Posts tagged with "Washington State University"

Bloomberg: California and Massachusetts are the most innovative U.S. states

June 25, 2020

For the second consecutive year, California and Massachusetts have taken the first and second spots, respectively, in Bloomberg’s annual State Innovation Index.

According to a report by The Boston Globe, the ranking is based on six equally weighted metrics: research and development intensity, productivity, clusters of companies in technology, STEM jobs, residents with degrees in science and engineering, and patent activity.

California and Massachusetts’ success dates back more than 150 years ago with the creation of land-grant universities under the Morrill Act, according to New York University Stern School of Business economist Paul Romer.

The Morrill Land Grand Act of 1862 helped boost higher education in America by granting states public land. That land could be sold and the proceeds earned could be used to establish colleges. Massachusetts Institute of Technology was among the earliest recipients of the act, which served as the basis for many other institutions, including the University of California and Washington State University.

These schools “and their counterparts in every state created a new type of university—distinguished by a practical focus on problem solving that the world had never seen,” Romer, co-recipient of the 2018 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, said in a telephone interview with The Boston Globe.. “The success of California and Massachusetts is a sign of the high level of investment that those states have made in their university and research systems.”

California ranked number-one in the Bloomberg index for patent activity and second for both technology-company density and concentration of science- and engineering-degree holders. Its state university system and pre-eminence in research—along with private Stanford University—have been influential in building Silicon Valley headquarters for established tech companies and budding startups.

Last year, entrepreneurs there received more than $67 billion in venture-capital funding, according to data from PitchBook. That’s more than three times New York, the second-highest state for deal flow.

According to a joint report from PwC and CB Insights, the top five highest-valued private U.S. tech companies are all California-based: JUUL Labs, Stripe, Airbnb, SpaceX and Palantir Technologies.

In addition, among U.S. companies that went public last year, the five reaping the highest year-to-date returns also are in California: Zoom Video Communications, IT-service provider Fastly and life-science specialty businesses Vir Biotechnology, Livongo Health and IDEAYA Biosciences.

Second place Massachusetts took the crown for tech-company density. General Electric, Raytheon, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Biogen are headquartered in the Northeastern state. Prior to the pandemic, Boston-based Toast—a restaurant-management platform— was a venture-capital favorite. The startup raised $400 million at a $4.9 billion valuation in February.

Rounding out the top five are number three, Washington State; number four, Connecticut; and Oregon, which jumped two spots to number five.

Research contact: @BostonGlobe

The best thing since sliced bread: Washington State’s Bread Lab reinvents the whole-wheat loaf

February 24, 2020

Peek into people’s kitchens (particularly those with kids), and you’ll likely find sandwich bread. Simple and straightforward, this is an everyday kind of bread. There are scads of recipes for sandwich bread—perfect for everything from PB&Js to chicken salad to toast for breakfast.

But because sandwich bread is such a wildly popular pantry staple, there are also countless versions in any grocery store that are far from wholesome. Often, packaged sandwich breads are full of additives and preservatives. Food manufacturers add these ingredients to prolong shelf life, make the bread cheaper to produce, and promote a softer, more Wonder Bread-like texture to appeal to young eaters.

Now, a group of bakers allied with Washington State University’s Bread Lab—among them, “America’s first flour company,” King Arthur Flour, founded in Norwich, Vermont, in 1790– are on a mission to change all of that by creating the ultimate wholesome, nutritious, great-tasting sandwich bread, in a whole-wheat version.

The Bread Lab works to breed and develop varieties of grains to benefits farmers, processors, and end-users, while also enhancing access to affordable and nutritious food for all. And last year, at a meeting of bakers, millers, and teachers at the Bread Lab, the talk turned to sandwich bread. More specifically, could the lab revolutionize the current offerings?

And the bakers at King Arthur signed on to the challenge. Along with the 38 other Bread Lab members, they formed the Bread Lab Collective and. together, they came up with the concept of Just Bread: a pure and simple whole wheat sandwich bread that would appeal to everyone, from kids to adults. 

Among the criteria that members set for the new type of bread were that it should:

  • Be baked in a tin and sliced;
  • Contain no more than seven ingredients;
  • Contain no non-foods;
  • Be at least 60% who wheat-preferably, 100%;
  • Be priced under $6/loaf;
  • Return 10 cents from every loaf sold to the Bread Lab to support further research on other whole-grain products.

Today, King Arthur Flour has expanded to offer a baking school, a café, and a variety of flours and breads at its Vermont headquarters—as well as at outlets nationwide.

Jeff Yankellow, one of King Arthur’s resident bread experts, created the first version of the Just Bread recipe and other bakers followed with their own iterations.

According to a story on King Arthur’s blog, “Our vision is to spread the availability of Just Bread as widely as possible. Right now, you can buy Just Bread from a select group of bakeries and markets across the country, from Montana to Louisiana to Pennsylvania. You can find the list here.”

King Arthur sells between 350 to 450 loaves per week at our bakery in Norwich, Vermont. We also bake 10 loaves daily to donate to the Upper Valley Haven, a local food pantry.

But not everyone lives close enough to one of these bakeries! So the company has brought Jeff’s original Just Bread recipe online, so you can easily make it at home.

Research contact: @kingarthurflour

No selfie-confidence? Study finds that people who often post selfies are viewed as less likeable

August 29, 2019

Let’s face it: If a friend is posting selfies nearly every day, many of us tire of seeing them. After all, why are they taking pictures of themselves so frequently? We know what they look like.

But the problem actually is worse than a simple case of over-exposure.

A recent study of Instagram feeds conducted at the Washington State University found that “Individuals who post a lot of selfies are almost uniformly viewed as less likeable, less successful, more insecure, and less open to new experiences than individuals who share a greater number of posed photos taken by someone else. Basically, selfie versus posie.”

“Even when two feeds had similar content, such as depictions of achievement or travel, feelings about the person who posted [the] selfies were negative and feelings about the person who posted posies were positive,” said Chris Barry, WSU professor of Psychology and lead author of the study. “It shows there are certain visual cues, independent of context, that elicit either a positive or negative response on social media.”

Barry, along with WSU psychology students and collaborators from The University of Southern Mississippi analyzed data from two groups of students for the study. The first group comprised 30 undergraduates from a public university in the southern United States.

The participants were asked to complete a personality questionnaire and agreed to let the researchers use their 30 most recent Instagram posts for the experiment.

The posts were coded based on whether they were selfies or posies as well as what was depicted in each image, such as physical appearance, affiliation with others, events, activities or accomplishments.

The second group of students comprised 119 undergraduates from a university in the northwestern United States. This group was asked to rate the Instagram profiles of the first group on 13 attributes such as self‑absorption, low self‑esteem, extraversion and success using only the images from those profiles.

Barry’s team then analyzed the data to determine if there were visual cues in the first group of students’ photos that elicited consistent personality ratings from the second group.

They found that the students who posted more posies were viewed as being relatively higher in self‑esteem, more adventurous, less lonely, more outgoing, more dependable, more successful, and having the potential for being a good friend while the reverse was true for students with a greater number of selfies on their feed.

Personality ratings for selfies with a physical appearance theme, such as flexing in the mirror, were particularly negative, the researchers found.

 Other interesting findings from the study included that students in the first group who were rated by the second group as highly self‑absorbed tended to have more Instagram followers and followed more users.

The researchers also found the older the study participants in the second group were, the more they tended to rate profiles negatively in terms of success, consideration of others, openness to trying new things and likeability.

“One of the noteworthy things about this study is that none of these students knew each other or were aware of the Instagram patterns or number of followers of the people they were viewing,” Barry said.

The researchers have several theories to explain their results: The generally positive reactions to posies may be due to the fact that the photos appear more natural, similar to how the observer would see the poster in real life.

Another explanation is that selfies were far less frequently posted than posies and seeing one could signal something strange or unusual about the poster.

“While there may be a variety of motives behind why people post self‑images to Instagram, how those photos are perceived appears to follow a more consistent pattern,” Barry said. “While the findings of this study are just a small piece of the puzzle, they may be important to keep in mind before you make that next post.”

And lots of people should be thinking about this: A recent survey from Luster Premium White, a teeth whitening brand based in Boston, calculated that the average Millennial could take up to about 25,700 selfies in his or her lifetime.

Company CEO  Damon Brown, said in a news release. “If you don’t take a selfie during your vacation or while celebrating a special day, it is almost as if it never happened.”

Respondents to the Luster survey said they took an average of nine selfies a week and put the average amount of time needed at seven minutes. That adds up to about 54 hours a year of taking selfies, according to the survey, which included responses from 1,000 young adults.

That may sound shocking, but high numbers like those aren’t unheard of. The average 16- to 25-year-old woman spent 16 minutes taking an average of three selfies per day, or five hours a week, according to beauty site FeelUnique, which commissioned a study earlier this year, Refinery29 reported.

Despite these figures, only 10% of respondents told Luster they were addicted to taking selfies.

Research contact: @wsu