Seastars, Lasers, and Blue Stains

Hello! Last time I posted I was just finishing my first few trials of blastomere separations on the seastar, Evasterias. While the seastars were extremely reproductive (one female, ‘Big Mama’ gave us over 50 million eggs!), we weren’t able to perform full blastomere separations as the eggs did not develop and we lost a trial due to a seatable flooding. Female seastars are only able to spawn once in a season, so with all of the failed trials, we ran out of female Evasterias to spawn. Luckily, there is another seastar here, Pisaster ochraceous, which we could use instead of the Evasterias. Pisaster egg sizes are comparable with Evasterias eggs, and the two species have a similar development, allowing us to use Pisaster for our comparative study.

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Data Clean Up

When I took government research methods in the Fall 2013 semester, Professor Chris Howard warned us that while research was rewarding, it could also be very tedious.  Part of the “tedious” element of my project has been data cleaning. Each state had three separate excel sheets detailing the meta data for the project. This included the number of articles published in August 2009, the number of articles with healthcare related key terms, and the names of the newspapers that published these articles.  However, the computer program I am using for my project, R, is very finicky and does not work correctly if there are too many spaces or extra commas in documents read into the program.

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Local Media Coverage and State Level Ideology

Hello! My name is Joanna Borman and I am working on an independent project this summer that deals with media coverage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). My project is an extension of work I have been doing through the Social Network and Political Psychology Lab (SNaPP) Lab on campus.  The lab is run by Government professor Jaime Settle and primarily covers the intersection of political science and psychology, or political behavior.  However, over the past year my team (dubbed the “Obamacare Group”) has been collecting information on the ACA in order to better understand one of the most seminal events in American politics over the past decade.

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