929 research outputs found

    Realization of a feedback controlled flashing ratchet

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    A flashing ratchet transports diffusive particles using a time-dependent, asymmetric potential. Particle speed is predicted to increase when a feedback algorithm based on particle positions is used. We have experimentally realized such a feedback ratchet using an optical line trap, and observed that use of feedback increases velocity by up to an order of magnitude. We compare two different feedback algorithms for small particle numbers, and find good agreement with simulations. We also find that existing algorithms can be improved to be more tolerant to feedback delay times

    On the coexistence of stellar-mass and intermediate-mass black holes in globular clusters

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    In this paper, we address the question: What is the probability of stellar-mass black hole (BH) binaries co-existing in a globular cluster with an intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH)? Our results suggest that the detection of one or more BH binaries can strongly constrain the presence of an IMBH in most Galactic globular clusters. More specifically, the detection of one or more BH binaries could strongly indicate against the presence of an IMBH more massive than 103\gtrsim 10^3 M_{\rm \odot} in roughly 80\% of the clusters in our sample. To illustrate this, we use a combination of N-body simulations and analytic methods to weigh the rate of formation of BH binaries against their ejection and/or disruption rate via strong gravitational interactions with the central (most) massive BH. The eventual fate of a sub-population of stellar-mass BHs (with or without binary companions) is for all BHs to be ejected from the cluster by the central IMBH, leaving only the most massive stellar-mass BH behind to form a close binary with the IMBH. During each phase of evolution, we discuss the rate of inspiral of the central BH-BH pair as a function of both the properties of the binary and its host cluster.Comment: 16 pages, 8 figures, 1 table, accepted for publication in MNRA

    Transaction Costs in Payment of Environmental Service Contracts

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    Citation: Jeffrey M. Peterson, Craig M. Smith, John C. Leatherman, Nathan P. Hendricks, John A. Fox; Transaction Costs in Payment for Environmental Service Contracts, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Volume 97, Issue 1, 1 January 2015, Pages 219–238, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajae/aau071Payment for environmental service contracts commonly require actions beyond adoption of a practice, such as undergoing specified enrollment procedures, granting consent to being monitored, and paying penalties for violations. These provisions are a bundle of attributes a landholder must accept with contract enrollment, leading to transaction costs in the contracting process. This article develops a principal–agent framework to study the links between these transaction costs and the well-known information asymmetries between the landholders and the government agency offering contracts. Using stated choice data collected from a sample of farmers, we estimate a mixed logit model to quantify the contribution of different contract attributes on contract willingness-to-accept (WTA). More stringent provisions in contracts were found to raise individual WTA by widely differing amounts across farmers, but the average effects imply that overall contract supply is sensitive to stringency. From a series of microsimulations based on the estimated model, we find that transaction costs create a significant drain on the cost-effectiveness of contracting from the agency’s point of view, similar in magnitude to the inefficiency created by hidden information. Although stringent contractual terms raise program expenditures, they may be justified if they raise compliance rates enough to offset the added cost. We also simulate an implicit frontier to trace out the change in compliance needed to justify a given increase in stringency. For environmental benefits in the range of previous estimates, this analysis suggests that stringent terms would need to substantially raise compliance rates to be cost effective

    Adaptive patch foraging in deep reinforcement learning agents

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    Patch foraging is one of the most heavily studied behavioral optimization challenges in biology. However, despite its importance to biological intelligence, this behavioral optimization problem is understudied in artificial intelligence research. Patch foraging is especially amenable to study given that it has a known optimal solution, which may be difficult to discover given current techniques in deep reinforcement learning. Here, we investigate deep reinforcement learning agents in an ecological patch foraging task. For the first time, we show that machine learning agents can learn to patch forage adaptively in patterns similar to biological foragers, and approach optimal patch foraging behavior when accounting for temporal discounting. Finally, we show emergent internal dynamics in these agents that resemble single-cell recordings from foraging non-human primates, which complements experimental and theoretical work on the neural mechanisms of biological foraging. This work suggests that agents interacting in complex environments with ecologically valid pressures arrive at common solutions, suggesting the emergence of foundational computations behind adaptive, intelligent behavior in both biological and artificial agents.Comment: Published in Transactions on Machine Learning Research (TMLR). See: https://openreview.net/pdf?id=a0T3nOP9s

    Effects of Trophic Level and Metamorphosis on Discrimination of Hydrogen Isotopes in a Plant-Herbivore System

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    The use of stable isotopes in ecological studies requires that we know the magnitude of discrimination factors between consumer and element sources. The causes of variation in discrimination factors for carbon and nitrogen have been relatively well studied. In contrast, the discrimination factors for hydrogen have rarely been measured. We grew cabbage looper caterpillars (Trichoplusia ni) on cabbage (Brassica oleracea) plants irrigated with four treatments of deuterium-enriched water (δD = −131, −88, −48, and −2‰, respectively), allowing some of them to reach adulthood as moths. Tissue δD values of plants, caterpillars, and moths were linearly correlated with the isotopic composition of irrigation water. However, the slope of these relationships was less than 1, and hence, discrimination factors depended on the δD value of irrigation water. We hypothesize that this dependence is an artifact of growing plants in an environment with a common atmospheric δD value. Both caterpillars and moths were significantly enriched in deuterium relative to plants by ∼45‰ and 23‰ respectively, but the moths had lower tissue to plant discrimination factors than did the caterpillars. If the trophic enrichment documented here is universal, δD values must be accounted for in geographic assignment studies. The isotopic value of carbon was transferred more or less faithfully across trophic levels, but δ15N values increased from plants to insects and we observed significant non-trophic 15N enrichment in the metamorphosis from larvae to adult

    Effects of Heparin on Amylin Fibrillization

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    Fluted Films

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    This paper is associated with a poster winner of a 2017 APS/DFD Milton van Dyke Award for work presented at the DFD Gallery of Fluid Motion. The original poster is available from the Gallery of Fluid Motion, https://doi.org/10.1103/APS.DFD.2017.GFM.P003

    The dominant mechanism(s) for populating the outskirts of star clusters with neutron star binaries

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    It has been argued that heavy binaries composed of neutron stars (NSs) and millisecond pulsars (MSPs) can end up in the outskirts of star clusters via an interaction with a massive black hole (BH) binary expelling them from the core. We argue here, however, that this mechanism will rarely account for such observed objects. Only for primary masses \lesssim 100 M_{\odot} and a narrow range of orbital separations should a BH-BH binary be both dynamically hard and produce a sufficiently low recoil velocity to retain the NS binary in the cluster. Hence, BH binaries are in general likely to eject NSs from clusters. We explore several alternative mechanisms that would cause NS/MSP binaries to be observed in the outskirts of their host clusters after a Hubble time. The most likely mechanism is a three-body interaction involving the NS/MSP binary and a normal star. We compare to Monte Carlo simulations of cluster evolution for the globular clusters NGC 6752 and 47 Tuc, and show that the models not only confirm that normal three-body interactions involving all stellar-mass objects are the dominant mechanism for putting NS/MSP binaries into the cluster outskirts, they also reproduce the observed NS/MSP binary radial distributions without needing to invoke the presence of a massive BH binary. Higher central densities and an episode of core-collapse can broaden the radial distributions of NSs/MSPs and NS/MSP binaries due to three-body interactions, making these clusters more likely to host NSs in the cluster outskirts.Comment: 13 pages, 7 figures, 2 tables, submitted to MNRA

    Aim18p and Aim46p are chalcone isomerase domain-containing mitochondrial hemoproteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

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    Chalcone isomerases (CHIs) have well-established roles in the biosynthesis of plant flavonoid metabolites. Saccharomyces cerevisiae possesses two predicted CHI-like proteins, Aim18p (encoded by YHR198C) and Aim46p (YHR199C), but it lacks other enzymes of the flavonoid pathway, suggesting that Aim18p and Aim46p employ the CHI fold for distinct purposes. Here, we demonstrate using proteinase K protection assays, sodium carbonate extractions, and crystallography that Aim18p and Aim46p reside on the mitochondrial inner membrane and adopt CHI folds, but they lack select active site residues and possess an extra fungal-specific loop. Consistent with these differences, Aim18p and Aim46p lack CHI activity and also the fatty acid-binding capabilities of other CHI-like proteins, but instead bind heme. We further show that diverse fungal homologs also bind heme and that Aim18p and Aim46p possess structural homology to a bacterial hemoprotein. Collectively, our work reveals a distinct function and cellular localization for two CHI-like proteins, introduces a new variation of a hemoprotein fold, and suggests that ancestral CHI-like proteins were hemoproteins

    miR-196b target screen reveals mechanisms maintaining leukemia stemness with therapeutic potential.

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    We have shown that antagomiR inhibition of miRNA miR-21 and miR-196b activity is sufficient to ablate MLL-AF9 leukemia stem cells (LSC) in vivo. Here, we used an shRNA screening approach to mimic miRNA activity on experimentally verified miR-196b targets to identify functionally important and therapeutically relevant pathways downstream of oncogenic miRNA in MLL-r AML. We found Cdkn1b (p27Kip1) is a direct miR-196b target whose repression enhanced an embryonic stem cell–like signature associated with decreased leukemia latency and increased numbers of leukemia stem cells in vivo. Conversely, elevation of p27Kip1 significantly reduced MLL-r leukemia self-renewal, promoted monocytic differentiation of leukemic blasts, and induced cell death. Antagonism of miR-196b activity or pharmacologic inhibition of the Cks1-Skp2–containing SCF E3-ubiquitin ligase complex increased p27Kip1 and inhibited human AML growth. This work illustrates that understanding oncogenic miRNA target pathways can identify actionable targets in leukemia
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