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Translocation and rehabilitation programmes are critical tools for wildlife conservation. These methods achieve greater impact when integrated in a combined strategy for enhancing population or ecosystem restoration. During 2002–2016 we reared 37 orphaned southern sea otter Enhydra lutris nereis pups, using captive sea otters as surrogate mothers, then released them into a degraded coastal estuary. As a keystone species, observed increases in the local sea otter population unsurprisingly brought many ecosystem benefits. The role that surrogate-reared otters played in this success story, however, remained uncertain. To resolve this, we developed an individual-based model of the local population using surveyed individual fates (survival and reproduction) of surrogate-reared and wild-captured otters, and modelled estimates of immigration. Estimates derived from a decade of population monitoring indicated that surrogate-reared and wild sea otters had similar reproductive and survival rates. This was true for males and females, across all ages (1–13 years) and locations evaluated. The model simulations indicated that reconstructed counts of the wild population are best explained by surrogate-reared otters combined with low levels of unassisted immigration. In addition, the model shows that 55% of observed population growth over this period is attributable to surrogate-reared otters and their wild progeny. Together, our results indicate that the integration of surrogacy methods and reintroduction of juvenile sea otters helped establish a biologically successful population and restore a once-impaired ecosystem.
Laboratory-identified bloodstream infections (LAB-ID BSIs) in recently discharged patients are likely to be classified as healthcare-associated community-onset (HCA-CO) infections, even though they may represent hospital-onset (HO) infections. A review of LAB-ID BSIs among patients discharged within 14 days revealed that 109 of 756 cases (14.4%) were HO infections. The BSI risk being misclassified as HCA CO may underestimate the hospital infection risk.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
Background: Cervical sponylotic myelopathy (CSM) may present with neck and arm pain. This study investiagtes the change in neck/arm pain post-operatively in CSM. Methods: This ambispective study llocated 402 patients through the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network. Outcome measures were the visual analogue scales for neck and arm pain (VAS-NP and VAS-AP) and the neck disability index (NDI). The thresholds for minimum clinically important differences (MCIDs) for VAS-NP and VAS-AP were determined to be 2.6 and 4.1. Results: VAS-NP improved from mean of 5.6±2.9 to 3.8±2.7 at 12 months (P<0.001). VAS-AP improved from 5.8±2.9 to 3.5±3.0 at 12 months (P<0.001). The MCIDs for VAS-NP and VAS-AP were also reached at 12 months. Based on the NDI, patients were grouped into those with mild pain/no pain (33%) versus moderate/severe pain (67%). At 3 months, a significantly high proportion of patients with moderate/severe pain (45.8%) demonstrated an improvement into mild/no pain, whereas 27.2% with mild/no pain demonstrated worsening into moderate/severe pain (P <0.001). At 12 months, 17.4% with mild/no pain experienced worsening of their NDI (P<0.001). Conclusions: This study suggests that neck and arm pain responds to surgical decompression in patients with CSM and reaches the MCIDs for VAS-AP and VAS-NP at 12 months.
This paper documents autonomous multi-floor stairwell ascent by a legged robot. This is made possible through empirically deployed sequential composition of several reactive controllers, with perceptually triggered transitions. This composition relies on simplified assumptions regarding the robot’s sensory capabilities, its level of mobility, and the environment it operates in. The discrepancies between these assumptions and the physical reality are capably handled by the intrinsic motor competence of the robot. This behavior is implemented on the legged RHex platform and experiments spanning 10 different stairwells with various challenges are conducted.
Laser-based compact MeV X-ray sources are useful for a variety of applications such as radiography and active interrogation of nuclear materials. MeV X rays are typically generated by impinging the intense laser onto ~mm-thick high-Z foil. Here, we have characterized such a MeV X-ray source from 120 TW (80 J, 650 fs) laser interaction with a 1 mm-thick tantalum foil. Our measurements show X-ray temperature of 2.5 MeV, flux of 3 × 1012 photons/sr/shot, beam divergence of ~0.1 sr, conversion efficiency of ~1%, that is, ~1 J of MeV X rays out of 80 J incident laser, and source size of 80 m. Our measurement also shows that MeV X-ray yield and temperature is largely insensitive to nanosecond laser contrasts up to 10−5. Also, preliminary measurements of similar MeV X-ray source using a double-foil scheme, where the laser-driven hot electrons from a thin foil undergoing relativistic transparency impinging onto a second high-Z converter foil separated by 50–400 m, show MeV X-ray yield more than an order of magnitude lower compared with the single-foil results.
Small perturbations to a steady uniform granular chute flow can grow as the material moves downslope and develop into a series of surface waves that travel faster than the bulk flow. This roll wave instability has important implications for the mitigation of hazards due to geophysical mass flows, such as snow avalanches, debris flows and landslides, because the resulting waves tend to merge and become much deeper and more destructive than the uniform flow from which they form. Natural flows are usually highly polydisperse and their dynamics is significantly complicated by the particle size segregation that occurs within them. This study investigates the kinematics of such flows theoretically and through small-scale experiments that use a mixture of large and small glass spheres. It is shown that large particles, which segregate to the surface of the flow, are always concentrated near the crests of roll waves. There are different mechanisms for this depending on the relative speed of the waves, compared to the speed of particles at the free surface, as well as on the particle concentration. If all particles at the surface travel more slowly than the waves, the large particles become concentrated as the shock-like wavefronts pass them. This is due to a concertina-like effect in the frame of the moving wave, in which large particles move slowly backwards through the crest, but travel quickly in the troughs between the crests. If, instead, some particles on the surface travel more quickly than the wave and some move slower, then, at low concentrations, large particles can move towards the wave crest from both the forward and rearward sides. This results in isolated regions of large particles that are trapped at the crest of each wave, separated by regions where the flow is thinner and free of large particles. There is also a third regime arising when all surface particles travel faster than the waves, which has large particles present everywhere but with a sharp increase in their concentration towards the wave fronts. In all cases, the significantly enhanced large particle concentration at wave crests means that such flows in nature can be especially destructive and thus particularly hazardous.
Objectives: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disproportionately affects Hispanics/Latinos in the United States, yet little is known about neurocognitive impairment (NCI) in this group. We compared the rates of NCI in large well-characterized samples of HIV-infected (HIV+) Latinos and (non-Latino) Whites, and examined HIV-associated NCI among subgroups of Latinos. Methods: Participants included English-speaking HIV+ adults assessed at six U.S. medical centers (194 Latinos, 600 Whites). For overall group, age: M=42.65 years, SD=8.93; 86% male; education: M=13.17, SD=2.73; 54% had acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. NCI was assessed with a comprehensive test battery with normative corrections for age, education and gender. Covariates examined included HIV-disease characteristics, comorbidities, and genetic ancestry. Results: Compared with Whites, Latinos had higher rates of global NCI (42% vs. 54%), and domain NCI in executive function, learning, recall, working memory, and processing speed. Latinos also fared worse than Whites on current and historical HIV-disease characteristics, and nadir CD4 partially mediated ethnic differences in NCI. Yet, Latinos continued to have more global NCI [odds ratio (OR)=1.59; 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.13–2.23; p<.01] after adjusting for significant covariates. Higher rates of global NCI were observed with Puerto Rican (n=60; 71%) versus Mexican (n=79, 44%) origin/descent; this disparity persisted in models adjusting for significant covariates (OR=2.40; CI=1.11–5.29; p=.03). Conclusions: HIV+ Latinos, especially of Puerto Rican (vs. Mexican) origin/descent had increased rates of NCI compared with Whites. Differences in rates of NCI were not completely explained by worse HIV-disease characteristics, neurocognitive comorbidities, or genetic ancestry. Future studies should explore culturally relevant psychosocial, biomedical, and genetic factors that might explain these disparities and inform the development of targeted interventions. (JINS, 2018, 24, 163–175)
Six radio telescopes were operated as the first southern hemisphere VLBI array in April and May 1982. Observations were made at 2.3 and 8.4 Ghz. This array produced VLBI images of 28 southern hemisphere radio sources, high accuracy VLBI geodesy between southern hemisphere sites, and subarcsecond radio astrometry of celestial sources south of declination −45 degrees. This paper discusses only the astrophysical aspects of the experiment.
This study uses an experiment where ferry passengers are sold hotel room “views” to evaluate the impact of wind turbines views on tourists’ vacation experience. Participants purchase a chance for a weekend hotel stay. Information about the hotel rooms was limited to the quality of the hotel and its distance from a large wind turbine, as well as whether or not a particular room would have a view of the turbine. While there was generally a negative effect of turbine views, this did not hold across all participants, and did not seem to be effected by distance or hotel quality.
The evaluation tool was first derived from the formerly Consortium of British Humanitarian Agencies’ (CBHA; United Kingdom), now “Start Network’s,” Core Humanitarian Competency Framework and formatted in an electronic data capture tool that allowed for offline evaluation. During a 3-day humanitarian simulation event, participants in teams of eight to 10 were evaluated individually at multiple injects by trained evaluators. Participants were assessed on five competencies and a global rating scale. Participants evaluated both themselves and their team members using the same tool at the end of the simulation exercise (SimEx).
All participants (63) were evaluated. A total of 1,008 individual evaluations were completed. There were 90 (9.0%) missing evaluations. All 63 participants also evaluated themselves and each of their teammates using the same tool. Self-evaluation scores were significantly lower than peer-evaluations, which were significantly lower than evaluators’ assessments. Participants with a medical degree, and those with humanitarian work experience of one month or more, scored significantly higher on all competencies assessed by evaluators compared to other participants. Participants with prior humanitarian experience scored higher on competencies regarding operating safely and working effectively as a team member.
This study presents a novel electronic evaluation tool to assess individual performance in five of six globally recognized humanitarian competency domains in a 3-day humanitarian SimEx. The evaluation tool provides a standardized approach to the assessment of humanitarian competencies that cannot be evaluated through knowledge-based testing in a classroom setting. When combined with testing knowledge-based competencies, this presents an approach to a comprehensive competency-based assessment that provides an objective measurement of competency with respect to the competencies listed in the Framework. There is an opportunity to advance the use of this tool in future humanitarian training exercises and potentially in real time, in the field. This could impact the efficiency and effectiveness of humanitarian operations.
EvansAB, HulmeJM, NugusP, CranmerHH, CoutuM, JohnsonK. An Electronic Competency-Based Evaluation Tool for Assessing Humanitarian Competencies in a Simulated Exercise. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2017;32(3):253–260.
Tail docking of pigs is commonly performed to reduce the incidence of unwanted tail-biting behaviour. Two docking methods are commonly used: blunt trauma cutting (i.e. using side clippers), or cutting and concurrent cauterisation using a hot cautery iron. A potential consequence of tail amputation is the development of neuromas at the docking site. Neuromas have been linked to neuropathic pain, which can influence the longer-term welfare of affected individuals. To determine whether method of tail docking influences the extent of neuroma formation, 75 pigs were allocated to one of three treatments at birth: tail docked using clippers; tail docked using cautery iron; tail left intact. Tail docking was performed at 2 days of age and pigs were kept under conventional conditions until slaughter at 21 weeks of age. Tails were removed following slaughter and subjected to histological examination. Nerve histomorphology was scored according to the following scale: 1=discrete well-organised nerve bundles; 2=moderate neural proliferation and disorganisation affecting more than half of the circumference of the tail; 3=marked neural proliferation to form almost continuous disorganised bundles or non-continuous enlarged bundles compressing the surrounding connective tissue. Scores of 2 or 3 indicated neuroma formation. Scores were higher in docked pigs than undocked pigs (P<0.001), but did not differ between pigs docked using clippers and those docked using cautery (P=0.23). The results indicate that tail docking using either clippers or cautery results in neuroma formation, thus having the potential to affect long-term pig welfare.
Maternal diet-induced obesity can cause detrimental developmental origins of health and disease in offspring. Perinatal exposure to a high-fat diet (HFD) can lead to later behavioral and metabolic disturbances, but it is not clear which behaviors and metabolic parameters are most vulnerable. To address this critical gap, biparental and monogamous oldfield mice (Peromyscus polionotus), which may better replicate most human societies, were used in the current study. About 2 weeks before breeding, adult females were placed on a control or HFD and maintained on the diets throughout gestation and lactation. F1 offspring were placed at weaning (30 days of age) on the control diet and spatial learning and memory, anxiety, exploratory, voluntary physical activity, and metabolic parameters were tested when they reached adulthood (90 days of age). Surprisingly, maternal HFD caused decreased latency in initial and reverse Barnes maze trials in male, but not female, offspring. Both male and female HFD-fed offspring showed increased anxiogenic behaviors, but decreased exploratory and voluntary physical activity. Moreover, HFD offspring demonstrated lower resting energy expenditure (EE) compared with controls. Accordingly, HFD offspring weighed more at adulthood than those from control fed dams, likely the result of reduced physical activity and EE. Current findings indicate a maternal HFD may increase obesity susceptibility in offspring due to prenatal programming resulting in reduced physical activity and EE later in life. Further work is needed to determine the underpinning neural and metabolic mechanisms by which a maternal HFD adversely affects neurobehavioral and metabolic pathways in offspring.
From June 15 to 28, 1991 the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory (CGRO) observed the radio-loud quasar 3C 273. All four CGRO instruments detected radiation from this quasar in their relevant energy range (from 20 keV to 5 GeV). Simultaneous and quasi-simultaneous observations (spanning the time period May 27 – July 25, 1991) by instruments sensitive at other wavelengths have also been obtained. The data from all these observations spanning the frequency range from ∼ 109 Hz to ∼ 1026 Hz were collected and analysed. The resulting energy-density spectrum is shown in the figure below. It shows two maxima, one in the UV, another one at low-energy γ-rays which have nearly the same strength (the corresponding luminosities per decade of frequency for H0 = 60(km/s)/Mpc are 3.2·1046 erg/s and 2.7·1046 erg/s, respectively). A break of the spectrum at low-energy γ-rays is evident. From a detailed analysis a break energy of (2±1.5) MeV could be derived corresponding to a frequency of (4.8±3.6)·1020 Hz. The observed spectral break between X- and γ-rays is ∼ 0.8, much higher than the value of 0.5 predicted by some models. A more detailed paper on this topic is in preparation (Lichti et al.).
Color-magnitude diagrams reaching from the giant branches to Vlim ~ 27.0, or about three magnitudes fainter than the turnoff, have been obtained in V and I with WFPC2 on HST for NGC 2419, Pal 3, Pal 4 and Eridanus, whose relative ages are discussed.
HST V, I color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs) of four outer-halo clusters, NGC 2419, Pa13, Pal4 and Eridanus, provide insight into the relative ages of old star clusters throughout the 200 kpc diameter volume sampled, and thus into the formation epoch of the Milky Way galaxy.
We used deep HST imaging of three LMC clusters, NGC 2257, NGC 1466 and Hodge 11, to determine their ages relative to Milky Way clusters. They all have similar ages to within ± 1 Gyr. For NGC 2257 and NGC 1466, we measured the blue straggler specific frequencies and find them to be similar to those of Galactic clusters.