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  1. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has utilized the term food desert to highlight regions within low-income communities located far from fresh and healthy sources of food such as supermarkets and farmers markets. Most research on food deserts has revolved around urban areas, which bring about other considerations such as sidewalks, pedestrian access, rideshares, and public transportation, typically not viable options in rural regions. Rural food insecurity is also a problem in North Carolina. Utilizing data provided by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Access Atlas, this paper explored if and to what extent rural food insecurity exists, with findings showing 1) a higher percentage of people living in rural areas live in food insecurity compared to non-rural areas 2) counties in the eastern part of the state are more prone to food insecurity and 3) racial, ethnic minorities, as well as the young (age under 17), are more subjected to food insecurity compared to the majority and older cohorts. This research highlights the need for a rigorous and comprehensive understanding of rural food security that transcends the economic, cultural, and sociological reasons of differential food access with long-term health outcomes that have multi-generational consequences.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
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  4. Abstract A search for low-mass dilepton resonances in Higgs boson decays is conducted in the four-lepton final state. The decay is assumed to proceed via a pair of beyond the standard model particles, or one such particle and a $${\mathrm{Z}}$$ Z boson. The search uses proton–proton collision data collected with the CMS detector at the CERN LHC, corresponding to an integrated luminosity of 137 $$\,\text {fb}^{-1}$$ fb - 1 , at a center-of-mass energy $$\sqrt{s} = 13\,\text {TeV} $$ s = 13 TeV . No significant deviation from the standard model expectation is observed. Upper limits at 95% confidence level are set on model-independent Higgs boson decay branching fractions. Additionally, limits on dark photon and axion-like particle production, based on two specific models, are reported.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
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  6. Abstract A search for dark matter in the form of strongly interacting massive particles (SIMPs) using the CMS detector at the LHC is presented. The SIMPs would be produced in pairs that manifest themselves as pairs of jets without tracks. The energy fraction of jets carried by charged particles is used as a key discriminator to suppress efficiently the large multijet background, and the remaining background is estimated directly from data. The search is performed using proton–proton collision data corresponding to an integrated luminosity of 16.1 $$\,\text {fb}^{-1}$$ fb - 1 , collected with the CMS detector in 2016. No significant excess of events is observed above the expected background. For the simplified dark matter model under consideration, SIMPs with masses up to 100 $$\,\text {GeV}$$ GeV are excluded and further sensitivity is explored towards higher masses.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
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