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We summarize some of the past year's most important findings within climate change-related research. New research has improved our understanding of Earth's sensitivity to carbon dioxide, finds that permafrost thaw could release more carbon emissions than expected and that the uptake of carbon in tropical ecosystems is weakening. Adverse impacts on human society include increasing water shortages and impacts on mental health. Options for solutions emerge from rethinking economic models, rights-based litigation, strengthened governance systems and a new social contract. The disruption caused by COVID-19 could be seized as an opportunity for positive change, directing economic stimulus towards sustainable investments.
A synthesis is made of ten fields within climate science where there have been significant advances since mid-2019, through an expert elicitation process with broad disciplinary scope. Findings include: (1) a better understanding of equilibrium climate sensitivity; (2) abrupt thaw as an accelerator of carbon release from permafrost; (3) changes to global and regional land carbon sinks; (4) impacts of climate change on water crises, including equity perspectives; (5) adverse effects on mental health from climate change; (6) immediate effects on climate of the COVID-19 pandemic and requirements for recovery packages to deliver on the Paris Agreement; (7) suggested long-term changes to governance and a social contract to address climate change, learning from the current pandemic, (8) updated positive cost–benefit ratio and new perspectives on the potential for green growth in the short- and long-term perspective; (9) urban electrification as a strategy to move towards low-carbon energy systems and (10) rights-based litigation as an increasingly important method to address climate change, with recent clarifications on the legal standing and representation of future generations.
Social media summary
Stronger permafrost thaw, COVID-19 effects and growing mental health impacts among highlights of latest climate science.
Hans Jacob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen (ca. 1621-1676) is the most significant (and still readable) author of seventeenth-century German novels. His Abenteuerlicher Simplicius Simplicissimusremains the one German novel of its time that has attained the stature of "world literature": its unique mix of violent action and solitary reflection, its superlative humor, its realistic portrayalof a peasant turned soldier turned hermit has made it the longest-running bestseller in German literature. Read by students and scholars in comparative literature, history, and German, and by those interested in the development of the picaresque novel in Europe, the work and its "Continuations" have increasingly occupied scholars around the world, who have in recent years shown it to be a work ofsubtle structure and characterization, bearing the imprint of the most advanced political thinking of the time, and showing the influences of some of the most significant works of world literature, including Cervantes' Don Quixote and Barclay's Argenis. This volume of essays by leading Grimmelshausen scholars from Germany, the United States, and England provides analyses of significant topics in his life and works, including questions of genre, structure, satire, allegory, narratology, political thought, religion, morality, humor, realism, and mortality. Contributors: Christoph E. Schweitzer, Italo Michele Battafarano, Klaus Haberkamm, Rosmarie Zeller, Andreas Solbach, Dieter Breuer, Lynne Tatlock, Peter Hess, Shannon Keenan Greene, and Alan Menhennet.
KarlF. Otto is Professor of German at the University of Pennsylvania and has written extensively on German Baroque literature.
The signal recognition particle (SRP) is a phylogenetically
conserved ribonucleoprotein required for cotranslational
targeting of proteins to the membrane of the endoplasmic
reticulum of the bacterial plasma membrane. Domain IV of
SRP RNA consists of a short stem-loop structure with two
internal loops that contain the most conserved nucleotides
of the molecule. All known essential interactions of SRP
occur in that moiety containing domain IV. The solution
structure of a 43-nt RNA comprising the complete Escherichia
coli domain IV was determined by multidimensional
NMR and restrained molecular dynamics refinement. Our data
confirm the previously determined rigid structure of a
smaller subfragment containing the most conserved, symmetric
internal loop A (Schmitz et al., Nat Struct Biol,
1999, 6:634–638), where all conserved nucleotides
are involved in nucleotide-specific structural interactions.
Asymmetric internal loop B provides a hinge in the RNA
molecule; it is partially flexible, yet also uniquely structured.
The longer strand of internal loop B extends the major
groove by creating a ledge-like arrangement; for loop B
however, there is no obvious structural role for the conserved
nucleotides. The structure of domain IV suggests that loop
A is the initial site for the RNA/protein interaction creating
specificity, whereas loop B provides a secondary interaction
Reactively-sputtered, polycrystalline thin film aluminum nitride (AlN) is an attractive material for use in acoustic wave devices, for which it requires a strong preferred orientation, similar to that found in epitaxial films. This investigation evaluated the grain structure including preferred orientation, grain size, and surface morphology of sputtered A1N films. The characterization techniques utilized included x-ray diffraction (XRD), secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The results revealed two types of grain structure: 1) a single-grain columnar structure that is perfectly oriented in the  direction throughout the entire film thickness and 2) a multiple-grain columnar structure that possesses a strong  orientation at the bottom of the film and a tilted  combined with other orientations at the top of the film. Strong correlations between orientation and surface morphology, oxygen content, and grain size were observed, namely higher degrees of c-axis orientation correlated with lower mean surface roughness values, reduced oxygen concentration, and narrower grains.
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