Mental Health Mindfulness

Somatic complaints are a form of mental illness expression where individuals tend to adopt a heightened focus on physical pain, usually of symptoms such as stomachaches or headaches. This can result in extreme physical and mental distress. This manifestation of mental illness has often gone unstudied in youth groups, especially in the Latinx community, which is the largest growing ethnic group in the United States.   

UC Santa Barbara researchers Alissa Der Sarkissian, Jill D. Sharkey and Alison Cerezo from the Department of Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychology, have conducted a study that examines the correlation between the mental health of the Latinx youth and their environments. The findings revealed not only a strong negative association between somatic complaints and being a first-generation immigrant, but a higher reported rate of somatic complaints in girls than in boys. Mental health stigma often has an effect on the rates of mental illness development. Where it positively corresponds to the data, the association between somatic complaints and stigma decreased when considering involved and supportive adult relationships. The study highlighted the importance of demographics to the rates of mental illness development, where it is concluded that both gender and immigration generation status (first and second generations being more likely to experience somatic complaints than third) are factors that influence the risks. 

Little Lasers  

There are many important applications of lasers for different fields, including metrology, timekeeping and the manipulation of quantum systems. The expectations of these lasers require that they embody hertz (cycles per second) linewidths, where linewidths are the lengths of their optical spectrum, and that they are measured in the time scale of seconds. Unfortunately, such necessities are difficult to adhere to, as the larger bulk optic lasers and reference cavities are materials that need to be built to reduce noise. They are more costly, require labor and have limited applications. 

UCSB researchers Joel Guo, Chao Xiang, Warren Jin, Lin Chang and John E. Bowers from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have worked in conjunction with researchers from other institutions to develop a compact laser system that promises similar results and has the potential for high-volume manufacturing. In this work, the researchers applied lasers with one second linewidth of 1.1 hertz. The fractional frequency instability, which is the partial spontaneous frequency change in a specific time interval, is within the range of 10^-14 to 1 second. A vacuum-gap cavity and microfabricated mirrors were used to hold the lasers together. Continuation of this laser construction has implications for further development in technology including portable optical clocks, radio frequency photonic oscillators and communication and navigation systems that require hertz linewidths for operation. 

Hunters are Hot

Hunting is an important source of provision for small-scale societies. While it is important for the survival of the communities dependent on it, hunting also provides reward for the hunter in terms of social status and attractiveness amongst the community. UCSB researcher Benjamin C. Trumble from the Department of Anthropology worked with researchers from Arizona State University to shed light on the extent of the correlation between success in hunting to the hunter’s appeal and desirability for the rest of the community. They conducted a study taking 52 individuals from the Aché hunter-gatherer tribe of Paraguay, and administering ranking- and choice-tasks to them. The rating was based on provisioning and fighting ability, disease resistance and appeal as a mate. The results reveal that, overall, hunters are admired and perceived with great admiration. When analyzing the success rates and what kind of prey the hunters would kill, there are differing outcomes. While there is a positive correlation between desirability and killing prey that is both elusive and difficult to capture, there is less appeal for individuals who would kill a single large animal in relation to a larger quantity of smaller animals that equates to the same biomass makeup. Generally, a greater consistency is seen as more attractive. Nevertheless, all hunters are shown to be viewed as having better phenotypes and status amongst the rest of the population. 

Food Footprints

A great portion of the global environmental footprint stems from food production. The pressures that result from the pollution affect marine, freshwater and terrestrial systems. While environmental impact has garnered much attention, there is little that researchers know about the disproportionate effects of climate change from food production on specific habitats. Researchers Benjamin S. Halpern, Melanie Frazier, Juliette Verstaen, Paul-Eric Rayner, Gage Clawson, Richard S. Cottrell and Caitlin D. Kuempel from UCSB’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, as well as Halley E. Froehlich from UCSB’s Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology have conducted a study on the geospatial analysis of the greenhouse gasses stemming from the food industry. The results reveal that the footprint of food is split between land and marine systems, where five countries alone are responsible for half of the cumulative food footprint. The industry of marine food sources produce only 1.1% of the global supply, yet contributes to 9% of the pollution globally. Continuation of this study promises a better understanding of what sources have disproportionate impacts on the environmental global footprint and allows for prioritizing the attention toward food that is more sustainable that can more effectively feed the global population whilst aiding the environment.