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We show that propensity score matching (PSM), an enormously popular method of preprocessing data for causal inference, often accomplishes the opposite of its intended goal—thus increasing imbalance, inefficiency, model dependence, and bias. The weakness of PSM comes from its attempts to approximate a completely randomized experiment, rather than, as with other matching methods, a more efficient fully blocked randomized experiment. PSM is thus uniquely blind to the often large portion of imbalance that can be eliminated by approximating full blocking with other matching methods. Moreover, in data balanced enough to approximate complete randomization, either to begin with or after pruning some observations, PSM approximates random matching which, we show, increases imbalance even relative to the original data. Although these results suggest researchers replace PSM with one of the other available matching methods, propensity scores have other productive uses.
X-ray Microfluorescence (XRMF) analysis uses a finely collimated beam of X-rays to excite fluorescent radiation in a sample (Nichols & Ryon 1986). Characteristic fluorescent radiation emanating from the small interaction volume element is acquired using an energy dispersive detector placed in close proximity to the sample. The signal from the detector is processed using a computer-based multi-channel analyzer.
XRMF imaging is accomplished by translating the sample through the small X-ray beam in a step or continuous raster mode. As the sample is translated, a pixel by pixel X-ray intensity image is formed for each chemical element in the sample. The resulting digitized image information for each element is stored for subsequent processing and/or display. The images, in the form of elemental maps representing identical areas, may be displayed and color coded by element and/or intensity and then overlayed for spatial correlation.
The present study of parameters affecting the performance of an X-ray microfluorescence system has shown how such systems use X-ray beams with effective spot sizes less than 100 micrometers to bridge the gap in analytical capabilities between predominately surface micro analytical techniques such as SEM/EDX and bulk analytical methods such as standard XRF analysis. The combination of XRMF spectroscopy with digital imaging allows chemical information to be obtained and mapped from surface layers as well as from layers or structures beneath the sample surface. Simultaneously, it provides valuable high resolution chemical information in a readily interpreted visual form which displays the homogeneity within a given layer or structure. XRMF systems retain the advantages of minimal sample preparation, non-destructive analysis and high sensitivity inherent to XRF methods.
Increased use of dicamba and/or glyphosate in dicamba/glyphosate-tolerant soybean might affect many sensitive crops, including potato. The objective of this study was to determine the growth and yield of ‘Russet Burbank’ potato grown from seed tubers (generation 2) from mother plants (generation 1) treated with dicamba (4, 20, and 99 g ae ha−1), glyphosate (8, 40, and 197 g ae ha−1), or a combination of dicamba and glyphosate during tuber initiation. Generation 2 tubers were planted near Oakes and Inkster, ND, in 2016 and 2017, at the same research farm where the generation 1 tubers were grown the previous year. Treatment with 99 g ha−1 dicamba, 197 g ha−1 glyphosate, or 99 g ha−1 dicamba + 197 g ha−1 glyphosate caused emergence of generation 2 plants to be reduced by up to 84%, 86%, and 87%, respectively, at 5 wk after planting. Total tuber yield of generation 2 was reduced up to 67%, 55%, and 68% when 99 g ha−1 dicamba, 197 g ha−1 glyphosate, or 99 g ha−1 dicamba + 197 g ha−1 glyphosate was applied to generation 1 plants, respectively. At each site year, 197 g ha−1 glyphosate reduced total yield and marketable yield, while 99 g ha−1 dicamba reduced total yield and marketable yield in some site-years. This study confirms that exposure to glyphosate and dicamba of potato grown for potato seed tubers can negatively affect the growth and yield potential of the subsequently grown daughter generation.
Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88) presented a critique of our recently published paper in Cell Reports entitled ‘Large-Scale Cognitive GWAS Meta-Analysis Reveals Tissue-Specific Neural Expression and Potential Nootropic Drug Targets’ (Lam et al., Cell Reports, Vol. 21, 2017, 2597–2613). Specifically, Hill offered several interrelated comments suggesting potential problems with our use of a new analytic method called Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS (MTAG) (Turley et al., Nature Genetics, Vol. 50, 2018, 229–237). In this brief article, we respond to each of these concerns. Using empirical data, we conclude that our MTAG results do not suffer from ‘inflation in the FDR [false discovery rate]’, as suggested by Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88), and are not ‘more relevant to the genetic contributions to education than they are to the genetic contributions to intelligence’.
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.
Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) is a neurologic event with symptom resolution within 24 hours. Early specialist assessment of TIA reduces risk of stroke and death. National United Kingdom (UK) guidelines recommend patients with TIA are seen in specialist clinics within 24 hours (high risk) or seven days (low risk).
We aimed to develop a complex intervention for patients with low risk TIA presenting to the emergency ambulance service. The intervention is being tested in the TIER feasibility trial, in line with Medical Research Council (MRC) guidance on staged development and evaluation of complex interventions.
We conducted three interrelated activities to produce the TIER intervention:
•Survey of UK Ambulance Services (n = 13) to gather information about TIA pathways already in use
•Scoping review of literature describing prehospital care of patients with TIA
•Synthesis of data and definition of intervention by specialist panel of: paramedics; Emergency Department (ED) and stroke consultants; service users; ambulance service managers.
The panel used results to define the TIER intervention, to include:
1.Protocol for paramedics to assess patients presenting with TIA and identify and refer low risk patients for prompt (< 7day) specialist review at TIA clinic
2.Patient Group Directive and information pack to allow paramedic administration of aspirin to patients left at home with referral to TIA clinic
3.Referral process via ambulance control room
4.Training package for paramedics
5.Agreement with TIA clinic service provider including rapid review of referred patients
We followed MRC guidance to develop a clinical intervention for assessment and referral of low risk TIA patients attended by emergency ambulance paramedic. We are testing feasibility of implementing and evaluating this intervention in the TIER feasibility trial which may lead to fully powered multicentre randomized controlled trial (RCT) if predefined progression criteria are met.
Large variations in both snow water equivalent (SWE) and snow slope stability are known to exist in the alpine snowpack, caused by wind, topographic and microclimatic effects. This variability makes extrapolation of point measurements of snowpack properties difficult and prone to error, but these types of measurements are used to estimate SWE and stability across entire mountain ranges. Radar technology provides a promising alternative to point measurements, because large areas can be covered quickly and non-intrusively. There is great potential for obtaining information on a large spatial scale from airborne applications. Frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) radar measurements were made from the ground in several different alpine snowpacks, along with manual and in situ electrical measurements. The surface and ground reflections from the radar data, combined with an average density estimate, can provide a useful estimate of SWE. In addition, the locations of internal reflections are highly correlated with both visually identified layers and measured changes in in situ dielectric properties.
Texture-engineered ceramics enable access to a vast array of novel texture-property relations leading to property values ranging between those of single crystals and isotropic bulk ceramics. Recently developed templated grain growth and magnetic alignment texturing methods yield high quality crystallographic texture, and thus significant advances in achievable texture-engineered properties in magnetic, piezoelectric, electronic, optical, thermoelectric, and structural ceramics. In this paper, we outline the fundamental basis for these texture-engineered properties and review recent contributions to the field of texture-engineered ceramics with an update on the properties of textured lead-free and lead-based piezoelectrics. We propose that further property improvements can be realized through development of processes that improve crystallographic alignment of the grain structure, create biaxial texture, and explore a wider array of crystallographic orientations. There is a critical need to model the physics of texture-engineered ceramics, and more comprehensively characterize texture, thus enabling testing of texture orientation-property relations and materials performance. We believe that in situ measurements of texture evolution can lead to a more fundamental and comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms of texture development.
Late Neogene Sirius Group strata from Tillite Spur and Quartz Hills in the Reedy Glacier area, Antarctica, demonstrate the variability in Sirius Group facies and contrasts Sirius Group strata deposited at high and low paleo-elevation, respectively. The Tillite Spur and Quartz Hills Formations (Pliocene) are formally defined here.The Tillite Spur Formation type section crops out on the edge of the Wisconsin Plateau overlooking Tillite Spur. It comprises 32m of alternating coarse gray conglomerate and muddy olive-brown diamictites. The Quartz Hills Formation type section crops out above the western margin of Reedy Glacier in a pre-existing cirque towards the southern end of the Quartz Hills. It comprises c.100m of alternating massive diamictites and rhythmically interbedded sandstone and laminated mudstones which were deposited close to sea level and subsequently rapidly uplifted (>500 m Myr−1) to their present elevation at c. 1500 m. Three orders of paleoclimatic variability are recorded in the Sirius Group strata from Reedy Valley: (1) recycled marine microfloras in glacial diamictites indicate intervals of marine incursion into the Antarctic cratonic interior co-occurring with reductions in the East Antarctic ice sheet; (2) an advancing and retreating paleo-Reedy Glacier deposited a glacial/interglacial sequence alternating on a 10-100 kyr scale; 3) Centimeter and millimeter stratification in strata of the Quartz Hills Formation record annual kyr scale variability.
We describe a high-precision (0.1–1.0 mK) borehole-temperature (BT) logging system developed at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) for use in remote polar regions. We discuss calibration, operational and data-processing procedures, and present an analysis of the measurement errors. The system is modular to facilitate calibration procedures and field repairs. By interchanging logging cables and temperature sensors, measurements can be made in either shallow air-filled boreholes or liquid-filled holes up to 7 km deep. Data can be acquired in either incremental or continuous-logging modes. The precision of data collected by the new logging system is high enough to detect and quantify various thermal effects at the milli-Kelvin level. To illustrate this capability, we present sample data from the 3 km deep borehole at GISP2, Greenland, and from a 130 m deep air-filled hole at Taylor Dome, Antarctica. The precision of the processed GISP2 continuous temperature logs is 0.25–0.34 mK, while the accuracy is estimated to be 4.5 mK. The effects of fluid convection and the dissipation of the thermal disturbance caused by drilling the borehole are clearly visible in the data. The precision of the incremental Taylor Dome measurements varies from 0.11 to 0.32 mK. depending on the wind strength during the experiments. With this precision, we found that temperature fluctuations and multi-hour trends in the BT measurements correlate well with atmospheric-pressure changes.