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The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
Understanding the critical time of weed removal (CTWR) is necessary for designing effective weed management programs in popcorn production that do not result in yield reduction. The objective of this study was to determine the CTWR in popcorn with and without a premix of atrazine and S-metolachlor applied PRE. Field experiments were conducted at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, South Central Agricultural Laboratory near Clay Center, NE in 2017 and 2018. The experiment was laid out in a split-plot design with PRE herbicide as the main plot and weed removal timing as the subplot. Main plots included no herbicide or atrazine/S-metolachlor applied PRE. Subplot treatments included a weed-free control, a non-treated control, and weed removal timing at V3, V6, V9, V15, and R1 popcorn growth stages and then kept weed free throughout the season. A four-parameter log-logistic function was fitted to percentage popcorn yield loss and growing degree days separately to each main plot. The number of growing degree days, when 5% yield loss was achieved, was extracted from the model and compared between main plots. The CTWR was from the V4 to V5 popcorn growth stage in absence of PRE herbicide. With atrazine/S-metolachlor applied PRE, the CTWR was delayed until V10 to V15. It is concluded that, to avoid yield loss, weeds must be controlled before the V4 popcorn growth stage when no PRE herbicide is applied, and PRE herbicide, such as atrazine/S-metolachlor in this study, can delay the CTWR until the V10 growth stage.
Understanding how plants alter their growth in response to interplant competition is an overlooked but complex problem. Previous studies have characterized the effect of light and water stress on soybean or common ragweed growth in monoculture, but no study has characterized soybean and common ragweed growth in mixture. A field study was conducted in 2015 and 2016 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to characterize the growth response of soybean and common ragweed with different irrigation levels and intraspecific and interspecific interference. The experiment was arranged in a split-plot design with irrigation level (0, 50%, 100% replacement of simulated evapotranspiration) as the main plot and common ragweed density (0, 2, 6, 12 plants m−1 row) as the subplot. Crop- and weed-free controls and three mixture treatments were included as subplots. Periodic destructive samples of leaf area and biomass of different organ groups were collected, and leaf area index (LAI), aboveground biomass partitioning, specific leaf area (SLA), and leaf area ratio (LAR) were calculated. Additionally, soybean and common ragweed yield were harvested, and 100-seed weight and seed production were determined. Soybean did not alter biomass partitioning, SLA, or LAR in mixture with common ragweed. Soybean LAI, biomass, and seed size were affected by increasing common ragweed density. Conversely, common ragweed partitioned less new biomass to leaves and increased SLA in response to increased interference. Common ragweed LAI, biomass, and seed number were reduced by the presence of soybean and increasing common ragweed density; however, seed weight was not affected. Results show that adjustment in biomass partitioning, SLA, and LAR is not the method that soybean uses to remain plastic under competition for light. Common ragweed demonstrated plasticity in both biomass partitioning and SLA, indicating an ability to maintain productivity under intra- and inter-specific competition for light or soil resources.
Blood samples from normal and Plasmodium berghei infected mice are being analyzed for trace elements by charged particle induced x-rays. Approximately 0.25 ml of the sample (whole blood, washed red cells, or plasma) is dry ashed. The ashes are mounted on a 0.003 inch Kapton foil. The analysis is performed by bombardment of the samples by a beam of 2.0 MeV protons and detection of the characteristic x-rays by a 175-eV-resolution lithium-drifted silicon detector. The data are analyzed by an on-line PDP-9 computer-based data acquisition system. Results indicate an increase in the K, Ca, Cu, and Zn per unit volume of the red cells of the malaria infected mice relative to the amounts measured for uninfected blood, and a decrease in the K, Ca, and Fe and an increase in the Cu per unit volume in the plasma of the infected mice.
Prior evolutionary theory provided reason to suspect that measures of development and reproduction would be correlated with antisocial behaviours in human and non-human species. Behavioural genetics has revealed that most quantitative traits are heritable, suggesting that these phenotypic correlations may share genetic aetiologies. We use genome-wide association study data to estimate the genetic correlations between various measures of reproductive development (N = 52 776–318 863) and antisocial behaviour (N = 31 968). Our genetic correlation analyses demonstrate that alleles associated with higher reproductive output (number of children ever born, rg = 0.50, P = 0.0065) were positively correlated with alleles associated with antisocial behaviour, whereas alleles associated with more delayed reproductive onset (age at first birth, rg = −0.64, P = 0.0008) were negatively associated with alleles linked to antisocial behaviour. Ultimately, these findings coalesce with evolutionary theories suggesting that increased antisocial behaviours may partly represent a faster life history approach, which may be significantly calibrated by genes.
Movement disorders associated with exposure to antipsychotic drugs are common and stigmatising but underdiagnosed.
To develop and evaluate a new clinical procedure, the ScanMove instrument, for the screening of antipsychotic-associated movement disorders for use by mental health nurses.
Item selection and content validity assessment for the ScanMove instrument were conducted by a panel of neurologists, psychiatrists and a mental health nurse, who operationalised a 31-item screening procedure. Interrater reliability was measured on ratings for 30 patients with psychosis from ten mental health nurses evaluating video recordings of the procedure. Criterion and concurrent validity were tested comparing the ScanMove instrument-based rating of 13 mental health nurses for 635 community patients from mental health services with diagnostic judgement of a movement disorder neurologist based on the ScanMove instrument and a reference procedure comprising a selection of commonly used rating scales.
Interreliability analysis showed no systematic difference between raters in their prediction of any antipsychotic-associated movement disorders category. On criterion validity testing, the ScanMove instrument showed good sensitivity for parkinsonism (90%) and hyperkinesia (89%), but not for akathisia (38%), whereas specificity was low for parkinsonism and hyperkinesia, and moderate for akathisia.
The ScanMove instrument demonstrated good feasibility and interrater reliability, and acceptable sensitivity as a mental health nurse-administered screening tool for parkinsonism and hyperkinesia.
SNP in the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene is associated with risk of lower respiratory infections. The influence of genetic variation in the vitamin D pathway resulting in susceptibility to upper respiratory infections (URI) has not been investigated. We evaluated the influence of thirty-three SNP in eleven vitamin D pathway genes (DBP, DHCR7, RXRA, CYP2R1, CYP27B1, CYP24A1, CYP3A4, CYP27A1, LRP2, CUBN and VDR) resulting in URI risk in 725 adults in London, UK, using an additive model with adjustment for potential confounders and correction for multiple comparisons. Significant associations in this cohort were investigated in a validation cohort of 737 children in Manchester, UK. In all, three SNP in VDR (rs4334089, rs11568820 and rs7970314) and one SNP in CYP3A4 (rs2740574) were associated with risk of URI in the discovery cohort after adjusting for potential confounders and correcting for multiple comparisons (adjusted incidence rate ratio per additional minor allele ≥1·15, Pfor trend ≤0·030). This association was replicated for rs4334089 in the validation cohort (Pfor trend=0·048) but not for rs11568820, rs7970314 or rs2740574. Carriage of the minor allele of the rs4334089 SNP in VDR was associated with increased susceptibility to URI in children and adult cohorts in the United Kingdom.
Spherical coordinate systems, which are ubiquitous in astronomy, cannot be shown without distortion on flat, two-dimensional surfaces. This poses challenges for the two complementary phases of visual exploration—making discoveries in data by looking for relationships, patterns, or anomalies—and publication—where the results of an exploration are made available for scientific scrutiny or communication. This is a long-standing problem, and many practical solutions have been developed. Our allskyVR approach provides a workflow for experimentation with commodity virtual reality head-mounted displays. Using the free, open source s2plot programming library, and the A-FrameWebVR browser-based framework, we provide a straightforward way to visualise all-sky catalogues on a user-centred, virtual celestial sphere. The allskyVR distribution contains both a quickstart option, complete with a gaze-based menu system, and a fully customisable mode for those who need more control of the immersive experience. The software is available for download from https://github.com/cfluke/allskyVR.
Post-magmatic alteration of certain magmatic Ni sulfide ores in Western Australia, the Miitel deposit and the Sarah's Find prospect, produced Ni–As–PGE haloes around massive sulfides. A study of the composition of arsenide grains from these hydrothermal haloes, along with arsenides from various magmatic and hydrothermal mineralized environments in other localities, was conducted in order to compare their composition, and assess their potential use as indicator minerals for exploration vectoring, as well as to gain knowledge on their crystallization history. Concentrations in trace elements such as platinum-group elements (PGEs), Au and other metals was obtained by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy analyses. Results show that variations in PGEs and Au compositions can be related to the magmatic vs. hydrothermal origin of the grains; and to their provenance from deposits enriched in either Ni, Au or both. Magmatic NiCoFe sulfarsenides have strongly correlated, high IPGE (Os, Ir, Ru, Rh) contents up to 100 ppm Ir, compared with maximum values in hydrothermal sulfarsenides of ~1 ppm. Gold in hydrothermal sulfarsenides from Au-mineralized ultramafic rocks extends up to 500 ppm, with typical values of 3–30 ppm; similar values are also found in nickeline (also called niccolite). These results suggest that nickel arsenides could potentially be used as indicator minerals for nickel and gold exploration. Trace-element contents of arsenide grains in shear zones could be used to deduce the presence of Ni or Au mineralization upstream in the fluid pathway.
A fundamental difference exists between the textures of chromite crystals in chromitites in layered complexes and ophiolites. Those in layered complexes generally have euhedral octahedral shapes except where sintered, whereas those in ophiolites generally have rounded shapes accompanied commonly by nodular and more rarely dendritic chromite. Here we describe another texture characteristic of ophiolitic chromitite. The analysis of high-resolution X-ray computed tomography images of chromitite from Harold's Grave in the Shetland ophiolite has revealed 3D hopper structures on chromite grains. In 2D, these hopper structures appear at the surface of the chromite grain as stepped inward facing edges. A study of chromitites in 2D from ten ophiolite complexes has shown that all commonly contain chromite grains displaying these stepped edges. They occur mainly in protected enclaves surrounded by chromite grains that otherwise have rounded edges. The hopper crystals and the often associated clusters of inclusions represent periods of chromite crystal growth in a chromite supersaturated magma due to the presence of a more supercooled and more volatile-rich magma than that present in most layered complexes. Subsequent exposure of chromite crystals to chromite-undersaturated magma caused corrosion, resulting in the characteristic rounded shape of the ophiolitic chromite grains.
The large-amplitude δ Scuti star CY Aqr was observed from sites in the U.S.A., South Africa and Australia during August 1988. Coates et al. (1991) published 48 new times of maximum light derived from these observations and assembled, from the literature, previous times of maximum light. It is clear that the period of the star is changing with the balance of evidence favouring discrete changes in 1951 and 1966, rather than a continuous change.
It has been suggested by Fitch (1973) and Else (1972), from an analysis of the observations of Zissell (1968), that there is a secondary frequency present in CY Aqr. Coates et al. (1992) have analysed both the 1988 observations and those of Zissell. After subtracting the primary frequency and its harmonics, they find no stable secondary frequency above the noise level of two millimagnitudes.
We present a new distance determination to the Small Magellanic Cloud from the surface brightness technique applied to the Cepheid variable HV 829. Although this is a preliminary distance based on only one star, it illustrates the power of the surface brightness technique to extragalactic Cepheid distances, it develops the technique which we will apply to additional SMC and LMC Cepheids, and the distance is of intrinsic interest because of the current controvery concerning distances for the Magellanic Clouds.
For HV 829 itself we obtain a distance modulus of 18.91 ± 0.20 mag. From other evidence we infer that HV 829 is slightly in front of the SMC centroid distance. Correcting to the SMC centroid yields a distance to the SMC of 19.05 ± 0.20 mag. We stress that this distance modulus is fully independent of any other distance modulus for the SMC, including those based upon Cepheids. Even so, our result agrees more closely with other, independent Cepheid distances than with RR Lyrae distances and main sequence fitting distances.
Unravelling apparent paradoxes has proven to be a powerful tool for understanding the complexities of special relativity. In this paper, we focus upon one such paradox, namely Bell’s spaceship paradox, examining the relative motion of two uniformly accelerating spaceships. We consider the view from either spaceship, with the exchange of photons between the two. This recovers the well-known result that the leading spaceship loses sight of the trailing spaceship as it is redshifted and disappears behind what is known as the ‘Rindler horizon’. An immediate impact of this is that if either spaceship tries to measure the separation through ‘radar ranging’, bouncing photons off one another, they would both eventually fail to receive any of the photon ‘pings’ that they emit. We find that the view from this trailing spaceship is, however, starkly different, initially, seeing the leading spaceship with an increasing blueshift, followed by a decreasing blueshift. We conclude that, while the leading spaceship loses sight of the trailing spaceship, for the trailing spaceship the view of the separation between the two spaceships, and the apparent angular size of the leading spaceship, approach asymptotic values. Intriguingly, for particular parameterisation of the journey of the two spaceships, these asymptotic values are identical to those properties seen before the spaceships began accelerating, and the view from the trailing spaceship becomes identical to when the two spaceships were initially at rest.
Dementia is a neurodegenerative disorder with global impact, with the largest proportion of cases occurring in low- and middle-income countries. It is estimated that there are 46.8 million cases globally with approximately 10 million new cases each year or a new case occurring every 3 sec (Prince et al., 2015). For comparison there are 36.7 million HIV cases with an estimated 2 million new cases each year (WHO, 2017). The rise in dementia prevalence is largely due to population ageing, with the oldest being at highest risk. To date there are no diseases modifying medications for Alzheimer's disease or the other causes of dementia. Academics and research groups are increasingly focused on prevention or delay of dementia (Brayne and Miller, 2017) and a number of organizations now prioritize dementia, indicating a strong and coherent international effort to address this problem. Examples include the World Health Organisation (WHO), which has established a Global Dementia Observatory; the World Dementia Council; the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); the U.S. National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA); and the Global Council on Brain Health.
Treatment of medical patients with the inflammatory cytokine, interferon-α (IFN-α), is frequently associated with the development of clinical depressive symptomatology. Several important biological correlates of the effect of IFN-α on mood have been described, but the neuropsychological changes associated with IFN-α treatment are largely unexplored. The aim of the present preliminary study was to assess the effect of IFN-α on measures of emotional processing.
We measured changes in emotional processing over 6–8 weeks in 17 patients receiving IFN-α as part of their treatment for hepatitis C virus infection. Emotional processing tasks included those which have previously been shown to be sensitive to the effects of depression and antidepressant treatment, namely facial expression recognition, emotional categorisation and the dot probe attentional task.
Following IFN-α, patients were more accurate at detecting facial expressions of disgust; they also showed diminished attentional vigilance to happy faces. IFN-α produced the expected increases in scores on depression rating scales, but there was no correlation between these scores and the changes in emotional processing.
Our preliminary findings suggest that IFN-α treatment produces negative biases in emotional processing, and this effect is not simply a consequence of depression. It is possible that increased recognition of disgust may represent a neuropsychological marker of depressive disorders related to inflammation.