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Recent Submissions

Preventing User Radicalization by Automatically Detecting Misinformation Videos
(2022-12) Latif, Lawzeem
Online misinformation has become a very large problem with the rise in information sharing capabilities of social media. The rise in such misinformation has in turn influenced and lead to many cases of radicalization which has resulted in many unfortunate situations. Detecting misinformation is computationally expensive and usually by the time it is found and removed, the content has spread to many places. Additionally, online echo-chambers often exacerbate the spread of misinformation and without any oversight can lead to users getting radicalized. In this thesis, I will look at leading research papers on how to detect misinformation using multiple methods and how to detect potential echo-chambers. Using that knowledge, I will propose a video ranking algorithm that will attempt to prevent user radicalization by automatically detecting potential misinformation content.
Co-overexpression of AVP1/PP2A-C5 in cotton to enhance cotton abiotic stress tolerance and fertilizer use efficiency
(2022-12) Cai, Yifan
Food security is currently threatened by more challenges such as the increasing world population, climate change, and toxic metal contaminated arable land. To meet the demand of feeding and clothing the increasing world population, it is necessary to enhance crop yield in the world. Cotton is a major fiber crop for Texas Southern High Plains, as well as for US, unfortunately cotton production is facing a severe challenge imposed by those threats. Overuse of fertilizer in agricultural production has caused salinization in soils worldwide, leading to unbalanced nutrients in soils that caused huge yield losses in many semiarid regions in the world. In addition, toxic metal is another important threat limiting agriculture production and it affects plant, animal, and human health. This research uses Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation to co-overexpress PP2A-C5, and AVP1 in cotton and aims at generating a cotton variety with high fertilizer use efficiency that can also functions as a metal hyperaccumulator to clean toxic metal contaminated arable land. AVP1 is a vacuolar membrane-bound H+ pyrophosphatase, and overexpression of AVP1 in plants could increase tolerance of toxic metals and fertilizer use efficiency. The PP2A-C5 is the catalytic subunit 5 of the Arabidopsis protein phosphatase 2A. Overexpression of PP2AC5 in Arabidopsis could increase tolerance to NaCl, KCl, LiCl, and KNO3. In this study, we found that AVP1/PP2AC5 co-overexpressing cotton performed better under low fertilizer conditions than AVP1-overexpressing cotton and wild-type cotton. In addition, we found that AVP1/PP2AC5 co-overexpressing cotton performed better and accumulated more lithium under high lithium condition than wild-type cotton. Interestingly, AVP1/PP2AC5 co-overexpressing cotton exhibited higher N, P, K use efficiency under high lithium conditions as well in comparison with wild-type cotton plants. Those data prove that AVP1/PP2AC5 co-overexpressing cotton could serve as a hyperaccumulator plant for lithium, and it could be used to clean fertilizer overused soils.
Understanding piezoresistive soft composites as applied to multi-directional tactile sensing arrays
(2022-12) Rogers, Jeremy
An improvement in tactile force sensing has far reaching implications in many fields. To enable human robot interaction machines must be able to mimic human dexterity. Piezoresistive soft composite materials are one transduction mechanism of great interest to researchers for this purpose. Flexible piezoresistive films are often used as skin analogs and integrated into complex array sensors for tactile sensing. Each mechanism has distinct advantages and disadvantages, but the optical, thermal, and mechanical properties - combined with cheap fabrication cost - make these composite materials good candidates for force sensors. The main goal in this work is to characterize a soft piezoresistive layer in both tension and compression to enable a model system for a piezoresistive tactile force sensor and a characterization platform. In this paper a cantilevered beam is proposed as a base mounted force sensing mechanism. The uniformity of the sensor characteristics heavily depends on the homogeneity of the composite. However, the processes are complex and must be characterized before use. Tests carried out at multiple locations yielded consistent sensitivity values, making these types of composites suitable for array type force sensors. Therefore, the ability to locally characterize a film that will be integrated into a complex force sensor could be critical. Here, several methods to characterize the local sensitivity of flexible piezoresistive films is presented. Multi-walled carbon nanotubes and carbon black are mixed by weight with soft polyurethanes in 13% to 18% concentrations. Numerical calculations are used to simulate several aspects of the materials and the sensors. These simulations are then compared to the experimental tests. Results show that lower weight percentage composites exhibit a higher rate of change of resistivity and gauge factor than films of the same thickness with higher percentages. On the other hand, thicker films exhibit higher gauge factors for the two tested carbon black contents. A linear fit is applied to the ∆ R⁄R vs strain graphs to calculate the gauge factors. ∆ R⁄R vs strain graphs for tension and compression show gauge factors between -8 and 10.3 with the range decreasing with increasing MWCNT percentage.
The Men of Echelon One: Comparative Analysis of Company Aid-Men in Pacific and European Theaters of World War II
(2022-12) Yates, Trevor C.
The United States’ aid man or medical corpsman’s World War II experience was largely unprecedented in U.S. military history. There are several reasons why World War II served as watershed moment in the duties of the aid man. First, the mobility of the front lines increasingly removed the aid man from the established aid stations, where his performance of treating combatants and civilians was conspicuous to those who might call on him, like front-line infantry, airborne troops, and mechanized forces. The philosophy of treating battlefield wounded has been present in “Western” militaries since the days of Alexander. The primary effort for removing wounded from the field was not always based on a humanitarian effort, but more one of physically and psychologically maintaining a fighting force. This persists until the advent of first aid and the acceptance of the principles of the International Red Cross. Borrowing from European experience in battlefield care, the United States aid man was borne of two philosophies, a logistical aspect of battlefield care and a spiritual one. Second, while disease was the predominant casualty producer in previous American conflicts, 1944 was the year battlefield casualties exceeded disease related, non-combat casualties. This was not apparent to the aid men at the time, as they served in a multitude of functions near the front, including, litter-bearers, aid station attendants, drivers and sometimes, triage agents in identifying the onset of psychoneuroses in the front-line troops. Unlike previous wars, the United States fought on an unprecedented scale, on two fronts. The unique circumstances that each major theater encumbered upon the aid men are compared to explore the similarities and differences of their experiences, mostly through the perspective of the aid men who were there, and the people who witnessed their acts. Although the aid man role had been in practice since 1887 and had been deployed in two previous wars, it is the experiences of the aid men on two fronts that give rise to a collective respect of this healer, culminating in the creation and awarding of the Combat Medic’s Badge, and eventually a” combat pay.” The general perseverance of the aid man was noted not only by the troops, who increasingly referred to him “doc” but also the writings of Ernie Pyle, the U.S. Army’s campaign to highlight infantry, the drawing of Bill Mauldin, and the accounts of physicians he worked for and most of all the men he treated.
“No somos gitanos”: Cracking the Code of the Kale Blacksmiths of Early Modern Triana
(2022-12) Williams, Gretchen
This ethnographically informed micro-history focuses on the Romani (Kale) blacksmiths of the Triana neighborhood in Seville in the long sixteen century, emphasizing the importance of place for this community. So often the Romani are generally assumed to have little connection to a singular location because they are “inherently nomadic wanderers.” They are portrayed in paintings, plays, poems, and laws as drifters who seek the freedom of the road to the detriment of society. This dissertation presents a starkly different reality of these blacksmithing families from Triana, focusing on this neighborhood as it was home to a notable Kale population since their arrival into the Iberian Peninsula in the fifteenth century. By focusing at the community level we now see specific ways in which this group, often assumed to exist at the margins, in fact played a central role in a centrally important trade for the ever-expanding Spanish Empire. These families, living on Castilla Street for approximately 150 years were experts in producing screws and other small iron works known as chapurrería. It appears that the Kale blacksmiths of Triana were the primary producers of small iron works in the city of Seville for centuries, and specifically for various types of ships constructed and repaired in Seville’s bustling ship building industry. The research for this dissertation is archivally based but also draws from evidence of material culture to connect Kalo individuals who would have otherwise remained historically invisible. This dissertation will also explore the process of ethnic reclassification which has contributed to the archival invisibility of the Kale, touching on the concept of race in early modern Spain. This work brings to light the story of a community who has remained largely invisible, but who played an important role in the Spanish economy both in Spain and the Americas.