The purpose of this study was to examine the latent construct of multicultural education (ME) among 1887 in-service teachers. Using existing ME scales and Banks’ five-pillar framework to capture relevant classroom, school, and community-level contexts, we generated and tested 48 survey items.
Physiological Synchrony: A New Approach Toward Identifying Unknown Presentation Attacks on Biometric Systems
Presentation attacks are falsified biometric traits presented on biometric systems to deceive them. While biometric systems can be tuned and modified to reliably detect known presentation attacks, their performance significantly degrades when encountering unknown presentation attacks. Here, we propose a new approach toward detecting unknown presentation attacks based on the measurement and characterization of synchrony between multiple physiological signals obtained from contact and contactless sensors. Synchrony between two physiological signals was captured by analyzing the blood flow dynamics and respiration patterns. The instantaneous phase difference between two physiological signals was represented as a phase vector using the Hilbert transform and the degree of phase coherence defined as the absolute mean of phase vectors over the analysis period was used as a measure of synchrony. A weighted k-nearest neighbors classifier was then designed to detect valid and invalid biometric presentations based on the degree of phase coherence. The proposed method was validated on the detection of synchrony between two respiration patterns obtained through the measurement of chest movements using an ultra-wideband radar and respiratory sinus arrhythmia using a finger photoplethysmogram sensor on data collected from 50 individuals. It achieved a high accuracy of 95.3%, sensitivity of 96%, and specificity of 94% in detecting corrupted and nonsynchronous patterns that did not contain valid respiration signatures. The proposed method shows promise toward improving the reliability of biometric systems in the detection of unknown and sophisticated attacks that may spoof one or more of the presented biometrics.
Proper occlusion based rendering is very important to achieve realism in all indoor and outdoor Augmented Reality (AR) applications. This paper addresses the problem of fast and accurate dynamic occlusion reasoning by real objects in the scene for large scale outdoor AR applications. Conceptually, proper occlusion reasoning requires an estimate of depth for every point in augmented scene which is technically hard to achieve for outdoor scenarios, especially in the presence of moving objects. We propose a method to detect and automatically infer the depth for real objects in the scene without explicit detailed scene modeling and depth sensing (e.g. without using sensors such as 3D-LiDAR). Specifically, we employ instance segmentation of color image data to detect real dynamic objects in the scene and use either a top-down terrain elevation model or deep learning based monocular depth estimation model to infer their metric distance from the camera for proper occlusion reasoning in real time. The realized solution is implemented in a low latency real-time framework for video-see-though AR and is directly extendable to optical-see-through AR. We minimize latency in depth reasoning and occlusion rendering by doing semantic object tracking and prediction in video frames.
NK-Cell Biofactory as an Off-the-Shelf Cell-based Vector for Targeted In Situ Synthesis of Engineered Proteins
NK-cell Biofactory is an off-the-shelf allogeneic platform for cell-based synthesis of desired protein following recognition of a target cell while conserving the cytolytic activity. The molecular specificity of the platform can be redirected for treating a broad range of diseases.
The NK-92MI, a fast-growing cytolytic cell line with a track record of exerting clinical efficacy, is transformed into a vector for synthesizing calibrated amounts of desired engineered proteins at our disease site, that is, NK-cell Biofactory. This provides an allogeneic option to the previously published T-cell-based living vector that is limited by high manufacturing cost and product variability. The modularity of this pathway, which combines a “target” receptor with an “effector” function, enables reprogramming of the NK-cell Biofactory to target diseases with specific molecular biomarkers, such as cancer, viral infections, or auto-immune disorders, and overcome barriers that may affect the advancement of NK-cell therapies.
Introduction: Insomnia disorder is a common sleep disorder and frequently emerges in the context of menopause, being associated with menopause-specific factors such as hot flashes and other psychosocial variables. Increased vulnerability to stress may also contribute to the development of insomnia in midlife women. Here, we aimed to investigate whether there are differences in physiological reactivity to acute psychosocial stress in women with menopausal insomnia compared with controls.
Methods: We investigated cortisol and heart rate [HR] responses to an acute experimental psychosocial stress (Trier Social Stress Test, TSST) approximately 1 h after waking in the morning in midlife women with ( n = 22) and without ( n = 16) DSM-IV insomnia disorder (Age: 50.05 ± 3.10 years), developed in the context of menopause.
Results: Despite similar perceived stress levels, women with insomnia showed blunted HR increases (~29% HR acceleration) to the TSST compared to controls (~44% HR acceleration) ( p = 0.026). No group differences in HR were detected at baseline or during post-task recovery. Cortisol stress responses were inconclusive, with most of the women (60%) failing to exhibit significant cortisol increases in response to the TSST. A greater magnitude of the cortisol awakening response (CAR) predicted the likelihood of being a non-responder ( p = 0.036), showing the confounding effect of CAR on cortisol stress responses.
Discussion: Women with menopausal insomnia show blunted cardiac responses to stress, suggesting alterations in the autonomic reactivity to acute stress. Whether these alterations are pre-existing or are a consequence of insomnia, needs to be determined.
College-Based Transition Services’ Impact on Self-Determination for Youth with Intellectual Disabilities
Most youth in transition services with labels of intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) have poorer employment outcomes than their peers with other or without disabilities. One alternative approach to address this challenge provides youth with IDD access to transition services in the context of a college or university campus. College-based transition services (CBTS) provide students with IDD during their final two to three years of secondary education access to college courses, internships, and employment. A quasi-experimental design evaluation of one college-based transition services model, Think College Transition, found that, after controlling for student baseline scores, the college-based transition services had a significant effect on students’ scores of self-determination at post-test. Implications for further refining the model are discussed.
Interestingness Elements for Explainable Reinforcement Learning: Understanding Agents’ Capabilities and Limitations
We propose an explainable reinforcement learning (XRL) framework that analyzes an agent’s history of interaction with the environment to extract interestingness elements that explain its behavior. The framework relies on data readily available from standard RL algorithms, augmented with data that can easily be collected by the agent while learning. We describe how to create visual explanations of an agent’s behavior in the form of short video-clips highlighting key interaction moments, based on the proposed elements. We also report on a user study where we evaluated the ability of humans in correctly perceiving the aptitude of agents with different characteristics, including their capabilities and limitations, given explanations automatically generated by our framework. The results show that the diversity of aspects captured by the different interestingness elements is crucial to help humans correctly identify the agents’ aptitude in the task, and determine when they might need adjustments to improve their performance.
From the static to the dynamic: Teachers’ varying use of digital technology to support conceptual learning in a curricular activity system
Dynamic representational technologies (DRTs), influenced by the seminal work of James Kaput and colleagues, have been in use in mathematics classrooms for decades. In this paper, we analyze 24 classrooms in the United States where teachers support students’ conceptual learning with technologies that support explorations of dynamic connections both within and across mathematical representations. These DRTs, built in alignment with Kaput’s principles, form part of a curricular activity system that embeds a central pedagogical routine. Yet despite the use of common DRTs, lessons, and professional development, classroom teaching practices varied widely. We characterize and analyze levels of technology use, which vary from using the technology as a static resource to taking advantage of dynamism to support students’ emerging explanations of mathematical concepts. There are important implications for further research into classroom use of DRTs and, more broadly, for curriculum developers and teacher educators.
Impact of evening alcohol consumption on nocturnal autonomic and cardiovascular function in adult men and women: A dose–response laboratory investigation
Study Objectives: To investigate the dose-dependent impact of moderate alcohol intake on sleep-related cardiovascular (CV) function, in adult men and women.
Methods: A total of 26 healthy adults (30–60 years; 11 women) underwent 3 nights of laboratory polysomnographic (PSG) recordings in which different doses of alcohol (low: 1 standard drink for women and 2 drinks for men; high: 3 standard drinks for women and 4 drinks for men; placebo: no alcohol) were administered in counterbalanced order before bedtime. These led to bedtime average breath alcohol levels of up to 0.02% for the low doses and around 0.05% for the high doses. Autonomic and CV function were evaluated using electrocardiography, impedance cardiography, and beat-to-beat blood pressure monitoring.
Results: Presleep alcohol ingestion resulted in an overall increase in nocturnal heart rate (HR), suppressed total and high-frequency (vagal) HR variability, reduced baroreflex sensitivity, and increased sympathetic activity, with effects pronounced after high-dose alcohol ingestion (p’s < 0.05); these changes followed different dose- and measure-dependent nocturnal patterns in men and women. Systolic blood pressure showed greater increases during the morning hours of the high-alcohol dose night compared to the low-alcohol dose night and placebo, in women only (p’s < 0.05). Conclusions: Acute evening alcohol consumption, even at moderate doses, has marked dose- and time-dependent effects on sleep CV regulation in adult men and women. Further studies are needed to evaluate the potential CV risk of repeated alcohol-related alterations in nighttime CV restoration in healthy individuals and in those at high risk for CV diseases, considering sex and alcohol dose and time effects.