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Effective management of uncertainty can lead to better, more informed decisions. However, many decision makers and their advisers do not always face up to uncertainty, in part because there is little constructive guidance or tools available to help. This paper outlines six Uncertainty Principles to manage uncertainty.
Face up to uncertainty
Deconstruct the problem
Don’t be fooled (un/intentional biases)
Models can be helpful, but also dangerous
Think about adaptability and resilience
Bring people with you
These were arrived at following extensive discussions and literature reviews over a 5-year period. While this is an important topic for actuaries, the intended audience is any decision maker or advisor in any sector (public or private).
The particle size of the forage has been proposed as a key factor to ensure a healthy rumen function and maintain dairy cow performance, but little work has been conducted on ryegrass silage (GS). To determine the effect of chop length of GS and GS:maize silage (MS) ratio on the performance, reticular pH, metabolism and eating behaviour of dairy cows, 16 multiparous Holstein-Friesian cows were used in a 4×4 Latin square design with four periods each of 28-days duration. Ryegrass was harvested and ensiled at two mean chop lengths (short and long) and included at two ratios of GS:MS (100:0 or 40:60 dry matter (DM) basis). The forages were fed in mixed rations to produce four isonitrogenous and isoenergetic diets: long chop GS, short chop GS, long chop GS and MS and short chop GS and MS. The DM intake (DMI) was 3.2 kg/day higher (P<0.001) when cows were fed the MS than the GS-based diets. The short chop length GS also resulted in a 0.9 kg/day DM higher (P<0.05) DMI compared with the long chop length. When fed the GS:MS-based diets, cows produced 2.4 kg/day more (P<0.001) milk than when fed diets containing GS only. There was an interaction (P<0.05) between chop length and forage ratio for milk yield, with a short chop length GS increasing yield in cows fed GS but not MS-based diets. An interaction for DM and organic matter digestibility was also observed (P<0.05), where a short chop length GS increased digestibility in cows when fed the GS-based diets but had little effect when fed the MS-based diet. When fed the MS-based diets, cows spent longer at reticular pH levels below pH 6.2 and pH 6.5 (P<0.01), but chop length had little effect. Cows when fed the MS-based diets had a higher (P<0.05) milk fat concentration of C18 : 2n-6 and total polyunsaturated fatty acids compared with when fed the GS only diets. In conclusion, GS chop length had little effect on reticular pH, but a longer chop length reduced DMI and milk yield but had little effect on milk fat yield. Including MS reduced reticular pH, but increased DMI and milk performance irrespective of the GS chop length.
To prospectively assess treatment outcomes of chronic rhinosinusitis patients undergoing functional endoscopic sinus surgery and post-operative medical treatment over a prolonged follow-up period.
Patients undergoing functional endoscopic sinus surgery in the tertiary referral practice of a single surgeon were studied prospectively. Symptoms were scored by patients pre-operatively and over a minimum follow-up period of 12 months.
The study comprised 200 non-consecutive patients. The median pre-operative symptom score was 16 (out of a maximum of 25) (95 per cent confidence interval = 15 to 17). Symptom scores reduced to a median of 7 (95 per cent confidence interval = 6 to 8) after 12 months of follow up (p < 0.0001). The median symptom score improved for all symptoms and across all patient subgroups.
Extensive functional endoscopic sinus surgery offers significant and durable symptom improvement in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis refractory to medical treatment. This improvement extends to all patient subgroups. Prolonged medical therapy is recommended after functional endoscopic sinus surgery.
We prove that, for Poisson transmission and recovery processes, the classic susceptible→infected→recovered (SIR) epidemic model of Kermack and McKendrick provides, for any given time t>0, a strict lower bound on the expected number of susceptibles and a strict upper bound on the expected number of recoveries in the general stochastic SIR epidemic. The proof is based on the recent message passing representation of SIR epidemics applied to a complete graph.
To identify predictive factors and mortality of patients with influenza admitted to intensive care units (ICU) we carried out a prospective cohort study of patients hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza in adult ICUs in a network of Canadian hospitals between 2006 and 2012. There were 626 influenza-positive patients admitted to ICUs over the six influenza seasons, representing 17·9% of hospitalized influenza patients, 3·1/10 000 hospital admissions. Variability occurred in admission rate and proportion of hospital influenza patients who were admitted to ICUs (proportion range by year: 11·7–29·4%; 21·3% in the 2009–2010 pandemic). In logistic regression models ICU patients were younger during the pandemic and post-pandemic period, and more likely to be obese than hospital non-ICU patients. Influenza B accounted for 14·2% of all ICU cases and had a similar ICU admission rate as influenza A. Influenza-related mortality was 17·8% in ICU patients compared to 2·0% in non-ICU patients.
It is well-established that altering the proportion of starch and fibre in ruminant diets can alter ruminal and post-ruminal digestion, although quantitative evidence that this reduces enteric methane (CH4) production in dairy cattle is lacking. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of varying grass-to-maize silage ratio (70 : 30 and 30 : 70 DM basis), offered ad libitum, with either a concentrate that was high in starch or fibre, on CH4 production, intake, performance and milk composition of dairy cows. A total of 20 cows were allocated to one of the four experimental diets in a two-by-two factorial design run as a Latin square with each period lasting 28 days. Measurements were conducted during the final 7 days of each period. Cows offered the high maize silage ration had a higher dry matter intake (DMI), milk yield, milk energy output and lower CH4 emissions when expressed per kg DMI and per unit of ingested gross energy, but there was no difference in total CH4 production. Several of the milk long-chain fatty acids (FA) were affected by forage treatment with the most notable being an increase in 18:0, 18:1 c9, 18:2 c9 c12 and total mono unsaturated FA, observed in cows offered the higher inclusion of maize silage, and an increase in 18:3 c9 c12 c15 when offered the higher grass silage ration. Varying the composition of the concentrate had no effect on DMI or milk production; however, when the high-starch concentrate was fed, milk protein concentration and milk FAs, 10:0, 14:1, 15:0, 16:1, increased and 18:0 decreased. Interactions were observed for milk fat concentration, being lower in cows offered high-grass silage and high-fibre concentrates compared with the high-starch concentrate, and FA 17:0, which was the highest in milk from cows fed the high-grass silage diet supplemented with the high-starch concentrate. In conclusion, increasing the proportion of maize silage in the diets of dairy cows increased intake and performance, and reduced CH4 production, but only when expressed on a DM or energy intake basis, whereas starch-to-fibre ratio in the concentrate had little effect on performance or CH4 production.
The interaction between calcium (Ca) and non-phytate phosphorus (nPP) in broiler nutrition and skeletal health is highly complex with many factors influencing their digestion, absorption and utilisation. The use of an investigative model such as the geometric framework allows a graphical approach to explore these complex interactions. A total of 600 Ross 308-day-old male broiler chicks were allocated to one of 15 dietary treatments with five replicates and eight birds per replicate. Dietary treatments were formulated to one of three total densities of total Ca+nPP; high (15 g/kg), medium (13.5 g/kg) and low (12 g/kg) and at each density there were five different ratios of Ca : nPP (4, 2.75, 2.1, 1.5 and 1.14 : 1). Weekly performance data was collected and at the end of the experiment birds were individually weighed and the right leg removed for tibia ash analysis. Skeletal health was assessed using the latency to lie (LTL) at day 27. At low Ca and high nPP as well as high Ca and low nPP diets, birds had reduced feed intake, BW gain, poorer feed efficiency and lower tibia ash, resulting in a significant interaction between dietary Ca and nPP (P<0.05). LTL times were negatively influenced by diets having either a broad ratio (high Ca, low nPP) or too narrow a ratio (low Ca, high nPP) indicating that shorter LTL times may be influenced by the ratio of Ca : nPP rather than absolute concentrations of either mineral. The calculated intake arrays show that broilers more closely regulate Ca intake than nPP intake. Broilers are willing to over consume nPP to defend a Ca intake target more so than they are willing to over consume Ca to defend an nPP target. Overall dietary nPP was more influential on performance metrics, however, from the data it may appear that birds prioritise Ca intake over nPP and broadly ate to meet this requirement. As broilers are more willing to eat to a Ca intake target rather than an nPP intake target, this emphasises the importance of formulating diets to a accurately balanced density of Ca : nPP considering the biological importance of both minerals.
This article represents a systematic effort to answer the question, What are archaeology’s most important scientific challenges? Starting with a crowd-sourced query directed broadly to the professional community of archaeologists, the authors augmented, prioritized, and refined the responses during a two-day workshop focused specifically on this question. The resulting 25 “grand challenges” focus on dynamic cultural processes and the operation of coupled human and natural systems. We organize these challenges into five topics: (1) emergence, communities, and complexity; (2) resilience, persistence, transformation, and collapse; (3) movement, mobility, and migration; (4) cognition, behavior, and identity; and (5) human-environment interactions. A discussion and a brief list of references accompany each question. An important goal in identifying these challenges is to inform decisions on infrastructure investments for archaeology. Our premise is that the highest priority investments should enable us to address the most important questions. Addressing many of these challenges will require both sophisticated modeling and large-scale synthetic research that are only now becoming possible. Although new archaeological fieldwork will be essential, the greatest pay off will derive from investments that provide sophisticated research access to the explosion in systematically collected archaeological data that has occurred over the last several decades.
We describe epidemiological trends in Mycobacterium bovis infection in an undisturbed wild badger (Meles meles) population. Data were derived from the capture, clinical sampling and serological testing of 1803 badgers over 9945 capture events spanning 24 years. Incidence and prevalence increased over time, exhibiting no simple relationship with host density. Potential explanations are presented for a marked increase in the frequency of positive serological test results. Transmission rates (R0) estimated from empirical data were consistent with modelled estimates and robust to changes in test sensitivity and the spatial extent of the population at risk. The risk of a positive culture or serological test result increased with badger age, and varied seasonally. Evidence consistent with progressive disease was found in cubs. This study demonstrates the value of long-term data and the repeated application of imperfect diagnostic tests as indices of infection to reveal epidemiological trends in M. bovis infection in badgers.
The Magellanic System represents one of the best places to study the formation and evolution of galaxies. Photometric surveys of various depths, areas and wavelengths have had a significant impact on our understanding of the system; however, a complete picture is still lacking. VMC (the VISTA near-infrared YJKs survey of the Magellanic System) will provide new data to derive the spatially resolved star formation history and to construct a three-dimensional map of the system. These data combined with those from other ongoing and planned surveys will give us an absolutely unique view of the system opening up the doors to truly new science!
African swine fever (ASF) has been reported in the Eastern Province of Zambia since 1912 and is now considered to be enzootic there. A survey of the distribution of ASF virus in Zambia was carried out by virus isolation from Ornithodoros moubata ticks collected from animal burrows in National Parks and Game Management Areas in northern, eastern, central and southern Zambia. ASF virus was isolated from ticks in all areas examined. The prevalence of infection in O. moubata was between 0·4% in South Luangwa National Park and 5·1% in Livingstone Game Park and mean infectious virus titres ranged from 103–4 HAD50/tick in Kakumbe Game Management Area to 105·9 HAD50/tick in Chunga and Nalusanga Game Management Areas. The prevalence of infection in adult ticks was between 4·7% and 5·3% in all areas examined except Sumbu National Park and Livingstone Game Park, where the prevalence was 15·1% and 13·2% respectively in adult ticks. The ratio of infected females to males for all the infected adult ticks in all areas of Zambia was 3·2:1.
In order to determine the effect of dietary vitamin E level and basal diet on vitamin E status, performance and tissue fatty acid content, five groups of eight Suffolk × Charollais wether lambs with an initial live weight of 28.4 (s.d. 1.6) kg were allocated to one of five concentrate-based diets supplemented with all-rac-α-tocopheryl acetate to contain 30 mg (C-30), 60 mg (C-60), 120 mg (C-120), 250 mg (C-250) or 500 mg (C-500) α-tocopheryl acetate/kg dry matter (DM), for 63 days. Two additional groups of eight lambs entered the study at 31.2 (s.d. 3.3) kg and were fed grass silage and 400 g/day concentrate for 56 days, with the whole diet providing the equivalent of 60 mg (S-60) or 500 mg (S-500) α-tocopheryl acetate/kg DM. Lambs were weighed and blood samples obtained by venipuncture weekly. Dietary vitamin E level did not affect performance (P > 0.05), but lambs fed grass silage grew more slowly (P < 0.001) and had a higher (P < 0.001) feed conversion ratio (kg feed/kg gain) than those fed concentrates. At day 0 plasma α-tocopherol concentrations were 0.8 μg/ml and did not differ between treatments (P > 0.05). Plasma α-tocopherol concentrations then decreased in all lambs except for those fed S-500, which increased, and at slaughter were (μg/ml) 0.07, 0.23, 0.39, 0.76 and 1.57 in C-30, C-60, C-120, C-250 and C-500 and 1.18 and 1.93 in S-60 and S-500, respectively. At slaughter, muscle and liver α-tocopherol concentrations were in the deficiency range for lambs fed C-30, C-60 or C-120, whereas plasma creatine kinase and tissue polyunsaturated fatty acids were unaffected by dietary vitamin E level, but creatine kinase levels were higher (P < 0.05) and glutathione peroxidise levels lower (P < 0.001) in lambs fed grass silage than concentrates alone. Muscle and liver α-tocopherol concentrations were 1.8- and 4.1-fold higher in lambs fed S-60 than C-60, but there was less of a difference between lambs fed S-500 or C-500 with muscle and liver differences of 0.4- and 0.7-fold, respectively. Tissue n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid concentrations were higher (P < 0.05) and n-6 fatty acids lower in lambs receiving the grass silage compared to concentrate-based diets, but were not affected by dietary vitamin E level. It is concluded that lower plasma and tissue levels of α-tocopherol are present in lambs supplemented with all-rac-α-tocopheryl acetate on a concentrate compared to a mixed diet of silage and concentrates, and that normal growth can be achieved at tissue levels previously considered to represent deficiency.
Trans-10, cis-12 CLA is produced as an intermediary during the biohydrogenation of linoleic acid (C18:2 n-6) in the rumen and has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of milk fat synthesis in ruminants. The production of trans-10, cis-12 CLA in the rumen is affected by dietary concentrate: forage ratio (Kucuk et al., 2001), rumen pH and the amount and source of linoleic acid in the diet. However, the interaction between oil source, carbohydrate source and pH on the production of trans-10, cis-12 CLA is unclear (Beam et al., 2000). The objectives of the current study were to determine the effects of oil source, carbohydrate source and pH on the biohydrogenation of linoleic acid and production of trans-10, cis-12 CLA in vitro.
Limitations of access have long restricted exploration and investigation of the cavities beneath ice shelves to a small number of drillholes. Studies of sea-ice underwater morphology are limited largely to scientific utilization of submarines. Remotely operated vehicles, tethered to a mother ship by umbilical cable, have been deployed to investigate tidewater-glacier and ice-shelf margins, but their range is often restricted. The development of free-flying autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) with ranges of tens to hundreds of kilometres enables extensive missions to take place beneath sea ice and floating ice shelves. Autosub2 is a 3600 kg, 6.7 m long AUV, with a 1600 m operating depth and range of 400 km, based on the earlier Autosub1 which had a 500 m depth limit. A single direct-drive d.c. motor and five-bladed propeller produce speeds of 1–2 m s−1. Rear-mounted rudder and stern-plane control yaw, pitch and depth. The vehicle has three sections. The front and rear sections are free-flooding, built around aluminium extrusion space-frames covered with glass-fibre reinforced plastic panels. The central section has a set of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic pressure vessels. Four tubes contain batteries powering the vehicle. The other three house vehicle-control systems and sensors. The rear section houses subsystems for navigation, control actuation and propulsion and scientific sensors (e.g. digital camera, upward-looking 300 kHz acoustic Doppler current profiler, 200 kHz multibeam receiver). The front section contains forward-looking collision sensor, emergency abort, the homing systems, Argos satellite data and location transmitters and flashing lights for relocation as well as science sensors (e.g. twin conductivity–temperature–depth instruments, multibeam transmitter, sub-bottom profiler, AquaLab water sampler). Payload restrictions mean that a subset of scientific instruments is actually in place on any given dive. The scientific instruments carried on Autosub are described and examples of observational data collected from each sensor in Arctic or Antarctic waters are given (e.g. of roughness at the underside of floating ice shelves and sea ice).
Supplementation of pregnant ewes with long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) demonstrably improves indicators of neonatal lamb vigour, potentially improving the number of lambs reared per ewe. The present study investigated the effect of supplementing ewes with fish oil and vitamin E (α-tocopherol acetate) throughout both pregnancy and lactation on the performance of lactating ewes and sucking lambs. Forty-eight ewes were supplemented with one of four concentrates containing either Megalac or fish oil plus a basal (50 mg/kg) or supranutritional (500 mg/kg) concentration of vitamin E from 6 weeks pre-partum until 4 weeks post partum in a two-by-two factorial randomised-block design. All concentrates were formulated to contain approximately 60 g/kg supplemental fatty acids. Ewes were housed, penned on sawdust and offered straw ad libitum. Blood samples were taken from ewes and lambs at intervals throughout the experiment and milk samples were obtained at 21 days into lactation. There was no notable effect of dietary vitamin E concentration upon ewe or lamb performance. Ewe dry-matter (DM) intake and yield were unaffected by dietary treatment, although ewes fed fish oil lost less weight during lactation (−1.88 kg compared with −3.97 kg for Megalac-supplemented ewes; P < 0.01). Milk fat concentrations (67.3 g/kg compared with 91.8 g/kg; P < 0.01) and yields (6.65 g/h v. 9.26 g/h; P < 0.01) were reduced in ewes fed fish oil and these decreases were associated with lower litter-growth rates (0.49 g/day compared with 0.54 g/day; P < 0.05). Milk protein yield was increased by fish oil supplementation (3.82 g/h) compared with Megalac supplementation (3.28 g/h; P < 0.05); moreover, there was an interaction between fat source and vitamin E concentration in that both protein concentration and yield were significantly lower in milk from ewes fed treatment with Megalac + basal vitamin E (MB) compared with the other three treatments. Fish oil supplementation increased the concentrations of C18:1trans-, cis-9, trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), C20:5 (n-3) and C22:6 (n-3) within ewe plasma, milk and lamb plasma. The mechanisms by which fish oil supplementation affects milk composition warrants further investigation.
Supplementing pregnant ewes with the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) found in marine algae and fish oil increases gestation length and improves lamb vigour (Capper et al., 2002). However, continuing fish oil supplementation into lactation reduces milk component yield and lamb growth rate (Capper, 2005). The objective of the current experiment was to investigate the potential carry-over effects of feeding marine algae during pregnancy on ewe milk yield and composition during lactation and subsequent lamb growth rate.
Six cannulated wether sheep weighing 57 (s.d. 4·3) kg were used to investigate the susceptibility of unprotected and protected n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from different sources to biohydrogenation in the rumen, their uptake into plasma and effects on ruminal metabolism. The sheep were assigned to one of six dietary treatments formulated to have a similar fatty acid content (60 g/kg DM) and containing: linseed oil (LO), linseed oil absorbed into vermiculite (VLO), formic acid-formaldehyde treated whole linseed (FLS), fish oil (FO), fat encapsulated fish oil (PFO) or a mixture of fish oil and marine algae (1: 1 on an oil basis; AF), in six periods of 28 days duration in a Latin-square design. Biohydrogenation of C20:5 (n-3) and C22:6 (n-3) was high in FO at approximately 870 g/kg, but reduced to 625 and 625 g/kg respectively for PFO, and 769 and 601 g/kg respectively for AF. Ruminal biohydrogenation of C18:3 (n-3) was similar across treatments based on linseed, averaging 860 g/kg, but C18:2 (n-6) was lower (P < 0·05) in animals given VLO or FLS at 792 and 837 g/kg respectively, compared with LO (907 g/kg). Duodenal flow of C18:1 trans in animals given any of the diets containing fish oil averaged 8·4 g/day compared with 2·8 g/day in animals given diets based on linseed (P < 0·001), whilst cis-9, trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid was not significantly different among treatments. Plasma C20:5 (n-3) and C22:6 (n-3) proportions were highest in animals given the AF diet (11·8 and 8·2 g per 100 g of the total fatty acids respectively) and lowest in animals given LO (2·8 and 2·7 g per 100 g of the total fatty acids respectively; P < 0·001). By contrast, plasma C18:3 (n-3) proportions were highest in animals given the LO or VLO diets at approximately 6·9 g per 100 g of the total fatty acids, and lowest in the AF treatment at 0·9 g per 100 g (P < 0·001). Duodenal non-ammonia-N flow was similar among treatments at 21·0 g/day except in animals given FLS which had the highest flow (25·9 g N per day; P < 0·01). Microbial N flow was also similar among treatments whilst microbial efficiency (g N per kg OM truly degraded in the rumen) was higher (P < 0·05) in animals given FLS than LO, FO or AF. By contrast, ruminal fibre digestion was higher (P < 0·05) in animals given LO or FO than those offered VLO, FLS, PFO or AF. In conclusion, compared with linseed oil, absorption of linseed oil into vermiculite improved duodenal flow but not plasma levels of C18:3 (n-3), whilst formic acid-formaldehyde treatment of linseed had little effect on protecting C18:3 (n-3) in the rumen, although duodenal non-ammonia nitrogen flow and microbial efficiency were improved. Compared with fish oil, the provision of marine algae or fat encapsulated fish oil resulted in a lower biohydrogenation of C22:6 (n-3) and C20:5 (n-3), and an increased duodenal flow and plasma concentration and offers the potential to favourably manipulate the n-3 fatty acid composition of sheep meat.