405 research outputs found

    Biodefense: Trends and challenges in combating biological warfare agents

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    Machiavelli and Tocqueville on War and Armies

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    In the Democracy in America’s chapters on war and armies in the transition from the aristocratic to the democratic social state (état social), Tocqueville briefly draws on Machiavelli regarding the conquest of a country with or without intermediary powers between political leadership and the people by which he primarily understands the existence of local nobilities. In this reference, Tocqueville is quick to express skepticism about the overstated importance of Machiavelli in the history of political philosophy. In different places of his work though a more mitigated stance is documented. A comparative approach of Machiavelli and Tocqueville on war may seem odd, even inappropriate. In this paper I argue that the “brief encounter,” in Melvin Richter’s terms, of Tocqueville with Machiavelli can be fruitfully explored in order to make sense of the key importance for modern warfare of the collapse of nobility in Europe. Concomitantly, Machiavelli ‘s intuitions about conquering an absolutist state without intermediary powers compared to a state endowed with “prince” and “barons” can be further elaborated to better grasp its impact on wars including civil strife. In this paper I first explore Machiavelli’s perception of the intermediary powers in conquest and broadly in warfare paying due attention to the importance for the preservation of liberty of latent or open civil discord between social powers or classes; then I turn to Tocqueville’s rich analysis of the transformation of modern warfare due to democratic centralization and obsession with private welfare. Democratic armies constantly challenge democratic liberty and they can sometimes successfully albeit perversely integrate democratic ambition and turn it against democracy. I conclude with some reflections on the connection between war and politics regarding latent civil conflicts in democracies

    Evaluation of a Parametric Approach for Estimating Potential Evapotranspiration Across Different Climates

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    AbstractPotential evapotranspiration (PET) is key input in water resources, agricultural and environmental modelling. For many decades, numerous approaches have been proposed for the consistent estimation of PET at several time scales of interest. The most recognized is the Penman-Monteith formula, which is yet difficult to apply in data-scarce areas, since it requires simultaneous observations of four meteorological variables (temperature, sunshine duration, humidity, wind velocity). For this reason, parsimonious models with minimum input data requirements are strongly preferred. Typically, these have been developed and tested for specific hydroclimatic conditions, but when they are applied in different regimes they provide much less reliable (and in some cases misleading) estimates. Therefore, it is essential to develop generic methods that remain parsimonious, in terms of input data and parameterization, yet they also allow for some kind of local adjustment of their parameters, through calibration. In this study we present a recent parametric formula, based on a simplified formulation of the original Penman-Monteith expression, which only requires mean daily or monthly temperature data. The method is evaluated using meteorological records from different areas worldwide, at both the daily and monthly time scales. The outcomes of this extended analysis are very encouraging, as indicated by the substantially high validation scores of the proposed approach across all examined data sets. In general, the parametric model outperforms well-established methods of the everyday practice, since it ensures optimal approximation ofpotential evapotranspiration