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Forty-eight toddlers participated in a word-learning task to assess gesture input on mapping nonce words to unfamiliar objects. Receptive fast mapping and expressive naming for target object-word pairs were tested in three conditions – with a point, with a shape gesture, and in a no-gesture, word-only condition. No statistically significant effect of gesture for receptive fast-mapping was found but age was a factor. Two year olds outperformed one year olds for both measures. Only one girl in the one-year-old group correctly named any items. There was a significant interaction between gesture and gender for expressive naming. Two-year-old girls were six times more likely than two-year-old boys to correctly name items given point and shape gestures; whereas, boys named more items taught with the word only than with a point or shape gesture. The role of gesture input remains unclear, particularly for children under two years and for toddler boys.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
We explore the properties of sound and human sound recognition as a means to enhance and accelerate visual-only data analysis methods. The aim of this work is to enable and improve the analysis of large data sets, data requiring rapid analysis, multi-dimensional data, and signal detection in data with low signal-to-noise ratio. We present a prototype tool, StarSound, to sonify data such as astronomical transient light curves, spectra, and power spectra. Stereophonic sound is used to ‘visualise’ and localise the data under examination, and 3-D sound is discussed in conjunction with virtual reality technology, as a means to enhance analysis efficiency and efficacy, including rapid data assessment and training machine learning software. In addition, we explore the use of higher-order harmonics as a means to examine simultaneously multi-dimensional data sets. Such an approach can allow the data to be interpreted in a holistic manner and facilitates the discovery of previously unseen connections and relationships. Furthermore, we exploit the capability of the human brain for selective or focused hearing that enables the identification of desired signals in noisy data, or amidst similar or more significant signals. Finally, we provide research examples that benefit directly from data sonification. The work presented here aims to help tackle the challenges of the upcoming era of Big Data and help optimise, speed up and expand aspects of data analysis requiring human interaction.
On December 12-13, 2011, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) hosted a humanitarian policy and research conference on the theme of “Risk, Adaptation and Innovation in Humanitarian Action.” The four sessions of the conference covered humanitarian action in a changing world, adaptation and innovation in humanitarian action, humanitarian action in protracted and violent conflict, and effective humanitarian action. This special report contains summaries of presentations in each session and the conclusions resulting from the discussions throughout. Through a process of open discussion, debate, and a closing survey, the conference participants identified four top priorities in humanitarian research for the coming years: evidence-driven humanitarian decision-making; accountability and transparency; risk and agility; and partnership. In addition to plans for a 2nd Annual Research and Policy conference in December of 2012, specific outcomes of the conference include a series of regional workshops in 2012 and 2013, launching with Asia, Africa and the Middle East; creation of Policy Working Groups (PWG) for each research priority identified; and a new flagship OCHA publication, to be launched in late 2012 or early 2013, which will share the progress made on the research priorities identified.
Foran MP, Greenough PG, Thow A, Gilman D, Schütz A, Chandran R, Baiocchi A. Identification of current priorities for research in humanitarian action: proceedings of the First Annual UN OCHA Policy and Research Conference. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012;27(3):1-7.
This paper draws attention to the need for further understanding of the fine details of routine and taken-for-granted daily activities and mobility. It argues that such understanding is critical if technologies designed to mitigate the negative impacts of falls and fear-of-falling are to provide unobtrusive support for independent living. The reported research was part of a large, multidisciplinary, multi-site research programme into responses to population ageing in Ireland, Technologies for Independent Living (TRIL). A small, exploratory, qualitative life-space diary study was conducted. Working with eight community-dwelling older adults with different experiences of falls or of fear-of-falls, data were collected through weekly life-space diaries, daily-activity logs, two-dimensional house plans and a pedometer. For some participants, self-recording of their daily activities and movements revealed routine, potentially risky behaviour about which they had been unaware, which may have implications for falls-prevention advice. The findings are presented and discussed around four key themes: ‘being pragmatic’, ‘not just a faller’, ‘heightened awareness and blind spots’ and ‘working with technology’. The findings suggest a need to think creatively about how technological and other solutions best fit with people's everyday challenges and needs and of critical importance, that their installation does not reduce an older adult to ‘just a faller’ or a person with a fear-of-falls.
Background and purpose: Currently, optimal use of virtual simulation for all treatment sites is not entirely clear. This study presents data to identify specific patient groups for whom conventional simulation may be completely eliminated and replaced by virtual simulation.
Sampling and method: Two hundred and sixty patients were recruited from four treatment sites (head and neck, breast, pelvis, and thorax). Patients were randomly assigned to be treated using the usual treatment process involving conventional simulation, or a treatment process differing only in the replacement of conventional plan verification with virtual verification. Data were collected on set-up accuracy at verification, and the number of unsatisfactory verifications requiring a return to the conventional simulator. A micro-economic costing analysis was also undertaken, whereby data for each treatment process episode were also collected: number and grade of staff present, and the time for each treatment episode.
Results: The study shows no statistically significant difference in the number of returns to the conventional simulator for each site and study arm. Image registration data show similar quality of verification for each study arm. The micro-costing data show no statistical difference between the virtual and conventional simulation processes.
Conclusions: At our institution, virtual simulation including virtual verification for the sites investigated presents no disadvantage compared to conventional simulation.
spasticity, a neurological problem secondary to an upper motor neuron lesion, has a significant effect on skeletal muscle. the upper motor neuron lesions may be secondary to a cerebral vascular accident, head injury, spinal cord injury, or degenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, or perinatal brain injuries such as cerebral palsy. functional ability in these patients can be severely compromised but the basic mechanisms underlying these deficits are not clearly understood. in this review we evaluate the current evidence in the literature that suggests that skeletal muscle tissue itself is altered in spastic conditions. experimental studies were evaluated that included a variety of methods encompassing joint mechanics, tissue mechanics, and muscle morphology. taken together, the literature strongly supports the assertion that ‘spastic muscles’ are altered in a way that is unique among muscle plasticity models and inconsistent with simple transformation due to chronic stimulation or disuse. further studies are required to detail the intra- and extracellular modifications of skeletal muscle that occur secondary to spasticity so that novel therapeutic treatments can be developed for this impairment.
We have demonstrated a uniform, robust interface for high-k deposition with significant improvements in device electrical performance compared to conventional surface preparation techniques. The interface was a thin thermal oxide that was grown and then etched back in a controlled manner to the desired thickness. Utilizing this approach, an equivalent oxide thickness (EOT) as low as 0.87 nm has been demonstrated on high-k gate stacks having improved electrical characteristics as compared to more conventionally prepared starting surfaces.
A novel methodology has been developed for the preparation of amorphous semiconductor samples for use in transmission extended x-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) measurements. Epitaxial heterostructures were fabricated by metal organic chemical vapour deposition (group III-Vs) or molecular beam epitaxy (group IVs). An epitaxial layer of ∼2 μm thickness was separated from the underlying substrate by selective chemical etching of an intermediate sacrificial layer. Ion implantation was utilised to amorphise the epitaxial layer either before or after selective chemical etching. The resulting samples were both stoichiometric and homogeneous in contrast to those produced by conventional techniques. The fabrication of amorphous GaAs, InP, In0.53Ga0.47As and SixGe1-x samples is described. Furthermore, EXAFS measurements comparing both fluorescence and transmission detection, and crystalline and amorphised GaAs, are shown.
The structural parameters of stoichiometric, amorphous GaAs have been determined with extended x-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) measurements performed in transmission mode at 10K. Amorphous GaAs samples were fabricated with a combination of epitaxial growth, ion implantation and selective chemical etching. Relative to a crystalline sample, the nearest-neighbor bond length and Debye-Waller factor both increased for amorphous material. In contrast, the coordination numbers about both Ga and As atoms in the amorphous phase decreased to ˜3.85 atoms from the crystalline value of four. All structural parameters were independent of implantation conditions and as a consequence, were considered representative of intrinsic, amorphous GaAs as opposed to an implantation-induced extrinsic structure.
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