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Twins Research Australia (TRA) is a community of twins and researchers working on health research to benefit everyone, including twins. TRA leads multidisciplinary research through the application of twin and family study designs, with the aim of sustaining long-term twin research that, both now and in the future, gives back to the community. This article summarizes TRA’s recent achievements and future directions, including new methodologies addressing causation, linkage to health, economic and educational administrative datasets and to geospatial data to provide insight into health and disease. We also explain how TRA’s knowledge translation and exchange activities are key to communicating the impact of twin studies to twins and the wider community. Building researcher capability, providing registry resources and partnering with all key stakeholders, particularly the participants, are important for how TRA is advancing twin research to improve health outcomes for society. TRA provides researchers with open access to its vibrant volunteer membership of twins, higher order multiples (multiples) and families who are willing to consider participation in research. Established four decades ago, this resource facilitates and supports research across multiple stages and a breadth of health domains.
The present experimental study addresses the flow of a yield stress fluid with some elasticity (Carbopol gel) in a square duct. The behaviour of two fluids with lower and higher yield stress is investigated in terms of the friction factor and flow velocities at multiple Reynolds numbers
(1, 200) and, hence, Bingham numbers
(0.01, 0.35). Taking advantage of the symmetry planes in a square duct, we reconstruct the entire 3-component velocity field from two-dimensional particle image velocimetry (PIV). A secondary flow consisting of eight vortices is observed to recirculate the fluid from the core towards the wall centre and from the corners back to the core. The extent and intensity of these vortices grows with increasing
or, alternately, as the plug size decreases. The second objective of this study is to explore the change in flow in the presence of particles. To this end, almost neutrally buoyant finite-size spherical particles with a duct height,
, to particle diameter,
, ratio of 12 are used at two volume fractions
and 10 %. Particle tracking velocimetry is used to measure the velocity of these refractive-index-matched spheres in the clear Carbopol gel, and PIV to extract the fluid velocity. Additionally, simple shadowgraphy is also used to qualitatively visualise the development of the particle distribution along the streamwise direction. The particle distribution pattern changes from being concentrated at the four corners, at low flow rates, to being focussed along a diffused ring between the centre and the corners, at high flow rates. The presence of particles induces streamwise and wall-normal velocity fluctuations in the fluid phase; however, the primary Reynolds shear stress is still very small compared to turbulent flows. The size of the plug in the particle-laden cases appears to be smaller than the corresponding single-phase cases. Similar to Newtonian fluids, the friction factor increases due to the presence of particles, almost independently of the suspending fluid matrix. Interestingly, predictions based on an increased effective suspension viscosity agrees quite well with the experimental friction factor for the concentrations used in this study.
The Erasmus Plus programme ‘Innovative Education and Training in high power laser plasmas’, otherwise known as PowerLaPs, is described. The PowerLaPs programme employs an innovative paradigm in that it is a multi-centre programme where teaching takes place in five separate institutes with a range of different aims and styles of delivery. The ‘in class’ time is limited to four weeks a year, and the programme spans two years. PowerLaPs aims to train students from across Europe in theoretical, applied and laboratory skills relevant to the pursuit of research in laser–plasma interaction physics and inertial confinement fusion (ICF). Lectures are intermingled with laboratory sessions and continuous assessment activities. The programme, which is led by workers from the Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Crete, and supported by co-workers from the Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Bordeaux, the Czech Technical University in Prague, Ecole Polytechnique, the University of Ioannina, the University of Salamanca and the University of York, has just completed its first year. Thus far three Learning Teaching Training (LTT) activities have been held, at the Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Bordeaux and the Centre for Plasma Physics and Lasers (CPPL) of TEI Crete. The last of these was a two-week long Intensive Programme (IP), while the activities at the other two universities were each five days in length. Thus far work has concentrated upon training in both theoretical and experimental work in plasma physics, high power laser–matter interactions and high energy density physics. The nature of the programme will be described in detail and some metrics relating to the activities carried out to date will be presented.
There is an unprecedented demand for bushmeat in large cities in sub-Saharan Africa, and this is a major threat to many species. We conducted 2,040 interviews in six cities in four West African countries, in forest and savannah settings. We analysed age- and sex-related differences in the frequency of bushmeat consumption. Overall, we found similar patterns in all cities: 62.2% of men and 72.1% of women said they would never eat bushmeat, whereas 12.8% of men and 8.8% of women said they liked bushmeat and ate it regularly. Younger generations of both sexes tended not to eat bushmeat, regardless of their city of origin. This study of the effects of age, gender and geographical location on bushmeat consumption in African cities provides insights regarding which population groups to target in campaigns to change behaviours.
In this paper, we use a computable general equilibrium model to simulate the effects of drought and a decrease in agricultural productivity caused by climate change in Guatemala. A reduction in agricultural productivity would mean a considerable drop in crop and livestock production, and the resulting higher prices and lower household income would mean a significant reduction in the consumption of agricultural goods and food. The most negative effects of a drought would be concentrated in agriculture, given its intensive use of water. Because agricultural production is essential to ensuring food availability, these results suggest that Guatemala needs a proper water-distribution regulatory framework.
Starbursts are finite periods of intense star formation (SF) that can dramatically impact the evolutionary state of a galaxy. Recent results suggest that starbursts in dwarf galaxies last longer and are distributed over more of the galaxy than previously thought, with star formation efficiencies (SFEs) comparable to spiral galaxies, much higher than those typical of non-bursting dwarfs. This difference might be explainable if the starburst mode is externally triggered by gravitational interactions with other nearby systems. We present new, sensitive neutral hydrogen observations of 18 starburst dwarf galaxies, which are part of the STARburst IRregular Dwarf Survey (STARBIRDS) and each were mapped with the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) and/or Parkes Telescope in order to study the low surface brightness gas distributions, a common tracer for tidal interactions.
This special issue contributes to the natural resource economics literature by shining a light on the specific challenges and opportunities faced by developing countries that have recently become dependent on natural resources or are particularly exposed to climate change. It is composed of five studies on countries from all regions of the developing world, involving a variety of natural resources and policy issues. Four of the five studies illustrate how computable general equilibrium models are particularly well-suited, despite their relatively limited past use, to the analysis of natural resources. All five studies are led by researchers based in these countries, providing unique insights into the specific local context. The studies underscore the extreme vulnerability that the introduction of significant natural resource revenues and climate change can create in developing countries. They also show how the choice of appropriate policies to avoid the resource curse varies according to country-specific economic conditions.
This paper uses two recent household surveys, together with data from the College for Control and Monitoring of Oil Revenues, to analyse the impact of oil revenues on wellbeing in Chad. Following a multiple-correspondence analysis to estimate a synthetic household-based multidimensional wellbeing (MDW) index, we used the difference-in-difference approach to assess the impact of oil revenues on average MDW at the department level. We found evidence that departments in Chad that received significant oil transfers have a higher MDW compared to those disadvantaged by the oil-revenue-redistribution policy. We conclude that, in order to promote economic inclusion, the government of Chad should better develop oil-revenue-redistribution policies according to local development needs and target the poorest departments.
The economy of Mongolia, a country rich in natural resources, is increasingly dependent upon the mining sector. International prices of mining commodities have been highly volatile in recent years. This paper uses a computable general equilibrium model to examine the short-term effects on the Mongolian economy of two scenarios: (1) a moderate boom in the coal market; and (2) a drop in the world price of metal ores. It is found that the Dutch disease effect generated by the shocks is insignificant given the structure of the economy (e.g., small export shares and low export intensity of manufacturing and agriculture commodities) and a labor market condition with high unemployment. Since the economy is largely dependent upon on the mining sector, the impacts of the shocks are jarring, implying that the government must abide by its fiscal rules for stable growth and prosperity.
This study analyzes a public-spending option from mining and oil resources and its impact on Niger's economy. The windfall gain from mining and oil revenues provides an opportunity for the country to reinvest natural resource rents, enhance economic development, and address infrastructure gaps. Drawing on the country's recent and expected mining and oil exploitation, we evaluate the effects of a reinvestment policy in road infrastructure using a dynamic computable general equilibrium (CGE) model. We find that investment in road infrastructure brings positive spillover effects to other sectors of the economy and benefits to the economy in the long run. Our analysis additionally shows that reinvestment in road infrastructure, given the initial state of infrastructure in Niger, could help mitigate the resource curse.
Since 2007, Burkina Faso's mining sector has grown quickly, with gold replacing cotton as the country's biggest export. The decline in gold prices since 2012, however, has hit the Burkina Faso economy hard. Using a static computable general equilibrium model, we assess whether – in a context of gold-price decline and volatility – an increase in the tax burden on the mining sector, as implemented by the government of Burkina Faso, is the appropriate way to avoid the natural resource curse. The results show that a tax policy based solely on increasing taxes on the gold sector brings only limited economic benefits, notably in terms of employment, and fails to significantly mitigate the effects of gold-price volatility.
Depression and obesity are highly prevalent, and major impacts on public health frequently co-occur. Recently, we reported that having depression moderates the effect of the FTO gene, suggesting its implication in the association between depression and obesity.
To confirm these findings by investigating the FTO polymorphism rs9939609 in new cohorts, and subsequently in a meta-analysis.
The sample consists of 6902 individuals with depression and 6799 controls from three replication cohorts and two original discovery cohorts. Linear regression models were performed to test for association between rs9939609 and body mass index (BMI), and for the interaction between rs9939609 and depression status for an effect on BMI. Fixed and random effects meta-analyses were performed using METASOFT.
In the replication cohorts, we observed a significant interaction between FTO, BMI and depression with fixed effects meta-analysis (β=0.12, P = 2.7 × 10−4) and with the Han/Eskin random effects method (P = 1.4 × 10−7) but not with traditional random effects (β = 0.1, P = 0.35). When combined with the discovery cohorts, random effects meta-analysis also supports the interaction (β = 0.12, P = 0.027) being highly significant based on the Han/Eskin model (P = 6.9 × 10−8). On average, carriers of the risk allele who have depression have a 2.2% higher BMI for each risk allele, over and above the main effect of FTO.
This meta-analysis provides additional support for a significant interaction between FTO, depression and BMI, indicating that depression increases the effect of FTO on BMI. The findings provide a useful starting point in understanding the biological mechanism involved in the association between obesity and depression.
A clean hot-water drill was used to gain access to Subglacial Lake Whillans (SLW) in late January 2013 as part of the Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD) project. Over 3 days, we deployed an array of scientific tools through the SLW borehole: a downhole camera, a conductivity–temperature–depth (CTD) probe, a Niskin water sampler, an in situ filtration unit, three different sediment corers, a geothermal probe and a geophysical sensor string. Our observations confirm the existence of a subglacial water reservoir whose presence was previously inferred from satellite altimetry and surface geophysics. Subglacial water is about two orders of magnitude less saline than sea water (0.37–0.41 psu vs 35 psu) and two orders of magnitude more saline than pure drill meltwater (<0.002 psu). It reaches a minimum temperature of –0.55~C, consistent with depression of the freezing point by 7.019 MPa of water pressure. Subglacial water was turbid and remained turbid following filtration through 0.45 µm filters. The recovered sediment cores, which sampled down to 0.8 m below the lake bottom, contained a macroscopically structureless diamicton with shear strength between 2 and 6 kPa. Our main operational recommendation for future subglacial access through water-filled boreholes is to supply enough heat to the top of the borehole to keep it from freezing.
Creating a unified model of life in the universe – history, extent and future – requires both scientific and humanities research. One way that humanities can contribute is by investigating the relationship between philosophical commitments and data. Making those commitments transparent allows scientists to use the data more fully. Insights in four areas – history, ethics, religion and probability – demonstrate the value of careful, astrobiology-specific humanities research for improving how we talk and think about astrobiology as a whole. First, astrobiology has a long and influential history. Second, astrobiology does not decentre humanity, either physically or ethically. Third, astrobiology is broadly compatible with major world religions. Finally, claims about the probability of life arising or existing elsewhere rest heavily on philosophical priors. In all four cases, identifying philosophical commitments clarifies the ways in which data can tell us about life.