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Electron microprobe trace element analysis is a significant challenge. Due to the low net intensity of peak measurements, the accuracy and precision of such analyses relies critically on background measurements, and on the accuracy of any pertinent peak interference corrections. A linear regression between two points selected at appropriate background positions is a classical approach for electron probe microanalysis (EPMA). However, this approach neglects the accurate assessment of background curvature (exponential or polynomial), and the presence of background interferences, a hole in the background, or an absorption edge can dramatically affect the results if underestimated or ignored. The acquisition of a quantitative wavelength-dispersive spectrometry (WDS) scan over the spectral region of interest remains a reasonable option to determine the background intensity and curvature from a fitted regression of background portions of the scan, but this technique can be time consuming and retains an element of subjectivity, as the analyst has to select areas in the scan which appear to represent background. This paper presents a new multi-point background (MPB) method whereby the background intensity is determined from up to 24 background measurements from wavelength positions on either side of analytical lines. This method improves the accuracy and precision of trace element analysis in a complex matrix through careful regression of the background shape, and can be used to characterize the background over a large spectral region covering several elements to be analyzed. The overall efficiency improves as systematic WDS scanning is not required to assess background interferences. The method is less subjective compared to methods that rely on WDS scanning, including selection of two interpolation points based on WDS scans, because “true” backgrounds are selected through an exclusion method of possible erroneous backgrounds. The first validation of the MPB method involves blank testing to ensure the method can accurately measure the absence of an element. The second validation involves the analysis of U-Th-Pb in several monazite reference materials of known isotopic age. The impetus for the MPB method came from efforts to refine EPMA monazite U-Th-Pb dating, where it was recognized that background errors resulting from interference or strong background curvature could result in errors of several tens of millions of years on the calculated date. Results obtained on monazite reference materials using two different microprobes, a Cameca SX-100 Ultrachron and a JEOL JXA-8230, yield excellent agreement with ages obtained by isotopic methods (Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry [TIMS], Sensitive High-Resolution Ion MicroProbe [SHRIMP], or Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry [SIMS]). Finally, the MPB method can be used to model the background over a large spectrometer range to improve the accuracy of background measurement of minor and trace elements acquired on a same spectrometer, a method called the shared background measurement. This latter significantly improves the accuracy of minor and trace element analysis in complex matrices, as demonstrated by the analysis of Rare Earth Elements (REE) in REE-silicates and phosphates and of trace elements in scheelite.
Precision technologies and data have had relatively modest impacts in grass-based livestock ruminant production systems compared with other agricultural sectors such as arable. Precision technologies promise increased efficiency, reduced environmental impact, improved animal health, welfare and product quality. The benefits of precision technologies have, however, been relatively slow to be realised on pasture based farms. Though there is significant overlap with indoor systems, implementing technology in grass-based dairying brings unique opportunities and challenges. The large areas animals roam and graze in pasture based systems and the associated connectivity challenges may, in part at least, explain the comparatively lower adoption of such technologies in pasture based systems. With the exception of sensor and Bluetooth-enabled plate metres, there are thus few technologies designed specifically to increase pasture utilisation. Terrestrial and satellite-based spectral analysis of pasture biomass and quality is still in the development phase. One of the key drivers of efficiency in pasture based systems has thus only been marginally impacted by precision technologies. In contrast, technological development in the area of fertility and heat detection has been significant and offers significant potential value to dairy farmers, including those in pasture based systems. A past review of sensors in health management for dairy farms concluded that although the collection of accurate data was generally achieved, the processing, integration and presentation of the resulting information and decision-support applications were inadequate. These technologies’ value to farming systems is thus unclear. As a result, it is not certain that farm management is being sufficiently improved to justify widespread adoption of precision technologies currently. We argue for a user need-driven development of technologies and for a focus on how outputs arising from precision technologies and associated decision support applications are delivered to users to maximise their value. Further cost/benefit analysis is required to determine the efficacy of investing in specific precision technologies, potentially taking account of several yet to ascertained farm specific variables.
Our current global food system – from food production to consumption, including manufacture, packaging, transport, retail and associated businesses – is responsible for extensive negative social and environmental impacts which threaten the long-term well-being of society. This has led to increasing calls from science–policy organizations for major reform and transformation of the global food system. However, our knowledge regarding food system transformations is fragmented and this is hindering the development of co-ordinated solutions. Here, we collate recent research across several academic disciplines and sectors in order to better understand the mechanisms that ‘lock-in’ food systems in unsustainable states.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Vital Mareille—a champion of the plaidoirie sentimentale—tried to explain the reasons for its rise in France and its continued popularity into his own era. He defined it in the following terms: “The plaidoirie [defense summation] sentimentale is, precisely, that which seeks to move; one can say: that which comes from the heart of the attorney, to address that of the judges.” The plaidoirie sentimentale had existed in France before 1800, but it entered its golden age in the nineteenth century, and became a specialized form of judicial oratory. It developed chiefly in response to the introduction of trial by jury in 1791. Attorneys had to craft a rhetorical approach that would appeal to these “simple citizens,” and for this, sentimental eloquence was ideal; however, no recent scholar has attempted a systematic study of this important form of courtroom rhetoric from its origins in the early nineteenth century to its gradual replacement after 1890 or thereabouts by a more fact-based, “positivist” approach. This is unfortunate, because the history of the plaidoirie sentimentale reveals much. It includes juridical issues such as how the rhetorical practices of magistrates themselves contributed to the affective nature of French jury trial and the impact of the abolition in 1881 the résumé (summing up),which had been the judge's one means of countering the effect on a jury of an eloquent defense summation. It also reveals important changes in the attitudes of judges and jurors toward male mistreatment of women and the sexual “double standard” from the middle of the nineteenth century on and of how attorneys of the era drew on both the “new” emotion of sympathy and the “old” one of honor to persuade jurors to acquit. This adds to the evidence that emotions have a “history.”
In southern Africa, wetlands of different types are an integral part of the drainage network, yet evolve and are sensitive to different combinations of geologic, climatic, geomorphic, edaphic and hydrologic controls. Understanding of these controls can help in the interpretation of environmental and climatic records from different wetland types, given that wetland sensitivity to environmental and climatic changes may vary throughout their ‘life cycle’. The chapter discusses inland wetland records from dated sites in South Africa in order to consider their significance for reconstructing late glacial and Holocene climates; and the relationship of wetlands to preservation of the Pleistocene archaeological record. Wetlands are sensitive to degradation under contemporary environmental and climatic changes, which may impact on their hydrological and ecological function as well as the integrity of associated archaeological sites.
We prove that the existence spectrum of Mendelsohn triple systems whose associated quasigroups satisfy distributivity corresponds to the Loeschian numbers, and provide some enumeration results. We do this by considering a description of the quasigroups in terms of commutative Moufang loops. In addition we provide constructions of Mendelsohn quasigroups that fail distributivity for asmany combinations of elements as possible. These systems are analogues of Hall triple systems and anti-mitre Steiner triple systems respectively.
Several outbreaks of hepatitis A in men who have sex with men (MSM) were reported in the 1980s and 1990s in Australia and other countries. An effective hepatitis A virus (HAV) vaccine has been available in Australia since 1994 and is recommended for high-risk groups including MSM. No outbreaks of hepatitis A in Australian MSM have been reported since 1996. In this study, we aimed to estimate HAV transmissibility in MSM populations in order to inform targets for vaccine coverage in such populations. We used mathematical models of HAV transmission in a MSM population to estimate the basic reproduction number (R0) and the probability of an HAV epidemic occurring as a function of the immune proportion. We estimated a plausible range for R0 of 1·71–3·67 for HAV in MSM and that sustained epidemics cannot occur once the proportion immune to HAV is greater than ~70%. To our knowledge this is the first estimate of R0 and the critical population immunity threshold for HAV transmission in MSM. As HAV is no longer endemic in Australia or in most other developed countries, vaccination is the only means of maintaining population immunity >70%. Our findings provide impetus to promote HAV vaccination in high-risk groups such as MSM.
Obesity and its related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, impose huge burdens on society, particularly the healthcare system. Until recently, public health and policy were primarily focused on secondary prevention and treatment of NCDs. However, epidemiological and experimental evidence indicates that early-life exposures influence the risk of childhood obesity and related diseases later in life, and has now focused attention on the health of both mother and child. During pregnancy and the early neonatal period, individuals respond to their environment by establishing anatomical, physiological and biochemical trajectories that shape their future health. This period of developmental plasticity provides an early window of opportunity to mitigate the environmental insults that may increase an individual’s sensitivity to, or risk of, developing obesity or related diseases later in life. Although much investigation has already occurred in the area of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease research, the science itself is still in its infancy. It remains for researchers to tackle the important outstanding questions and translate their knowledge into workable solutions for the public good. The challenge, however, is to decide which areas to focus on. With these opportunities and challenges in mind, the 2014 Gravida Summit convened to examine how its early-life research program can determine which areas of research into mechanisms, biomarkers and interventions could contribute to the international research strategy to fight childhood obesity and its related diseases.
Academics have traditionally associated capital punishment most closely with authoritarian regimes. They have assumed an incompatibility between the death penalty and the presumably humane values of modern liberal democracy. However, recent scholarship on the United States by David Garland has suggested that a considerable degree of direct democratic control over a justice system actually tends to favor the retention and application of the death penalty. The reason why the United States has retained capital punishment after it has been abolished in other Western nations is not because public opinion is more supportive of the death penalty in America than in Europe or in Canada. Rather, it is because popular control over the justice system is greater in the United States than in other countries and this strengthens the influence of America's retentionist majority. However, the experience of the United States in this regard has not been unique. The same link between democratic control and retention of the death penalty can be seen in the history of the effort to abolish capital punishment in France. In 1908, a bill in the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of the French Parliament) to abolish capital punishment was defeated, in large part because of strong opposition from the public. In 1981, majority public opinion in France still favored retention of the death penalty, but in that year, the nation's Parliament defied popular sentiment and outlawed the ultimate punishment. Historians have so far provided little insight into why abolition succeeded in 1981 when it failed in 1908. The explanation for the different outcome appears to have been the greater degree of influence public opinion exerted over the nation's justice system at the turn of the twentieth century than at its end.
Infant formulas lack the complex mixture of oligosaccharides found in human milk. These human milk oligosaccharides (HMO) may be pivotal to the development of the neonatal immune system. Few comprehensive analyses of the effects of HMO on immune cells from neonates have been undertaken. Herein, the direct effects of HMO on immune cells were analysed ex vivo. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) isolated from 10-d-old sow-reared (SR) or colostrum-deprived formula-fed (FF) pigs were stimulated for 72 h with single HMO, mixtures of single HMO or a complex mixture of HMO isolated from human milk (iHMO). T-cell phenotype, cytokine production and proliferation were measured by flow cytometry, immunoassay and [3H]thymidine incorporation, respectively. Stimulation with HMO had direct effects on PBMC. For instance, cells stimulated with iHMO produced more IL-10 than unstimulated cells, and cells stimulated with fucosylated HMO tended to proliferate less than unstimulated cells. Additionally, co-stimulation with HMO mixtures or single HMO altered PBMC responses to phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) or lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation. Compared with PBMC stimulated with PHA alone, cells co-stimulated with iHMO and PHA proliferated more and had fewer detectable CD4+CD8+ T cells. Compared with PBMC stimulated by LPS alone, cells co-stimulated with a mixture of sialylated HMO and LPS proliferated more and tended to have fewer detectable CD4+ T cells. Differences in the baseline responses of PBMC isolated from the SR or FF pigs were observed. In summary, HMO directly affected PBMC populations and functions. Additionally, ex vivo measurements of PBMC phenotype, cytokine production and proliferation were influenced by the neonate's diet.
The first starfish bed to be recognized from the Antilles is a lensoid body in the middle Miocene Grand Bay Formation of Carriacou, The Grenadines (West Indies). This unit was deposited in a turbidite basin in a region of active volcanism fed from one centre and preserves common deep-water taxa more typical of the Palaeozoic, such as crinoids and brachiopods. The starfish bed is a channel-fill deposit laid down in at least 150–200 m water depth, although the specimens may have been derived from shallower water. A goniasterid asteroid and an ophiacanthid ophiuroid have been recognized. The first articulated asteroid from the Antillean fossil record is Paragonaster(?) haldixoni sp. nov. In all skeletal features it appears close to the extant Atlantic species Paragonaster grandis H. L. Clark and P. subtilis (Perrier), but differs in having a single row of rectangular abactinal ossicles extending to the arm tip; these are longer than wide. The brittlestar, Ophiocamax ventosa sp. nov., is described on the basis of a fragmentary disc and arms from this deposit. The closest similarities are with the extant tropical western Atlantic species Ophiocamax hystrix Lyman and O. austera Verrill. However, the new species has thorns covering the entire surface of dorsal arm plates, while arm spines have a multitude of small thorns, loosely arranged in numerous rows and dorsal arm plate shape differs markedly. The occurrence of O. ventosa sp. nov. suggests that Ophiocamax has been a deep-sea taxon at least since the Miocene.