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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.
We apply two methods to estimate the 21-cm bispectrum from data taken within the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) project of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). Using data acquired with the Phase II compact array allows a direct bispectrum estimate to be undertaken on the multiple redundantly spaced triangles of antenna tiles, as well as an estimate based on data gridded to the uv-plane. The direct and gridded bispectrum estimators are applied to 21 h of high-band (167–197 MHz; z = 6.2–7.5) data from the 2016 and 2017 observing seasons. Analytic predictions for the bispectrum bias and variance for point-source foregrounds are derived. We compare the output of these approaches, the foreground contribution to the signal, and future prospects for measuring the bispectra with redundant and non-redundant arrays. We find that some triangle configurations yield bispectrum estimates that are consistent with the expected noise level after 10 h, while equilateral configurations are strongly foreground-dominated. Careful choice of triangle configurations may be made to reduce foreground bias that hinders power spectrum estimators, and the 21-cm bispectrum may be accessible in less time than the 21-cm power spectrum for some wave modes, with detections in hundreds of hours.
Introduction: Emergency department (ED) congestion is an ongoing threat to quality care. Traditional measures of ED efficiency use census and wait times over extended time intervals (e.g. per year, per day), failing to capture the hourly variations in ED flow. Borrowing from the traffic theory framework used to describe cars on a freeway, ED flow can instead be characterized by three fundamental parameters: flux (patients traversing a care segment per unit time), density (patients in a care segment per unit time), and duration (length of stay in a care segment). This method allows for the calculation of near-instantaneous ED flux and density. To illustrate, we examined the association between stretcher occupancy and time to physician initial assessment (PIA), seeking to identify thresholds where flux and PIA deteriorate. Methods: We used administrative data as reported to government agencies for 115,559 ED visits from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2016 at a tertiary academic hospital. Time stamps collected at triage, PIA, and departure were verified by nosologists and used to define two care segments: awaiting assessment or receiving care. Using open-source software developed in-house, we calculated flow measures for each segment at 90-minute intervals. Graphical analysis was supplemented by regression analysis, examining PIA times of high (CTAS 1-3) or low (CTAS 4-5) acuity patients against ED occupancy (=density/staffed stretchers) adjusting for the day of the week, season and fiscal year. Results: At occupancy levels below 50%, PIA times remain stable and flux increases with density, reflecting free flow. Beyond 50% occupancy, PIA times increase linearly and flux plateaus, indicating congestion. While PIA times further deteriorate above 100% occupancy, flow is maintained, reflecting care delivery in non-traditional spaces (e.g. hallways). An inflection point where flux decreased with increased crowding was not identified, despite lengthening queues. Conclusion: The operational performance of a modern ED can be captured and visualized using techniques borrowed from the analysis of vehicular traffic. Unlike cars on a jammed roadway, patients behave more like a compressible fluid and ED care continues despite high degrees of crowding. Nevertheless, congestion begins well below 100% occupancy, presumably reflecting the need for stretcher turnover and saturation in subsegmental work processes. This methodology shows promise to analyze and mitigate the many factors contributing to ED crowding.
We read with interest the recent editorial, “The Hennepin Ketamine Study,” by Dr. Samuel Stratton commenting on the research ethics, methodology, and the current public controversy surrounding this study.1 As researchers and investigators of this study, we strongly agree that prospective clinical research in the prehospital environment is necessary to advance the science of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and emergency medicine. We also agree that accomplishing this is challenging as the prehospital environment often encounters patient populations who cannot provide meaningful informed consent due to their emergent conditions. To ensure that fellow emergency medicine researchers understand the facts of our work so they may plan future studies, and to address some of the questions and concerns in Dr. Stratton’s editorial, the lay press, and in social media,2 we would like to call attention to some inaccuracies in Dr. Stratton’s editorial, and to the lay media stories on which it appears to be based.
Ho JD, Cole JB, Klein LR, Olives TD, Driver BE, Moore JC, Nystrom PC, Arens AM, Simpson NS, Hick JL, Chavez RA, Lynch WL, Miner JR. The Hennepin Ketamine Study investigators’ reply. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2019;34(2):111–113
A two-year (2015 and 2016) grazing study was established to compare ewe and lamb performance when grazed on a perennial ryegrass only sward compared to more diverse sward types. In that study four sward types were investigated: a perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) only sward receiving 163 kg nitrogen per hectare per year (N/ha/yr) (PRG); a perennial ryegrass and white clover (Trifolium repens) sward receiving 90 kg N/ha/yr (PRGWC); a six species sward (two grasses (perennial ryegrass and timothy (Phleum pratense)), two legumes (white and red clover (Trifolium pratense)) and two herbs (ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata) and chicory (Cichorium intybus)) receiving 90 kg N/ha/yr (6S); and a nine species sward containing cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata), greater birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus pedunculatus) and yarrow (Achillea millefolium) in addition to the six species listed above, receiving 90 kg N/ha/yr (9S). Each sward type was managed as a separate farmlet and stocked with 30 twin-rearing ewes at a stocking rate of 12.5 ewes/ha under rotational grazing management from turnout post-lambing until housing. Lamb live weight was recorded fortnightly and lambs were drafted for slaughter at 45 kg. Ewe live weight and body condition score (BCS) were recorded on five occasions annually. Lamb faecal egg count (FEC) was recorded fortnightly and lambs were treated with anthelmintics when mean lamb FEC per sward type was above 400 eggs per gram. Ewes grazing the 6S and 9S swards had heavier (P < 0.01) live weights and BCS throughout the study than the ewes grazing the PRG sward. Lambs grazing the 6S sward were heavier than lambs grazing all other sward types of 14 weeks old (P < 0.05). Lambs grazing the PRG sward required more days to reach slaughter weight than lambs grazing all other sward types (P < 0.001). Lambs grazing the 6S and 9S swards required fewer anthelmintic treatments than lambs grazing the PRG or PRGWC swards. In conclusion, grazing multispecies swards improved ewe and lamb performance and reduced the requirement for chemical anthelmintics.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
We present techniques developed to calibrate and correct Murchison Widefield Array low-frequency (72–300 MHz) radio observations for polarimetry. The extremely wide field-of-view, excellent instantaneous (u, v)-coverage and sensitivity to degree-scale structure that the Murchison Widefield Array provides enable instrumental calibration, removal of instrumental artefacts, and correction for ionospheric Faraday rotation through imaging techniques. With the demonstrated polarimetric capabilities of the Murchison Widefield Array, we discuss future directions for polarimetric science at low frequencies to answer outstanding questions relating to polarised source counts, source depolarisation, pulsar science, low-mass stars, exoplanets, the nature of the interstellar and intergalactic media, and the solar environment.
We present low-frequency spectral energy distributions of 60 known radio pulsars observed with the Murchison Widefield Array telescope. We searched the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky Murchison Widefield Array survey images for 200-MHz continuum radio emission at the position of all pulsars in the Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF) pulsar catalogue. For the 60 confirmed detections, we have measured flux densities in 20 × 8 MHz bands between 72 and 231 MHz. We compare our results to existing measurements and show that the Murchison Widefield Array flux densities are in good agreement.
The current experiment was undertaken to investigate the effect of including white clover (Trifolium repens L.; WC) into perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.; PRG) swards (PRG/WC) receiving 250 kg nitrogen (N) per hectare (ha) per year compared with PRG only swards receiving 250 kg N/ha/year, in an intensive grass-based spring calving dairy production scenario. Forty spring-calving cows were allocated to graze either a PRG/WC or PRG sward (n = 20) from 6 February to 31 October 2012. Fresh herbage was offered daily (17 kg dry matter (DM)/cow) supplemented with concentrate in times of herbage deficit (total supplementation 507 kg/cow). Pre-grazing herbage mass (HM), sward WC content and milk production were measured for the duration of the experiment. Herbage DM intake was estimated in May, July and September. Pre-grazing HM (±s.e.) was similar (1467 ± 173·1 kg DM/ha) for both treatments, as was cumulative herbage production (14 158 ± 769 kg DM/ha). Average WC content of the PRG/WC swards was 236 ± 30 g/kg DM. The PRG/WC cows had greater average daily milk yield and milk solids yield from June onwards. Cumulative milk yield and milk solids yield were greater for the PRG/WC cows compared with the PRG cows (5048 and 4789 ± 34·3 kg milk yield/cow, and 400 and 388 ± 1·87 kg milk solids/cow, respectively). Cows had similar DM intake in all measurements periods (15·1 ± 0·42 kg DM/cow/day). In conclusion, including WC in N-fertilized PRG swards increased milk production from cows grazing the PRG/WC swards compared with PRG, particularly in the second half of the lactation.
We compare first-order (refractive) ionospheric effects seen by the MWA with the ionosphere as inferred from GPS data. The first-order ionosphere manifests itself as a bulk position shift of the observed sources across an MWA field of view. These effects can be computed from global ionosphere maps provided by GPS analysis centres, namely the CODE. However, for precision radio astronomy applications, data from local GPS networks needs to be incorporated into ionospheric modelling. For GPS observations, the ionospheric parameters are biased by GPS receiver instrument delays, among other effects, also known as receiver DCBs. The receiver DCBs need to be estimated for any non-CODE GPS station used for ionosphere modelling. In this work, single GPS station-based ionospheric modelling is performed at a time resolution of 10 min. Also the receiver DCBs are estimated for selected Geoscience Australia GPS receivers, located at Murchison Radio Observatory, Yarragadee, Mount Magnet and Wiluna. The ionospheric gradients estimated from GPS are compared with that inferred from MWA. The ionospheric gradients at all the GPS stations show a correlation with the gradients observed with the MWA. The ionosphere estimates obtained using GPS measurements show promise in terms of providing calibration information for the MWA.
In agricultural production systems, nitrogen (N) losses to the environment can occur through nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions and nitrate (NO3−) leaching. The objectives of the present study were to evaluate: (1) if urine excreted by non-lactating dairy cows pulse-dosed with dicyandiamide (DCD) and applied to lysimeters reduced N2O-N emissions and NO3−-N leaching on two soil types; and (2) if urine + DCD would increase herbage production over winter. Lysimeters were used to measure N2O emissions and NO3-N leaching. The soils used were a free-draining acid brown earth of sandy loam to loam texture (termed free-draining) and a poorly drained silt loam gley (termed poorly drained). Grass plots were established on the free-draining soil to measure herbage production. The N loading rate of the urine + DCD was 508 kg N/ha and the urine without DCD (urine only) was 451 kg N/ha. Total NO3−-N leaching losses from the free-draining and poorly draining soils were reduced from 100 and 81 kg NO3−-N/ha on the urine-only treatment, respectively, to 9 and 11·6 kg NO3−-N/ha on the urine + DCD treatment, respectively. Total N2O-N emissions from the free-draining and poorly drained soils were reduced significantly from 13·6 and 12·1 kg N2O-N/ha on the urine-only treatment, respectively, to 2·23 and 5·24 kg N2O-N/ha on the urine + DCD treatment, respectively. Applying urine with DCD to pastures inhibited the nitrification process for up to 56 days after treatment application. In the current experiment, there was no significant effect on spring herbage production when urine + DCD was applied to grass plots. Therefore, feeding DCD to dairy cows to apply DCD directly in urine patches was shown to be an effective mitigation strategy to reduce NO3−-N leaching and N2O-N emissions but did not appear to increase spring herbage production.
GLEAM, the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky MWA survey, is a survey of the entire radio sky south of declination + 25° at frequencies between 72 and 231 MHz, made with the MWA using a drift scan method that makes efficient use of the MWA’s very large field-of-view. We present the observation details, imaging strategies, and theoretical sensitivity for GLEAM. The survey ran for two years, the first year using 40-kHz frequency resolution and 0.5-s time resolution; the second year using 10-kHz frequency resolution and 2 s time resolution. The resulting image resolution and sensitivity depends on observing frequency, sky pointing, and image weighting scheme. At 154 MHz, the image resolution is approximately 2.5 × 2.2/cos (δ + 26.7°) arcmin with sensitivity to structures up to ~ 10° in angular size. We provide tables to calculate the expected thermal noise for GLEAM mosaics depending on pointing and frequency and discuss limitations to achieving theoretical noise in Stokes I images. We discuss challenges, and their solutions, that arise for GLEAM including ionospheric effects on source positions and linearly polarised emission, and the instrumental polarisation effects inherent to the MWA’s primary beam.
Non-compliance with food record submission can induce bias in nutritional epidemiological analysis and make it difficult to draw inference from study findings. We examined the impact of demographic, lifestyle and psychosocial factors on such non-compliance during the first 3 years of participation in a multidisciplinary prospective paediatric study.
The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study collects a 3 d food record quarterly during the first year of life and semi-annually thereafter. High compliance with food record completion was defined as the participating families submitting one or more days of food record at every scheduled clinic visit.
Three centres in the USA (Colorado, Georgia/Florida and Washington) and three in Europe (Finland, Germany and Sweden).
Families who finished the first 3 years of TEDDY participation (n 8096).
High compliance was associated with having a single child, older maternal age, higher maternal education and father responding to study questionnaires. Families showing poor compliance were more likely to be living far from the study centres, from ethnic minority groups, living in a crowded household and not attending clinic visits regularly. Postpartum depression, maternal smoking behaviour and mother working outside the home were also independently associated with poor compliance.
These findings identified specific groups for targeted strategies to encourage completion of food records, thereby reducing potential bias in multidisciplinary collaborative research.
The Murchison Widefield Array is a Square Kilometre Array Precursor. The telescope is located at the Murchison Radio–astronomy Observatory in Western Australia. The MWA consists of 4 096 dipoles arranged into 128 dual polarisation aperture arrays forming a connected element interferometer that cross-correlates signals from all 256 inputs. A hybrid approach to the correlation task is employed, with some processing stages being performed by bespoke hardware, based on Field Programmable Gate Arrays, and others by Graphics Processing Units housed in general purpose rack mounted servers. The correlation capability required is approximately 8 tera floating point operations per second. The MWA has commenced operations and the correlator is generating 8.3 TB day−1 of correlation products, that are subsequently transferred 700 km from the MRO to Perth (WA) in real-time for storage and offline processing. In this paper, we outline the correlator design, signal path, and processing elements and present the data format for the internal and external interfaces.
The magnetized dusty plasma experiment (MDPX) is a newly commissioned plasma device that started operations in late spring, 2014. The research activities of this device are focused on the study of the physics, highly magnetized plasmas, and magnetized dusty plasmas. The design of the MDPX device is centered on two main components: an open bore, superconducting magnet that is designed to produce, in a steady state, both uniform magnetic fields up to 4 Tesla and non-uniform magnetic fields with gradients of 1–2 T m−1 and a flexible, removable, octagonal vacuum chamber that provides substantial probe and optical access to the plasma. This paper will provide a review of the design criteria for the MDPX device, a description of the research objectives, and brief discussion of the research opportunities offered by this multi-institution, multi-user project.
The science cases for incorporating high time resolution capabilities into modern radio telescopes are as numerous as they are compelling. Science targets range from exotic sources such as pulsars, to our Sun, to recently detected possible extragalactic bursts of radio emission, the so-called fast radio bursts (FRBs). Originally conceived purely as an imaging telescope, the initial design of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) did not include the ability to access high time and frequency resolution voltage data. However, the flexibility of the MWA’s software correlator allowed an off-the-shelf solution for adding this capability. This paper describes the system that records the 100 μs and 10 kHz resolution voltage data from the MWA. Example science applications, where this capability is critical, are presented, as well as accompanying commissioning results from this mode to demonstrate verification.
We present the results of an approximately 6 100 deg2 104–196 MHz radio sky survey performed with the Murchison Widefield Array during instrument commissioning between 2012 September and 2012 December: the MWACS. The data were taken as meridian drift scans with two different 32-antenna sub-arrays that were available during the commissioning period. The survey covers approximately 20.5 h < RA < 8.5 h, − 58° < Dec < −14°over three frequency bands centred on 119, 150 and 180 MHz, with image resolutions of 6–3 arcmin. The catalogue has 3 arcmin angular resolution and a typical noise level of 40 mJy beam− 1, with reduced sensitivity near the field boundaries and bright sources. We describe the data reduction strategy, based upon mosaicked snapshots, flux density calibration, and source-finding method. We present a catalogue of flux density and spectral index measurements for 14 110 sources, extracted from the mosaic, 1 247 of which are sub-components of complexes of sources.
We describe two cases of infant botulism due to Clostridium butyricum producing botulinum type E neurotoxin (BoNT/E) and a previously unreported environmental source. The infants presented at age 11 days with poor feeding and lethargy, hypotonia, dilated pupils and absent reflexes. Faecal samples were positive for C. butyricum BoNT/E. The infants recovered after treatment including botulism immune globulin intravenous (BIG-IV). C. butyricum BoNT/E was isolated from water from tanks housing pet ‘yellow-bellied’ terrapins (Trachemys scripta scripta): in case A the terrapins were in the infant's home; in case B a relative fed the terrapin prior to holding and feeding the infant when both visited another relative. C. butyricum isolates from the infants and the respective terrapin tank waters were indistinguishable by molecular typing. Review of a case of C. butyricum BoNT/E botulism in the UK found that there was a pet terrapin where the infant was living. It is concluded that the C. butyricum-producing BoNT type E in these cases of infant botulism most likely originated from pet terrapins. These findings reinforce public health advice that reptiles, including terrapins, are not suitable pets for children aged <5 years, and highlight the importance of hand washing after handling these pets.
Mental disorder is common among individuals with neurological illness. We aimed to characterise the patient population referred for psychiatry assessment at a tertiary neurology service in terms of neurological and psychiatric diagnoses and interventions provided.
We studied all individuals referred for psychiatry assessment at a tertiary neurology service over a 2-year period (n= 82).
The most common neurological diagnoses among those referred were epilepsy (16%), Parkinson’s disease (15%) and multiple sclerosis (8%). The most common reasons for psychiatric assessment were low mood or anxiety (48%) and medically unexplained symptoms or apparent functional or psychogenic disease (21%). The most common diagnoses among those with mental disorder were mood disorders (62%), and neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders, including dissociative (conversion) disorders (28%). Psychiatric diagnosis was not related to gender, neurological diagnosis or psychiatric history.
Individuals with neurological illness demonstrate significant symptoms of a range of mental disorders. There is a need for further research into the characteristics and distribution of mental disorder in individuals with neurological illness, and for the enhancement of integrated psychiatric and neurological services to address the comorbidities demonstrated in this population.
The Magnetized Dusty Plasma Experiment (MDPX) device is a newly constructed research instrument for the study of dusty (complex) plasmas. The MDPX device is envisioned as an experimental platform in which the dynamical behavior of all three charged plasma components, the electrons, ions, and charged microparticles (i.e., the ‘dust’) will be significantly influenced by the magnetic force. This brief paper will provide a short overview of the design, magnetic performance, and initial plasma measurements in the MDPX device.