DR/TL (Didn't Read/Too Long?)

Brief mentions of things going on among Duke researchers, scholars, and other enterprises


It’s tough being an orphan, surely. But evidently primate orphans’ troubles begin even before their mother dies. Offspring born in the last four years of their mothers’ lives are more likely to die before their mother does, and if they do live, their offspring are less likely to survive. The loss of time in maternal “apprenticeship” years may be one of the causes. Listen to—and appreciate—your mother! * Keeping track of large colonies of seabirds through the use of drones and artificial-intelligence monitors them as successfully as having scientists out there with them. Plus it’s much cheaper. 



If you want to get people to buy more of your product, it turns out that praising your competitors helps; people in a study shown a Tweet by KitKat complimenting Twix were 34 percent more likely to buy KitKats—and no more likely to buy Twix. So perhaps you should also read a fine story in the Carolina Alumni Review? * Those kids who didn’t eat the marshmallow and waited for two? Evidently they grow up to not only be healthier adults but to age more slowly. A study that tracked thousands of people from birth to age forty-five found that children who had higher levels of self-control had healthier bodies and brains, felt more satisfied, and had fewer age-related diseases. * An opposable thumb is nice, as is a nice roomy cranium, but do you know what else separates us from our ape cousins? We’re good with water. That’s physiologically: The human body uses 30 percent to 50 percent less water each day than our near ape relatives. Breathing, sweating, peeing: We’re just more efficient at those things. The ability to wander farther from watering holes may have been a real advantage in dry savannah conditions. * Kids who struggle with mental-health issues appear to have more age-related health issues later in life, too. * When agencies fund themselves through fees and fines from low-level cases (think highway patrol or county sheriff’s offices), the burden disproportionately falls on low-income people and on Black and brown citizens. *



Not only can you print electronics, now you can make them of recyclable inks. A fully recyclable transistor, made out of three carbon-based inks, can be printed onto paper and then completely recycled. Printed electronics, using carbon nanotubes and graphene inks, are not new; but using biodegradable, wood-based nanocellulose as the insulating element removed the last nonrecyclable plastics from the transistors. * Wearable technology—say, a smartwatch—seems to be able to recognize in its wearers diseases like colds and the flu before symptoms show up. Researchers are hopeful this will be useful for COVID-19 and other emerging diseases. * The statistical principle of overlap weights can help doctors figure out which COVID-19 treatments work best, returning information on effectiveness by using real-world data, especially in cases where COVID-19 strikes patients with existing medical issues. * Climate change is helping trees in the eastern part of the continent while harming those in the west. The eastern forests of North America have younger and smaller trees, and their seed production has increased; among the larger and older trees of the west, not so much. 



The Duke endowment had a 55.9 percent return in its most recent fiscal year, growing to a record $12.7 billion. * Duke ran the table in the Alan Waterman Award this year. Given by the U.S. government to only two researchers every year, the award is considered the highest honor for an early career scientist or engineer. This year Nicholas Carnes, the Creed C. Black Associate Professor of public policy and political science in the Sanford School, won one, and Melanie Matchett Wood ’03, a mathematician at Harvard University, won the other. Each will receive a five-year, $1 million research grant. * Four new members joined the Duke University board of trustees on July 1: Michael J. Bingle B.M.E. ’94; Eddy H. Cue ’86; Nancy-Ann DeParle; and Grant H. Hill ’94. They will each serve six-year terms. Three observers were appointed to the board: Vikas J. Patel, Doha Ali ’21, and Gerardo A. Párraga J.D. ’21. * By the end of September, more than 99 percent of the Duke work force was COVID-19 vaccine-compliant. * A team of Duke first-year engineering students won a $15,000 prize from the National Institutes of Health in an undergraduate biomedical-design challenge. * Professor of computer science and engineering Cynthia Rudin was the second winner of the $1 million Squirrel AI Award for Artificial Intelligence for the Benefit of Humanity from the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). The award is considered the Nobel Prize of AI research.

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