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Carnegie Mellon University graduate student Gabriel Parent, whose "research focus is human-computer interaction through spoken dialog systems," can add "PhD Challenge"-winner to his list of accolades. And, according to Don Troop at The Chronicle of Higher Education's Tweed blog, his academic adviser apparently can, too. The online contest challenged grad students to plant the words "I smoke crack rocks" — not necessarily in succession — in the final version of a peer-reviewed paper. Indeed, Parent surreptitiously snuck the phrase into a paper, which was published in Proceedings of IEEE Workshop on Spoken Language Technology this month, among a few additional last-minute edits that his co-author was unaware of. Along with a certificate, Parent will receive "a box of chicken-flavored Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup" and "a pack of leather elbow patches" from the PhD Challenge organizers. Troop hopes that Parent's co-author — who is also his academic adviser — "is as passionate about" winning this competition as her trainee says he was.

The Scan

Alzheimer's Risk Gene Among Women

CNN reports that researchers have found that variants in MGMT contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men.

Still Hanging Around

The Guardian writes that persistent pockets of SARS-CoV-2 in the body could contribute to long COVID.

Through a Little Spit

Enteric viruses like norovirus may also be transmitted through saliva, not just the fecal-oral route, according to New Scientist.

Nature Papers Present Method to Detect Full Transcriptome, Viruses Infecting Asgard Archaea, More

In Nature this week: VASA-seq approach to detect full transcriptome, analysis of viruses infecting Asgard archaea, and more.