Colonial Academic Alliance Undergraduate Research Journal
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Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 2165-7076
Published by Colonial Academic Alliance [1 journal]
- CSI-Pi: A novel automated secure solution to interpret on-site
Authors: Subrata Acharya Dr. et al.
Abstract: Illicit drug evidence constitutes a vast majority of chemical evidence collected from crime scenes. However, determining which drug is seized is not a trivial task as most are white powders. Since their introduction, colorimetric chemical detection tests, also referred to as presumptive drug tests based on their tentative determination of unknown substances, aid in the on-scene differentiation of drug material with a rapid color change within 1-2 minutes. These colorimetric tests are an important tool used in crime scene investigation and for obtaining a search warrant to find illegal drug labs and drug distributors. However, both positive and negative color interpretation is often reported differently depending upon the user and two analysts may describe the same color differently, e.g., "brilliant greenish blue" vs. "strong greenish blue". Moreover, the high rate of false positives and working color memory limit the effectiveness of these manual tests. To this effect, this research reduces the subjective interpretation and reporting with regard to color in these tests by offering users with a new platform/technology in the form of a Raspberry Pi (standalone) application that "reads" the color of the presumptive drug test, searches and matches the color using a pre-built library database, and reports accuracy (%) matches for further laboratory evaluation.
PubDate: Thu, 24 Mar 2016 12:07:47 PDT
- Application of High-field NMR Spectroscopy for Differentiating Cathinones
for Forensic Identification
Authors: Jessica N. Krummel et al.
Abstract: Synthetic cathinone family compounds or designer drugs are the major naturally-occurring psychostimulant and hallucinogenic designer drugs that are used illegally in the United States and several other countries for their cocaine, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), and amphetamine-like effects. Since 2009, forensic labs have identified synthetic cathinones in an increasing percentage of cases. One of the problems crime labs face when analyzing submitted drug evidence is that the samples are often mixtures and can contain one or more of several cutting agents. In this work, we demonstrate the utility of high-field 1H-NMR as a screening tool to detect cathinones in the presence adulterants or “cutting agents”. We collected 1H- and 13C-NMR spectra of three structurally distinct cathinones: alpha-piperidinobutiophenone, alpha-pyrrolidinopentiothiophenone, and pentylone. The spectra were collected with the pure cathinones and in the presence of a cutting agent, commercial powdered sugar (sucrose), and in two solvents. Without knowing the mixture components, it is impossible to select a solvent that will (ideally) only dissolve the drug of interest for interpretation. High-field NMR can be used to provide a spectral assignment and structure determination of a sample of an unknown cathinone and spectral signatures for screening, even when the cutting agent is also very soluble as observed when the solvent was D2O. The NMR spectra provide evidence that rapidly acquired 1H spectra can be used to strongly indicate the identity of cathinones in a sample if they are present in a library.
PubDate: Thu, 24 Mar 2016 12:07:34 PDT
- Understanding Wales: Nationalism and Culture
Authors: Yen Nguyen et al.
Abstract: In the spring of 2013 ten students from the University of North Carolina Wilmington participated in a study abroad program in Wales attending Swansea University for the semester. As a group, we began examining Welsh culture and identity. Living abroad provided many opportunities to collect data and make observations about Welsh life. Our initial observations pointed to a tension that seemed to exist between Welsh and English cultures. We found this tension noteworthy and decided to examine it more closely through an exploratory research project examining Welsh political and economic history, Welsh culture and Welsh nationalism through participant observation, field trips and face-to-face interviews.
PubDate: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 13:05:53 PST
- A Comprehensive Security Assessment Toolkit for HealthCare Systems
Authors: Subrata Acharya Dr. et al.
Abstract: This research identifies the critical need for conducting a comprehensive information security assessment of any healthcare system. This effort is vital to establish and maintain compliance of security and privacy in healthcare organizations. The paper presents a novel framework and toolkit for security assessment to establish and maintain regulatory compliance. Furthermore, the paper lays out the design of a comprehensive, automated tool set to gain insight about electronic healthcare information system vulnerabilities in the system. The research then investigates various mitigation techniques to secure a healthcare information system and its electronic health records. Furthermore, as validation the proposed toolkit is evaluated in a real-world HIMSS 6  healthcare organization and their over 20 partnering clinical practices.
PubDate: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 13:05:50 PST
- Pain Management: Effects on Pain Perception in Older Adults and College
Authors: Jennifer S. Daks
Abstract: This study examined the relationship between pain perception and meditation among older adults and college students diagnosed with a chronic pain condition. Chronic pain was defined as having pain most days of the week for at least three months. 13 participants were older adults recruited from a local senior center and 18 participants were college students recruited from a local university. Participants attended one intervention that measured the immediate effects of a meditation or education training on perceptual aspects of pain. Pain intensity, sensation and emotional response were measured with the McGill pain questionnaire short-form. Catastrophic thoughts about pain were measured by the pain catastrophizing scale. The depression, anxiety and stress scale was also utilized in this study to measure overall distress. Results showed a marginally significant trend towards meditation decreasing the intensity of pain in older adults. Results also revealed greater reductions in all measures of pain in both older adults and college students who underwent meditation training versus an education group, yet these results did not reach statistical significance. College students showed somewhat greater improvement in comparison to older adults in both control and experimental groups, though not significantly so. This study was limited in its effectiveness because of a small sample size and an unclear sample of individuals with chronic pain conditions. Although the study only yielded significant decreases distress levels in college students, it highlights the overall potential benefits of a meditation intervention as a plausible and effective treatment for chronic pain as well as co-morbid conditions associated with pain.
PubDate: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 13:05:49 PST
- Reclaiming Information Privacy Online
Authors: Subrata Acharya Dr. et al.
Abstract: The tremendous growth in information technology and the use of digital communication medium have led to serious concerns on preserving and reclaiming privacy of users online . Many individuals consider privacy to be a right, but much or all of their online activity can be and is easily tracked by various organizations. Additionally, due to the lack of effective regulations, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are lured to collect and disseminate user specific privacy and profile information for financial gains. In recent times, the strongest effort by the federal government towards addressing this concern was specified in the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act . The Act provided guidelines and mechanisms to access, store and transmit individual personal information online. But, in-spite of various recent efforts there are huge lapses in online privacy, with very little accountability to identify and address the problem. The goal of this research and the experimental studies conducted is to demonstrate how information can still be leaked in the current Internet usage and the steps that end-users (clients) can take to mitigate the problem. The research also discusses numerous approaches and tools that can be readily implemented to help bring back privacy to online browsing.
PubDate: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 13:05:48 PST
- The Role of Perceived Barriers to Maternal Communication in Risky Sexual
Behavior Among Mexican Adolescents
Authors: Julia C. Daugherty et al.
Abstract: This study examined gender differences in perceived barriers to communication about sex between mothers and adolescents (ages 12 to 19) in Mexico. We also explored associations between 3 risky sexual behaviors (contraception use, age of first coitus, and sexual experience) and these barriers separate by gender. A total of 1,436 participants (47% female) completed surveys measuring risky sexual behaviors and 3 barriers to communication (lack of confidence or knowledge about sex, talk perceived as encouraging sex, and talk perceived as unnecessary). Findings revealed that boys were likely to perceive more barriers to communication than were girls. Talk perceived as encouraging sex was associated with vaginal sex among all adolescents. Female adolescents who perceived their mother as having less knowledge and confidence about sex were also more likely to have had sexual intercourse and less likely to have used contraception. Boys who perceived talk as unnecessary were more likely to have had sexual intercourse. These findings amplify our understanding of both barriers to communication about sex and risky sexual behaviors among adolescents in Mexico.
PubDate: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 13:05:46 PST
- Relations between Maternal Personality, Parenting, and Toddlers’ Emotion
Regulation and Externalizing Behaviors
Authors: Lauren Schaefer
Abstract: This study examined relations between maternal personality, parenting behavior, and young children’s emotion regulation and externalizing behaviors. More specifically, the study examined whether parenting behavior mediated or moderated associations between maternal personality and children’s distress during a frustration-eliciting task or associations between maternal personality and children’s externalizing behaviors. Participants included 95 typically developing 24-month-olds and their mothers. Maternal sensitivity was evaluated during a mother-child structured interaction in the laboratory. In a separate laboratory task, children’s access to a treat was prevented in order to assess children’s distress. Data on externalizing behavior problems and maternal personality were collected using questionnaires completed by mothers. Multiple dimensions of maternal personality were related to children’s externalizing problems, but maternal sensitivity did not mediate these associations. However, maternal sensitivity did moderate the relationship between the maternal personality factor of agreeableness and children’s externalizing problems: Maternal agreeableness was positively related to externalizing problems but only when mothers were relatively low in sensitivity.
PubDate: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 13:05:44 PST
- Computational Studies of the Epoxidation of cis-/trans-Alkenes by
Authors: Valerie Stone et al.
PubDate: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 13:05:42 PST
- Evaluating Heidegger’s Fundamental Mood of Dread: Intentionality and
Authors: Casey R. Fowler
Abstract: In this paper, I explore two different interpretations of Martin Heidegger’s concept of the “fundamental mood of dread [anxiety].” I focus on the intentional structure of the fundamental mood of dread, and how it can still be considered intentional despite its ‘object’ being ‘the nothing;’ I also explore the idea that this fundamental mood reveals ‘the nothing.’ I compare and contrast S.J. Paluch’s claims that Heidegger both confirms and denies the intentional structure of the fundamental mood of dread, and Paluch’s claim that the revealing action of fundamental moods can ‘fail to reveal.” Furthermore, I explicate Ronald Grimsley’s account that the fundamental mood of dread does reveal, and despite its inability to take the nothing as an object, still has an intentional structure.
PubDate: Mon, 05 Nov 2012 09:00:35 PST
- Smoking and Cessation Behaviors Among College Students
Authors: Amanda J. Wells et al.
Abstract: Smoking is a major factor in increased rates for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Despite numerous studies related to smoking behaviors and patterns in adolescents and adults, few studies examine both smoking behaviors and cessation patterns in college-aged students. The purpose of this study was to describe smoking and cessation patterns in undergraduate students at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Students (N= 159; M =20.9 years; 73% female; 91.2% white; 68% single) completed a 41-question online health-related survey; 17 items pertained to smoking. Based on data analyses, 17% smoked cigarettes and 77.4% had tried to quit smoking between one time to greater than six times in the past. Students wanted to quit smoking for health and financial reasons and thought that changing habits, self-motivation, and exercise were the most effective ways to quit smoking. Results indicated a need to include physical, psychosocial and medicinal components in smoking cessation programs.
PubDate: Mon, 05 Nov 2012 09:00:34 PST
- The Relationship Between Loneliness, Ethnic Identity, and Dimensions of
Membership Across First, Second, and Third Generation Americans
Authors: Rajni Sharma
Abstract: The current study sought to explore the relationship between loneliness, ethnic identity, and dimensions of membership across generational statuses in the United States. One hundred ninety-four first, second, and third generation Americans participated in an online study which questioned the degree to which they participated in their native culture, their level of loneliness, and their experiences of discrimination, perceived inclusion, and how positively they view their ethnic group. As hypothesized, the more first generations participated in their native culture, the less loneliness they experienced. The more second generation Americans were educated about their native culture from their parents, the less loneliness they experienced, and the greater they participated in their culture. The more third generations identified with American culture, the less lonely they felt. Overall, there were significant differences in discrimination, perceived inclusion, and how positively participants viewed their ethnic group within the United States. This study emphasizes a cross-cultural phenomenon existing within differing generational statuses. Further analysis and implications of the study are discussed.
PubDate: Mon, 05 Nov 2012 09:00:33 PST
- Judicial Recusal: On the Brink of Constitutional Change
Authors: Laura M. Beamer
Abstract: ABSTRACTRecusal, or judicial disqualification, occurs when a judge abstains from a particular legal proceeding because of a personal conflict of interest. All levels of the judicial system and some administrative agencies in the United States apply the concept of recusal, but this study focuses on the United States Supreme Court. Title 28 of the United States Code provides standards (not obligatory by legal means) on when Supreme Court Justices should recuse themselves. But Supreme Court Justices are themselves the arbiters of their own recusal and often these substantive standards are not met. The method of study applied is theoretical, using both quantitative and qualitative data from past Supreme Court cases.
PubDate: Mon, 05 Nov 2012 09:00:32 PST
- Methods in Visual Mathematics: Reductionism in Researching Mathematical
Principles in Art
Authors: Lauren N. Colie
Abstract: The visual arts offer a reflective source for understanding the processing of aesthetics and beauty that is significant to an awareness of brain function and the human psyche. Evaluating and determining what factors are integral to the experience of aesthetics holds value for understanding deeper psychological implications of perception. I conducted a survey of Western portraiture determined to be famed through repeated Internet searching of "famous art" and best-selling prints for the purpose of examining the works for mathematical attributes proposed to cause the experience of visual pleasure. While mathematical principles and patterns can be found within each example of portraiture, the overarching issue encountered is the validity of the methods that are present in the research that declares the merit of the principles and patterns used. As the data suggesting the value of the attributes sought in the works is flawed, so too is any conclusion based upon it. The ability to quantify the qualitative in an objective manner does not yet exist. Therefore, it is invalid and reductionist to assert the experience of visual pleasure as relates to fame is based on a singular attribute that cannot be empirically established. Attempts to discover adequate methods are not wasted, as the discussion generated by inquiry into the experience of aesthetics offers positive philosophical and critical thinking applications. Furthermore, the promising new frontier for aesthetic research involves utilization of social networking and the Internet as tools.
PubDate: Mon, 05 Nov 2012 09:00:30 PST
- Only Through Men
Authors: Brooke E. Covington
Abstract: Abstract“Only Through Men” details the influences and contributions that Aspasia of Miletus made to the rhetorical tradition. Aspasia was one of the first female rhetoricians in Athens during the 5th century B.C. Because of her gender, she has been marginalized throughout history almost to the point of disappearance. The paper examines the different ways in which Aspasia was able to escape the realm of silence that she was forced into simply because she was a female. Her influence was aided by her close relationships with influential men who, ironically, worked to give her a voice. These men, who were directly a part of the patriarchal society that silenced her, helped to keep her legacy alive by mentioning her in their many famous works. The paper specifically explores her connections with Pericles, Socrates, and Aristotle—each of whom praises her intelligence and mastery with words. Primary documents that mention Aspasia were examined and excerpts are given throughout the paper. Secondary research conducted by experts in the field is also paired with the primary evidence, giving a more global view of who Aspasia was and what she was able to accomplish during her lifetime and beyond.
PubDate: Mon, 05 Nov 2012 09:00:29 PST
- Steadfastness, Resistance, and Occupation in the Works of Sahar Khalifeh
Authors: William M. Cotter II
Abstract: This comparative study offers a close reading of Palestinian author Sahar Khalifeh’s Wild Thorns and The End of Spring. The paper focuses on the discussion that the novels explore with regards to the varying methods of resistance to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. I argue that the novels mainly portray two differing modes of resistance: steadfastness, or nonviolent resistance and armed resistance. Additionally, I analyze the critique that Khalifeh provides in her novels of the Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank and discuss the mental and emotional repercussions of the occupation on the daily lives of civilians.
PubDate: Mon, 05 Nov 2012 09:00:28 PST
- Art for Art’s Sake: Art as Sexual Disease in the Trials of Oscar
Authors: Rebekah M. Blankenship
Abstract: Oscar Wilde, the celebrated author of The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest, appears to be most famous for his productions at the Old Bailey in 1895. After a disastrous libel trial, Wilde suffered public humiliation as he was arrested for “gross indecency” on charges of being a sodomite. While for a Wilde biographer this is important in and of itself, I will argue that the historical moment of Wilde’s trials also lent themselves to the flourishing of the newly formed model of sexuality. In the 19th century, science had abandoned the previous idea that sexual desire was linked to the body and was now shifting towards a mental locus of sexual desire, or sexuality. Wilde embodied this rift between body and sexuality with his burly body and dandy persona. While ideas of sexuality shaped the outcome of Wilde’s own trial, the publicity of his trial also sent tidal waves out into the world authenticating and spreading sexuality in Victorian minds.
PubDate: Mon, 05 Nov 2012 09:00:27 PST
- A Group-theoretic Approach to Human Solving Strategies in Sudoku
Authors: Harrison Chapman et al.
Abstract: Recently there has been a lot of interest in the mathematics of the popular game Sudoku. In a typical Sudoku puzzle, a number of initial clues are given, and the solver uses strategies to fill in the remaining clues to complete the board. A well-known open problem is, “How many initial clues are necessary for the puzzle to have a unique completion'” In this talk, we shift the focus of study from clues to what we call packets. A packet gives information about what entries can NOT be in a cell. Introducing packets gives rise to some interesting questions about Sudoku and its $4\times4$ counterpart, Shidoku. One such question is ``what is the minimum number of packets needed to describe a puzzle with a unique completion''' This question parallels the minimum clue question. Packets are also intimately related to the Boolean system of polynomial equations used to describe the constraints of a Sudoku puzzle. They can be used to more efficiently calculate a Gr\"obner basis of the ideal generated by this system of equations. Packets are also inherently related to human methods for solving Sudoku puzzles. To emulate human solving strategies we introduce the idea of solving symmetries -- functions which manipulate a puzzle while maintaining the same solutions. We show that these solving symmetries form a group which acts on the set of Sudoku puzzles.
PubDate: Mon, 05 Nov 2012 09:00:26 PST
- Glial Cell Activity within the Ventrolateral Periaqueductal Gray of Male
and Female Rats
Authors: Jean-Marc A. Sauzier et al.
Abstract: Morphine is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for the relief of prolonged pain. Both basic science and clinical studies indicate that females require 2-3 times more morphine than males to achieve the same analgesic effect. To date, the mechanisms underlying sex differences in opiate responsiveness are unknown. Recent studies suggest that glial cells are potent modulators of morphine-based analgesia, and in particular, decrease the analgesic effect of opiates. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that the sexually dimorphic effects of morphine were due to sex differences in glial cell activity. Our studies focused on the midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG) as this region of the brain is critical for the analgesic effects of morphine. Adult male and female Sprague Dawley rats (250g- 400g) were procured from Charles River Laboratories, and were allowed 7 days to acclimate to the new facility. On the day of the experiment, animals received a subcutaneous injection of morphine (5mg/kg) or were handled in a similar manner. Thirty or 60 minutes after injections or handling, animals were perfused with a 4% paraformaldehyde and 2.5% acrolein tissue fixative solution. Brains were removed and stored in 20% sucrose until ready for sectioning. Brains were sectioned at 25mm using a freezing microtome, and immunohistochemical localization of markers for astrocyte glial cell activity was performed. Antibodies to glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) were used to label activated astrocytes. If our hypothesis is correct, then females will have significantly greater density of the astrocyte cell activity marker GFAP as compared with males. Sex differences in PAG glial cell activity may provide the biological bases for the sexually dimorphic effect of morphine. This research may lead to better treatment for females experiencing prolonged chronic or neuropathic pain.
PubDate: Mon, 05 Nov 2012 09:00:25 PST
- A Near-Neighbor Statistical Survey of the Environments of Galaxies with
Authors: Thomas Redpath et al.
Abstract: Water mega-masers provide crucial tools for accurate determination of
masses of black holes lurking in galaxy centers, and of extragalactic
distances without the need for indirect cosmological assumptions. Current searches have detected masers in only 3 - 4% of the galaxies surveyed and require refinement of their survey criteria. Motivated by current models linking galaxy environment and black hole accretion and the possibility that maser activity correlates with black hole accretion, we conducted a study of the properties of the small and large-scale environments of galaxies hosting masers. Using samples of galaxies with and without maser detections provided by the Megamaser Cosmology Project, together with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey spectroscopic observations, we present a comparative analysis of near-neighbor statistics and their properties, which include distances to the n-th neighbors as well as neighbor counts within fixed volumes, and optical colors and absolute brightness distributions. We show evidence that the environments of the mega-masers in particular differ from those of galaxies where maser activity was not detected, with the mega-masers possibly
prefering the lower density regions. Nevertheless, the trends presented by various measures of the environmental properties of maser and non-maser systems remain complicated. A better understanding of the factors that closely connect with the masing conditions and overall activity can be achieved with higher number statistics, possibly through conducting near-neighbor investigations involving photometric redshift measurements, that allow characterization of neighboring systems at much fainter levels.
PubDate: Mon, 05 Nov 2012 09:00:23 PST