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Suppose he is what he sounds like, the most important thinker since Newton, Darwin, Einstein, and Pavlov … what if he is right?
Radio – A Dead Medium?
Beyond the so-called ‘golden age’ of radio, the medium that defined North American culture and set the patterns for media that followed had become almost extinct for the better part of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first century. Radio had turned, in Bruce Sterling's words, almost into a ‘dead medium’. It tended to be forgotten by the public and, by and large, ignored by academics.
Radio historian Michele Hilmes, for instance, believes that the major reason for the neglect of radio is the advent of television, a brand new medium that was invented and popularized precisely at a time when a rapidly growing interest in the study of media began to develop. Marshall McLuhan, too, may have fallen prey to the fascination of the new television medium. He is regarded as the theorist of television par excellence, and even a cursory look at his writing may readily lend proof to this observation. Thus, it may come as a surprise that McLuhan also wrote about the radio, but not at great length. He probably didn't think of radio as dead, but he didn't devote much attention to the study of the old mass medium.
Uterine infections during pregnancy predispose to pre-term birth and postnatal morbidity, but it is unknown how prenatal bacterial exposure affects maturation of the immature gut. We hypothesised that a prenatal exposure to gram-negative lipopolysaccharide (LPS) has immunomodulatory effects that improve resistance towards necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) in pre-term neonates. At approximately 85 % gestation, pig fetuses were injected intramuscularly with saline or LPS (0·014 mg/kg), or intra-amniotically with LPS (0·4 mg/kg). Pigs were delivered by caesarean section 3–5 d later and fed colostrum (C) or formula (F) for 48 h. Gut indices did not differ between pigs injected intramuscularly with saline or LPS, and these groups were therefore pooled into two control groups according to diet (control-F, n 32 and control-C, n 11). Control-F pigs showed reduced villus heights, mucosal structure, gut integrity, digestive enzymes, elevated NEC incidence (38 v. 0 %, P < 0·05) and several differentially expressed immune-related genes, relative to control-C pigs. Compared with the control-F and control-C groups, values in formula-fed pigs given intra-amniotic LPS formula (n 17) were intermediate for villus height, enzyme activities, intestinal permeability and NEC incidence (18 %, P = 0·2 relative to control-F), and numbers of differentially expressed immune genes. In conclusion, prenatal exposure of the fetal gut to Gram-negative bacteria may modulate the immediate postnatal response to an enteral diet and colonising bacteria.
Genetically modified (GM) maize expressing the insecticidal protein Cry1Ab from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt maize) is the only GM crop planted commercially in the European Union (EU). Cultivation in accordance with Directive 2001/18/EC demands post-market environmental monitoring (PMEM) to ensure the detection and prevention of adverse effects on the environment possibly deriving from commercial cultivation. Based on a seminar organized in Berlin, Germany, in April 2008 by the EU-funded Biosafenet project, the present paper reflects on experiences and hurdles faced during the implementation of PMEM for Bt maize. It reviews and reconsiders PMEM programs of Bt maize in view of existing experiences from cultivation, current monitoring activities initiated by Member States and applicants, proposed monitoring strategies and methods as well as potential environmental impacts of cultivation. Future challenges will arise from large-scale and cumulative cultivation of various events. This will demand optimized organization structures for data collation and integration to support further decision-making and management.
Previous European guidance for environmental risk assessment of genetically
modified plants emphasized the concepts of statistical power but provided no
explicit requirements for the provision of statistical power analyses.
Similarly, whilst the need for good experimental designs was stressed, no
minimum guidelines were set for replication or sample sizes. Furthermore,
although substantial equivalence was stressed as central to risk assessment,
no means of quantification of this concept was given. This paper suggests
several ways in which existing guidance might be revised to address these
problems. One approach explored is the `bioequivalence' test, which has the
advantage that the error of most concern to the consumer may be set
relatively easily. Also, since the burden of proof is placed on the
experimenter, the test promotes high-quality, well-replicated experiments
with sufficient statistical power.
Other recommendations cover the specification of effect sizes, the choice of
appropriate comparators, the use of positive controls, meta-analyses,
multivariate analysis and diversity indices. Specific guidance is suggested
for experimental designs of field trials and their statistical analyses. A
checklist for experimental design is proposed to accompany all environmental
Monitoring is a statutory requirement for the cultivation of genetically
modified (GM) crops in the European Community. Questionnaires for farmers to
report on observations of effects linked with the cultivation of GM crops
can form a useful part of a monitoring regime. A questionnaire for GM maize
(Zea mays L.) was designed, with questions focusing on potential effects related to
the GM maize grown, as well as on background information about cultivation
methods and on individual field situations. In this paper we present the
methodological approach of the monitoring regime, the structuring of the
data, and the contents and structure of the questionnaire. The statistical
requirements and background for an appropriate evaluation and interpretation
of the data are described. Results of interviews made from 2001 to 2005 are
also presented. It is envisaged that this approach will be developed for
monitoring other cultivated GM plants and traits, and may be applicable in
monitoring certain non-farmed environments.
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