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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.
It is no longer possible nor desirable to address the dual challenges of equity and sustainability separately. Instead, they require new thinking and approaches which recognize their interlinkages, as well as the multiple perspectives and dimensions involved. We illustrate how equity and sustainability are intertwined, and how a complex social–ecological systems lens brings together advances from across the social and natural sciences to show how (in)equity and (un)sustainability are produced by the interactions and dynamics of coupled social–ecological systems. This should help understand which possible pathways could lead to sustainable and fair futures.
Examining the formation histories of single-component prehistoric villages is difficult using only radiocarbon dating. This study investigates such a case with the added considerations of two relative dating techniques, artifact accumulation and fluoride dating, at the Guard site (12D29), an early (ca. AD 1000–1300) Fort Ancient/Mississippian village located in southeast Indiana. The goal was to assess the depositional history of the individual house basins and, if possible, to determine a relative sequence of construction within the village. The observed relationship between relative artifact frequencies and fluoride levels was statistically examined with the expected result being that fluoride concentrations and artifact frequencies are significantly correlated. Houses built initially contained lower relative artifact frequencies, whereas houses built more recently contained higher relative artifact frequencies. This pattern is further explored with artifact and fluoride distinctions in vertical stratigraphy, which show that some structures were slowly filled with midden trash, whereas others were more likely rapidly filled during the latter part of the village occupation, perhaps at the time of site abandonment. Overall, the results are very promising and consistent with the SunWatch site, the only other Fort Ancient culture site with a defined construction sequence, establishing a general pattern of village development in the study region.
A new generation of implantable brain–computer interfaces (BCI) devices have been tested for the first time in a human clinical trial, with significant success. These intelligent implants detect specific neuronal activity patterns, such as an epileptic seizure, and provide information to help patients to respond to the upcoming neuronal events. By forecasting a seizure, the technology keeps patients in the decisional loop; the device gives control to patients on how to respond and decide on a therapeutic course ahead of time. Being kept in the decisional loop can positively increase patients’ quality of life; however, doing so does not come free of ethical concerns. There is currently a lack of evidence concerning the various impacts of closed-loop system BCIs on patients’ decisionmaking processes, especially how being in the decisional loop impacts patients’ sense of autonomy. This article addresses these gaps by providing data that we obtained from a first-in-human clinical trial involving patients implanted with advisory brain devices. This article explores ethical issues related to the risks involved in being kept in the decisional loop.
Absolute dating of mortars is crucial when trying to pin down construction phases of archaeological sites and historic stone buildings to a certain point in time or to confirm, but possibly also challenge, existing chronologies. To evaluate various sample preparation methods for radiocarbon (14C) dating of mortars as well as to compare different dating methods, i.e. 14C and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), a mortar dating intercomparison study (MODIS) was set up, exploring existing limits and needs for further research. Four mortar samples were selected and distributed among the participating laboratories: one of which was expected not to present any problem related to the sample preparation methodologies for anthropogenic lime extraction, whereas all others addressed specific known sample preparation issues. Data obtained from the various mortar dating approaches are evaluated relative to the historical framework of the mortar samples and any deviation observed is contextualized to the composition and specific mineralogy of the sampled material.
Recently a cremation cemetery was excavated at the site of Wijnegem where 29 cremation graves and 9 funerary monuments were uncovered. Thirty radiocarbon (14C) dates were carried out, mostly on cremated bone but also 10 charcoal samples were dated. Twenty-four cremations were studied. Four ring ditches were dated by charcoal samples from the infill of the ditch. The 14C dates showed an interesting long-term occupation of the cemetery. Different phases were ascertained. The history of the cemetery starts in the northern part of the site around a circular funerary monument. Two cremations were dated at the transition of the Early to Middle Bronze Ages. Two other graves represent the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Ages. The main occupation period dates between the end of the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age. Finally, an isolated cremation grave marks the definite abandonment of the site during the Late Iron Age.
Seven radiocarbon laboratories: Åbo/Aarhus, CIRCE, CIRCe, ETHZ, Poznań, RICH, and Milano-Bicocca performed separation of carbonaceous fractions suitable for 14C dating of four mortar samples selected for the MOrtar Dating Inter-comparison Study (MODIS). In addition, optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) analyses were completed by Milano-Bicocca and IRAMAT-CRP2A Bordeaux. Each laboratory performed separation according to laboratory protocol. Results of this first intercomparison show that even though consistent 14C ages were obtained by different laboratories, two mortars yielded ages different than expected from the archaeological context.
A special type of coastal settlement, promontory forts defended by inland-facing walls, appeared in the Balearic Islands in an imprecise time during the Bronze Age. A research project was initiated in 2011 to study one of these sites on each of the two major islands of the archipelago. The first one, Es Coll de Cala Morell (north Menorca), is a walled promontory with a relatively large plateau, with 13 horseshoe-shaped houses (navetes). The second, Sa Ferradura (east Mallorca), is a smaller coastal cape, with a different spatial planning, with only two large built-up areas, both attached to the enclosure wall. Two of the navetes have been excavated at Es Coll de Cala Morell, showing a domestic space with a central hearth in both cases. The occupation has been dated to around 1600–1200 cal BC. At Sa Ferradura seven hearths have been recorded in a large, open-air area. Their chronology falls within the interval of approximately 1200/1100–900 cal BC. From a chronological point of view, fortified settlements in coastal promontories are not, as was expected, a unitary phenomenon in Menorca and Mallorca and have to be related to different cultural periods.
Only domestic mammals (sheep, goat, cattle, pig, and dog) and two rodent species constituted the faunal package introduced to the Balearic Islands by the early settlers in the 3rd millennium cal BC. Later animal introductions in the archipelago were thought to occur by the end of the 1st millennium cal BC due to contacts with Punic merchants or, more than likely, to the Roman conquest of the islands. Recently, several faunal remains belonging to different vertebrates (red deer, chicken, and rabbit) were found in the Talayotic site of Cornia Nou (Minorca), in contexts that date to the early 1st millennium cal BC. A series of radiocarbon (14C) dates was made directly on samples of small species to exclude the possibility of infiltration into lower layers. The obtained results show that chicken and rabbit were already present on Minorca in the early 1st millennium cal BC. Chicken is recorded in Phoenician colonies in south Iberia as early as the 8th century cal BC. Rabbit, on the other hand, is indigenous to the Iberian Peninsula. These new faunal introductions recorded in Minorca could be related to the Late Bronze and Phoenician maritime activity.
In 1981, the first 14C and Archaeology Symposium was organized because it was felt necessary to have a symposium that focused on the specific problems related to the use of 14C dating in archaeology. The dating method has been constantly changing and approving itself technically as well as in the application of the method. The relationship between the archaeologists and the 14C dating laboratories has, however, never been straightforward. For a lot of 14C laboratories, archaeology was not their core business. For archaeologists, the main problem arose from an insufficient knowledge of natural sciences. The last decennia, however, 14C and archaeology are growing towards one another. One of the reasons might be the introduction of small exclusively 14C-dedicated machines and the availability of fully automatic graphitization lines.
It is now almost 10 yr since radiocarbon dating of cremated bone was first developed using the small carbonate component contained within the hydroxyapatite-based inorganic fraction. Currently, a significant number of 14C laboratories date cremated bone as part of their routine dating service. As a general investigation of cremated bone dating since this initial development, a small, cremated bone intercomparison study took place in 2005, involving 6 laboratories. Six cremated bone samples (including 2 sets of duplicates), with ages spanning approximately 1500–2800 BP, were sent to the laboratories. The results, which showed relatively good agreement amongst the laboratories and between the duplicate samples, are discussed in detail.
More than 60 GRBs at z ≳ 1.5 reside in the vicinity of dense, cold gas as probed by the measured neutral hydrogen via afterglow absorption spectroscopy. We present the largest sample of GRB-DLAs to date in comparison with a sample of DLAs along quasars: the metallicity of the GRB hosts represents a unique tool to understand if this particular subset of galaxies can be the key ingredient for GRB formation (and massive stars) at any redshift as well as the overall cosmic star-formation rate. We show that GRB-DLAs live in a metal enriched environment, especially at z ≳ 4, likely the result of recent intense star formation and/or SNe episodes. We also derive that our metallicity measurements are broadly consistent with a mild metallicity bias for the GRB formation.
Offload delay is a prolonged interval between ambulance arrival in the emergency department (ED) and transfer of patient care, typically occurring when EDs are crowded. The offload zone (OZ), which manages ambulance patients waiting for an ED bed, has been implemented to mitigate the impact of ED crowding on ambulance availability. Little is known about the safety or efficiency. The study objectives were to process map the OZ and conduct a hazard analysis to identify steps that could compromise patient safety or process efficiency.
A Health Care Failure Mode and Effect Analysis was conducted. Failure modes (FM) were identified. For each FM, a probability to occur and severity of impact on patient safety and process efficiency was determined, and a hazard score (probability X severity) was calculated. For any hazard score considered high risk, root causes were identified, and mitigations were sought.
The OZ consists of six major processes: 1) patient transported by ambulance, 2) arrival to the ED, 3) transfer of patient care, 4) patient assessment in OZ, 5) patient care in OZ, and 6) patient transfer out of OZ; 78 FM were identified, of which 28 (35.9%) were deemed high risk and classified as impact on patient safety (n=7/28, 25.0%), process efficiency (n=10/28, 35.7%), or both (n=11/28, 39.3%). Seventeen mitigations were suggested.
This process map and hazard analysis is a first step in understanding the safety and efficiency of the OZ. The results from this study will inform current policy and practice, and future work to reduce offload delay.
Teeth of a new freshwater dasyatoid ray recovered from the latest middle Eocene Brian Head Formation of southern Utah represent the youngest freshwater stingray so far known in the fossil record of North America. The crown morphology of Saltirius utahensis n. gen. n. sp. exhibits strong sexual dimorphism, with the presumed males bearing two prominent margino-labial protuberances and a bifid cusp that produces a saltire-like outline. This unique crown separates this genus and species from any known extinct or extant myliobatiform, but does have some resemblance to the crown of Asterotrygon maloneyi from the lower Eocene Green River Formation of Wyoming. The occurrence of S. utahensis in the Brian Head Formation provides additional evidence for the persistence of warm subtropical temperatures during the late Eocene in southern Utah.
Data on the uptake of clinical guidelines into practice are essential to guide and evaluate quality improvement interventions. Organizations responsible for service specification, monitoring and improvement need to consider the practicality of and trade-offs made in different data collection methods. We examined the feasibility of deriving and applying review criteria for clinical guidelines in English primary care.
We selected two sets of guidance, on osteoporosis and depression, and used a consensus process to derive review criteria. We manually extracted data on adherence to review criteria from patient records in 20 general practices from three NHS primary care trusts in northern England. We compared the relative utility of extracted data with that of routinely available data, summarizing feasibility using what we termed a Resource Ratio.
Of 53 proposed review criteria we assessed, 41 were judged clinically important, valid, relevant and measurable. Thirty-one could be assessed in 10% or more of sampled patients, whereas 15 could be readily extracted (resource ratio of 15 or less). Only eight met all desirable attributes for use as review criteria. Resource ratios correlated poorly with local stakeholders’ prior views on feasibility of data collection. We observed wide variations in compliance with review criteria, with notably low levels among self-care standards.
A minority of guideline recommendations were suitable for review criteria development, fewer still when using routinely available data. Local stakeholders tend to underestimate the actual resource requirements of data collection. Although improved design and use of clinical records may facilitate measurement of adherence to recommended practice, detailed assessments are still likely to rely upon some degree of manual data collection in the foreseeable future.