place outside of a woman’s body, often in a laboratory setting. However, before scientists used the procedure on humans, they initially performed IVF on animals for selective breeding and agricultural purposes. After scientists realized that the procedure had potential to become a treatment option for infertility, they expanded their research subjects to include using the technique on humans. During the procedure’s initial development, scientists began to conduct numerous IVF trials on humans that often ended in early miscarriages. This thesis shows us the history of how some of the first attempts at IVF in humans using various options such as donated egg cells and cryopreserved embryos, often ended in early miscarriages. At that time, most members of the scientific community and general public responded to those trials by regarding them as insignificant. In 1998, the success rate of women under the age of 38 having children with the use of IVF was 22.1%. Over time, scientists began to acknowledge those published findings that detailed various “failed” human IVF experiments. Scientists learned to use them as a guide for what to do differently in future IVF experiments. Because of that, scientists have since developed more effective IVF methods which have ultimately improved the procedure’s success rate. In 2016, the success rate of IVF had increased to 39.6% for women. Therefore, what we might initially think of as a “failure” is in reality not a failure at all, but rather is a “purported failure” because we can use it as a stepping-stone towards an end goal. By looking at the history of IVF research, my thesis illustrates how some of the most important science comes from acknowledging the purported failures along with the triumphant successes.

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  • 2020-05

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MTC Transmission of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa: Barriers and Solutions to Implementation of the WHO's Treatment Plans

Description

Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, is a global epidemic, costing over 9.51 million individuals their lives since 2000. There are different modes of transmission of HIV, one such mode being

Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, is a global epidemic, costing over 9.51 million individuals their lives since 2000. There are different modes of transmission of HIV, one such mode being from an HIV positive woman to her child before, during, or after delivery (SIC Curriculum, 2006). Though a global epidemic, not all countries have the same prevalence of mother to child, or MTC, transmission of HIV. In 2016, over 160,000 children under the age of five were newly infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. That is compared to the United States of America, where it is estimated that fewer than 150 new infant HIV infections occur yearly (Glaser Foundation, 2020). Those differences exist despite both countries having access to preventative medication as of 1998.
Additionally, the World Health Organization, or WHO, developed three treatment plans for prevention of MTC transmission of HIV, globally available as of 2010 (WHO, 2010). The goal of the WHO was to globally standardize care of HIV-positive pregnant women and their infants in order to decrease the global prevalence of HIV. The first plan was called Option A, then came Option B, and lastly Option B+. While preventative medication has been available for over twenty years and at least one of these theoretically effective treatment plans has been implemented and is readily available in each country of sub-Saharan Africa, the overall prevalence of MTC transmission of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa has continued to be notably high compared to other countries. Thus, the aim of this thesis is to explore some of the significant obstacles to implementation of the WHO’s treatment plans in sub-Saharan Africa that contribute to that high prevalence. I also suggest possible solutions to those barriers in order to effectively decrease the prevalence of MTC transmission of HIV.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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Informed Consent Laws for Abortion: What Do Women Have a "Right to Know?"

Description

As of 2019, 30 US states have adopted abortion-specific informed consent laws that require state health departments to develop and disseminate written informational materials to patients seeking an abortion. Abortion

As of 2019, 30 US states have adopted abortion-specific informed consent laws that require state health departments to develop and disseminate written informational materials to patients seeking an abortion. Abortion is the only medical procedure for which states dictate the content of informed consent counseling. State abortion counseling materials have been criticized for containing inaccurate and misleading information, but overall, informed consent laws for abortion do not often receive national attention. The objective of this project was to determine the importance of informed consent laws to achieving the larger goal of dismantling the right to abortion. I found that informed consent counseling materials in most states contain a full timeline of fetal development, along with information about the risks of abortion, the risks of childbirth, and alternatives to abortion. In addition, informed consent laws for abortion are based on model legislation called the “Women’s Right to Know Act” developed by Americans United for Life (AUL). AUL calls itself the legal architect of the pro-life movement and works to pass laws at the state level that incrementally restrict abortion access so that it gradually becomes more difficult to exercise the right to abortion established by Roe v. Wade. The “Women’s Right to Know Act” is part of a larger package of model legislation called the “Women’s Protection Project,” a cluster of laws that place restrictions on abortion providers, purportedly to protect women, but actually to decrease abortion access. “Women’s Right to Know” counseling laws do not directly deny access to abortion, but they do reinforce key ideas important to the anti-abortion movement, like the concept of fetal personhood, distrust in medical professionals, the belief that pregnant people cannot be fully autonomous individuals, and the belief that abortion is not an ordinary medical procedure and requires special government oversight. “Women’s Right to Know” laws use the language of informed consent and the purported goal of protecting women to legitimize those ideas, and in doing so, they significantly undermine the right to abortion. The threat to abortion rights posed by laws like the “Women’s Right to Know” laws indicates the need to reevaluate and strengthen our ethical defense of the right to abortion.

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  • 2020-05