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Crime data show vehicle thefts on rise over past two years

Vehicle thefts in Vancouver, Wash., have increased the past two years. In 2016, vehicle thefts jumped 15.6 percent from the previous year, and in 2015 they increased 6 percent—1,007 vehicles were reported stolen in Vancouver in 2016 compared to 871 in 2015 and 821 in 2014.

Clayton MosherClayton Mosher, a professor in Washington State University Vancouver’s sociology department who focuses on criminology, said three years of increases in vehicle thefts may be due to the slowing pace at which police services are being expanded in the city.

A limited number of officers in Vancouver, as well as Clark County, means law enforcement patrolling the streets have limited time to follow up on things like property and vehicle thefts, said Mosher, who sits on the city’s Community Resources Team with other local residents who aim to help increase police hiring, among other goals.

“One of the things that came up (in resource team discussions) was thefts and auto thefts and not having enough officers to follow up on these things as quickly as they could be,” he said.

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The Columbian

WSU researchers see gene influencing performance of sleep-deprived people

Paul Whitney
Paul Whitney

Washington State University researchers have discovered a genetic variation that predicts how well people perform certain mental tasks when they are sleep-deprived.

Their research shows that individuals with a particular variation of the DRD2 gene are resilient to the effects of sleep deprivation when completing tasks that require cognitive flexibility, the ability to make appropriate decisions based on changing information.

“Our work shows that there are people who are resilient to the effects of sleep deprivation when it comes to cognitive flexibility. Surprisingly these same people are just as affected as everyone else on other tasks that require different cognitive abilities, such as maintaining focus,” said Paul Whitney, a WSU professor of psychology and lead author of the study, which appeared in the journal Scientific Reports.

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WSU News
Science Newsline
Sleep Review
Discover Magazine
Genetic Literacy Project

Built off the legacy of her mother, a daughter earns two degrees

WSU graduate wants to change the world through policy.

Jessica DoJessica Do walked away from Washington State University on Saturday with two degrees, a hefty résumé and a couple of internships under her belt. And despite the multiple tries it took to find the right majors—sociology and political science—the 21-year-old graduated a semester early.

For Do, the motivation to succeed comes from several sources: her mentors, her breathing, her mother. In fact, it was her mother’s immigration to the U.S. from Vietnam that most inspired Do to make something great of her life.

“She just wanted a better life for all her children, and I just wanted to make her proud,” Do said. “I don’t want to disregard everything that she’s worked hard for to come to America, and not contribute to society.”

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Running marathons is hard—breaking up with your running group is harder

David Marcus
David Marcus

Leaving a group can mirror the experience of breaking up with a partner.

“Both involve brain regions that are also associated with physical pain,” says Dr. David Marcus, a faculty member of Washington State University’s psychology department. People experience a type of social pain when they are rejected or shunned by a group, similar to the pain experienced when a couple breaks up, whether it’s being kicked out of a high-school clique, or falling out with your family. This is compounded by the fact that a group can become part of a person’s self in much the same way as a romantic partner can, Marcus says.

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Demystifying the Changes to Bears Ears National Monument

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Less than a year ago, President Barack Obama established Bears Ears National Monument in an attempt to protect some 1.35 million acres of awe-inspiring red rock canyons in Utah. It holds an almost countless number of ancient dwellings and petroglyphs, in among unique geological formations. But yesterday, 85 percent of that land lost its National Monument protection, after President Donald Trump rescinded its protections and those of large portions of nearby Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

William Lipe

On one hand, this appears to expose around two million acres to commercial activities, ranging from oil and gas extraction to mining and logging. But it’s not all going to be razed tomorrow. Significant portions of that land and its bounty do still hold other forms of protection. The key, says Bill Lipe, an archaeologist at Washington State University, is that the monument designation guarantees a higher standard for new development projects.

“Traditional economic uses such as grazing, as well as hunting and fishing, will continue, and existing mineral extraction leases will be honored,” when land is designated, he says. “However, new leases will not be offered, and developments such as road and utility corridor construction will be evaluated more stringently in terms of their impact on the landscape—both cultural and environmental.” Now far less land will be subject to that level of scrutiny, which also could have an impact on the places that retain some kind of protection.

Another, more worrying, effect of the changes, Lipe says, is that while it may leave protection in place for individual cultural heritage sites, it ignores their context—the smaller important places spread across the landscape that show how ancient people used and moved through the land. This is a tragedy for archaeological study, which recognizes the historic value of the landscape as a whole. “The sites visitors are drawn to are typically parts of larger distributions of related sites that together represent dispersed communities and social networks,” Lipe says. In other words, the forest is more valuable than the trees alone.

“This kind of perspective is possible because the physical landscape of the Bears Ears Monument is relatively intact, because it has not seen extensive or large-scale modern economic development.” So far, that is.

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Atlas Obscura