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In 2019, BYK Additives (Widnes, UK; www.byk.com) marked the 55th anniversary of the discovery by Dr Barbara Zsusanna (Susanna) Neumann of the extraordinary product known as Laponite®. The range of Laponite® products developed in the UK during the early 1960s is one of the first examples of truly nanodimensional materials manufactured on an industrial scale, at a time when the field of nanotechnology was only being hinted at (Feynman, 1959). These hectorite-like synthetic nanoclays with very unusual properties have been an enduring commercial success for the UK company that first patented and introduced them to the market, Laporte Industries, which is now a part of the BYK company. The Laponite® brand has proved tremendously popular with academic and industrial scientists worldwide, being cited in >3000 patents and >2500 published academic articles.
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.
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.
We use high-resolution Keck, VLT, or Hubble Space Telescope spectra of background quasars to examine the kinematic properties of the multiphase, metal-enriched circumgalactic medium in the outskirts of galaxies at 0.08 < zgal < 1.0, focusing on the low-ionization Mgii and high-ionization Ovi doublets. The absorption kinematics of low-ionization gas in the circumgalactic medium depend strongly on the star formation activity and the location about the host galaxy, where the largest velocity dispersions are associated with blue, face-on galaxies probed along the minor axis. Conversely, high-ionization gas kinematics are independent of galaxy star formation activity and orientation.
We draw attention to studies indicating that phasic arousal increases interference effects in tasks necessitating the recruitment of cognitive control. We suggest that arousal-biased competition models such as GANE (glutamate amplifies noradrenergic effects) may be able to explain these findings by taking into account dynamic, within-trial changes in the relative salience of task-relevant and task-irrelevant features. However, testing this hypothesis requires a computational model.
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.
We sought to identify hospital characteristics associated with community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) carriage among inpatients.
Prospective cohort study.
Orange County, California.
Thirty hospitals in a single county.
We collected clinical MRSA isolates from inpatients in 30 of 31 hospitals in Orange County, California, from October 2008 through April 2010. We characterized isolates by spa typing to identify CA-MRSA strains. Using California's mandatory hospitalization data set, we identified hospital-level predictors of CA-MRSA isolation.
CA-MRSA strains represented 1,033 (46%) of 2,246 of MRSA isolates. By hospital, the median percentage of CA-MRSA isolates was 46% (range, 14%–81%). In multivariate models, CA-MRSA isolation was associated with smaller hospitals (odds ratio [OR], 0.97, or 3% decreased odds of CA-MRSA isolation per 1,000 annual admissions; P<.001), hospitals with more Medicaid-insured patients (OR, 1.2; P = .002), and hospitals with more patients with low comorbidity scores (OR, 1.3; P< .001). Results were similar when restricted to isolates from patients with hospital-onset infection.
Among 30 hospitals, CA-MRSA comprised nearly half of MRSA isolates. There was substantial variability in CA-MRSA penetration across hospitals, with more CA-MRSA in smaller hospitals with healthier but socially disadvantaged patient populations. Additional research is needed to determine whether infection control strategies can be successful in targeting CA-MRSA influx.
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.