600 research outputs found

    A prospective earthquake forecast experiment in the western Pacific

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    Since the beginning of 2009, the Collaboratory for the Study of Earthquake Predictability (CSEP) has been conducting an earthquake forecast experiment in the western Pacific. This experiment is an extension of the Kagan—Jackson experiments begun 15 years earlier and is a prototype for future global earthquake predictability experiments. At the beginning of each year, seismicity models make a spatially gridded forecast of the number of Mw≥ 5.8 earthquakes expected in the next year. For the three participating statistical models, we analyse the first two years of this experiment. We use likelihood-based metrics to evaluate the consistency of the forecasts with the observed target earthquakes and we apply measures based on Student's t-test and the Wilcoxon signed-rank test to compare the forecasts. Overall, a simple smoothed seismicity model (TripleS) performs the best, but there are some exceptions that indicate continued experiments are vital to fully understand the stability of these models, the robustness of model selection and, more generally, earthquake predictability in this region. We also estimate uncertainties in our results that are caused by uncertainties in earthquake location and seismic moment. Our uncertainty estimates are relatively small and suggest that the evaluation metrics are relatively robust. Finally, we consider the implications of our results for a global earthquake forecast experimen

    Interstellar neutral helium in the heliosphere from IBEX observations. V. Observations in IBEX-Lo ESA steps 1, 2, & 3

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    Direct-sampling observations of interstellar neutral (ISN) He by Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) provide valuable insight into the physical state of and processes operating in the interstellar medium ahead of the heliosphere. The ISN He atom signals are observed at the four lowest ESA steps of the IBEX-Lo sensor. The observed signal is a mixture of the primary and secondary components of ISN He and H. Previously, only data from one of the ESA steps have been used. Here, we extended the analysis to data collected in the three lowest ESA steps with the strongest ISN He signal, for the observation seasons 2009-2015. The instrument sensitivity is modeled as a linear function of the atom impact speed onto the sensor's conversion surface separately for each ESA step of the instrument. We found that the sensitivity increases from lower to higher ESA steps, but within each of the ESA steps it is a decreasing function of the atom impact speed. This result may be influenced by the hydrogen contribution, which was not included in the adopted model, but seems to exist in the signal. We conclude that the currently accepted temperature of ISN He and velocity of the Sun through the interstellar medium do not need a revision, and we sketch a plan of further data analysis aiming at investigating ISN H and a better understanding of the population of ISN He originating in the outer heliosheath.Comment: 20 pages, 5 figures, 5 tables, accepted for publication in the The Astrophysical Journa


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    Determining the direction of the local interstellar magnetic field (LISMF) is important for understanding the heliosphere's global structure, the properties of the interstellar medium, and the propagation of cosmic rays in the local galactic medium. Measurements of interstellar neutral atoms by Ulysses for He and by SOHO/SWAN for H provided some of the first observational insights into the LISMF direction. Because secondary neutral H is partially deflected by the interstellar flow in the outer heliosheath and this deflection is influenced by the LISMF, the relative deflection of H versus He provides a plane—the so-called B–V plane in which the LISMF direction should lie. Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) subsequently discovered a ribbon, the center of which is conjectured to be the LISMF direction. The most recent He velocity measurements from IBEX and those from Ulysses yield a B–V plane with uncertainty limits that contain the centers of the IBEX ribbon at 0.7–2.7 keV. The possibility that Voyager 1 has moved into the outer heliosheath now suggests that Voyager 1's direct observations provide another independent determination of the LISMF. We show that LISMF direction measured by Voyager 1 is >40° off from the IBEX ribbon center and the B–V plane. Taking into account the temporal gradient of the field direction measured by Voyager 1, we extrapolate to a field direction that passes directly through the IBEX ribbon center (0.7–2.7 keV) and the B–V plane, allowing us to triangulate the LISMF direction and estimate the gradient scale size of the magnetic field

    Dynamics and Selection of Giant Spirals in Rayleigh-Benard Convection

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    For Rayleigh-Benard convection of a fluid with Prandtl number \sigma \approx 1, we report experimental and theoretical results on a pattern selection mechanism for cell-filling, giant, rotating spirals. We show that the pattern selection in a certain limit can be explained quantitatively by a phase-diffusion mechanism. This mechanism for pattern selection is very different from that for spirals in excitable media

    Criteria for the use of omics-based predictors in clinical trials.

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    The US National Cancer Institute (NCI), in collaboration with scientists representing multiple areas of expertise relevant to 'omics'-based test development, has developed a checklist of criteria that can be used to determine the readiness of omics-based tests for guiding patient care in clinical trials. The checklist criteria cover issues relating to specimens, assays, mathematical modelling, clinical trial design, and ethical, legal and regulatory aspects. Funding bodies and journals are encouraged to consider the checklist, which they may find useful for assessing study quality and evidence strength. The checklist will be used to evaluate proposals for NCI-sponsored clinical trials in which omics tests will be used to guide therapy

    Sucrose and starch intake contribute to reduced alveolar bone height in a rodent model of naturally occurring periodontitis

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    Funding: This research project was funded in part by the Strategic Research Excellence Initiative 2020 (SREI2020), University of Sydney to JE and the University of Sydney HMR + Implementation Funding Grant to VC, DLC and SS.Peer reviewedPublisher PD

    The Plasma and Suprathermal Ion Composition (PLASTIC) investigation on the STEREO observatories

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    The Plasma and Suprathermal Ion Composition (PLASTIC) investigation provides the in situ solar wind and low energy heliospheric ion measurements for the NASA Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory Mission, which consists of two spacecraft (STEREO-A, STEREO-B). PLASTIC-A and PLASTIC-B are identical. Each PLASTIC is a time-of-flight/energy mass spectrometer designed to determine the elemental composition, ionic charge states, and bulk flow parameters of major solar wind ions in the mass range from hydrogen to iron. PLASTIC has nearly complete angular coverage in the ecliptic plane and an energy range from ∼0.3 to 80 keV/e, from which the distribution functions of suprathermal ions, including those ions created in pick-up and local shock acceleration processes, are also provided


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    The Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) spacecraft is providing the first all-sky maps of the energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) produced by charge exchange between interstellar neutral Ho atoms and heliospheric solar wind and pickup ions in the heliosphere boundary regions. The "edge" of the interstellar cloud presently surrounding the heliosphere extends less than 0.1 pc in the upwind direction, terminating at an unknown distance, indicating that the outer boundary conditions of the heliosphere could change during the lifetime of the IBEX satellite. Using reasonable values for future outer heliosphere boundary conditions, ENA fluxes are predicted for one possible source of ENAs coming from outside of the heliopause. The ENA-production simulations use three-dimensional MHD plasma models of the heliosphere that include a kinetic description of neutrals and a Lorentzian distribution for ions. Based on this ENA-production model, it is then shown that the sensitivities of the IBEX 1.1 keV skymaps are sufficient to detect the variations in ENA fluxes that are expected to accompany the solar transition into the next upwind cloud. Approximately 20% of the IBEX 1.1 keV pixels appear capable of detecting the predicted model differences at the 3σ level, with these pixels concentrated in the Ribbon region. Regardless of the detailed ENA production model, the success of the modeled B centerdot R ~ 0 directions in reproducing the Ribbon locus, together with our results, indicates that the Ribbon phenomenon traces the variations in the heliosphere distortion caused by the relative pressures of the interstellar magnetic and gaseous components.United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA IBEX mission, Explorer Program, grant NNX09AG63G

    Smoking Is Associated with, but Does Not Cause, Depressed Mood in Pregnancy – A Mendelian Randomization Study

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    Smokers have a higher prevalence of major depressive episodes and depressive symptoms than the general population, but whether this association is causal, or is due to confounding or reverse causation is uncertain because of the problems inherent in some epidemiological studies. Mendelian randomization, in which a genetic variant is used as a surrogate for measuring exposure, is an approach which may be used to better understand this association. We investigated the rs1051730 single nucleotide polymorphism in the nicotine acetylcholine receptor gene cluster (CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4), associated with smoking phenotypes, to determine whether women who continued to smoke were also more likely to report a low mood during pregnancy. We found among women who smoked pre-pregnancy, those with the 1051730 T allele smoked more and were less likely to quit smoking during pregnancy, but were also less likely to report high levels of depressed mood at 18 weeks of pregnancy (per allele OR = 0.84, 95%CI 0.72 to 0.99, p = 0.034). The association between genotype and depressed mood was limited to women who were smokers prior to pregnancy, with weak evidence of an interaction between smoking status and genotype (p = 0.07). Our results do not support a causal role of smoking on depressed mood, but are consistent with a self-medication hypothesis, whereby smoking is used to alleviate symptoms of depression. A replication study using multiple genetic variants which influence smoking via different pathways is required to confirm these findings and provide evidence that the genetic variant is reflecting the effect of quitting smoking on depressed mood, and is not directly affecting mood