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Collection Description

Collection of student theses and dissertations from as early as 1939, but mainly from 2010 to present.

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Virtual vs. reality : An examination of the nature of stalking and cyberstalking
Includes bibliographical references (p. 120-132)., Stalking is a widespread and serious issue that affects millions of people each year. With the rapid expansion of the Internet and other information and communication technologies, forms of communication have advanced and subsequently have been exploited to facilitate this type of deviant behavior. Despite the growing body of research on stalking, as a relatively recent phenomenon to clinical and academic inquiry, cyberstalking has yet to be sufficiently examined. This study bridges the gap between existing research and the use of new techniques in acts of stalking, while still exploring the general nature of the crime. The purpose of this study is to provide a comprehensive examination of the prevalence and nature of stalking amongst college students and to address the rising concern of the role of social networking sites in the facilitation of stalking. Between January and March 2011, a convenience sample was taken from San Diego State University (SDSU) students and a web-based survey was disseminated, which yielded 623 responses. Results from this study reveal that stalking is a significant issue that students face. More than one out of every six respondents to this survey has been a victim of stalking at some point in their lifetime. Additionally, the outcomes suggest that gender plays a significant role in cyberstalking perpetration. It is also evident that a modern form of stalking has emerged where offenders tend to favor a combination of online and offline approaches in pursuit of their victims. These findings demonstrate that as the separation between the virtual and real worlds is blurred and as new communication and surveillance technologies advance, research must examine these new modalities in order to seek ways to prevent the problem and reduce the harm to its victims.
Virulent and temperate viruses: The two faces of evil
This work presents evidence that temperate and virulent viruses impact the ecology, evolution, and health state of their bacterial and eukaryotic hosts across ecosystems including the ocean, human gut, and urban environment. Temperate viruses can switch between a lysogenic and a lytic lifestyle. In the lytic cycle, phage lyse the host cell shortly after infection to release the progeny into the environment. In the lysogenic cycle, phage integrate into the bacterial genome to replicate with it during cell division. Here, it is shown how bacteriophage, viruses that infect bacteria, are key drivers of evolution in the marine environment and presents ongoing work on a mechanism that regulates prophage lysogenic-to-lytic the switch in the human gut. Part of this research was conducted amidst a global pandemic caused by a virulent virus; this inspired the assembly of a workflow that combines community building with molecular biology to identify environmental reservoirs of SARS-CoV-2 and other eukaryotic RNA viruses. Using these methods, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected on surfaces of the urban environment and the risk of infection by contact with contaminated fomites in San Diego County was predicted. The viral RNA community present on these surfaces was also characterized. Lastly, with the aim to uncover novel virus-derived systems where bacteria interact with their eukaryotic host, this thesis presents the identification of a new phage tail-like contractile injection system in Bacteroides, that was found prevalent in the gut of healthy adults., University of California San Diego; San Diego State University
Viruses, corals and the origin of metazoans
Viruses drive the evolution of animal life through direct manipulation of host biology. The objective of this dissertation was to understand how the viruses associated with reef-building corals interact with host cellular processes in order to provide insight into the evolution of Metazoans. One mechanism viruses use to manipulate their host involves the expression of viral homologs to host immune proteins. To determine whether viral populations could be used to predict immune system structure a bioinformatic approach was utilized. Viral sequences were compared to the host proteome using BLASTx revealing viral homologs to host proteins involved with cell cycle control, transcription, and immunity. Viruses can also impact the evolution of host genomes through the donation of genetic material. Here I provide evidence of an ancient endogenous retroviral infection of the protocnidarian ancestor. This novel ERV family is associated with Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptors (FGFRs) in all three cnidarians investigated suggesting that it is involved with cnidarian-specific developmental traits. Viruses affect host immunity and genome structure however hosts can resist viral invasion through programmed cell death or apoptosis. The Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor ligand Superfamily (TNFRSF) is a central mediator of apoptosis in vertebrates, though previously uncharacterized in cnidarians. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that corals possess more TNFR's than any organism described thus far, including humans. Furthermore, corals harbor all of the central components of the canonical death receptor pathway. Empirical studies demonstrated that Human TNF_ could bind to coral cells, induce apoptotic blebbing, and cause coral bleaching. The reciprocal experiment where human cells were exposed to a coral TNF also resulted in apoptosis. These results demonstrate remarkable conservation of the TNF-apoptotic response that has been functionally maintained for over 550 million years. In summation this dissertation work provides novel insight into cnidarian biology with broad application to the origin of metazoan diversity., San Diego State University
Visceral vicarious voyeurism: Boorstin's principle of the three eyes as applied to the short film rebirth
San Diego State University: the accompanying video is not available as of January 30, 2012, in either the online version or on video disc (DVD)., Noted film theorist and author Jon Boorstin once wrote that the basic feature-length motion picture audience evaluates his or her connection to a given film by using three criteria, or "eyes." According to Boorstin, the visceral eye evaluates how well a viewer is brought into the story by the reptilian thrill of sex or violence. The vicarious eye evaluates their perceived social connection to the protagonist. It is what keeps the viewer tuned into the hero's plight, provoking concern for his/her fate. The third eye, the voyeuristic eye, observes the film for the sheer sake of being carried away. These three criteria determine the film's ability to engage an audience, hold its attention, and transport them to another world. Without any one of these elements, Boorstin argues, most audiences would be bored, disengaged with the protagonist, and/or unimpressed by the mise-en-scène that directors construct to seduce audiences into participating in an involving, voyeuristic experience. From its in inception, the short film Rebirth was written with the idea of incorporating Boorstin's three eyes. It is hoped that the use of these elements will promote audience identification with the drama, protagonist, and overall experience. In other words, that the audience will be more fully engaged. The screenplay for the film can be found in Appendix A. The DVD is available for viewing in the Media Center of Love Library.
Vision-based intersection safety evaluation for vulnerable road users
The goal of this dissertation is to develop a vision-based system to evaluate risk scores of roadway intersections where frequent interactions of pedestrians and bicyclists with motorized traffic exist. The research outcome is valuable for preventing traffic incidents involving pedestrians or bicyclists, which are becoming a significant concern in urban areas. This research focuses on vehicle-pedestrian and vehicle-bicycle conflicts at signalized intersections. Multi-way video sequences were collected at several intersections in the City of San Diego, and computer vision algorithms, including object detection (Faster-R-CNN) and visual tracking (KCF), were developed to extract trajectory data of vehicles or pedestrians in videos. Learning-based 3D localization method was introduced to get rid of the perspective effect and further improve the usability and accuracy of trajectory data. These visual perception results are used in safety surrogate analysis to proactively evaluate safety at intersections. Results with comparative studies suggest the proposed algorithm can significantly improve localization accuracy, especially when using noisy video data, and result in improved safety measures., San Diego State University
Visions of empire: the theory and uses of allegory in American art from the nineteenth century to the present
Allegorical expression offers a broad complex of meanings applicable to postmodernist art theory and art. Examination of the revival of theoretical interest in allegory in the early twentieth century by Walter Benjamin, and continuing with the work of Craig Owens, Susan Buck-Morss, and other critics, provides an opportunity to see how allegory applies to modern and contemporary art practices and offers a powerful mode of political commentary. Two significant precedents to modern usages of allegory in the overlapping arenas of art and politics are evident in Thomas Cole's The Course of Empire of 1836, which evoked visions of peril for the American Empire through allegory; and, second, in the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893, which showcased a range of allegorical subjects to feed a growing discourse of empire and modern industrial progress. The concept of empire in this discourse is considered in light of nineteenth-century political, social, and economic issues, and is significantly linked to America's fascination with ancient ruins. As a result, the ideals and anxieties are revealed that formed a critical chapter in our country's history — a formative period for artistic expression for over a century to come. Important as well to present-day discourse of American Empire and its perceived decline is the paradigm of ancient Rome, which is discussed from historical and contemporary perspectives. Finally, in view of current social, economic, and political problems in the United States, allegory's relevance to contemporary art is explored. A series of politically charged photographic works by Eleanor Antin — The Last Days of Pompeii (2001), Roman Allegories (2004), and Helen's Odyssey (2007) — which vigorously allegorize the vices and fall of empire, provide a revealing case study. The context in which Antin cites diverse sources from history, politics, and art forms both an overt and a richly layered allegorical expression. In the past as now, allegory can potentially provide meaningful political commentary through art, though its effectiveness in shaping a political discourse depends on the artist's use of this intricate device.
Visitor activities and awareness of marine protected areas and species composition at rocky intertidal sites in San Diego, CA
Human actions are changing both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and ultimately causing increased rates of species extinctions. Furthermore, a majority of species' population sizes and/or geographic ranges are declining worldwide due to anthropogenic stressors. Many of the stressors that impact rocky intertidal ecosystems result from increasing urbanization, recreational activities, and harvest of species at the shore. San Diego's temperate coastal climate, in particular, attracts large numbers of visitors who conduct recreational activities and harvest species in the rocky intertidal zone. As a result, following years of planning, several marine areas around San Diego have been protected from harvest as part of a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), though it is unclear how this impacts the way the public uses the ecosystem. This study investigates (1) visitor knowledge about MPAs in San Diego County, (2) visitor activities inside and outside these MPAs and (3) species composition in three MPA intertidal locations and three nearby non-MPA intertidal locations. Visitor intensity ranged between eight and 70 visitors per 10-minute periods during low tides, with tide pooling being the most common activity; 83% of beachgoers engaged in this activity. The diversity of intertidal organisms did not differ between MPA and non-MPA sites, and beachgoers were observed collecting in both habitats, with collection intensity ranging between 0.01 and 0.98 collectors per 10-minute period. Although collection of any intertidal organisms is prohibited in MPAs, visitors were nevertheless seen taking crabs, abalone, and other snails from these areas. Additionally, in-person surveys of beachgoers suggest that the main problems facing rocky intertidal MPAs in San Diego County are (1) lack of effective enforcement, (2) inadequate signage, and (3) lack of visitor knowledge about MPA no-take regulations. This thesis confirms that enforcement of regulations at San Diego rocky intertidal sites is virtually absent and that enforcement would be most effective on weekends and at sites that are most highly visited. Therefore, improvements to management strategies are recommended, such as additional efforts to educate visitors before and during visitation, expanded docent programs, and increased enforcement of regulations., San Diego State University
Visual delivery of big climate data utilizing video compression schemes
Climate science is a notorious producer of big data. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has many Petabytes of data at its disposal. Users have not adopted lossy data compression techniques, because of a fear that compression will unsatisfactorily diminish data quality or that compression will be too slow to be worth the effort. This research objective aims to compress large amount of climate data into smaller usable datasets by using state of the art video compression techniques. The test data consists of 32 years of Sea Surface Temperature taken daily by a NOAA satellite equipped with an Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR). Such data is stored in NetCDF (Network Common Data Form) files, which were taken from the NOAA website. A cautious assessment of different resolutions was calculated using the Advanced Video Coding H.264 MPEG-4/AVC, as well as their influence on data quality, storage and performance. The quality of decoded images was calculated using different techniques like, Peak Signal to Noise Ratio (PSNR), Mean Square Error (MSE), Image Quality Index (IQ), Structural Similarity Index (MSSI), and a computer vision technique called Scale Invariant Feature Transform (SIFT). The decoded image dataset with the best visual result comes from the Full High Definition decoded images (1080P). The compression ratio of the encoded video using the H.264 codec is of at least 46 and with a high of 595 for 1080P resolution, depending on the bitrate and framerate selected. The encoded video is about 300 to 4000 times smaller than the original data. In general, this paper is able to show that video compression techniques provide an exceptional means of storing NetCDF databases at a shareable size, while preserving image quality.
Visual ideographs of abuse: a critical examination of intercultural perceptions of
The representation of domestic violence across cultures offers insight to the cultural beliefs surrounding the issue. Organizations like Amnesty International provide an artifact that allows viewers to witness the cultural portrayal of abuse through campaigns directed to raise awareness and put an end to it. By examining images from Hungary, France, and Chile that were commissioned by Amnesty International, this research aims to deconstruct the intercultural implications of social justice campaigns through a visual rhetorical lens. Using the concept of ideographs, this research applies visual theories to comprehend how cultural beliefs influence both a global and a local definition of . By examining each country through its global definition, and then specifically through its unique cultural definition, this research begins to expose the varied implications of visuals in domestic violence campaigns. Ultimately, this research highlights the importance of understanding the potential effects of visual ideographic imagery in a globalized world filled with mediated messages.