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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.
Firefighters represent an important population for understanding the consequences of exposure to potentially traumatic stressors.
The researchers were interested in the effects of pre-employment disaster exposure on firefighter recruits’ depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms during the first three years of fire service and hypothesized that: (1) disaster-exposed firefighters would have greater depression and PTSD symptoms than non-exposed overall; and (2) depression and PTSD symptoms would worsen over years in fire service in exposed firefighters, but not in their unexposed counterparts.
In a baseline interview, 35 male firefighter recruits from seven US cities reported lifetime exposure to natural disaster. These disaster-exposed male firefighter recruits were matched on age, city, and education with non-exposed recruits.
A generalized linear mixed model revealed a significant exposure×time interaction (ecoef =1.04; P<.001), such that depression symptoms increased with time for those with pre-employment disaster exposure only. This pattern persisted after controlling for social support from colleagues (ecoefficient=1.05; P<.001), social support from families (ecoefficient=1.04; P=.001), and on-the-job trauma exposure (coefficient=0.06; ecoefficient=1.11; P<.001). Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms did not vary significantly between exposure groups at baseline (P=.61).
Depression symptoms increased with time for those with pre-employment disaster exposure only, even after controlling for social support. Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms did not vary between exposure groups.
PenningtonML, CarpenterTP, SynettSJ, TorresVA, TeagueJ, MorissetteSB, KnightJ, KamholzBW, KeaneTM, ZimeringRT, GulliverSB. The Influence of Exposure to Natural Disasters on Depression and PTSD Symptoms among Firefighters. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(1):102–108.
The Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST) is an 18000 m2 radio telescope located 40 km from Canberra, Australia. Its operating band (820–851 MHz) is partly allocated to telecommunications, making radio astronomy challenging. We describe how the deployment of new digital receivers, Field Programmable Gate Array-based filterbanks, and server-class computers equipped with 43 Graphics Processing Units, has transformed the telescope into a versatile new instrument (UTMOST) for studying the radio sky on millisecond timescales. UTMOST has 10 times the bandwidth and double the field of view compared to the MOST, and voltage record and playback capability has facilitated rapid implementaton of many new observing modes, most of which operate commensally. UTMOST can simultaneously excise interference, make maps, coherently dedisperse pulsars, and perform real-time searches of coherent fan-beams for dispersed single pulses. UTMOST operates as a robotic facility, deciding how to efficiently target pulsars and how long to stay on source via real-time pulsar folding, while searching for single pulse events. Regular timing of over 300 pulsars has yielded seven pulsar glitches and three Fast Radio Bursts during commissioning. UTMOST demonstrates that if sufficient signal processing is applied to voltage streams, innovative science remains possible even in hostile radio frequency environments.
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will be sensitive enough to discover all of the pulsars in the Milky Way that are beamed towards Earth. Already in the initial deployment, SKA Phase 1, it will make significant advances in pulsar science. In these proceedings I briefly overview what the SKA is, and describe its pulsar search and timing capabilities.
The class of radio transients called Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) encompasses enigmatic single pulses, each unique in its own way, hindering a consensus for their origin. The key to demystifying FRBs lies in discovering many of them in order to identity commonalities – and in real time, in order to find potential counterparts at other wavelengths. The recently upgraded UTMOST in Australia, is undergoing a backend transformation to rise as a fast transient detection machine. The first interferometric detections of FRBs with UTMOST, place their origin beyond the near-field region of the telescope thus ruling out local sources of interference as a possible origin. We have localised these bursts to much better than the ones discovered at the Parkes radio telescope and have plans to upgrade UTMOST to be capable of much better localisation still.
The initial results from timing observations of PSR J1141–6545, a relativistic pulsar-white dwarf binary system, are presented. Predictions from the timing baseline hint at the most stringent test of gravity by an asymmetric binary yet. The timing precision has been hindered by the dramatic variations of the pulse profile due to geodetic precession, a pulsar glitch and red timing noise. Methods to overcome such timing irregularities are briefly presented along with preliminary results from the test of the General Theory of Relativity (GR) from this pulsar.
As part of the ongoing development of small unmanned air systems by the University of Southampton, an all laser sintered aircraft has been test flown from the Royal Navy's ice patrol ship HMS Protector to assist with navigating through the Antarctic. These flights were carried out with pre-planned autopilot control with oversight from Andrew Lock, acting as the pilot embarked on HMS Protector. This is the first time the Royal Navy has used unmanned aerial vehicles in this part of the world. In this paper, we set out the trial reports and lessons learnt from this series of test flights.
We examined associations between specific self-regulatory mechanisms and externalizing behavior patterns from ages 2 to 15 (N = 443). The relation between multiple self-regulatory indicators across multiple domains (i.e., physiological, attentional, emotional, and behavioral) at age 2 and at age 5 and group membership in four distinct externalizing trajectories was examined. By examining each of these self-regulatory processes in combination with one another, and therefore accounting for their shared variance, we aimed to better understand which specific self-regulatory skills were associated most strongly with externalizing behavioral patterns. Findings suggest that behavioral inhibitory control and emotion regulation are particularly important in distinguishing between children who show normative declines in externalizing behaviors across early childhood and those who demonstrate high levels through adolescence.
Accommodating cattle indoors during the winter is widely practiced throughout Europe. There is currently no legislation surrounding the space allowance and floor type that should be provided to cattle during this time, however, concerns have been raised regarding the type of housing systems currently in use. The objective of the study was to investigate the effect of space allowance and floor type on performance and welfare of finishing beef heifers. Continental crossbred heifers (n=240: mean initial live; weight, 504 (SD 35.8) kg) were blocked by breed, weight and age and randomly assigned to one of four treatments; (i) 3.0 m2, (ii) 4.5 m2 and (iii) 6.0 m2 space allowance per animal on a fully slatted concrete floor and (iv) 6.0 m2 space allowance per animal on a straw-bedded floor, for 105 days. Heifers were offered a total mixed ration ad libitum. Dry matter intake was recorded on a pen basis and refusals were weighed back twice weekly. Heifers were weighed, dirt scored and blood sampled every 3 weeks. Whole blood was analysed for complete cell counts and serum samples were assayed for metabolite concentrations. Behaviour was recorded continuously using IR cameras from days 70 to 87. Heifers’ hooves were inspected for lesions at the start of the study and again after slaughter. Post-slaughter, carcass weight, conformation and fat scores and hide weight were recorded. Heifers housed at 4.5 m2 had a greater average daily live weight gain (ADG) than those on both of the other concrete slat treatments; however, space allowance had no effect on carcass weight. Heifers accommodated on straw had a greater ADG (0.15 kg) (P<0.05), hide weight (P<0.01) better feed conversion ratio (P<0.05) and had greater dirt scores (P<0.05) at slaughter than heifers accommodated on concrete slats at 6.0 m2. The number of heifers lying at any one time was greater (P<0.001) on straw than on concrete slats. Space allowance and floor type had no effect on the number of hoof lesions gained or on any of the haematological or metabolic variables measured. It was concluded that increasing space allowance above 3.0 m2/animal on concrete slats was of no benefit to animal performance but it did improve animal cleanliness. Housing heifers on straw instead of concrete slats improved ADG and increased lying time; however carcass weight was not affected.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with elevated risk for metabolic syndrome (MetS). However, the direction of this association is not yet established, as most prior studies employed cross-sectional designs. The primary goal of this study was to evaluate bidirectional associations between PTSD and MetS using a longitudinal design.
A total of 1355 male and female veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan underwent PTSD diagnostic assessments and their biometric profiles pertaining to MetS were extracted from the electronic medical record at two time points (spanning ~2.5 years, n = 971 at time 2).
The prevalence of MetS among veterans with PTSD was just under 40% at both time points and was significantly greater than that for veterans without PTSD; the prevalence of MetS among those with PTSD was also elevated relative to age-matched population estimates. Cross-lagged panel models revealed that PTSD severity predicted subsequent increases in MetS severity (β = 0.08, p = 0.002), after controlling for initial MetS severity, but MetS did not predict later PTSD symptoms. Logistic regression results suggested that for every 10 PTSD symptoms endorsed at time 1, the odds of a subsequent MetS diagnosis increased by 56%.
Results highlight the substantial cardiometabolic concerns of young veterans with PTSD and raise the possibility that PTSD may predispose individuals to accelerated aging, in part, manifested clinically as MetS. This demonstrates the need to identify those with PTSD at greatest risk for MetS and to develop interventions that improve both conditions.
Whether internalizing symptoms increase or remain at similar levels throughout childhood is currently not well understood. Moreover, the association between vagal regulation of cardiac activity and internalizing symptoms across childhood needs to be clarified. We used a multilevel conceptual framework to examine how children's vagal regulation of cardiac activity and mothers' internalizing symptoms were jointly associated with children's developmental trajectories of internalizing symptoms from ages 4 to 10 years old. Data came from 384 children who participated in an ongoing longitudinal study. Children and their mothers came to the research laboratory at ages 4, 5, 7, and 10. Mothers reported their children's and their own internalizing symptoms. Children's vagal regulation of cardiac activity was assessed during quiet baseline tasks and during challenge tasks. Multilevel models revealed that child internalizing symptoms increased from ages 4 to 10 years old, but only in females, and especially between ages 7 and 10. More vagal withdrawal in response to challenge was associated with more internalizing symptoms, particularly with more somatic symptoms. Associations between children's physiological regulation and internalizing symptoms differed by children's age, sex, and presence of maternal internalizing symptoms. Understanding associations between vagal regulation of cardiac activity and internalizing symptoms during childhood calls for fine-grained developmental analyses that take into account the heterogeneity of internalizing symptoms, as well as developmental phase, context, and gender.
Information on the extent of bushmeat hunting is needed to assess the likely impact on hunted species, to provide information on the opportunity cost to local people of conservation, and to judge the efficacy of interventions at reducing pressure. However, where hunting is illegal, or socially unacceptable, respondents may not answer honestly to direct questions about hunting or consumption of bushmeat. We adapted a specialized method for investigating sensitive behaviours (the randomized response technique, RRT) and questioned 1,851 people in Madagascar about their consumption of six species, using either RRT or direct questions. For most species at most sites RRT and direct questions returned similar estimates of the proportion of the population who had consumed bushmeat in the previous year. However, RRT resulted in significantly higher estimates of bushmeat consumption in communities surrounding a protected area, where conservation activities made such questions sensitive. RRT has been predominately used in Europe and the USA; we demonstrate that it can provide a valuable approach for studying rule-breaking among people with poor literacy in low income countries. Between 12 and 33% of people across our sites had eaten brown lemur (Eulemur spp.), and 12–29% had eaten sifaka (Propithecus spp.) in the previous year. These results add to the growing body of evidence that hunting of protected species in Madagascar is a serious problem requiring urgent action. Conservation interventions to tackle bushmeat hunting will make questions about hunting or consumption more sensitive, increasing the need for researchers to use appropriate approaches for asking sensitive questions.
Many conservation interventions seek to change resource users' behaviour through the creation and enforcement of rules. Their success depends on changing the incentives of potential rule-breakers and those who monitor and enforce compliance. Project implementers may use payments to encourage monitoring and sanctions to deter rule breaking but there has been little research to examine the effectiveness of such approaches in promoting compliance with conservation rules. The effects of payments and sanctions on poaching in a hypothetical community-based conservation project were investigated using an individual-based model incorporating individual heterogeneity and a realistic range of behaviours. Individuals could choose to poach, monitor others' behaviour, or ‘cheat’ (claim a fee without actually monitoring behaviour). They could also invest in avoidance to reduce their probability of being detected breaking rules. Community-level outcomes emerged from individuals’ choices and strategic interactions. The model demonstrates that payments and sanctions can interact strongly with one another and that their effects depend on the economic context in which they are applied. Sanctions were more reliable than payments in reducing poaching and, in some circumstances, payments produced perverse effects. It is thus important to consider individual-level heterogeneity and strategic decision-making when designing interventions aimed at changing human behaviour.
The design of wings with morphing capabilities is known to give aerodynamic benefits. These aero-dynamic benefits come from both the use of hinge-less surfaces and the greater adaptability to flight conditions. This paper describes the structural design of a twisting wing to be used for an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) and presents finite element analysis and experiment results. This is part of a research project carried out at the University of Southampton in which one of the goals is to compare different novel wing designs and technologies to determine which one of them gives the best performance. The twisting capability provides roll control without hinged surfaces hence providing aerodynamic improvement. The wing is manufactured using polystyrene foam and is cut out of block of this material using a hot wire machine. In order to link this foam structure to a main spar, ABS plastic inserts were manufactured using a 3D printer. The mechanisms used to actuate the wing are also made from this material. A full scale UAV wing has been manufactured and tested in order to compare with FEA results.
A developmental cascade model of early emotional and social competence predicting later peer acceptance was examined in a community sample of 440 children across the ages of 2 to 7. Children's externalizing behavior, emotion regulation, social skills within the classroom and peer acceptance were examined utilizing a multitrait–multimethod approach. A series of longitudinal cross-lag models that controlled for shared rater variance were fit using structural equation modeling. Results indicated there was considerable stability in children's externalizing behavior problems and classroom social skills over time. Contrary to expectations, there were no reciprocal influences between externalizing behavior problems and emotion regulation, although higher levels of emotion regulation were associated with decreases in subsequent levels of externalizing behaviors. Finally, children's early social skills also predicted later peer acceptance. Results underscore the complex associations among emotional and social functioning across early childhood.
Crossbreeding of Holstein–Friesian dairy cows with both early maturing (e.g. Aberdeen Angus (AA)) and late maturing (e.g. Belgian Blue (BB)) beef breeds is commonly practised. In Ireland, genetic merit for growth rate of beef sires is expressed as expected progeny difference for carcass weight (EPDCWT). The objective of this study was to compare the progeny of Holstein–Friesian cows, sired by AA and BB bulls of low (L) and high (H) EPDCWT for performance and carcass traits. A total of 118 spring-born male progeny from 20 (9 AA and 11 BB) sires (8 L and 12 H) were managed together from shortly after birth to about 19 months of age. They were then assigned to one of two mean slaughter weights (560 kg (light) or 620 kg (heavy)). Following slaughter, carcasses were graded for conformation class and fat class, the 6th to 10th ribs joint was dissected as an indicator of carcass composition, and samples of subcutaneous fat and musculus longissimus were subjected to Hunterlab colour measurements. A sample of m. longissimus was also chemically analysed. Slaughter and carcass weights per day of age for AAL, AAH, BBL and BBH were 747, 789, 790 and 805 (s.e. 10.5) g, and 385, 411, 427 and 443 (s.e. 4.4) g, respectively. Corresponding carcass weight, kill-out proportion, carcass conformation class (scale 1 to 5) and carcass fat class (scale 1 to 5) values were 289, 312, 320 and 333 (s.e. 4.0) kg, 516, 522, 542 and 553 (s.e. 3.5) g/kg, 2.5, 2.4, 3.0 and 3.1 (s.e. 0.10), and 3.4, 3.5, 2.9 and 2.8 (s.e. 0.11). There were few breed type × genetic merit interactions. Delaying slaughter date increased slaughter weight, carcass weight and all measures of fatness. It also reduced the proportion of carcass weight in the hind quarter and the proportions of bone and muscle in the ribs joint. None of these effects accompanied the increase in carcass weight due to higher EPDCWT. It is concluded that BB have superior production traits to AA. Selection of sires for higher EPDCWT increases growth rate, kill-out proportion and carcass weight of progeny with little effect on carcass or muscle traits. The extra carcass weight due to higher EPDCWT is more valuable commercially than a comparable carcass weight increment from a delay in slaughter date because it comprises a higher proportion of muscle.
The longitudinal associations between maternal parenting behavior and toddler risk with children's emotional and social competence were examined during the transition to kindergarten, in a sample of 253 children. Toddler risk was characterized by early externalizing behavior and poor emotion regulation skills. Given that we were interested in the multiple pathways that may result in emotional and social competence, we examined the interactions among maternal parenting behavior and toddler risk. There were some significant interactions, although the pattern of results was not consistent across all competence outcomes. Maternal parenting behavior was not directly associated with children's emotional and social competence. In some instances, maternal control has differential implications for children's emotional and social competence dependent upon the child's level of early risk and maternal positive parenting. Specifically, maternal control tended to be more detrimental for children's emotional competence during the transition to kindergarten, when children exhibit higher levels of risk. Overall, it appears that there are multiple developmental pathways, depending on child and maternal characteristics that lead to early emotional and social competence.