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The problem of public knowledge is rooted in the tension between technocracy and populism. Public knowledge is important to the proper functioning of democracy, but knowledge associated with the public is frequently dismissed and devalued in policy-making contexts. Because encounters between democracy and expertise are a common part of environmental politics and environmental discourse, the problem of public knowledge is endemic to environmental sociology. The first section of this chapter draws on political theory to explore how and why public knowledge is important for democracy. The second section draws on the philosophy of science as well as the broader field of science and technology studies (STS) to explore how and why public knowledge is devalued and dismissed. The last section briefly explores the flaws of participatory strategies that are commonly proposed as solutions to the problem of public knowledge, and concludes by suggesting that public knowledge is less contradictory if we treat “public” as a role rather than a group of people.
The disproportionate burden of prevalent, persistent pathogens among disadvantaged groups may contribute to socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in long-term health. We assessed if the social patterning of pathogen burden changed over 16 years in a U.S.-representative sample. Data came from 17 660 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey participants. Pathogen burden was quantified by summing the number of positive serologies for cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus-1, HSV-2, human papillomavirus and Toxoplasma gondii and dividing by the number of pathogens tested, giving a percent-seropositive for each participant. We examined sex- and age-adjusted mean pathogen burdens from 1999–2014, stratified by race/ethnicity and SES (poverty-to-income ratio (PIR); educational attainment). Those with a PIR < 1.3 had a mean pathogen burden 1.4–1.8 times those with a PIR > 3.5, with no change over time. Educational disparities were even greater and showed some evidence of increasing over time, with the mean pathogen burden among those with less than a high school education approximately twice that of those who completed more than high school. Non-Hispanic Black, Mexican American and other Hispanic participants had a mean pathogen burden 1.3–1.9 times non-Hispanic Whites. We demonstrate that socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in pathogen burden have persisted across 16 years, with little evidence that the gap is closing.
Elaine Feinstein provides an expert and first-hand account of Plath’s last months in London, which spans her search for a flat in November of 1962 and her final move to the city in December of that year. This is the period during which Plath wrote her final poems, and Feinstein’s biography of Plath’s time in London help us to understand better the context out of which these poems emerged.
All of us experience moments that permanently change the course of our lives. Mine came when I met Ira Gershwin in 1977. I was twenty, and he was eighty. For years, I had been reading about and collecting everything I could get my hands on regarding the Gershwin brothers. When I finally met Ira, I was well prepared for the encounter.
For the next six years I became blissfully immersed in a long-vanished era, channeled through a survivor with whom I vicariously relived a time that looms large in cultural history. George had died forty years before, but he was still alive and well in Ira’s house. Surrounded by George’s everyday items – his pipe, tie clip, self-portraits, tune notebooks, grand piano, gold bracelet, photos, letters, and passport – I soaked up a sense not only of him, but also of his music and how it evolved and changed through the years. Countless stories were told by Ira and his friends.
This chapter offers a survey of Pablo Neruda’s most important poetic works, beginning with his melancholy-drenched Crepusculario and the work that made his famous, Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada, which express the post-adolescent longing for fulfilling love. A new phase was reached with the publication of Residencia en la tierra, inspired by Neruda’s rather negative experience of life as a diplomat in Rangoon. This essay argues that it was Neruda’s intense friendship with the Spanish poet, Federico García Lorca, that pulled him out of his “disgust with existence”; and it was Lorca’s murder in August 1936 in the opening months of the Spanish Civil War that provoked a dramatic transformation in Neruda’s work – he began to see poems as social and political weapons. His political phase – epitomized by Canto general – was followed by four volumes of odes in which Neruda wrote poems in which he sought to make the ordinary appear extraordinary, many of which are exquisite gems.
In the past several decades, many scholars of public opinion in the United States have argued that American women are less likely than American men to endorse military action as a means to deal with international problems. Evidence for this “gender gap” has been found in studies of public opinion during major international conflicts (Bendyna et al. 1996; Wilcox, Ferrara, and Allsop 1993), as well as studies of longitudinal trends that examined pooled data sets from multiple conflict periods (Berinsky 2009; Burris 2008; Fite, Genest, and Wilcox 1990; Shapiro and Mahajan 1986). Researchers sometimes view men's generally greater rates of support for military actions as part of a more general “gender gap” phenomenon in U.S. politics, but the cumulative evidence has suggested that foreign policy issues and questions of peace/war generate the widest and most consistent gender gaps (see Holsti 2004, 209–10 for a review).
Several infections have been linked to telomere shortening and in some cases these associations have varied by sex. We assessed the association between seropositivity to four persistent pathogens (cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex virus-1, Helicobacter pylori, Chlamydia pneumoniae), and total pathogen burden on leukocyte telomere length in a diverse US sample. Data came from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a population-based cohort study. We utilized cross-sectional survey data, and biological samples from participants tested for pathogens and telomere length (N = 163). Linear regression was used to examine the association between seropositivity for individual pathogens as well as total pathogen burden and telomere length, adjusting for various confounders. CMV seropositivity and increased total pathogen burden level were significantly associated with shorter telomere length among females (β = −0·1204 (standard error (s.e.) 0·06), P = 0·044) and (β = −0·1057 (s.e. = 0·05), P = 0·033), respectively. There was no statistically significant association among males. Our findings suggest that prevention or treatment of persistent pathogens, in particular CMV, may play an important role in reducing telomere shortening over the life course among women. Future research is needed to confirm these novel findings in larger longitudinal samples.
Objective: The Minimal Assessment of Cognitive Function in Multiple Sclerosis (MACFIMS) is a consensus-based collection of neuropsychological tests that evaluate cognitive functioning in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). The tests are typically scored using each respective published test manual, leaving the examiner to make interpretations from norms derived from different American populations. Given demographic differences, this may lead to misinterpretation of findings in Canadians. Our goal was to establish both discrete and regression-based normative data for the MACFIMS based on a largely co-normed Canadian population to allow for improved psychometric interpretation. Methods: MACFIMS data sets were aggregated from across three different Canadian cities (Ottawa, Toronto, and London), yielding a total of 330 healthy control participants from four different studies evaluating cognition in individuals with MS. Given the variety of contributing studies, there was variability in terms of the number of participants completing each measure. Results: Both age-based discrete normative data and demographically adjusted (sex, age, and education) regression-based formulae were established. The demographic variables varied in their contribution to each MACFIMS test in the regression models, predicting 0 to 18% of the variance. Conclusions: Provision of these regression-based formulae will allow for more accurate interpretation of Canadian-derived MACFIMS scores by allowing clinicians to correct for all relevant demographic variables simultaneously, leading to improved clinical decision making for individuals with multiple sclerosis.
In this paper we explain some of the difficulties of providing forecasts of the financial benefits of early intervention programmes, focussing on those delivered during the early childhood period. We highlight the diversity of early intervention, and the complexity and multiplicity of outcomes. We summarise recent work at the Early Intervention Foundation to assess the evidence on the impacts of early intervention, recognising the diversity of approaches to delivery and the importance of innovation and local practice as well as of rigorous approaches to evaluating causal effects. We also describe new ways of assessing accurately the local fiscal costs of late intervention and consider the implications of this for addressing the well-established barriers to investment in prevention. Our analysis brings to the fore gaps in the evidence from which even the most rigorous ‘gold-standard’ research is not immune. These limitations prevent the production of an accurate and realistic cost-benefit ratio or net present value for the majority of programmes as delivered in practice. We suggest some paths towards a firmer foundation of evidence and a better alignment of evidence and policy.
Many studies have reported that US presidents often become more popular at the onset of wars and other security crises. Research on this “rally-round-the-flag” phenomenon has focused on either rational calculation of success, chances of military actions, popular perceptions of security threats, or the role of opinion leaders. This paper proposes a new approach: I argue that challenges to the symbolic status of the nation vis-à-vis other nations drive rally periods. This study examines the rally-round-the-flag phenomenon from a comparative historical perspective, using a new database of war events and security crises from 1950–2006. The analysis reveals that two types of status challenges result in nationalist rally reactions: first, the public has rallied behind presidents when wars and security crises were viewed as an opportunity for the United States to reclaim its previously damaged national honor; and second, rallies have emerged when the president claimed the mantle of “leader of the free world” in an internationally authorized coalition attack on a foreign country.
It has generally been argued that the majority of fossil benthic foraminifera, the most common proxy for paleo bottom oceanic conditions, could not tolerate anoxia. Here we present evidence that fossil foraminifera were able to successfully colonize anoxic–dysoxic bottom waters, by using adaptations similar to those found in living species. Our study is based on a multi proxy micropaleontological and geochemical investigation of the Upper Cretaceous sediments from the Levant upwelling regime. A shift from buliminid to diverse trochospiral dominated assemblages was recorded in an interval with a distinct anoxic geochemical signature coinciding with a regional change in lithology. This change was triggered by an alteration in the type of primary producers from diatoms to calcareous nannoplankton, possibly causing modifications in benthic foraminiferal morphological and physiological adaptations to life in the absence of oxygen.
Our data show that massive blooms of triserial (buliminid) benthic foraminifera with distinct apertural and test morphologies during the Campanian were enabled by their ability to sequester diatom chloroplasts and associate with bacteria, in a similar manner as their modern analogs. Diverse trochospiral forms existed during the Maastrichtian by using nitrate instead of oxygen for their respiratory pathways in a denitrifying environment. Species belonging to the Stilostomellidae and Nodosariidae families might have been affected by the change in food type arriving to the seafloor after the phytoplankton turnover at the Campanian/Maastrichtian boundary, in a similar manner as their mid Pleistocene descendants prior to their extinction. This study promotes the need for a re-evaluation of the current models used for interpreting paleoceanographic data and demonstrates that the identification of adaptations and mechanisms involved in promoting sustained life under anoxic to dysoxic conditions should become a standard in faunal paleoceanographic studies.
This chapter focuses on the principles of advanced neuroimaging and their current clinical applications and limitations. Xenon enhanced computed tomography imaging (Xe-CT) is used for the quantification of cerebral blood flow (CBF). Advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques enhance the evaluation of brain structure and/or function. Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) is used for assessment of the integrity of arteries and veins in the human body. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy data are used to evaluate the composition and metabolic activity of the brain. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a special form of diffusion-weighted MRI that allows the assessment and visualization of white matter and its constituents on a millimeter-level scale. Arterial spin labeling allows for the characterization and direct visualization of blood low within brain tissue. Information derived from positron emission tomography (PET) data may prove useful in correlating functional and structural abnormalities, and identifying pathophysiological disturbances despite apparently normal brain structure.