151 research outputs found

    Elasticities and trade imbalances: The significance of the Marshall/Lerner condition

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    The Marshall/Lerner condition is examined in a context in which full account is taken of the intertemporal optimizing conditions inherent in the balance of payments. This analysis suggests that the condition has only a very limited significance.

    The Steady Inflation Rate of Economic Growth

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    This paper considers the existence of a path of GDP corresponding to steady inflation in the prices of domestic goods. We estimate the steady inflation rate of growth, denoted the SIRG, at a little over 4 per cent per annum in the post-float period. Changes in inflation are modelled as a nonlinear combination of growth and changes in import price inflation. Because import price inflation is more volatile than overall inflation, policy that targets overall inflation may require growth to fluctuate considerably, whereas growth can be steady if the target is steady inflation of domestic goods' prices.inflation, growth , import prices, monetary policy

    Integrated testing strategies can be optimal for chemical risk classification.

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    There is an urgent need to refine strategies for testing the safety of chemical compounds. This need arises both from the financial and ethical costs of animal tests, but also from the opportunities presented by new in-vitro and in-silico alternatives. Here we explore the mathematical theory underpinning the formulation of optimal testing strategies in toxicology. We show how the costs and imprecisions of the various tests, and the variability in exposures and responses of individuals, can be assembled rationally to form a Markov Decision Problem. We compute the corresponding optimal policies using well developed theory based on Dynamic Programming, thereby identifying and overcoming some methodological and logical inconsistencies which may exist in the current toxicological testing. By illustrating our methods for two simple but readily generalisable examples we show how so-called integrated testing strategies, where information of different precisions from different sources is combined and where different initial test outcomes lead to different sets of future tests, can arise naturally as optimal policies

    Design and Development of an In-Space Deployable Sun Shield for the Atlas Centaur

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    The Centaur, by virtue of its use of high specific-impulse (Isp) LO2/LH2 propellants, has initial mass-to-orbit launch requirements less than half of those upper stages using storable propellants. That is, for Earth escape or GSO missions the Centaur is half the launch weight of a storable propellant upper stage. A drawback to the use of Liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, at 90 K and 20 K respectively, over storable propellants is the necessity of efficient cryogen storage techniques that minimize boil-off from thermal radiation in space. Thermal blankets have been used successfully to shield both the Atlas Centaur and Titan Centaur. These blankets are protected from atmospheric air loads during launch by virtue of the fact that the Centaur is enclosed within the payload fairing. The smaller Atlas V vehicle, the Atlas 400, has the Centaur exposed to the atmosphere during launch, and therefore, to date has not flown with thermal blankets shielding the Centaur. A design and development effort is underway to fly a thermal shield on the Atlas V 400 vehicle that is not put in place until after the payload fairing jettisons. This can be accomplished by the use of an inflatable and deployable thermal blanket referred to as the Centaur Sun Shield (CSS). The CSS design is also scalable for use on a Delta upper stage, and the technology potentially could be used for telescope shades, re-entry shields, solar sails and propellant depots. A Phase I effort took place during 2007 in a partnership between ULA and ILC Dover which resulted in a deployable proof-of-concept Sun Shield being demonstrated at a test facility in Denver. A Phase H effort is underway during 2008 with a partnership between ULA, ILC, NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) and NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) to define requirements, determine materials and fabrication techniques, and to test components in a vacuum chamber at cold temperatures. This paper describes the Sun Shield development work to date, and the future plans leading up to a flight test in the 2011 time frame

    Catching more offenders with EvoFIT facial composites: Lab research and Police field trials.

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    Often, the only evidence of an offender’s identity comes from the memory of an eyewitness. For over 12 years, we have been developing software called EvoFIT to help eyewitnesses recover their memories of offenders’ faces, to assist police investigations. EvoFIT requires eyewitnesses to repeatedly select from arrays of faces, with ‘breeding’, to ‘evolve’ a face. Recently, police forces have been formally evaluating EvoFIT in criminal cases. The current paper describes four such police audits. It is reported that EvoFIT composites directly led to an arrest in 25.4% of cases overall; the arrest rate was 38.5% for forces that used a newer, less detailed face-recall interview. These results are similar to those found in the laboratory using simulated procedures. Here, we also evaluate the impact of interviewing techniques and outline further work that has improved system performance

    Development of a Kemp\u27s Ridley Sea Turtle Stock Assessment Model

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    We developed a Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) stock assessment model to evaluate the relative contributions of conservation efforts and other factors toward this critically endangered species’ recovery. The Kemp’s ridley demographic model developed by the Turtle Expert Working Group (TEWG) in 1998 and 2000 and updated for the binational recovery plan in 2011 was modified for use as our base model. The TEWG model uses indices of the annual reproductive population (number of nests) and hatchling recruitment to predict future annual numbers of nests on the basis of a series of assumptions regarding age and maturity, remigration interval, sex ratios, nests per female, juvenile mortality, and a putative ‘‘turtle excluder device effect’’ multiplier starting in 1990. This multiplier was necessary to fit the number of nests observed in 1990 and later. We added the effects of shrimping effort directly, modified by habitat weightings, as a proxy for all sources of anthropogenic mortality. Additional data included in our model were incremental growth of Kemp’s ridleys marked and recaptured in the Gulf of Mexico, and the length frequency of stranded Kemp’s ridleys. We also added a 2010 mortality factor that was necessary to fit the number of nests for 2010 and later (2011 and 2012). Last, we used an empirical basis for estimating natural mortality, on the basis of a Lorenzen mortality curve and growth estimates. Although our model generated reasonable estimates of annual total turtle deaths attributable to shrimp trawling, as well as additional deaths due to undetermined anthropogenic causes in 2010, we were unable to provide a clear explanation for the observed increase in the number of stranded Kemp’s ridleys in recent years, and subsequent disruption of the species’ exponential growth since the 2009 nesting season. Our consensus is that expanded data collection at the nesting beaches is needed and of high priority, and that 2015 be targeted for the next stock assessment to evaluate the 2010 event using more recent nesting and in-water data

    Oxamniquine resistance alleles are widespread in Old World Schistosoma mansoni and predate drug deployment

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    Do mutations required for adaptation occur de novo, or are they segregating within populations as standing genetic variation? This question is key to understanding adaptive change in nature, and has important practical consequences for the evolution of drug resistance. We provide evidence that alleles conferring resistance to oxamniquine (OXA), an antischistosomal drug, are widespread in natural parasite populations under minimal drug pressure and predate OXA deployment. OXA has been used since the 1970s to treat Schistosoma mansoni infections in the New World where S. mansoni established during the slave trade. Recessive loss-of-function mutations within a parasite sulfotransferase (SmSULT-OR) underlie resistance, and several verified resistance mutations, including a deletion (p.E142del), have been identified in the New World. Here we investigate sequence variation in SmSULT-OR in S. mansoni from the Old World, where OXA has seen minimal usage. We sequenced exomes of 204 S. mansoni parasites from West Africa, East Africa and the Middle East, and scored variants in SmSULT-OR and flanking regions. We identified 39 non-synonymous SNPs, 4 deletions, 1 duplication and 1 premature stop codon in the SmSULT-OR coding sequence, including one confirmed resistance deletion (p.E142del). We expressed recombinant proteins and used an in vitro OXA activation assay to functionally validate the OXA-resistance phenotype for four predicted OXA-resistance mutations. Three aspects of the data are of particular interest: (i) segregating OXA-resistance alleles are widespread in Old World populations (4.29–14.91% frequency), despite minimal OXA usage, (ii) two OXA-resistance mutations (p.W120R, p.N171IfsX28) are particularly common (>5%) in East African and Middle-Eastern populations, (iii) the p.E142del allele has identical flanking SNPs in both West Africa and Puerto Rico, suggesting that parasites bearing this allele colonized the New World during the slave trade and therefore predate OXA deployment. We conclude that standing variation for OXA resistance is widespread in S. mansoni

    Modelling the spatial and seasonal distribution of suitable habitats of schistosomiasis intermediate host snails using Maxent in Ndumo area, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa

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    Abstract Background Schistosomiasis is a snail-borne disease endemic in sub-Saharan Africa transmitted by freshwater snails. The distribution of schistosomiasis coincides with that of the intermediate hosts as determined by climatic and environmental factors. The aim of this paper was to model the spatial and seasonal distribution of suitable habitats for Bulinus globosus and Biomphalaria pfeifferi snail species (intermediate hosts for Schistosoma haematobium and Schistosoma mansoni, respectively) in the Ndumo area of uMkhanyakude district, South Africa. Methods Maximum Entropy (Maxent) modelling technique was used to predict the distribution of suitable habitats for B. globosus and B. pfeifferi using presence-only datasets with ≄ 5 and ≀ 12 sampling points in different seasons. Precipitation, maximum and minimum temperatures, Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Normalised Difference Water Index (NDWI), pH, slope and Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) were the background variables in the Maxent models. The models were validated using the area under the curve (AUC) and omission rate. Results The predicted suitable habitats for intermediate snail hosts varied with seasons. The AUC for models in all seasons ranged from 0.71 to 1 and the prediction rates were between 0.8 and 0.9. Although B. globosus was found at more localities in the Ndumo area, there was also evidence of cohabiting with B. pfiefferi at some of the locations. NDWI had significant contribution to the models in all seasons. Conclusion The Maxent model is robust in snail habitat suitability modelling even with small dataset of presence-only sampling sites. Application of the methods and design used in this study may be useful in developing a control and management programme for schistosomiasis in the Ndumo area