2,598 research outputs found

    An International Scoping Study of a Neutrino Factory and Super-beam Facility

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    JNCC Offshore Natura Survey : Anton Dohrn Seamount and East Rockall Bank areas of search : 2009/03-JNCC Cruise Report

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    This cruise report summarises operations and initial observations onboard the M/V Franklin during cruise 2009/03-JNCC on behalf of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). The cruise took place between the 1st and 29th of July 2009 and surveyed two Areas of Search (AoS) for offshore Special Areas of Conservation (SACs): Anton Dohrn Seamount located 155km west of the St Kilda archipelago, and East Rockall Bank located 260km west of the St Kilda archipelago (Figure 1). The main aims of the survey were to acquire acoustic and photographic “ground-truthing” data to enable geological, geomorphological and biological characterisation of the Anton Dohrn Seamount and East Rockall Bank AoS. Specifically, the data acquired will lead to the production of broadscale habitat maps, the identification and description of Annex I reef habitats with particular attention to the occurrence of bedrock, stony and biogenic reef, to identify and record any anthropogenic impacts in the areas of search and finally to evaluate data acquisition methods, techniques and equipment. The work programme was highly successful with 215 line kilometres of multibeam echosounder and 10 photographic “ground-truthing” sites acquired in the Anton Dohrn Seamount AoS, and 692 line kilometres of multibeam echosounder and 168 line kilometres of sidescan sonar data and 17 photographic “ground-truthing” sites acquired in the East Rockall Bank AoS. No physical sea-bed samples were acquired during this cruise. The data revealed the flanks and area immediately adjacent to Anton Dohrn Seamount to comprise predominantly gravel-rich sediment with bedrock outcropping on the steeper sections of the Seamount flanks. East Rockall Bank comprised predominantly gravelly muddy sand on the eastern flank of the Bank with gravel- and sand-rich sediments dominating the crest of the Bank. Interestingly, the parasitic cones surveyed within the Anton Dohrn area of search comprised predominantly corals, including large gorgonian species, small bamboo coral, the soft coral Anthomastus sp. and the antipatharian Leiopathes sp. Significant bedrock reef was encountered during the course of this cruise along an escarpment located on the eastern flank of Rockall Bank roughly coincident with the 500m bathymetric contour. This laterally extensive feature primarily comprises volcanic bedrock with possible sedimentary bedrock cropping out at sea bed colonised by large stylsaterid hydrocorals and sponges. Preliminary observations and interpretation of the data acquired during the course of this cruise suggest that several sites may fit the definition of Annex I reef under the EC Habitats Directive. If they fulfil the criteria for Annex I reef, they will be assessed against site selection criteria as possible areas for consideration as SACs

    Performance of the Satellite Test Assistant Robot in JPL's Space Simulation Facility

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    An innovative new telerobotic inspection system called STAR (the Satellite Test Assistant Robot) has been developed to assist engineers as they test new spacecraft designs in simulated space environments. STAR operates inside the ultra-cold, high-vacuum, test chambers and provides engineers seated at a remote Operator Control Station (OCS) with high resolution video and infrared (IR) images of the flight articles under test. STAR was successfully proof tested in JPL's 25-ft (7.6-m) Space Simulation Chamber where temperatures ranged from +85 C to -190 C and vacuum levels reached 5.1 x 10(exp -6) torr. STAR's IR Camera was used to thermally map the entire interior of the chamber for the first time. STAR also made several unexpected and important discoveries about the thermal processes occurring within the chamber. Using a calibrated test fixture arrayed with ten sample spacecraft materials, the IR camera was shown to produce highly accurate surface temperature data. This paper outlines STAR's design and reports on significant results from the thermal vacuum chamber test

    Physics practicals for distance education in an undergraduate engineering course

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    BACKGROUND : Providing engineering practicals to undergraduates by means of distance education is a significant challenge. The past 30 years have seen the rapid development of the distance education. For many years, Deakin University has offered a full Bachelor of Engineering degree programme via distance education. All first-year students study a unit in physics. This unit includes practicals. Providing practical experiences to students is distance education’s greatest challenge.PURPOSE : The purpose of this work was to develop the means for off-campus students to complete practical exercises in first-year engineering physics. The solution to the problem also had to comply with accreditation requirements set by Engineers Australia.METHOD : The long-term solution to the problem was running on-campus lab classes either on weekends or as part of the annual first-year residential school for engineering professional practice. Students work was assessed by means of standard laboratory reports. On-campus marks and off-campus lab marks have been collected and compared over the past 12 years.RESULTS : The results indicate that the off-campus lab experience is similar to the on-campus experience. Marks for the two cohorts were comparable. Those few students who completed their pracs at home faced and overcame significant challenges.CONCLUSIONS : We found that performance in their lab reports for off-campus students was similar to that of the on-campus students. Accreditation requirements has shifted the focus from developing activities that students could perform at home to offering timely and efficient on-campus lab classes for off-campus students. Future work will focus on on-campus lab classes in accordance with accreditation requirements and perhaps on-line broadcasts of prac classes for those students who cannot attend lab on-campus

    Earth Science Mining Web Services

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    To allow scientists further capabilities in the area of data mining and web services, the Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC) and researchers at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) have developed a system to mine data at the source without the need of network transfers. The system has been constructed by linking together several pre-existing technologies: the Simple Scalable Script-based Science Processor for Measurements (S4PM), a processing engine at he GES DISC; the Algorithm Development and Mining (ADaM) system, a data mining toolkit from UAH that can be configured in a variety of ways to create customized mining processes; ActiveBPEL, a workflow execution engine based on BPEL (Business Process Execution Language); XBaya, a graphical workflow composer; and the EOS Clearinghouse (ECHO). XBaya is used to construct an analysis workflow at UAH using ADam components, which are also installed remotely at the GES DISC, wrapped as Web Services. The S4PM processing engine searches ECHO for data using space-time criteria, staging them to cache, allowing the ActiveBPEL engine to remotely orchestras the processing workflow within S4PM. As mining is completed, the output is placed in an FTP holding area for the end user. The goals are to give users control over the data they want to process, while mining data at the data source using the server's resources rather than transferring the full volume over the internet. These diverse technologies have been infused into a functioning, distributed system with only minor changes to the underlying technologies. The key to the infusion is the loosely coupled, Web-Services based architecture: All of the participating components are accessible (one way or another) through (Simple Object Access Protocol) SOAP-based Web Services

    Embodied Computational Evolution: Feedback Between Development and Evolution in Simulated Biorobots

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    Given that selection removes genetic variance from evolving populations, thereby reducing exploration opportunities, it is important to find mechanisms that create genetic variation without the disruption of adapted genes and genomes caused by random mutation. Just such an alternative is offered by random epigenetic error, a developmental process that acts on materials and parts expressed by the genome. In this system of embodied computational evolution, simulated within a physics engine, epigenetic error was instantiated in an explicit genotype-to-phenotype map as transcription error at the initiation of gene expression. The hypothesis was that transcription error would create genetic variance by shielding genes from the direct impact of selection, creating, in the process, masquerading genomes. To test this hypothesis, populations of simulated embodied biorobots and their developmental systems were evolved under steady directional selection as equivalent rates of random mutation and random transcriptional error were covaried systematically in an 11 × 11 fully factorial experimental design. In each of the 121 different experimental conditions (unique combinations of mutation and transcription error), the same set of 10 randomly created replicate populations of 60 individuals were evolved. Selection for the improved locomotor behavior of individuals led to increased mean fitness of populations over 100 generations at nearly all levels and combinations of mutation and transcription error. When the effects of both types of error were partitioned statistically, increasing transcription error was shown to increase the final genetic variance of populations, incurring a fitness cost but acting on variance independently and differently from genetic mutation. Thus, random epigenetic errors in development feed back through selection of individuals with masquerading genomes to the population’s genetic variance over generational time. Random developmental processes offer an additional mechanism for exploration by increasing genetic variation in the face of steady, directional selection

    Curdione Plays an Important Role in the Inhibitory Effect of Curcuma aromatica on CYP3A4 in Caco-2 Cells

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    Curcuma aromatica is a plant belonging to genus Curcuma of family Zingiberaceae and is widely used as supplements in Japan. Rhizomes of C. aromatica have curcumin as a major yellow pigment and curdione as a main ingredient of essential oils. In this study, we investigated the affect of C. aromatica on CYP3A4 using 1α,25-(OH)2-D3-treated Caco-2 clone cells. Caco-2 cells were treated with methanol extract (0.1 mg ml−1), its hexane soluble fraction (0.1 mg ml−1), curcumin (4 μM) and curdione (20 μM) for 72 hours. Nifedipine was used as a substrate of CYP3A4. Methanol extract, hexane fraction and curdione inhibited the formation of oxidized nifedipine by 50–70%, and curcumin showed no effect. The IC50s of methanol extract, hexane fraction and curdione to oxidized nifedipine formation were 21, 14 and 3.9 μg ml−1 (16.9 μM), respectively. The content of curdione in methanol extract was 11.4%. Moreover, all of methanol extract, hexane fraction and curdione decreased CYP3A4 protein expression but had no affect on CYP3A4 mRNA expression. Our results showed that these drugs further decreased the CYP3A4 protein expression level after the protein synthesis was inhibited by cychroheximide. These findings suggest that curdione plays an important role in the CYP3A4 inhibitory activity of C. aromatica and curdione might inhibit the activity by accelerating the degradation of CYP3A4