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One major challenge in the study of late-Quaternary extinctions (LQEs) is providing better estimates of past megafauna abundance. To show how megaherbivore population size varied before and after the last extinctions in interior Alaska, we use both a database of radiocarbon-dated bone remains (spanning 25–0 ka) and spores of the obligate dung fungus, Sporormiella, recovered from radiocarbon-dated lake-sediment cores (spanning 17–0 ka). Bone fossils show that the last stage of LQEs in the region occurred at about 13 ka ago, but the number of megaherbivore bones remains high into the Holocene. Sporormiella abundance also remains high into the Holocene and does not decrease with major vegetation changes recorded by arboreal pollen percentages. At two sites, the interpretation of Sporormiella was enhanced by additional dung fungal spore types (e.g., Sordaria). In contrast to many sites where the last stage of LQEs is marked by a sharp decline in Sporormiella abundance, in interior Alaska our results indicate the continuance of megaherbivore abundance, albeit with a major taxonomic turnover (including Mammuthus and Equus extinction) from predominantly grazing to browsing dietary guilds. This new and robust evidence implies that regional LQEs were not systematically associated with crashes of overall megaherbivore abundance.
The Taipan galaxy survey (hereafter simply ‘Taipan’) is a multi-object spectroscopic survey starting in 2017 that will cover 2π steradians over the southern sky (δ ≲ 10°, |b| ≳ 10°), and obtain optical spectra for about two million galaxies out to z < 0.4. Taipan will use the newly refurbished 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN instrument, which includes an innovative ‘Starbugs’ positioning system capable of rapidly and simultaneously deploying up to 150 spectroscopic fibres (and up to 300 with a proposed upgrade) over the 6° diameter focal plane, and a purpose-built spectrograph operating in the range from 370 to 870 nm with resolving power R ≳ 2000. The main scientific goals of Taipan are (i) to measure the distance scale of the Universe (primarily governed by the local expansion rate, H0) to 1% precision, and the growth rate of structure to 5%; (ii) to make the most extensive map yet constructed of the total mass distribution and motions in the local Universe, using peculiar velocities based on improved Fundamental Plane distances, which will enable sensitive tests of gravitational physics; and (iii) to deliver a legacy sample of low-redshift galaxies as a unique laboratory for studying galaxy evolution as a function of dark matter halo and stellar mass and environment. The final survey, which will be completed within 5 yrs, will consist of a complete magnitude-limited sample (i ⩽ 17) of about 1.2 × 106 galaxies supplemented by an extension to higher redshifts and fainter magnitudes (i ⩽ 18.1) of a luminous red galaxy sample of about 0.8 × 106 galaxies. Observations and data processing will be carried out remotely and in a fully automated way, using a purpose-built automated ‘virtual observer’ software and an automated data reduction pipeline. The Taipan survey is deliberately designed to maximise its legacy value by complementing and enhancing current and planned surveys of the southern sky at wavelengths from the optical to the radio; it will become the primary redshift and optical spectroscopic reference catalogue for the local extragalactic Universe in the southern sky for the coming decade.
Fama, or fame, is a central concern of late medieval literature. Where fame came from, who deserved it, whether it was desirable, how it was acquired and kept were significant inquiries for a culture that relied extensively on personal credit and reputation. An interest in fame was not new, being inherited from the classical world, but was renewed and rethought within the vernacular revolutions of the later Middle Ages. The work of Geoffrey Chaucer shows a preoccupation with ideas on the subject of fama, not only those received from the classical world but also those of his near contemporaries; via an engagement with their texts, he aimed to negotiate a place for his own work in the literary canon, establishing fame as the subject-site at which literary theory was contested and writerly reputation won. Chaucer's place in these negotiations was readily recognized in his aftermath, as later writers adopted and reworked postures which Chaucer had struck, in their own bids for literary place. This volume considers the debates on fama which were past, present and future to Chaucer, using his work as a centre point to investigate canon formation in European literature from the late Middle Ages and into the Early Modern period. Isabel Davis is Senior Lecturer in Medieval Literature at Birkbeck, University of London; Catherine Nall is Senior Lecturer in Medieval Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London. Contributors: Joanna Bellis, Alcuin Blamires, Julia Boffey, Isabel Davis, Stephanie Downes, A.S.G. Edwards, Jamie C. Fumo, Andrew Galloway, Nick Havely, Thomas A. Prendergast, Mike Rodman Jones, William T. Rossiter, Elizaveta Strakhov.
Intracranial volume (ICV) has been proposed as a measure of maximum lifetime brain size. Accurate ICV measures require neuroimaging which is not always feasible for epidemiologic investigations. We examined head circumference as a useful surrogate for ICV in older adults.
99 older adults underwent Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). ICV was measured by Statistical Parametric Mapping 8 (SPM8) software or Functional MRI of the Brain Software Library (FSL) extraction with manual editing, typically considered the gold standard. Head circumferences were determined using standardized tape measurement. We examined estimated correlation coefficients between head circumference and the two MRI-based ICV measurements.
Head circumference and ICV by SPM8 were moderately correlated (overall r = 0.73, men r = 0.67, women r = 0.63). Head circumference and ICV by FSL were also moderately correlated (overall r = 0.69, men r = 0.63, women r = 0.49).
Head circumference measurement was strongly correlated with MRI-derived ICV. Our study presents a simple method to approximate ICV among older patients, which may prove useful as a surrogate for cognitive reserve in large scale epidemiologic studies of cognitive outcomes. This study also suggests the stability of head circumference correlation with ICV throughout the lifespan.
Asymptomatic carriage of gastrointestinal zoonoses is more common in people whose profession involves them working directly with domesticated animals. Subclinical infections (defined as an infection in which symptoms are either asymptomatic or sufficiently mild to escape diagnosis) are important within a community as unknowing (asymptomatic) carriers of pathogens do not change their behaviour to prevent the spread of disease; therefore the public health significance of asymptomatic human excretion of zoonoses should not be underestimated. However, optimal strategies for managing diseases where asymptomatic carriage instigates further infection remain unresolved, and the impact on disease management is unclear. In this review we consider the environmental pathways associated with prolonged antigenic exposure and critically assess the significance of asymptomatic carriage in disease outbreaks Although screening high-risk groups for occupationally acquired diseases would be logistically problematical, there may be an economic case for identifying and treating asymptomatic carriage if the costs of screening and treatment are less than the costs of identifying and treating those individuals infected by asymptomatic hosts.
The illegal trade in wild harvested plants and animals is a significant threat to populations and species worldwide. There is concern that in many countries sanctions for wildlife trade crimes are insufficient to act as a deterrent, and do not reflect the seriousness of offences. For these reasons it is important to understand professional and public opinions as to which aspects of such crimes make them more or less serious, and so deserving of a greater or lesser sentence. Conjoint analysis, a method used in marketing to understand which characteristics of a product are valued by consumers, was used to investigate which attributes of hypothetical wildlife trade offences (threat status and taxon of species involved, illegal profit, previous convictions and plea) UK-based conservation professionals, magistrates and the general public considered most important when sentencing wildlife criminals in the UK. Eighty-seven per cent of 682 respondents completed enough of the survey to be included in the analysis. Magistrates and the public considered illegal profit to be the single most important attribute, while conservationists considered the threat status of the species involved to be most important (considered second most important by magistrates and the public). Magistrates, when presented with adequate information, considered the threat status and corresponding legal protection afforded to wildlife when considering how serious a wildlife trade crime was, and doing so is in line with public opinion on sentencing such offences. This study highlights the importance of ensuring that judiciaries are presented with information concerning both the potential profit and conservation impact of wildlife trade crimes. Sentencing councils must develop appropriate guidelines to support judiciaries in their sentencing of wildlife crimes.
Few hard data are available on emergent diseases. However, the need to mitigate and manage emergent diseases has prompted the use of various expert consultation and opinion elicitation methods. We adapted best-worst scaling (BWS) to elicit experts' assessment of the relative practicality and effectiveness of measures to reduce human exposure to E. coli O157. Cattle vaccination was considered the most effective and hand-washing was considered the most practical measure. BWS proved a powerful tool for expert elicitation as it breaks down a cognitively burdensome process into simple, repeated, tasks. In addition, statistical analysis of the resulting data provides a scaled set of scores for the measures, rather than just a ranking. The use of two criteria (practicality and effectiveness) within the BWS process allows the identification of subsets of measures judged as potentially performing well on both criteria, and conversely those judged to be neither effective nor practical.