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Research: How Do Warehouse Workers Feel About Automation?

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As of 2019, the global warehouse automation market — that is, programmable machines that pick, sort, and return goods to their shelves, as well as sensor- and AI-based tools that simplify tasks for warehouse workers — was worth about $15 billion. That number is expected to double within the next four years, with supply chain leaders in an internal Accenture survey citing warehouse automation as one of their top three priorities for digital investment. Clearly, the industry has huge growth potential. But what does this mean for the millions of workers who currently work in warehouses around the world?

We then conducted a sentiment analysis and leveraged standard data science techniques to extract key themes from the responses. We found that overall, sentiment was about 40% negative and 60% positive, and we further identified a number of recurring concerns and hopes: On the negative side, workers were worried about losing their jobs, having inadequate training resources, and dealing with downtime or errors caused by technology malfunctions. On the positive side, workers expressed optimism that automation would make their jobs safer, increase productivity, and improve the quality of their work.

In our analysis, 42% of the responses categorized by our models as “negative sentiment” were related to fears around job loss. Two respondents from China — Xin, a warehouse packer, and Chensi, a warehouse supervisor — used the exact same phrase to express their fears, saying: “this choice [to use robots] may cause us to face unemployment.” Heather, a warehouse clerk at a global logistics company based in the UK, wondered about her future, commenting: “I don’t mind working side by side to a robot, but I feel that sometimes my job is being pushed out to robots.”

Georgia Peanut Commission holds research report day for peanut farmers

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Tifton, GA (WFXL)~Peanut farmers from across South Georgia joined in Tifton for the ‘Georgia Peanut Commission’ research report day.

Georgia is the number one producer of peanuts in the United States and provides nearly half of the U.S. peanut product each year. Due to this, farmers say its important to continue finding new ways to benefit the industry.

“We think peanuts are one of the things that make our environment so prosperous so thriving with our small towns. The peanut itself is so sustainable that it actually adds value to our land,” said Donald Chase, Research Committee chair for Georgia Peanut Commission.

The event hosted by the University of Georgia Tifton campus allowed farmers and industry representatives to hear the latest reports on peanut research projects from 2021.

“There’s a lot of unique ways or new research going on how we can improve the yield and the quality of the peanuts. That is why this report day is so important,” said Simer Virk, Assistant Professor and Extension Precision Ag Specialist, University of Georgia

After more than 8 hours of research presentations farmers gained useful information. Virk saying the information brings the whole farming community together.

“This helps us collaborate between the researchers but also knowing how each aspect of that research is helping our peanut growers in the state,” said Virk.

Virk presented his research to farmers focusing on new precision Ag technologies. His goal is to maximize farmers use of space to create a better yield and quality of the peanuts.

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Implanted spinal stimulation device allows patients to stand, walk and swim

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After a motorcycle accident in , Michel Roccati, 30, wasn’t expected to be able to stand on his own ever again, let alone walk. But on a sunny day in , at the Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland, he walked across a promenade, thanks to the help of perfectly timed electrical impulses in his spine.

Two years after his injury, Roccati had been one of three men with paralyzing spinal cord injuries to enroll in a trial that allowed them to test-run a prototype of a modified medical device that could help people like them regain movement.

The surgically-implanted device, called a spinal cord stimulator, has been used for decades to treat chronic pain. Scientists modified the technology, which sends electrical signals to select areas of the spinal cord to help people who are paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury stand and even walk. (In people without spinal cord injuries, these electrical signals are sent by the brain to the spinal cord when a person wants to move their limbs.)

In a study, results of which were published Monday in Nature Medicine, Swiss researchers used a version of the device to do just that.

Within hours of starting therapy with the device, all three men could move their legs. After just one day of practicing specific activities, they were able to stand, walk with the help of a walker, cycle and swim. With the help of therapy, they were also able to do all that outside the lab, in the real world.

“It’s not easy and it takes a lot of work, but it’s a dream for most people in this group,” said Dr. Jocelyne Bloch, an associate professor of neurosurgery at Lausanne University Hospital, who co-authored the research.

Instead of targeting pain receptors like traditional spinal cord stimulators, the novel device uses personalized electrodes that target the nerves in the spine that control leg and trunk movements.

According to Dr. Eellan Sivanesan, director of neuromodulation at Johns Hopkins Medicine, most research thus far on spinal cord stimulation has been conducted in animals, and translating it to humans has been very challenging. He was not involved in the new research.

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New research bites holes into theories about Megalodons

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The study, which makes use of a pioneering technique for analyzing sharks, has now been published in the international journal Historical Biology.

Megalodons swam the Earth roughly 15 to 3.6-million years ago, and are often portrayed as super-sized monsters in films such as 2018’s “The Meg.” While there is no dispute that they existed or that they were gigantic, Otodus megalodon are known only from their fossilized teeth and vertebrae. Based on this evidence, studies suggest they reached lengths of up to 65 feet.

Unfortunately, additional fossil evidence from which to draw conclusions about their bodies, such as a complete skeleton, has not yet been discovered.

“The cartilage in shark bodies doesn’t preserve well, so there are currently no scientific means to support or refute previous studies on O. megalodon body forms,” said Phillip Sternes, a UCR organismal biologist and lead author on the study.

Traditionally, researchers have modeled Megalodon bodies on those of modern great white sharks. Great whites are partially warm blooded and belong to the lamniform shark order. Megalodons also belong to this order, and it is believed they shared this partial warm bloodedness with great whites.

It was previously thought having some warm blood is an advantage that could expand sharks’ swimming range, unlike other fish dependent on water temperature. However, it is now believed to increase swimming speed.

“Great whites are among the fastest swimming sharks, so Megalodons were likely also big, fast sharks you would not want to run into in the open ocean,” said Sternes.

There are eight families of Lamniformes, and 15 species. Previous research took five species of warm-blooded Lamniformes, averaged their fin and body shapes and proposed a general model for Megalodons.

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MiB: Rebecca Patterson, Bridgewater’s Director of Investment Research

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This week, we speak with Rebecca Patterson, who serves as director of investment research at the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates. In addition to shaping the firm’s research agenda, Patterson is a member of the executive committee, investment committee, and commercial and business strategy committee, and helps lead the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts. She previously served as chief investment officer at Bessemer Trust, where she oversaw $85 billion in client assets; she is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

We discuss her unusual career path, which took her from a career in journalism at Dow Jones to JPMorgan to Bridgewater. She explains how she developed an interest in currencies and commodities before diving deeply into equities.

Patterson describes how the one-two punch of monetary and fiscal stimulus led to a “Demand Shock” that has overwhelmed goods production. Even though global manufacturers ramped up production to 5% above pre-pandemic levels, demand for goods has risen 20%. This has made the supply chain issues even worse and explains a large part of the global inflation spike we are currently experiencing.

Air Force taps Clearview AI to research face-identifying augmented reality glasses.

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Medical Development Laboratory: Scientist Wearing Face Mask Looking Under Microscope and Using Digital Tablet. Specialists Working on Medicine, Biotechnology Research in Advanced Pharma Lab

Major environmental events write their own headlines. With loss of life and crippling infrastructure damage, the aftershocks of earthquakes reverberate around the world — not only as seismic waves, but also in the photos and news stories that follow a major seismic event. So, it is no wonder that both scientists and the public are keen to understand the dynamics of faults and their hazard potential, with the ultimate goal of prediction.

To do this, William Frank and Camilla Cattania, assistant professors in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), have teamed up as EQSci@MIT to uncover hidden earthquake behaviors and fault complexity, through observation, statistics, and modeling. Together, their complementary avenues of research are helping to expose the fault mechanics underpinning everything from aseismic events, like slow slip actions that occur over periods of hours or months, to large magnitude earthquakes that strike in seconds. They’re also looking at the ways tectonic regions interact with neighboring events to better understand how faults and seismic events evolve — and, in the process, shedding light on how frequently and predictably these events might occur.

“Basically, [we’re] trying to build together a pipeline from observations through modeling to answer the big-picture questions,” says Frank. “When we actually observe something, what does that mean for the big-picture result, in places where we have strong heterogeneity and lots of earthquake activity?”

While there are many ways to investigate different types of earthquakes and faults, Frank takes a detailed and steady approach: looking at slow-moving, low wave frequency earthquakes — called slow slip — in subduction zones over long periods of time. These events tend to go unnoticed by the public and lack an obvious seismic wave signature that would be registered by seismometers. However, they play a significant role in tectonic buildup and release of energy. “When we start to look at the size of these slow slip events, we realize that they are just as big as earthquakes,” says Frank.

His group leverages geodetic data, like GPS, to monitor how the ground moves on and near a fault to reveal what’s happening along the plate interface as you descend deeper underground. In the crust, near the surface, the plates tend to be locked together along the boundary, building up pressure and then releasing it as a giant earthquake. However, below that region, Frank says, the rocks are more elastic and can deform and creep, which can be picked up on instrumentation. “There are events that are transient. They happen over a set period of time, just like an earthquake, but instead of several seconds to minutes, they last several days to months,” he says.

Research Snapshot: Teaching with Multiple Conceptions

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For decades, educators have debated the merits of two different teaching methods: Direct instruction, which gives students the exact information they need to know, and constructivism, which guides students through information and encourages them to find the meaning.

The debate has gone on so long because research results are inconsistent. What if there was an underlying feature that could make either of these two approaches effective consistently?

Assistant Professors Lauren Margulieux and Ben Shapiro, along with colleagues from The University of Auckland, Northwestern University and McGill University, have proposed a new teaching theory called “multiple conceptions theory.”

The researcher team analyzed literature on four direct instruction techniques and four constructivism techniques to identify the most successful elements of each, and used that information to develop multiple conceptions theory, which they presented at the 17th Association for Computing Machinery Conference on International Computing Education Research in 2021.

Their teaching theory encourages teachers to give students the correct information about a certain concept, but also some incorrect information and empower different interpretations of that concept. Students are then asked to compare all of this information in order to gain a clearer understanding of the concept as a whole.

“Our theory posits that learners develop better conceptual knowledge when they are guided to compare multiple conceptions of a concept,” they wrote.

During their research, Margulieux, Shapiro and their colleagues identified five elements that lead students to a comprehensive understanding of a concept: Learning from other’s errors; explaining what they see as correct and incorrect information to themselves; drawing conclusions from the information provided; adding new, correct information to the foundational concept; and calling attention to incorrect information to advance their initial conceptions.

The research team also outlined suggestions for developing lessons that incorporate these five elements into curriculum, citing specific cases from the literature they analyzed. For example, to help students in an introductory programming class learn from common challenges students typically face, they were asked to complete a series of activities that showed incorrect conceptions from students who had taken that course before.

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National Business Research Institute Recognizes Peterbilt Pacific

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The National Business Research Institute (NBRI) is pleased to welcome Peterbilt Pacific. to the NBRI Circle of Excellence!

The NBRI Circle of Excellence Award recognizes organizations that demonstrate high levels of Customer Experience through rigorous, scientific, psychological research of their Customers. Organizations must score at or above Stretch Performance at the 75th percentile of their industry, which is no small feat.

Peterbilt Pacific is compared to or benchmarked against its industry which is a subset of NBRI’s Big Data of 10.5 billion survey answers. Peterbilt Pacific is performing at the 78th percentile. NBRI commends the leadership of Peterbilt Pacific for their commitment to scientific, psychological research of its Customers and continuous improvement of its Customer experience.

Peterbilt Pacific embraces the Best Practice of continually assessing EX, and targeting the variables that drive EX, including job satisfaction, management style, culture, and fairness. NBRI’s root cause analysis, including linear regressions and random forest models of Peterbilt Pacific’s raw data, provide Peterbilt Pacific with the keen insight and actions necessary for the continuous improvement of Customer thinking, behavior, and experience.

“Great business leaders manage the people, processes, and products of their organizations. They understand that the rich information NBRI obtains from their Customers and customers enables them to manage how people experience their organization in a highly accurate, effective, and targeted manner. Those experiences drive the financial performance of every organization, whether for the better or for the worse. Understanding thinking and managing experiences for maximum performance is what we do at NBRI,” says Dr. Jan G. West, Ph.D., CEO & Psychologist at NBRI. “Peterbilt Pacific’s high achievement of earning this prestigious award is a direct result of Peterbilt Pacific’s dedication to measuring and improving their Customer experience.”

Ohio University joins highest level of research institutions in the nation

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Institutions holding the Carnegie R1 designation constitute the top tier of research universities as measured by expenditures supporting research and development, conferral of research doctoral degrees, and employment of Ph.D.-level personnel engaged in research.

Ohio University is leading the way in various fields of research and innovation. The University is recognized internationally for research and scholarship in areas including avionics, biotechnology, communications, environmental studies, history, pipeline corrosion, physics, and psychology; and has world-class fine arts programs that include ceramics, film, and printmaking.

Young Canadians are asking to be included in research — here’s how to engage them

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The issues and experiences that matter most to young Canadians right now might surprise you. They are ready to lead a new conversation.

My research interests have long focused on how the health and social issues of the day, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, are being experienced by young Canadians. Young people have a right to be engaged, and a right to be heard in research.

Curious about how this incredibly dynamic, vulnerable population could contribute to research, I discovered that among the most important lessons young people would have us learn is how best to engage them. This revelation led to the recently-established IN•GAUGE research program headquartered at the University of Manitoba.

When young people are engaged in the research process, results are deeper, richer and have more relevance. For example, using flexible, arts-based methods to gather research data from young people facilitates self-expression. It helps young people articulate, contextualize and make meaning of their lived experiences for a non-youth audience that may include educators, policy-makers or health-care and social service providers.

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