213 research outputs found

    "Going back to our roots": second generation biocomputing

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    Researchers in the field of biocomputing have, for many years, successfully "harvested and exploited" the natural world for inspiration in developing systems that are robust, adaptable and capable of generating novel and even "creative" solutions to human-defined problems. However, in this position paper we argue that the time has now come for a reassessment of how we exploit biology to generate new computational systems. Previous solutions (the "first generation" of biocomputing techniques), whilst reasonably effective, are crude analogues of actual biological systems. We believe that a new, inherently inter-disciplinary approach is needed for the development of the emerging "second generation" of bio-inspired methods. This new modus operandi will require much closer interaction between the engineering and life sciences communities, as well as a bidirectional flow of concepts, applications and expertise. We support our argument by examining, in this new light, three existing areas of biocomputing (genetic programming, artificial immune systems and evolvable hardware), as well as an emerging area (natural genetic engineering) which may provide useful pointers as to the way forward.Comment: Submitted to the International Journal of Unconventional Computin

    ‘Gold goggles’: The myopia of institutional transference

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    This piece considers a myopia, which develops from professional identity and our relationships with institutions. Drawing from the experiences of facilitating a three day small experiential group at the 2016 Art Therapy Conference, I consider how ambivalence between institutional transference and training bias can lead to myopia, and I consider how this can be identified and be valued as part of a creative dialogue. I played a small role in the conference organising committee - made up of the 12 person tutor group on the Goldsmith’s MA art psychotherapy. I am speaking as a new member of the staff team, who trained at Goldsmith’s and whose attendance at the last conference, in 2013, was as a delegate.

    Can Exhibiting Art Works from Therapy be Considered a Therapeutic Process?

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    This article considers issues relating to the exhibiting of art work that has been made within art therapy. It looks at the marginalisation of exhibiting in the development of the profession in Britain and its wider use outside of the UK. It reviews the arguments which support it whilst considering contentious issues, such as patient permission and the exchange of money, within the context of neo-liberalism and austerity. Drawing from experiences of facilitating a therapeutic art studio for refugees and asylum seekers, the paper goes on to propose an approach which takes into account the criticisms made of exhibiting patient art work and utilises a psychodynamic approach to the exhibition as a therapeutic process. Keywords: asylum seekers, refugees, exhibitions, social art therapy, neo-liberalism, austerity

    Ice sheets as a significant source of highly reactive nanoparticulate iron to the oceans

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    The Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets cover ~\n10% of global land surface, but are rarely considered as active components of the global iron cycle. The ocean waters around both ice sheets harbour highly productive coastal ecosystems, many of which are iron limited. Measurements of iron concentrations in subglacial runoff from a large Greenland Ice Sheet catchment reveal the potential for globally significant export of labile iron fractions to the near-coastal euphotic zone. We estimate that the flux of bioavailable iron associated with glacial runoff is 0.40–2.54?Tg per year in Greenland and 0.06–0.17?Tg per year in Antarctica. Iron fluxes are dominated by a highly reactive and potentially bioavailable nanoparticulate suspended sediment fraction, similar to that identified in Antarctic icebergs. Estimates of labile iron fluxes in meltwater are comparable with aeolian dust fluxes to the oceans surrounding Greenland and Antarctica, and are similarly expected to increase in a warming climate with enhanced melting

    The northern sector of the last British ice sheet : maximum extent and demise

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    Strongly divided opinion has led to competing, apparently contradictory, views on the timing, extent, flow configuration and decay mechanism of the last British Ice Sheet. We review the existing literature and reconcile some of these differences using remarkable new sea-bed imagery. This bathymetric data provides unprecedented empirical evidence of confluence and subsequent separation of the last British and Fennoscandian Ice Sheets. Critically, it also allows a viable pattern of ice-sheet disintegration to be proposed for the first time. Covering the continental shelf around the northern United Kingdom, extensive echosounder data reveals striking geomorphic evidence – in the form of tunnel valleys and moraines – relating to the former British and Fennoscandian Ice Sheets. The pattern of tunnel valleys in the northern North Sea Basin and the presence of large moraines on the West Shetland Shelf, coupled with stratigraphic evidence from the Witch Ground Basin, all suggest that at its maximum extent a grounded ice sheet flowed from SE to NW across the northern North Sea Basin, terminating at the continental-shelf edge. The zone of confluence between the British and much larger Fennoscandian Ice Sheets was probably across the northern Orkney Islands, with fast-flowing ice in the Fair Isle Channel focusing sediment delivery to the Rona and Foula Wedges. This period of maximum confluent glaciation (c. 30–25 ka BP) was followed by a remarkable period of large-scale ice-sheet re-organisation. We present evidence suggesting that as sea level rose, a large marine embayment opened in the northern North Sea Basin, as far south as the Witch Ground Basin, forcing the two ice sheets to decouple rapidly along a north–south axis east of Shetland. As a result, both ice sheets rapidly adjusted to new quasi-stable margin positions forming a second distinct set of moraines (c. 24–18 ka BP). The lobate overprinted morphology of these moraines on the mid-shelf west of Orkney and Shetland indicates that the re-organisation of the British Ice Sheet was extremely dynamic — probably dominated by a series of internally forced readvances. Critically, much of the ice in the low-lying North Sea Basin may have disintegrated catastrophically as decoupling progressed in response to rising sea levels. Final-stage deglaciation was marked by near-shore ice streaming and increasing topographic control on ice-flow direction. Punctuated retreat of the British Ice Sheet continued until c. 16 ka BP when, following the North Atlantic iceberg-discharge event (Heinrich-1), ice was situated at the present-day coastline in NW Scotlan

    Chemical sensors for in situ data collection in the cryosphere

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    Glaciers and ice sheets are recognised as important components of global biogeochemical cycles. Chemical sensors have great potential for in situ monitoring in the cryosphere and are available for many analytes of interest, but they are frequently unsuitable for deployment since meltwaters are cold, turbid, experience freeze-thaw cycles and display low ionic strength and concentrations of target analytes. Here, we review in situ chemical sensors currently available for measurement of biogeochemically important analytes and assess their suitability for deployment. These include standard parameters such as dissolved oxygen and pH, along with macronutrients (nitrate/nitrite and phosphate), micronutrients (iron and manganese) and biogenic gases (methane). Where no commercial alternatives are available, we discuss sensors currently in development, and their applicability to these extreme environments. The information presented has great relevance for future science in polar environments, and for the ultimate goal of obtaining in situ data from extreme, inaccessible subglacial environments
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