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Effective management of uncertainty can lead to better, more informed decisions. However, many decision makers and their advisers do not always face up to uncertainty, in part because there is little constructive guidance or tools available to help. This paper outlines six Uncertainty Principles to manage uncertainty.
Face up to uncertainty
Deconstruct the problem
Don’t be fooled (un/intentional biases)
Models can be helpful, but also dangerous
Think about adaptability and resilience
Bring people with you
These were arrived at following extensive discussions and literature reviews over a 5-year period. While this is an important topic for actuaries, the intended audience is any decision maker or advisor in any sector (public or private).
Despite increased focus on ascertaining the status of elasmobranch fish, the stock units for many species are uncertain. Data from mark-recapture tagging studies undertaken from 1959–2017 were analysed for 13 batoid species. Data were most comprehensive for skates (Rajidae), with 22,374 released and 3342 (14.9%) returned. Most data related to thornback ray Raja clavata, blonde ray R. brachyura and spotted ray R. montagui. Tags were generally returned from areas less than 50 km from their release, and usually from the ICES Division in which they were released. However, straight-line distances travelled of up to 910 km (R. brachyura) and 772 km (R. clavata) were recorded, highlighting that individual skates are capable of longer-distance movements. The maximum time at liberty was 16.6 years (R. clavata). Whilst mark-recapture data indicated that the current stock units used by ICES are broadly appropriate, southward movements of several skate species tagged off Northern Ireland (Division 6.a) to the Irish Sea (Division 7.a) were observed. In contrast, skates tagged in the Irish Sea and Bristol Channel (Division 7.f) generally remained in that area, with only occasional recaptures from Division 6.a.
A major uncertainty in the determination of the mass profile of the Milky Way using stellar kinematics in the halo is the poorly determined anisotropy parameter, , where σr is the Galactocentric radial velocity dispersion, and σθ and σφ are the tangential components of the velocity dispersion. We have used a sample of over 24,000 Galactic halo K giant and blue horizontal branch stars from the LAMOST stellar spectroscopic survey and SDSS/SEGUE, combined with proper motions from Gaia Data Release 2, to measure β(rgc) over a wide range of Galactocentric distances rgc from 5 to 80 kpc. Kinematic substructures have been carefully removed to reveal the underlying diffuse stellar halo prior to measuring β. We find that orbits are generally radial (β > 0) and β is constant out to distances of about 40 kpc, with a dependence on metallicity of the stars, such that β declines with lower metallicity. Similar behavior is seen in both the K giant and BHB samples.
The Beck’s Petrel Pseudobulweria beckii is a ‘Critically Endangered’ seabird whose breeding sites remain unknown. Historic observations suggest the species’ distribution is concentrated in the Bismarck Archipelago and particularly southern New Ireland. Over the course of two research expeditions in 2016 and 2017 we used on-land and at-sea observations, local interviews and satellite telemetry to understand the distribution of the species, its at-sea movements and potential breeding locations. Land-based and at-sea observations indicated that the area of Silur Bay in southern New Ireland was a significant site for Beck’s Petrel with numbers of birds increasing near shore prior to dusk and birds observed in spotlights over land. A local population is estimated to be in the low thousands. In 2017 a single Beck’s was captured at sea, fitted with a satellite transmitter and tracked for eight months. This bird maintained a core distribution off the south-east coast of New Ireland and north of Bougainville for 122 days. During the tracking period, the bird was located over land at night seven times; predominantly over southern New Ireland, where the signal was also lost for extended periods suggesting occupancy of an underground burrow. In August the bird migrated 1,400 km to a core pelagic habitat north of West Papua before the signal was eventually lost. Our combination of land- and sea-based observations and analysis of behaviour from satellite tracking supports the conclusion that a breeding site for Beck’s Petrel lies in the inland mountains of southern New Ireland and most likely in the high-altitude zone (> 2000 m) of the Hans Meyer Range. Further investigations are required to determine the exact location of breeding colonies in the mountains of southern New Ireland and the importance of a potential west Papuan non-breeding pelagic habitat for the species.
Natural living conductive biofilms transport electrons between electrodes and cells, as well as among cells fixed within the film, catalyzing an array of reactions from acetate oxidation to CO2 reduction. Synthetic biology offers tools to modify or improve electron transport through biofilms, creating a new class of engineered living conductive materials. Engineered living conductive materials could be used in a range of applications for which traditional conducting polymers are not appropriate, including improved catalytic coatings for microbial fuel-cell electrodes, self-powered sensors for austere environments, and next-generation living components of bioelectronic devices that interact with the human microbiome.
In the past few years, there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of forcibly displaced migrants worldwide, of which a substantial proportion is refugees and asylum seekers. Refugees and asylum seekers may experience high levels of psychological distress, and show high rates of mental health conditions. It is therefore timely and particularly relevant to assess whether current evidence supports the provision of psychosocial interventions for this population. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) assessing the efficacy and acceptability of psychosocial interventions compared with control conditions (treatment as usual/no treatment, waiting list, psychological placebo) aimed at reducing mental health problems in distressed refugees and asylum seekers.
We used Cochrane procedures for conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of RCTs. We searched for published and unpublished RCTs assessing the efficacy and acceptability of psychosocial interventions in adults and children asylum seekers and refugees with psychological distress. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depressive and anxiety symptoms at post-intervention were the primary outcomes. Secondary outcomes include: PTSD, depressive and anxiety symptoms at follow-up, functioning, quality of life and dropouts due to any reason.
We included 26 studies with 1959 participants. Meta-analysis of RCTs revealed that psychosocial interventions have a clinically significant beneficial effect on PTSD (standardised mean difference [SMD] = −0.71; 95% confidence interval [CI] −1.01 to −0.41; I2 = 83%; 95% CI 78–88; 20 studies, 1370 participants; moderate quality evidence), depression (SMD = −1.02; 95% CI −1.52 to −0.51; I2 = 89%; 95% CI 82–93; 12 studies, 844 participants; moderate quality evidence) and anxiety outcomes (SMD = −1.05; 95% CI −1.55 to −0.56; I2 = 87%; 95% CI 79–92; 11 studies, 815 participants; moderate quality evidence). This beneficial effect was maintained at 1 month or longer follow-up, which is extremely important for populations exposed to ongoing post-migration stressors. For the other secondary outcomes, we identified a non-significant trend in favour of psychosocial interventions. Most evidence supported interventions based on cognitive behavioural therapies with a trauma-focused component. Limitations of this review include the limited number of studies collected, with a relatively low total number of participants, and the limited available data for positive outcomes like functioning and quality of life.
Considering the epidemiological relevance of psychological distress and mental health conditions in refugees and asylum seekers, and in view of the existing data on the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions, these interventions should be routinely made available as part of the health care of distressed refugees and asylum seekers. Evidence-based guidelines and implementation packages should be developed accordingly.
A core question in the debate about how to organise mental healthcare is whether in- and out-patient treatment should be provided by the same (personal continuity) or different psychiatrists (specialisation). The controversial debate drives costly organisational changes in several European countries, which have gone in opposing directions. The existing evidence is based on small and low-quality studies which tend to favour whatever the new experimental organisation is.
We compared 1-year clinical outcomes of personal continuity and specialisation in routine care in a large scale study across five European countries.
This is a 1-year prospective natural experiment conducted in Belgium, England, Germany, Italy and Poland. In all these countries, both personal continuity and specialisation exist in routine care. Eligible patients were admitted for psychiatric in-patient treatment (18 years of age), and clinically diagnosed with a psychotic, mood or anxiety/somatisation disorder.
Outcomes were assessed 1 year after the index admission. The primary outcome was re-hospitalisation and analysed for the full sample and subgroups defined by country, and different socio-demographic and clinical criteria. Secondary outcomes were total number of inpatient days, involuntary re-admissions, adverse events and patients’ social situation. Outcomes were compared through mixed regression models in intention-to-treat analyses. The study is registered (ISRCTN40256812).
We consecutively recruited 7302 patients; 6369 (87.2%) were followed-up. No statistically significant differences were found in re-hospitalisation, neither overall (adjusted percentages: 38.9% in personal continuity, 37.1% in specialisation; odds ratio = 1.08; confidence interval 0.94–1.25; p = 0.28) nor for any of the considered subgroups. There were no significant differences in any of the secondary outcomes.
Whether the same or different psychiatrists provide in- and out-patient treatment appears to have no substantial impact on patient outcomes over a 1-year period. Initiatives to improve long-term outcomes of psychiatric patients may focus on aspects other than the organisation of personal continuity v. specialisation.
With their sizes larger than 0.7 Mpc, Giant Radio Galaxies (GRGs) are the largest individual objects in the Universe. To date, the reason why they reach such enormous extensions is still unclear. One of the proposed scenarios suggests that they are the result of multiple episodes of jet activity. Cross-correlating the INTEGRAL+Swift AGN population with radio catalogues (NVSS, FIRST, SUMSS), we found that 22% of the sources are GRG (a factor four higher than those selected from radio catalogues). Remarkably, all of the sources in the sample show signs of restarting radio activity. The X-ray properties are consistent with this scenario, the sources being in a high-accretion, high-luminosity state with respect to the previous activity responsible for the radio lobes.
Stable isotopes of water (δ18O and δ2H) were measured in the debris-laden ice underlying an Antarctic blue ice moraine, and in adjoining Law Glacier in the central Transantarctic Mountains. Air bubble content and morphology were assessed in shallow ice core samples. Stable isotope measurements plot either on the meteoric waterline or are enriched from it. The data cluster in two groups: the ice underlying the moraine has a δ2H:δ18O slope of 5.35 ± 0.92; ice from adjoining portions of Law Glacier has a slope of 6.69 ± 1.39. This enrichment pattern suggests the moraine's underlying blue ice entrained sediment through refreezing processes acting in an open system. Glaciological conditions favorable to warm-based sediment entrainment occur 30–50 km upstream. Basal melting and refreezing are further evidenced by abundant vapor figures formed from internal melting of the ice crystals. Both the moraine ice and Law Glacier are sufficiently depleted of heavy isotopes that their ice cannot be sourced locally, but instead must be derived from far-field interior regions of the higher polar plateau. Modeled ice flow speeds suggest the ice must be at least 80 ka old, with Law Glacier's ice possibly dating to OIS 5 and moraine ice older still.
There is consensus about the importance of ‘recovery’ in mental health services, but the link between recovery orientation of mental health teams and personal recovery of individuals has been underresearched.
To investigate differences in team leader, clinician and service user perspectives of recovery orientation of community adult mental health teams in England.
In six English mental health National Health Service (NHS) trusts, randomly chosen community adult mental health teams were surveyed. A random sample of ten patients, one team leader and a convenience sample of five clinicians were surveyed from each team. All respondents rated the recovery orientation of their team using parallel versions of the Recovery Self Assessment (RSA). In addition, service users also rated their own personal recovery using the Questionnaire about Processes of Recovery (QPR).
Team leaders (n = 22) rated recovery orientation higher than clinicians (n = 109) or patients (n = 120) (Wald(2) = 7.0, P = 0.03), and both NHS trust and team type influenced RSA ratings. Patient-rated recovery orientation was a predictor of personal recovery (b = 0.58, 95% CI 0.31–0.85, P<0.001). Team leaders and clinicians with experience of mental illness (39%) or supporting a family member or friend with mental illness (76%) did not differ in their RSA ratings from other team leaders or clinicians.
Compared with team leaders, frontline clinicians and service users have less positive views on recovery orientation. Increasing recovery orientation may support personal recovery.
The cosmic ray array at Buckland Park is being developed to extend its useful collecting area at 1016 eV to ∼105m2 so that anisotropy measurements can be made at higher energies than previously possible with that system. A new array is also being designed to assist with this investigation. Design considerations for the new arrays are discussed.
A search has been made using the Buckland Park air shower array for evidence of any excess of events from the direction of the recent supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Upper limits resulting from this search and their significance are discussed in this paper.
Several extragalactic HI surveys using a λ21 cm 13-beam focal plane array will begin in early 1997 using the Parkes 64 m telescope. These surveys are designed to detect efficiently nearby galaxies that have failed to be identified optically because of low optical surface brightness or high optical extinction. We discuss scientific and technical aspects of the multibeam receiver, including astronomical objectives, feed, receiver and correlator design and data acquisition. A comparison with other telescopes shows that the Parkes multibeam receiver has significant speed advantages for any large-area λ21 cm galaxy survey in the velocity range range 0–14000 km s−1.
We report here a search of data recorded by the Buckland Park air shower array from the first year after the supernova and set an upper limit to the proton luminosity of SN1987A of 7.7 × 1040 ergs s−1.
An analysis has been made of events recorded in one year from the direction of the active galaxy Centaurus A using the Buckland Park UHE gamma-ray telescope. No statistically significant excess was observed over this period. Data collected between 1984 and 1989 show evidence for an excess of events from this direction at shower sizes in the range of 2 × 105 to 5 × 105 particles.
The extreme isotropy of cosmic ray events allows one to put upper limits on any possible non-isotropic contribution to the flux. In particular, one can investigate any excess of events which may be confined to the galactic plane. Such extra events would be expected from galactic ultra-high-energy (UHE) gamma-ray sources. Under the assumption of an isotropic cosmic ray flux, recent Buckland Park data place a 95% confidence level limit on the total southern hemisphere (declination −15° to −55°) flux of UHE gamma-rays at between 0.6 and 6 equivalent Cygnus X-3 sources, depending on assumptions concerning the gamma-ray spectrum.
Fracking is a controversial practice but is thriving in many areas. We combine a comprehensive data set on local bans and moratoria in the state of New York with local-level census data and spatial characteristics in a spatial econometric analysis of local fracking policies. Some factors, including location in the Utica shale, proportion of registered Democrats, and education level, increase the probability of restrictions on fracking. Extent of local land development, location in highly productive petroleum areas, and number of extant oil and gas wells are among factors that have a negative impact on the likelihood of a ban or moratorium.