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We present the first data release of the SkyMapper Southern Survey, a hemispheric survey carried out with the SkyMapper Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. Here, we present the survey strategy, data processing, catalogue construction, and database schema. The first data release dataset includes over 66 000 images from the Shallow Survey component, covering an area of 17 200 deg2 in all six SkyMapper passbands uvgriz, while the full area covered by any passband exceeds 20 000 deg2. The catalogues contain over 285 million unique astrophysical objects, complete to roughly 18 mag in all bands. We compare our griz point-source photometry with Pan-STARRS1 first data release and note an RMS scatter of 2%. The internal reproducibility of SkyMapper photometry is on the order of 1%. Astrometric precision is better than 0.2 arcsec based on comparison with Gaia first data release. We describe the end-user database, through which data are presented to the world community, and provide some illustrative science queries.
The Glacier Bay region of southeast Alaska, USA, and British Columbia, Canada, has undergone major glacier retreat since the Little Ice Age (LIA). We used airborne laser altimetry elevation data acquired between 1995 and 2011 to estimate the mass loss of the Glacier Bay region over four time periods (1995–2000, 2000–05, 2005–09, 2009–11). For each glacier, we extrapolated from center-line profiles to the entire glacier to estimate glacier-wide mass balance, and then averaged these results over the entire region using three difference methods (normalized elevation, area-weighted method and simple average). We found that there was large interannual variability of the mass loss since 1995 compared with the long-term (post-LIA) average. For the full period (1995–2011) the average mass loss was 3.93 ± 0.89 Gt a−1 (0.6 ± 0.1 m w.e. a−1), compared with 17.8 Gt a−1 for the post-LIA (1770–1948) rate. Our mass loss rate is consistent with GRACE gravity signal changes for the 2003–10 period. Our results also show that there is a lower bias due to center-line profiling than was previously found by a digital elevation model difference method.
By applying a display ecology to the Deeper, Wider, Faster proactive, simultaneous telescope observing campaign, we have shown a dramatic reduction in the time taken to inspect DECam CCD images for potential transient candidates and to produce time-critical triggers to standby telescopes. We also show how facilitating rapid corroboration of potential candidates and the exclusion of non-candidates improves the accuracy of detection; and establish that a practical and enjoyable workspace can improve the experience of an otherwise taxing task for astronomers. We provide a critical road test of two advanced displays in a research context—a rare opportunity to demonstrate how they can be used rather than simply discuss how they might be used to accelerate discovery.
Camera trap surveys are a non-invasive way to monitor wildlife populations. Although most often used to study medium- and large-sized mammals, camera traps also detect non-target species. These detections provide useful ecological information on little-known species, but such data usually remain unanalysed. We used detections from camera-trapping surveys of native carnivores and small mammals to examine distribution patterns and occupancy trends of little-known ground-dwelling rainforest birds at seven sites across the Masoala-Makira protected area complex in north-eastern Madagascar. We obtained 4,083 detections of 28 bird species over 18,056 trap nights from 200 to 2013. We estimated occupancy across the Masoala-Makira protected area complex (hereafter, landscape occupancy) and annual trends in occupancy at three resurveyed sites for five commonly observed species. Landscape occupancy across Masoala-Makira ranged from 0.75 (SE 0.09; Madagascar Magpie-robin Copsychus albospecularis) to 0.25 (SE 0.06; Scaly Ground-roller Geobiastes squamiger). Ground-dwelling forest bird occupancy was similar at forest sites that ranged from intact to fully degraded; however, three species were detected less often at sites with high feral cat trap success. Nearly half of all focal species showed declines in annual occupancy probability at one resurveyed site (S02) from 2008 to 2013. The declines in ground-dwelling bird occupancy could have community-wide consequences as birds provide ecosystem services such as seed dispersal and pest regulation. We suggest immediate conservation measures—such as feral cat removal—be implemented to protect ground-dwelling forest birds and other threatened taxa across this landscape.
The literature on the λ Boo stars has grown to become somewhat heterogenous, as different authors have applied different criteria across the UV, optical, and infrared regions to determine the membership status of λ Boo candidates. We aim to clear up the confusion by consulting the literature on 212 objects that have been considered as λ Boo candidates, and subsequently evaluating the evidence in favour of their admission to the λ Boo class. We obtained new spectra of ~ 90 of these candidates and classified them on the MK system to aid in the membership evaluations. The re-evaluation of the 212 objects resulted in 64 members and 103 non-members of the λ Boo class, with a further 45 stars for which membership status is unclear. We suggest observations for each of the stars in the latter category that will allow them to be confidently included or rejected from the class. Our reclassification facilitates homogenous analysis on group members, and represents the largest collection of confirmed λ Boo stars known.
Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 became the predominant circulating strain in the United States during the 2013–2014 influenza season. Little is known about the epidemiology of severe influenza during this season.
A retrospective cohort study of severely ill patients with influenza infection in intensive care units in 33 US hospitals from September 1, 2013, through April 1, 2014, was conducted to determine risk factors for mortality present on intensive care unit admission and to describe patient characteristics, spectrum of disease, management, and outcomes.
A total of 444 adults and 63 children were admitted to an intensive care unit in a study hospital; 93 adults (20.9%) and 4 children (6.3%) died. By logistic regression analysis, the following factors were significantly associated with mortality among adult patients: older age (>65 years, odds ratio, 3.1 [95% CI, 1.4–6.9], P=.006 and 50–64 years, 2.5 [1.3–4.9], P=.007; reference age 18–49 years), male sex (1.9 [1.1–3.3], P=.031), history of malignant tumor with chemotherapy administered within the prior 6 months (12.1 [3.9–37.0], P<.001), and a higher Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score (for each increase by 1 in score, 1.3 [1.2–1.4], P<.001).
Risk factors for death among US patients with severe influenza during the 2013–2014 season, when influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 was the predominant circulating strain type, shifted in the first postpandemic season in which it predominated toward those of a more typical epidemic influenza season.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(11):1251–1260
Understanding the nutritional demands on serving military personnel is critical to inform training schedules and dietary provision. Troops deployed to Afghanistan face austere living and working environments. Observations from the military and those reported in the British and US media indicated possible physical degradation of personnel deployed to Afghanistan. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the changes in body composition and nutritional status of military personnel deployed to Afghanistan and how these were related to physical fitness. In a cohort of British Royal Marines (n 249) deployed to Afghanistan for 6 months, body size and body composition were estimated from body mass, height, girth and skinfold measurements. Energy intake (EI) was estimated from food diaries and energy expenditure measured using the doubly labelled water method in a representative subgroup. Strength and aerobic fitness were assessed. The mean body mass of volunteers decreased over the first half of the deployment ( − 4·6 (sd 3·7) %), predominately reflecting fat loss. Body mass partially recovered (mean +2·2 (sd 2·9) %) between the mid- and post-deployment periods (P< 0·05). Daily EI (mean 10 590 (sd 3339) kJ) was significantly lower than the estimated daily energy expenditure (mean 15 167 (sd 1883) kJ) measured in a subgroup of volunteers. However, despite the body mass loss, aerobic fitness and strength were well maintained. Nutritional provision for British military personnel in Afghanistan appeared sufficient to maintain physical capability and micronutrient status, but providing appropriate nutrition in harsh operational environments must remain a priority.
This article considers the use of the UK Freedom of Information (FOI) Act in order to explore the history of British intelligence. While the intelligence and security agencies are themselves exempt from the Act, releasing only such archival material into the public domain as they see fit, the article will argue that this does not mean that FOI cannot be used productively in this area. Rather, by adopting a wider definition of ‘intelligence’, as advocated by Wesley K. Wark in this journal in 1992, FOI can be used as part of a broader research strategy to secure the release of information that allows the archival study of intelligence to move beyond the material released by the agencies themselves. The article will illustrate this point by drawing on relevant examples of successful FOI requests, while also highlighting some of the related practical challenges and limitations that its use has revealed.
Significant new opportunities for astrophysics and cosmology have been identified at low radio frequencies. The Murchison Widefield Array is the first telescope in the southern hemisphere designed specifically to explore the low-frequency astronomical sky between 80 and 300 MHz with arcminute angular resolution and high survey efficiency. The telescope will enable new advances along four key science themes, including searching for redshifted 21-cm emission from the EoR in the early Universe; Galactic and extragalactic all-sky southern hemisphere surveys; time-domain astrophysics; and solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric science and space weather. The Murchison Widefield Array is located in Western Australia at the site of the planned Square Kilometre Array (SKA) low-band telescope and is the only low-frequency SKA precursor facility. In this paper, we review the performance properties of the Murchison Widefield Array and describe its primary scientific objectives.
Secret intelligence had always been an element in statecraft, but in the twentieth century, it acquired an altogether new standing as an ingredient in the security arrangements of nations that tired of ‘total warfare’. This applied to the Soviet Union, with its tens of millions of casualties in World War II, and equally to democratic countries, with their memories of Galipoli and Paeschendale. In fact, special factors applied in the case of the democratic nations, with their increasingly universal voting rights. Enfranchised male citizens – who supplied the infantry, yet could make or break the governments that sent them to the front – displayed a fondness for their arms and legs and for life in general. The arrival of the female voter only intensified the aversion to militarism and to body bags. War was no longer acceptable as a reflexive recourse in times of diplomatic crisis. The search for alternative methods yielded initiatives ranging from United Nations mediations to nuclear deterrence. The century's commitment to secret intelligence stemmed from the same source.
To be sure, secret intelligence is an ingredient in military success. It can help to make war more precise and more decisive. But for those very reasons, it can also make war less bloody, especially for the civilians so oft en caught up as ‘collateral’ casualties. Furthermore, it can yield information that anticipates, and helps to prevent, conflict.