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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.
Anthropogenic habitat alteration and invasive species are threatening carnivores globally. Understanding the impact of these factors is critical for creating localized, effective conservation programmes. Madagascar's Eupleridae have been described as the least studied and most threatened group of carnivores. We investigated the effects of habitat degradation and the presence of people and exotic species on the modelled occupancy of the endemic fosa Cryptoprocta ferox, conducting camera-trap surveys in two western deciduous forests, Ankarafantsika National Park and Andranomena Special Reserve. Our results indicated no clear patterns between habitat degradation and fosa occupancy but a strong negative association between cats Felis sp. and fosas. Cat occupancy was negatively associated with birds and positively associated with contiguous forest and narrow trails. In contrast, dog Canis lupus familiaris occupancy was best predicted by wide trails, degraded forest and exotic civets. Our results suggest fosas are capable of traversing degraded landscapes and, in the short term, are resilient to contiguous forest disturbance. However, high occupancy of cats and dogs in the landscape leads to resource competition through prey exploitation and interference, increasing the risk of transmission of potentially fatal diseases. Management strategies for exotic carnivores should be considered, to reduce the widespread predation of endemic species and the transmission of disease.
This paper describes a preliminary series of observations of the Sun made at a frequency of 80 MHz with the 3 km radioheliograph of the Culgoora Observatory. The instrument records, at one-second intervals, pictures of the solar image in the form of 60 (E-W) × 48 (N-S) points, each separated in angle by half the Rayleigh limit (2’ arc in the zenith). At the time of the present observations the instrument was incomplete in three main respects : (a) the facilities for recording opposite senses of circular polarization were not available; (b) the automatic image compensation for zenith-angle foreshortening was not available—hence the optical disk of the Sun appears elliptical; and (c) the phase and amplitude calibration procedures had not been fully established, resulting in a higher sidelobe level than that specified in the design—the effects are sometimes evident in the pictures as spoke-like brightenings.
In future technology nodes, 22nm and below, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) may provide a viable alternative to Cu as an interconnect material. CNTs exhibit a current carrying capacity (up to 109 A/cm2), whilst also providing a significantly higher thermal conductivity (SWCNT ~ 5000 WmK) over Copper (106 A/cm2 and ~400WmK). However, exploiting such properties of CNTs in small vias is a challenging endeavor. In reality, to outperform Cu in terms of a reduction in via resistance alone, densities in the order of 1013 CNTs/cm2 are required. At present, conventional thermal CVD of carbon nanotubes is carried out at temperatures far in excess of CMOS temperature limits (400 C). Furthermore, high density CNT bundles are most commonly grown on insulating supports such as Al2O3 and SiO2 as they can effectively stabilize metallic nanoparticles at elevated temperatures but this limits their application in electronic devices. To circumvent these obstacles we employ a remote microwave plasma to grow high density CNTs at a temperature of 400 C on conductive underlayers such as TiN. We identify some critical factors important for high-quality CNTs at low temperatures such as control over the catalyst to underlayer interaction and plasma growth environment while presenting a fully CMOS compatible carbon nanotube synthesis approach
Impairments in executive cognitive control, including a reduced ability to inhibit prepotent responses, have been reported in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). These deficits may underlie patterns of repetitive behaviors associated with the disorder.
Eighteen individuals with ASD and 15 age- and IQ-matched healthy individuals performed an antisaccade task and a visually guided saccade control task, each with gap and overlap conditions. Measures of repetitive behaviors were obtained using the Autism Diagnostic Inventory – Revised (ADI-R) and examined in relation to neurocognitive task performance.
Individuals with an ASD showed increased rates of prosaccade errors (failures to inhibit prepotent responses) on the antisaccade task regardless of task condition (gap/overlap). Prosaccade error rates were associated with the level of higher-order (e.g. compulsions, preoccupations) but not sensorimotor repetitive behaviors in ASD.
Neurocognitive disturbances in voluntary behavioral control suggest that alterations in frontostriatal systems contribute to higher-order repetitive behaviors in ASD.
How to accurately determine carrier mobility and density in organic semiconducting materials is a very important subject for their optoelectronic applications including light-emitting diodes, solar cells, and thin film field-effect transistors. In this work, we report on a unique data analysis procedure for space-charge limited currents to simultaneously obtain the carrier density and mobility in semiconducting organic-materials. This procedure has been used for a few newly synthesized perylene tetracarboxylic diimide (PDI) derivatives with tunable π-stack structures without altering the electronic characteristic of individual molecules. How π-stack structural variation and residual carrier density affect electron transport performance will be discussed.
The central nervous system undertakes the homeostatic role of sensing nutrient intake and body reserves, integrating the information, and regulating energy intake and/or energy expenditure. Few tasks regulated by the brain hold greater survival value, particularly important in farmed ruminant species, where the demands of pregnancy, lactation and/or growth are not easily met by often bulky plant-based and sometimes nutrient-sparse diets. Information regarding metabolic state can be transmitted to the appetite control centres of the brain by a diverse array of signals, such as stimulation of the vagus nerve, or metabolic ‘feedback’ factors derived from the pituitary gland, adipose tissue, stomach/abomasum, intestine, pancreas and/or muscle. These signals act directly on the neurons located in the arcuate nucleus of the medio-basal hypothalamus, a key integration, and hunger (orexigenic) and satiety (anorexigenic) control centre of the brain. Interest in human obesity and associated disorders has fuelled considerable research effort in this area, resulting in increased understanding of chronic and acute factors influencing feed intake. In recent years, research has demonstrated that these results have relevance to animal production, with genetic selection for production found to affect orexigenic hormones, feeding found to reduce the concentration of acute controllers of orexigenic signals, and exogenous administration of orexigenic hormones (i.e. growth hormone or ghrelin) reportedly increasing DM intake in ruminant animals as well as single-stomached species. The current state of knowledge on factors influencing the hypothalamic orexigenic and anorexigenic control centres is reviewed, particularly as it relates to domesticated ruminant animals, and potential avenues for future research are identified.