2012-06-01 - CSYS - NSF Highlight - The Mathematics of Altruism

Fri, 06/01/2012 - 04:16
For decades, biologists have debated whether individuals sacrifice themselves to save those who share their genes or in effect to benefit the whole group. University of Vermont researcher Charles Goodnight has shown through mathematical models that the two views of altruism, kin selection versus group selection, are in fact equivalent behaviors.

The research sheds new light on fundamental issues in evolutionary theory.

For kin selection to be important, the related individuals must be in groups that preferentially help each other. For group selection to operate, the members of a group must be closer to each other than to other groups. The two ideas are so close they actually can be converted to each other mathematically. This understanding has been stated in technical research articles for more than 30 years, but the broader scientific community hasn't often recognized it.
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2012-05-31 - Learning Genomics at the Speed of Light

Thu, 05/31/2012 - 11:08
It is not often that a person can be in more than one place at the same time. James Vincent, Research
Assistant Professor of Biology and Director of the Bioinformatics Core for the Vermont Genetics Network
(VGN), managed to accomplish just that.

Dr. Vincent offered for the first time a class titled, Data Intensive Computing for Applied Bioinformatics,
at Johnson State College in Johnson, Vermont. Dr. Elizabeth Dolci, Professor and Chair of Environmental
& Health Sciences at Johnson State College, co‐instructed the class. Through the use of a video
conferencing system and an upgraded fiber connection between Johnson State College and the I2 UVM
backbone, the seemingly impossible, became possible.

Students at Johnson State College in Johnson, the University of Vermont, in Burlington, and Norwich
University in Northfield, Vermont attended the class simultaneously. Dr. Vincent was able to teach the
students cutting edge bioinformatics course work to the diverse group.
Workforce Development

Dr. Vincent aims to train the next generation of bioinformaticians in Vermont and to help sustain this
emerging and increasingly critical field of study. Bioinformatics applies computer technology to the
management of large datasets comprised of biological information. Dr. Vincent is also one of the lead
researchers studying the Little Skate genome through funding provided by NSF EPSCoR Track‐2 and the
Northeast Cyberinfrastructure Consortium (NECC).
- This course uses technology and trains people to use that technology – all at the same time - said Dr.

Vermont's mountainous landscape and sparse population distribution presents great challenges for high
speed Internet access and thus, transmission of large data sets. Funding provided by NSF EPSCoR has
resulted in increased access to expertise and course offerings such as Dr. Vincent's for all Vermont
students at geographically diverse campuses.
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2012-05-31 - UVM One of Only 18 Research Universities in Country to Receive Coveted IGERT Grant From National Science Foundation

Wed, 05/30/2012 - 23:08
The University of Vermont has been named one of only 18 colleges and universities in the country to receive a highly coveted Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training, or IGERT, grant from the National Science Foundation, the first awarded in the state of Vermont. The UVM proposal was chosen from among 154 IGERT proposals submitted to the NSF in 2012.

UVM will receive approximately $3 million over five years to create an innovative, multi-disciplinary graduate program supporting 22 doctoral students who will be trained to analyze and develop smart grid systems. UVM will also hire two faculty members as part of the grant.
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2012-05-30 - Alan Betts: Changing When the Seasons Occur

Mon, 05/28/2012 - 10:06
Climate trends in the northeastern U.S. show that in the past 40 years, winter has lost seven days every decade and the growing season has expanded by nearly four days each decade.

The warming climate and changing seasons affect farmers, foresters, outdoor recreation and wildlife, and society at large. Understanding these changes on a local level enables policymakers and others to adapt to the changes.

Seasonal climate has a natural variability from year to year. However, in recent decades Vermont's climate has changed rapidly, with winter temperatures rising twice as fast as summer temperatures. The cold season is shrinking by one week every decade. As snow and ice cover decreases, less sunlight is reflected, which accelerates winter warming. The summer growing season-the time between the last spring frost and the first fall frost--is adding one week every two decades. For every degree (Fahrenheit) increase in temperature in late winter and early spring, leaf-out and bloom come earlier by two to three days.
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Lake Dunmore group taps weevils in fight against milfoil - Addison County Independent

Mon, 05/28/2012 - 10:06

Lake Dunmore group taps weevils in fight against milfoil
Addison County Independent
This spurred the LDFLA to reach out to Middlebury College Professor of Biology Sallie Sheldon, whose work with the milfoil-eating aquatic weevils had earned her national acclaim. While Sheldon's weevil work essentially ended in 1995, she made a brief ...

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2012-05-29 - Alan Betts: Climate change requires us to become an energy-efficient society

Sat, 05/26/2012 - 03:18
After writing these columns about our changing weather and climate for four years, it seems time for some blunt realism. I read a pithy summary last month by Ken Caldeira on the Web site Climate Progress, which went like this: When we use the atmosphere as a free waste dump for the CO2 greenhouse gas emissions from our energy system, we are transforming the Earth to a hothouse climate that last existed on this planet when the dinosaurs were the top predators. Is this ethical and fair to our children, when we could convert our energy system to an efficient one that is not carbon-fuel based for only about 2 percent of our GNP?
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Austin Troy: Can Trees Actually Deter Crime? - The Atlantic Cities

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 11:16

The Atlantic Cities

Can Trees Actually Deter Crime?
The Atlantic Cities
In the June issue of Landscape and Urban Planning, a team of environmental researchers led by Austin Troy of the University of Vermont report an inverse relationship between tree canopy and a variety of crimes in the Baltimore city and county regions.

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2012-05-24 - The Science of Science Communication - National Academy of Sciences Washington, DC - May 21-22, 2012

Thu, 05/17/2012 - 10:05
This colloquium surveyed the state of the art of empirical social science research in science communication and focused on research in psychology, decision science, mass communication, risk communication, health communication, political science, sociology, and related fields on the communication dynamics surrounding issues in science, engineering, technology, and medicine with five distinct goals:

* To improve understanding of relations between the scientific community and the public
* To assess the scientific basis for effective communication about science
* To strengthen ties among and between communication scientists
* To promote greater integration of the disciplines and approaches pertaining to effective communication
* To foster an institutional commitment to evidence-based communication science
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Washington Electric Co-op annual meeting set for May 24

Thu, 05/17/2012 - 10:04

Washington Electric Co-op annual meeting set for May 24
This year's featured speaker will be noted Vermont climate scientist Dr. Alan Betts. He will speak at approximately 7:30 pm on the topic: Climate Change–What's in Store for Vermont?. Following Dr. Betts, there will be a brief presentation about the ...

and more »
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Paul Smith's Prof Links Climate Change, Drought in Southern Hemisphere - ReadMedia (press release)

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 09:06

Paul Smith's Prof Links Climate Change, Drought in Southern Hemisphere
ReadMedia (press release)
Paul Smith's College professor Curt Stager and Jay White (right) collecting a sediment core from a South African lake. PAUL SMITHS, NY (05/15/2012)(readMedia)-- Warming climate may mean less rainfall for drought-sensitive regions of the Southern ...

Google News
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Vermont Software Developers' Alliance announces Bentley Award winners -

Thu, 05/10/2012 - 14:52

Vermont Software Developers' Alliance announces Bentley Award winners
The vtSDA would like to thank all of the donors that supported the program, especially the Vermont EPSCoR program which provided over half of the additional funding. A complete list of the donors and all twenty-one applications can be found on the ...

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2012-05-07 - RACC Member Asim Zia - Land Use Adaptation to Climate Change

Sun, 05/06/2012 - 19:03
Global climate change, especially the phenomena of global warming, is expected
to increase the intensity of land-falling hurricanes. Societal adaptation is needed to reduce vulnerability from increasingly intense hurricanes. This study quantifies the adaptation effects of potentially policy driven caps on housing densities and agricultural cover in coastal (and adjacent inland) areas vulnerable to hurricane damages in the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal regions of the U.S. Time series regressions, especially Prais-Winston and Autoregressive
Moving Average (ARMA) models, are estimated to forecast the economic impacts of
hurricanes of varying intensity, given that various patterns of land use emerge in the Atlantic and Gulf coastal states of the U.S. The Prais-Winston and ARMA models use observed time series data from 1900 to 2005 for inflation adjusted hurricane damages and socio-economic and land-use data in the coastal or inland regions where hurricanes caused those damages. The results from this study provide evidence that increases in housing density and agricultural cover cause significant rise in the de-trended inflation-adjusted damages. Further, higher intensity and frequency of land-falling hurricanes also
significantly increase the economic damages. The evidence from this study implies that a medium to long term land use adaptation in the form of capping housing density and agricultural cover in the coastal (and adjacent inland) states can significantly reduce economic damages from intense hurricanes. Future studies must compare the benefits of such land use adaptation policies against the costs of development controls implied in housing density caps and agricultural land cover reductions.
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2012-05-05 - Streams Participant Alayna Hauke named as Academic All-Star

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 14:28
Streams Student Alayna Hauke named as Academic All-Star
Top 5 accomplishments: Being named valedictorian, getting the Bausch and Lomb Science Scholarship, getting a 5 on the AP calculus exam, playing four years of varsity soccer and tennis, and working with the Vermont EPSCoR Streams Project twice.
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2012-05-04 - Patrick Clemins, VT EPSCoR Cyber Education Specialist - Invited Panelist at 2012 Internet 2 Member Meeting

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 14:28
Patrick Clemins, PhD, Vermont EPSCoR Cyber Education Specialist, was an invited panelist at the Spring 2012 Internet2 Member Meeting in Arlington, VA, on Tuesday, April 24th, 2012. The Vermont EPSCoR program is housed at the University of Vermont (UVM). The panel, titled "Expanding the Research Horizons and Impact of Less Research Intensive Institutions", focused on activities being undertaken by the Internet2 community to include educational institutions outside of the "R1" research university community including primarily undergraduate colleges, community colleges, K-12 schools, libraries, museums, and education-based associations. Dr. Clemins outlined the efforts of Vermont EPSCoR and UVM to establish a Vermont Internet2 Sponsored Educational Group Participant (SEGP) network and the three main aspects of that process: (1) to connect educational institutions to a broadband educational and research network, (2) to integrate broadband technology into educational activities, and (3) to empower a community of educators, learners, and researchers to create their own collaborations. Other panel members included Wole Akpose, Chief Security Officer at Morgan State University, Robert Mays, Director of Network and Communications at Villanova University, and Dr. Karl Steiner, Senior Associate Provost for Research Development at the University of Delaware. The panel was moderated by Dr. Beverly Hartline, Associate Provost and Dean at University of the District of Columbia.
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2012-05-04 - Study: Extinction Could Rival Climate Change

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 14:28
Over the last two decades, there has been growing concern that very
high rates of modern extinction -- loss of plant and animal species due
to habitat destruction, overharvesting and other human-caused
environmental changes -- could reduce nature's ability to provide goods
and services that people need, "like food, fuel, carbon storage, clean
water, and habitat," says the University of Vermont's Carol Adair.
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Energy-Efficient Aiken Center Offically Opened at Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - UVM News

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 14:27

UVM News

Energy-Efficient Aiken Center Offically Opened at Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
UVM News
By Jon Reidel Governor Peter Shumlin, Dean Mary Watzin and Lola Aiken (center) cut the ribbon at the official opening of UVM's newly renovated George D. Aiken Center. (Photo: Sally McCay) Lola Aiken officially opened the refurbished George D. Aiken ...

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2012-04-30 - RACC team member Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux: Backward Seasons, Droughts and Other Bioclimatic Indicators of Variability

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 05:34
With the potential for setting a record low minimum temperature in a few hours, I thought you might like to read more about the backward spring that we are coming out of as temperatures climb for the rest of the week.
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2012-04-30 - RACC team member Alan Betts: Insite Interview

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 05:34
RACC team member Dr. Alan Betts is interviewed on Insight a public affairs program for Rutland County hosted by Laura Vien. Alan and Larua are joined by panelists Royal Barnard and Alan Keays for a discussion about weather. The interview aired on 4-18-2012.
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2012-04-25 - Asim Zia- Risk Zones: Comparative Lesson Drawing and Policy Learning from Flood Insurance Programs

Thu, 04/19/2012 - 05:16
Risk insurance mechanisms have been proposed as proactive policy options to enhance the resilience of communities for coping with extreme events. Many risk insurance mechanisms require designation of "risk zones" to legalize governmental interventions. After a three-day workshop and ensuing interviews, "wicked" challenges were identified in the designation of risk zones: risk thresholds; land value; damage-reduction; land-use planning; forecast uncertainty; map accuracy; modifiable-areal-unit problem; winners and losers; single versus multiple hazards; and cross-jurisdictional administrative boundaries. A total of 56 peer-reviewed studies are synthesized that evaluate these "wicked" challenges in flood insurance programs and derive deliberative heuristics for designating risk zones in publicly sponsored insurance mechanisms.
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2012-04-25 - Resilience, A Report on the Health of Vermont's Environment - The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources

Thu, 04/19/2012 - 05:16
The Agency of Natural Resources is pleased to present this
report on the health of Vermont’s environment.

Most of us will never forget the historic floods of 2011 and the
damage they delivered to our homes, farms, businesses, and
public infrastructure such as roads, water systems, and bridges.
The impacts on Vermont’s natural environment were also severe.

As we continue to bounce back, we have a unique opportunity
to reflect and learn. Hardship reminds us that we must continually
strengthen our understanding of the major risks facing our
ecosystems and our communities. It prompts us to ask: What can
we do to minimize these risks? And how can we prepare for
adversity if some risks cannot be fully mitigated?
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