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Solvency II came into force on 1 January 2016 and included a transitional measure on technical provisions (“TMTP”) designed to help smooth in the capital impact of Solvency II over a 16-year period. The working party’s view is that the main intention of the TMTP is to mitigate the impact of the introduction of the risk margin, which significantly increases the technical provisions of firms, relative to their Solvency I Pillar 2 liabilities.
The majority of firms who hold a TMTP have now had at least one recalculation approved by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA); or are in the process of applying for a recalculation. Despite this large number of approved recalculations, there remains significant uncertainty in the industry around the approach and triggers for recalculation.
This paper considers aspects of TMTP recalculation for regulated UK life firms, for example practicalities of the calculation, asset and liability considerations, and communications/announcements.
In this paper, we outline the need for pragmatism when considering the approach to recalculation of a measure originally intended to serve as the bridge between two regimes. We call for an allowance for doing what is sensible in a principles-based regime balancing what might be more theoretically correct with what is practical and possible to support effective management of the business.
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.
An automated method of estimating the spatial distribution of piglets within a pen was used to assess huddling behaviour under normal conditions and during a febrile response to vaccination. The automated method was compared with a manual assessment of clustering activity. Huddling behaviour was partly related to environmental conditions and clock time such that more huddling occurred during the night and at lower ambient air temperatures. There were no positive relationships between maximum pig temperatures and environmental conditions, suggesting that the narrow range of air temperatures in this study was not a significant factor for pig temperature. Spatial distribution affected radiated pig temperature measurements by IR thermography. Higher temperatures were recorded in groups of animals displaying huddling behaviour. Huddling behaviour was affected by febrile responses to vaccination with increased huddling occurring 3 to 8 h post-vaccination. The automated method of assessing spatial distribution from an IR image successfully identified periods of huddling associated with a febrile response, and to changing environmental temperatures. Infrared imaging could be used to quantify temperature and behaviour from the same images.
This experiment compared insulin sensitivity parameters, milk production and reproductive outcomes in lactating dairy cows consuming excessive energy, and receiving in a 2×2 factorial arrangement design: (1) concentrate based on ground corn (CRN; n=13) or citrus pulp (PLP; n=13), and (2) supplemented (n=14) or not (n=12) with 2.5 g/day of chromium (Cr)-propionate. During the experiment (day 0 to 182), 26 multiparous, non-pregnant, lactating Gir×Holstein cows (initial days in milk=80±2) were offered corn silage for ad libitum consumption, and individually received concentrate formulated to allow diets to provide 160% of their daily requirements of net energy for lactation. Cow BW and body condition score (BCS) were recorded weekly. Milk production was recorded daily and milk samples collected weekly. Blood samples were collected weekly before the morning concentrate feeding. Glucose tolerance tests (GTT; 0.5 g of glucose/kg of BW) were performed on days −3, 60, 120 and 180. Follicle aspiration for in vitro embryo production was performed via transvaginal ovum pick-up on days −1, 82 and 162. No treatment differences were detected (P⩾0.25) for BW and BCS change during the experiment. Within weekly blood samples, concentrations of serum insulin and glucose, as well as insulin : glucose ratio were similar among treatments (P⩾0.19), whereas CRN had less (P<0.01) non-esterified fatty acid concentrations compared with PLP (0.177 v. 0.215 mmol/l; SEM=0.009). During the GTT, no treatment differences were detected (P⩾0.16) for serum glucose concentration, glucose clearance rate, glucose half-life and insulin : glucose ratio. Serum insulin concentrations were less (P=0.04) in CRN supplemented with Cr-propionate compared with non-supplemented CRN (8.2 v. 13.5 µIU/ml, respectively; SEM=1.7), whereas Cr-propionate supplementation did not impact (P=0.70) serum insulin within PLP cows. Milk production, milk fat and solid concentrations were similar (P⩾0.48) between treatments. However, CRN had greater (P<0.01) milk protein concentration compared with PLP (3.54% v. 3.14%, respectively; SEM=0.08). No treatment differences were detected (P⩾0.35) on number of viable oocytes collected and embryos produced within each aspiration. In summary, feeding a citrus pulp-based concentrate to lactating dairy cows consuming excessive energy did not improve insulin sensitivity, milk production and reproductive outcomes, whereas Cr-propionate supplementation only enhanced insulin sensitivity in cows receiving a corn-based concentrate during a GTT.
An automated, non-invasive system for monitoring of thermoregulation has the potential to mitigate swine diseases through earlier detection. Measurement of radiated temperature of groups of animals by infrared thermography (IRT) is an essential component of such a system. This study reports on the feasibility of monitoring the radiated temperature of groups of animals as a biomarker of immune response using vaccination as a model for febrile disease. In Study A, weaned pigs were either treated with an intramuscular vaccine (FarrowSure Gold), a sham injection of 0.9% saline or left as untreated controls. An infrared thermal camera (FLIR A320) was fixed to the ceiling directly above the pen of animals, and recorded infrared images of the treatment groups at 5 min intervals. The effect on temperature of the spatial distribution of pigs within the pen was significant, with higher temperatures recorded when pigs were grouped together into a single cluster. A higher frequency of clustering behaviour was observed in vaccinated animals compared with controls during a period of the afternoon ~4 to 7 h post-vaccination. The daily mean of the maximum image temperature was significantly higher in vaccinated animals compared with control and sham-treated animals. In the vaccination treated group, the 24 h mean of the maximum temperature was significantly higher during the post-vaccination period compared with the 24 h period before vaccination. Increased temperature in the vaccinated animals occurred from ~3 h, peaked at ~10 h, and remained elevated for up to 20 h post-vaccination. In Study B, the effect of prevalence was tested in terms of the difference in maximum temperature between control and vaccination days. A thermal response to vaccination was detected in a pen of 24 to 26 animals when <10% of the animals were vaccinated. The results support the concept of radiated temperature measurements of groups of animals by IRT as a screening tool for febrile diseases in pig barns.
Observing incongruent actions interferes with ongoing action execution. This ‘interference effect’ is larger for observed biological actions than for non-biological actions. The current study used virtual reality to investigate the biological specificity of interference effects of action observation in autism spectrum conditions (ASC).
High-functioning adults with ASC and age- and IQ-matched healthy controls performed horizontal sinusoidal arm movements whilst observing arm movements conducted by a virtual reality agent with either human or robot form, which moved with either biological motion or at a constant velocity. In another condition, participants made the same arm movements while observing a real human. Observed arm movements were either congruent or incongruent with executed arm movements. An interference effect was calculated as the average variance in the incongruent action dimension during observation of incongruent compared with congruent movements.
Control participants exhibited an interference effect when observing real human and virtual human agent incongruent movements but not when observing virtual robot agent movements. Individuals with ASC differed from controls in that they showed no interference effects for real human, virtual human or virtual robot movements.
The current study demonstrates atypical interference effects in ASC.
West Nile virus (WNV) is a zoonotic arthropod-borne pathogen with continued geographical expansion in Europe. We present and evaluate data on the temporal, spatial and bird species focus of the WNV surveillance programme in dead wild birds in Great Britain (2002–2009). During this period all bird samples tested negative for WNV. Eighty-two per cent of the 2072 submissions occurred during the peak period of vector activity with 53% tested during April–July before human and equine infection would be expected. Samples were received from every county, but there was significant geographical clustering (nearest neighbour index=0·23, P<0·001). Over 240 species were represented, with surveillance more likely to detect WNV in resident bird species (92% of submissions) than migrants (8%). Evidence indicates that widespread avian mortality is not generally a reported feature of WNV in Europe and hence additional activities other than dead bird surveillance may maximize the ability to detect WNV circulation before the onset of human and equine infections.
The recording and analysis of a burnt mound and adjacent palaeochannel deposits on the floodplain of the River Soar in Leicestershire revealed that the burnt mound was in use, possibly for a number of different purposes, at the transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. An extensive radiocarbon dating programme indicated that the site was revisited. Human remains from the palaeochannel comprised the remains of three individuals, two of whom pre-dated the burnt mound by several centuries while the partial remains of a third, dating from the Late Bronze Age, provided evidence that this individual had met a violent death. These finds, along with animal bones dating to the Iron Age, and the remains of a bridge from the early medieval period, suggest that people were drawn to this location over a long period of time.
Differentiation of the so-called sinus venosus defect from other defects permitting shunting between the atrial chambers remains problematic. The lesion is not a true septal defect, and current theories to explain the existence of the sinus venosus defect fall short. The presence of persistent systemic to pulmonary venous connections has been proposed to explain the existence of the sinus venosus defect.
Clinical histories and radiological findings of six patients are reviewed. Three patients have veno-venous bridges, two have partial anomalous pulmonary venous connections, and one patient has a sinus venosus defect. The clinical information is reviewed, along with current developmental and morphological considerations.
We provide radiographic, developmental, and morphological evidence to support the theory that a so-called sinus venosus defect is the consequence of persistence of foetal systemic to pulmonary veno-venous bridges, rather than of deficiencies in atrial septation.
We propose a novel concept of optical detection of thermal neutrons in a passive device that exploits transmutation of Dy-164, a dominant, naturally occurring isotope of dysprosium, into a stable isotope of either holmium Ho-165 or erbium Er-166. Combination of the high thermal neutron capture cross section of ~2,650 barns and transmutation into two other lanthanides makes Dy-164 a very attractive alternative to traditional methods of neutron detection that will be completely insensitive to gamma irradiation, thus reducing greatly the likelihood of false alarms. The optically enabled neutron detection relies on significant differences in optical properties of Dy, Ho, and Er that are not sensitive to a particular isotope, but change considerably from one element to another. While the concept applies equally well to bulk materials and to nanocrystals, nanocrystalline approach is much more attractive due to its significantly lower cost, relative ease of colloidal synthesis of high quality nanocrystals (NCs), and superior optical and mechanical properties of NCs compared to their bulk counterparts. We report on colloidal synthesis of DyF3 NCs, both doped and undoped with Ho and co-doped with Ce and Eu to enhance their optical properties. We also report on DyF3:10%Ce and DyF3:10%Eu NCs irradiated with thermal neutrons from a Cf-252 source and their optical characterization.
Currently, there is significant ongoing research into the temporal and spatial variability of marine radiocarbon reservoir effects (MREs) through quantification of ΔR values. In turn, MRE studies often use large changes in ΔR values as proxies for changes in ocean circulation. ΔR values are published in a variety of formats with variations in how the errors on these values are calculated, making it difficult to identify trends or to compare values, unless the method of calculating the ΔR is explicitly described or all of the data are made available in the publication. This paper demonstrates the large range in ΔR values (+34 to −122) that can be obtained from a single, secure archaeological context when using the multiple paired sample approach, despite the fact that the terrestrial entities were of statistically indistinguishable 14C ages, as were the marine samples. This demonstrates the inherent variability in the ΔR calculations themselves and we propose that, together with calculation of mean ΔR, the distribution of ΔR values should be displayed, e.g. as histograms in order to illustrate the full data range. This spread is only apparent when employing a multiple paired sample approach as the uncertainty derived on a single pair of samples, taking account only of the errors on the individual 14C ages, will never truly represent the overall variability in ΔR that results from the intrinsic variability in the population of 14C ages in samples that might have been used. Consequently, ΔR values and the associated uncertainty calculated from single pairs should be treated with some caution. We propose that, where possible, when using paired archaeological samples, that a multiple paired approach should be employed as it will test the context security of the material used in the ΔR calculations. When summarizing the values by the weighted average, we also propose that the standard error for predicted values should be employed as this will fully encompass the uncertainty of a future ΔR calculation, using different samples for a similar time and location. Finally, we encourage future publishing of ΔR values using the histogram format, making all of the data available. This will help ensure that ΔR values are comparable across the literature and should provide a framework for standardization of publication methods.
We examine the role of diffusivity, whether molecular or turbulent, on the steady-state stratification in a ventilated filling box. The buoyancy-driven displacement ventilation model of Linden et al. (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 212, 1990, p. 309) predicts the formation of a two-layer stratification when a single plume is introduced into an enclosure with vents at the top and bottom. The model assumes that diffusion plays no role in the development of the ambient buoyancy stratification: diffusion is a slow process and the entrainment of ambient fluid into the plume from the diffuse interface will act to thin the interface resulting in a near discontinuity of density between the upper and lower layers. This prediction has been corroborated by small-scale salt bath experiments; however, full-scale measurements in ventilated rooms and complementary numerical simulations suggest an interface that is not sharp but rather smeared out over a finite thickness. For a given plume buoyancy flux, as the cross-sectional area of the enclosure increases the volume of fluid that must be entrained by the plume to maintain a sharp interface also increases. Therefore the balance between the diffusive thickening of the interface and plume-driven thinning favours a thicker interface. Conversely, the interface thickness decreases with increasing source buoyancy flux, although the dependence is relatively weak. Our analysis presents two models for predicting the interface thickness as a function of the enclosure height, base area, composite vent area, plume buoyancy flux and buoyancy diffusivity. Model results are compared with interface thickness measurements based on previously reported data. Positive qualitative and quantitative agreement is observed.
The marine radiocarbon reservoir effect (MRE) occurs as a spatially and temporally dependent variable owing to localized changes in oceanic water composition. This study investigates ΔR values (deviations from the global average MRE whose ΔR = 0) during the period 500–1350 BP for the east coast of Scotland, where a complex estuarine system exists that drains into the semi-enclosed North Sea basin. Due to the availability of suitable archaeological samples, the data set has a distinct Medieval focus that spans the area from Aberdeen in the north to East Lothian in the south. Many of the ΔR values are not significantly different from 0 (the global average), but there are occasional excursions to negative values (max –172 ± 20) indicating the presence of younger water. These values show greater variability compared to other published data for this general region, suggesting that considerable care must be taken when dating marine derived samples from archaeological sites on the east coast of Scotland.
Major advances in our understanding of the Universe have historically come from dramatic improvements in our ability to accurately measure astronomical quantities. The astrometric observations obtained by modern digital sky surveys are enabling unprecedentedly massive and robust studies of the kinematics of the Milky Way. For example, the astrometric data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), together with half a century old astrometry from the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (POSS), have enabled the construction of a catalog that includes absolute proper motions as accurate as 3 mas/year for about 20 million stars brighter than V=20, and for 80,000 spectroscopically confirmed quasars which provide exquisite error assessment. We discuss here several ongoing studies of Milky Way kinematics based on this catalog. The upcoming next-generation surveys will maintain this revolutionary progress. For example, we show using realistic simulations that the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will measure proper motions accurate to 1 mas/year to a limit 4 magnitude fainter than possible with SDSS and POSS catalogs, or with the Gaia survey. LSST will also obtain geometric parallaxes with accuracy similar to Gaia's at its faint end (0.3 mas at V=20), and extend them to V=24 with an accuracy of 3 mas. We discuss the impact that these LSST measurements will have on studies of the Milky Way kinematics, and potential synergies with the Gaia survey.
Two sediment sequences from Big Kyzykul Lake and the Shushenskoe paleolake in the Minusinsk depression, Southern Siberia, were studied by pollen, microfossil, and geochemical analyses, as well as radiocarbon dating. The records indicate the persistence of an arid period between ∼11.7–7.6 cal kyr BP, increased effective moisture since ∼7.6 cal kyr BP, 2 humid impulses at ∼5.1 and 2.8 cal kyr BP separated by a dry interval, and the return to generally drier conditions after ∼1.5 cal kyr BP. This is contrary to the findings noted for the Eurasian temperate zone, but agrees with proxy data reported for arid and semi-arid zones of Central Asia. Reconstructed changes in climate and environment are in good agreement with archaeological data. Almost no evidence of the Mesolithic-Neolithic cultures has been reported for the depression, which is consistent with a dry early and mid-Holocene. Effective moisture started to rise from ∼7.6 cal kyr BP, followed by the beginning of human occupation at ∼6 cal kyr BP. Two maxima of humidity are recorded in the late Holocene, corresponding to the arrival of trees in the depression. No gap was to be found from the Early Bronze to the Iron ages cultures at this time, with the exception of a dry interval at ∼3.6–3.3 cal kyr BP, when the Minusinsk depression was sparsely occupied. The data obtained suggest a close relationship between climate change and cultural dynamics in the steppe zone of Southern Siberia.