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This chapter provides an insight into the role of systems science for sustainability assessment. In the first part, we present seven axioms that have been derived from system-theoretical perspectives and show their relevance for sustainability assessment. Following these axioms, we propose a way to structure and analyse systems following four system characteristics: (1) system boundary and interactions with the external environment; (2) purpose, goals, and associated decision-making drivers and criteria for the system; (3) system structure (subsystems, elements, and their interactions), dynamics, and emerging behaviour; and (4) system information, outcomes monitoring, and learning. These four characteristics were applied to study, first, the historical development of the energy system analysis and, second, an Australian urban systems-transformation initiative. The systems-analysis framework presented provides a good basis for putting the elements of a system analysis into their broader context, and designing purposeful interventions. Especially for more transformational change, the alignment of stakeholder values, institutional arrangements, and available knowledge become key leverage points.
The practice of asceticism may represent a rupture with the world, but in the early medieval West it notably encouraged the establishment of “small worlds,” to use the expression of Wendy Davies to describe the numerous, largely cloistered groups that came to replace the social and political institutions of the ancient world. The structure of these small monastic worlds was defined, in the first place, by a way of life regulated according to written norms and by the establishment of well-defined, hierarchically organized complexes of space. Several contributions to this volume demonstrate that this twofold process, characteristic of the history of Western monasticism, emerged only gradually. It took centuries for religious experience to become equated with a disciplined way of life, let alone a single monastic rule, and for the conception and establishment of a topography specific to the requirements of monastic living to develop.
Monastic communities in the post-Roman world and the Carolingian age, often despite themselves, became major forces in the creation of a new European culture. Perhaps nowhere better can the crucial role that monks played in fashioning the civilization of the first Europe be observed than when they established and maintained schools and developed techniques and programs for learning when no other institution in the West was doing so.
Cognitive deficits in depressed adults may reflect impaired decision-making. To investigate this possibility, we analyzed data from unmedicated adults with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and healthy controls as they performed a probabilistic reward task. The Hierarchical Drift Diffusion Model (HDDM) was used to quantify decision-making mechanisms recruited by the task, to determine if any such mechanism was disrupted by depression.
Data came from two samples (Study 1: 258 MDD, 36 controls; Study 2: 23 MDD, 25 controls). On each trial, participants indicated which of two similar stimuli was presented; correct identifications were rewarded. Quantile-probability plots and the HDDM quantified the impact of MDD on response times (RT), speed of evidence accumulation (drift rate), and the width of decision thresholds, among other parameters.
RTs were more positively skewed in depressed v. healthy adults, and the HDDM revealed that drift rates were reduced—and decision thresholds were wider—in the MDD groups. This pattern suggests that depressed adults accumulated the evidence needed to make decisions more slowly than controls did.
Depressed adults responded slower than controls in both studies, and poorer performance led the MDD group to receive fewer rewards than controls in Study 1. These results did not reflect a sensorimotor deficit but were instead due to sluggish evidence accumulation. Thus, slowed decision-making—not slowed perception or response execution—caused the performance deficit in MDD. If these results generalize to other tasks, they may help explain the broad cognitive deficits seen in depression.
Three complementary points to Jaswal & Akhtar are raised: (1) As a person with autism, I desire sociality despite vulnerability to others’ antisocial behaviour; (2) Asperger's conflation of autism with psychopathy (Czech 2018) likely caused clinicians to disregard social motivation among those with autism; and (3) adverse experiences cause social-engagement diversity to develop in all people, not just those on the spectrum.
It is accepted generally that anaerobic digesters (AD) are efficacious technologies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from livestock operations (Pronto and Gooch, 2009). In addition, AD technology has a number of other potential benefits including: energy production for use on the farm and for sale, separation of manure solids for ease of use or export off-farm, pathogen reduction leading to healthier labor and herd outcomes and odor control. It is also clear that in the USA, research and extension efforts, including public financing of AD technology installations, have disproportionally been focused on larger farms- e.g., dairy farms with at least 500 milking cows. The latter has begun to change as more resources are being invested in AD technology for smaller livestock farms. We present the results of a pre and post survey implemented at four workshops on small-scale AD technology for livestock farmers in northeastern New York State. Results indicate that information presented shifted farmers’ attitudes such that they viewed AD technology as not overly complex; and, they became less interested in selling generated surplus power off-farm.
The demographic composition of Kazakhstan after the fall of the Soviet Union presented a dilemma to the new Kazakhstani government: Should it advance a Kazakh identity as paramount, possibly alienating the large non-Kazakh population? Or should it advocate for a non-ethnicized national identity? How would those decisions be made in light of global norms of liberal multiculturalism? And, critically, would citizens respond to new frames of identity? This paper provides an empirical look at supraethnic identity-building in Kazakhstan – that is, at the development of a national identity that individuals place above or alongside their ethnic identification. We closely examine the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan to describe how Kazakhstani policies intersect with theories of nationalism and nation-building. We then use ordered probit models to analyze data from a 2014 survey to examine how citizens of Kazakhstan associate with a “Kazakhstani” supraethnic identity. Our findings suggest that despite the Assembly of People's rhetoric, there are still significant barriers to citizen-level adoption of a supraethnic identity in Kazakhstan, particularly regarding language. However, many individuals do claim an association with Kazakhstani identity, especially those individuals who strongly value citizenship in the abstract.
Recent research on practice-based doctorates in Australia has revealed an institutional preference for ‘theorised’ research approaches aimed at situating studies of practice within established academic paradigms. In this article we examine how the aim of communicating with artistic peers steers the research design and the production of text-based artefacts for a group of practice-based doctoral students working on jazz topics (n = 11) away from theorised approaches and towards what is commonly referred to as a ‘commentary’ approach. This finding reveals the extent to which the values of an artistic community can influence the scope of what is discussed within practice-based doctorates and highlights the need for ongoing discussion related to how such values might best interface with what institutions view as best-practice research frameworks.
Michael W. Neumeister, Department of Plastic Surgery, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Carbondale, IL, USA,
Kelli Webb, Department of Plastic Surgery, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Carbondale, IL, USA
Raynaud’s phenomenon is a vasospastic disorder that affects over 9 million people in the USA (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 2006). Maurice Reynaud’s description of arterial insufficiency to the fingers in 1862 led to his name being the eponym of this condition. He described the process as a “local asphyxia of the extremities” as a result of “increased irritability of the central parts of the cord presiding over vascular innervation.” Raynaud’s phenomenon is nine times more common in females and typically occurs between the ages of 15–40 years. These patients have an exaggerated vasoconstriction of their digital arteries in response to certain environmental triggers, which leads to pale, cold, numb and sometimes painful digits. These symptoms can last minutes to hours and may reoccur several times through the day. For the majority of patients, the symptoms are simply bothersome, but for 20% the symptoms are so severe that they seek medical attention. The digital artery vasospasm leads to diminished blood supply to the fingertips, which causes pain, ulcerations and disuse. Many patients require digit amputations for recalcitrant ulcers or exposure of the distal phalanx. The resultant digit ischemia may be also associated with considerable morbidity associated with loss of function, disability and depression.
Primary Raynaud’s disease is an idiopathic condition, and secondary Raynaud’s disease is associated with other connective tissue disorders. Secondary Raynaud’s disease affects 90% of patients with scleroderma, 90% of patients with mixed connective tissue disease, 33% of patients with lupus and 33% of people with Sjögren’s syndrome. The pathophysiology of primary versus secondary Raynaud’s disease is likely different, with secondary Raynaud’s disease invariably causing more severe and debilitating symptoms (Figs. 23.1 and 23.2).
The large and optically clear embryos of the zebrafish provide an excellent model system in which to study the dynamic assembly of the essential contractile band components, actin and myosin, via double fluorescent labelling in combination with confocal microscopy. We report the rapid appearance (i.e. within <2 min) of a restricted arc of F-actin patches along the prospective furrow plane in a central, apical region of the blastodisc cortex. These patches then fused with each other end-to-end forming multiple actin cables, which were subsequently bundled together forming an F-actin band. During this initial assembly phase, the F-actin-based structure did not elongate laterally, but was still restricted to an arc extending ~15° either side of the blastodisc apex. This initial assembly phase was then followed by an extension phase, where additional F-actin patches were added to each end of the original arc, thus extending it out to the edges of the blastodisc. The dynamics of phosphorylated myosin light chain 2 (MLC2) recruitment to this F-actin scaffold also reflect the two-phase nature of the contractile apparatus assembly. MLC2 was not associated with the initial F-actin arc, but MLC2 clusters were recruited and assembled into the extending ends of the band. We propose that the MLC2-free central region of the contractile apparatus acts to position and then extend the cleavage furrow in the correct plane, while the actomyosin ends alone generate the force required for furrow ingression. This biphasic assembly strategy may be required to successfully divide the early cells of large embryos.
In City of God, Augustine recounts the story of a woman he knew in Carthage named Innocentia. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and told by the physician that she could perhaps delay death through amputation, but that the disease was incurable. According to Augustine, she turned in prayer for help from God alone, and was told in a dream to wait at the baptistery for the first woman who came out after being baptized. She was then to ask for this woman to make the sign of Christ over the cancerous breast. When Innocentia did as she was told, she was completely cured. However, her physician was initially upset and disappointed at her account, thinking that such a cure might have perhaps enabled her to convey some great discovery to him in the healing arts (Shelley2000, pp. 113–43).
Jones defines spirituality as ‘the hope in something greater than ourselves’ while ‘religion is a community of shared spiritual values’ (2006, pp. 26–7). We propose that spirituality can significantly enhance the likelihood of physical healing in the face of disease. In the following review, we share our own work and that of others in the field of breast cancer research. We do so in order to provide evidence in support of proposed biomedical pathways through which faith, such as that expressed by Innocentia, can lead to scientific discovery within the healing arts.
Recent attempts to constrain cosmological variation in the fine structure constant, α, using quasar absorption lines have yielded two statistical samples which initially appear to be inconsistent. One of these samples was subsequently demonstrated to not pass consistency tests; it appears that the optimisation algorithm used to fit the model to the spectra failed. Nevertheless, the results of the other hinge on the robustness of the spectral fitting program VPFIT, which has been tested through simulation but not through direct exploration of the likelihood function. We present the application of Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods to this problem, and demonstrate that VPFIT produces similar values and uncertainties for Δα/α, the fractional change in the fine structure constant, as our MCMC algorithm, and thus that VPFIT is reliable.