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A new fossil site in a previously unexplored part of western Madagascar (the Beanka Protected Area) has yielded remains of many recently extinct vertebrates, including giant lemurs (Babakotia radofilai, Palaeopropithecus kelyus, Pachylemur sp., and Archaeolemur edwardsi), carnivores (Cryptoprocta spelea), the aardvark-like Plesiorycteropus sp., and giant ground cuckoos (Coua). Many of these represent considerable range extensions. Extant species that were extirpated from the region (e.g., Prolemur simus) are also present. Calibrated radiocarbon ages for 10 bones from extinct primates span the last three millennia. The largely undisturbed taphonomy of bone deposits supports the interpretation that many specimens fell in from a rock ledge above the entrance. Some primates and other mammals may have been prey items of avian predators, but human predation is also evident. Strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr) suggest that fossils were local to the area. Pottery sherds and bones of extinct and extant vertebrates with cut and chop marks indicate human activity in previous centuries. Scarcity of charcoal and human artifacts suggests only occasional visitation to the site by humans. The fossil assemblage from this site is unusual in that, while it contains many sloth lemurs, it lacks ratites, hippopotami, and crocodiles typical of nearly all other Holocene subfossil sites on Madagascar.
Photonic crystal surfaces represent a class of resonant optical structures that are capable of supporting high intensity electromagnetic standing waves with near-field and far-field properties that can be exploited for high sensitivity detection of biomolecules and cells. While modulation of the resonant wavelength of a photonic crystal by the dielectric permittivity of adsorbed biomaterials enables label-free detection, the resonance can also be tuned to coincide with the excitation wavelength of common fluorescent tags - including organic molecules and semiconductor quantum dots. Photonic crystals are also capable of efficiently channeling fluorescent emission into a preferred direction for enhanced extraction efficiency. Photonic crystals can be designed to support multiple resonant modes that can perform label free detection, enhanced fluorescence excitation, and enhanced fluorescence extraction simultaneously on the same device. Because photonic crystal surfaces may be inexpensively produced over large surface areas by nanoreplica molding processes, they can be incorporated into disposable labware for applications such as pharmaceutical high throughput screening. In this talk, the optical properties of surface photonic crystals will be reviewed and several applications will be described, including results from screening a 200,000-member chemical compound library for inhibitors of protein-DNA interactions, gene expression microarrays, and high sensitivity of protein biomarkers.
During 2016 February, CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science and the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy installed, commissioned, and carried out science observations with a phased array feed receiver system on the 64-m diameter Parkes radio telescope. Here, we demonstrate that the phased array feed can be used for pulsar observations and we highlight some unique capabilities. We demonstrate that the pulse profiles obtained using the phased array feed can be calibrated and that multiple pulsars can be simultaneously observed. Significantly, we find that an intrinsic polarisation leakage of −31 dB can be achieved with a phased array feed beam offset from the centre of the field of view. We discuss the possibilities for using a phased array feed for future pulsar observations and for searching for fast radio bursts with the Parkes and Effelsberg telescopes.
The metallicity distribution function (MDF) of the stellar components of the Milky Way hold valuable information regarding the processes that have taken place in the evolution of our Galaxy. In this proceeding, we investigate updates concerning the MDF now that the Tycho-Gaia Astrometric Solution (TGAS) catalogue has been released and that trigonometric distances are available. In particular, vertical changes and skewness of the MDF are investigated, together with the properties of the metal-rich stars in the sample, at different positions in the Galaxy.
Using RAVE data release 5 (DR5), we explore the age and chemistry of a sample of ~25,000 FGK turnoff stars in the extended solar neighbourhood (7 < R < 9 kpc), by separating our sample into two chemical disc components, and investigating the nature of the age-metallicity relation for both. Overall, we find a flat trend in [Fe/H] as a function of age for our α-low disc, and a correlation between age and metallicity for the oldest α-high stars, confirming age-metallicity trends found in more local, high-resolution studies now for a larger volume. We also find a positive gradient in [Mg/Fe] as a function of age for our oldest stars. These results have implications for models which include dynamical evolutionary processes such as radial migration.
Are wine alcohol labels accurate? If not, why? We explore the high and rising alcohol content of wine and examine incentives for false labeling, including the roles of climate, evolving consumer preferences, and expert ratings. We draw on international time-series data from a large number of countries that experienced different patterns of climate change and influences of policy and demand shifts. We find systematic patterns that suggest that rising wine alcohol content may be a nuisance by-product of producer responses to perceived market preferences for wines having more-intense flavours, possibly in conjunction with evolving climate. (JEL Classifications: D22, L15, L66, Q18, Q54).
The objective of the Apollon project is the generation of 10 PW peak power pulses of 15 fs at 1 shot/minute. In this paper the Apollon facility design, the technological challenges and the current progress of the project will be presented.
The B fields in OB stars (BOB) survey is an ESO large programme collecting spectropolarimetric observations for a large number of early-type stars in order to study the occurrence rate, properties, and ultimately the origin of magnetic fields in massive stars. As of July 2014, a total of 98 objects were observed over 20 nights with FORS2 and HARPSpol. Our preliminary results indicate that the fraction of magnetic OB stars with an organised, detectable field is low. This conclusion, now independently reached by two different surveys, has profound implications for any theoretical model attempting to explain the field formation in these objects. We discuss in this contribution some important issues addressed by our observations (e.g., the lower bound of the field strength) and the discovery of some remarkable objects.