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- Status: Published
While there is a popular perception that Canada is a water-rich country, the Saskatchewan River basin (SRB) in Western Canada exemplifies the multiple threats to water security seen worldwide. It is Canada's major food-producing region and home to globally significant natural resource development. The SRB faces current water challenges stemming from (1) a series of extreme events, including major flood and drought events since the turn of the 21st century, (2) full allocation of existing water resources in parts of the basin, (3) rapid population growth and economic development, (4) increasing pollution, and (5) fragmented and overlapping governance that includes the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, various Federal and First Nations responsibilities, and international boundaries. The interplay of these factors has increased competition for water across economic sectors and among provinces, between upstream and downstream users, between environmental flows and human needs, and among people who hold different values about the meaning, ownership, and use of water. These current challenges are set in a context of significant environmental and societal change, including widespread land modification, rapid urbanization, resource exploitation, climate warming, and deep uncertainties about future water supplies. We use Sivapalan et al.'s (2012) framework of socio-hydrology to argue that the SRB's water security challenges are symptoms of dynamic and complex water systems approaching critical thresholds and tipping points. To Sivapalan et al.'s (2012) emphasis on water cycle dynamics, we add the need for governance mechanisms to manage emergent systems and translational science to link science and policy to the socio-hydrology agenda.
The Social Dimension of Sustainable Neighborhood Design: Comparing Two Neighborhoods in Freiburg, Germany
The study presented in this article adds to the body of research on the socio-cultural dimension of sustainable cities by looking at the efforts of the City of Freiburg, Germany to create neighborhoods that acknowledge the importance of the social dimension of sustainable development. The research in this article is centered on evaluating the social responses of living in Freiburg’s two recognized sustainable neighborhoods Rieselfeld and Vauban. The study focuses on the motivational factors that prompted todays residents of the two neighborhoods to move there in the first place, their level of satisfaction living there now, and their perceived social interactions and level of community engagement. Result show that satisfaction with living in a place and reinforcing its assets through social resiliency or livability can result in long-term community staying power. In general, there were few differences in preferences ratings of physical and social assets between the two communities. The levels of importance of social factors contributing to place satisfaction and staying power were not significantly different in both neighbor-hoods. Having a “cluster” of social factors present that were important to residents contributed significantly to place satisfaction. In fact, survey results showed that it was these social factors that were seen as more important to place satisfaction than the physical attributes of sustainable developments.
Capacity dimensioning in production systems is an important task within strategic and tactical production planning which impacts system cost and performance. Traditionally capacity demand at each worksystem is determined from standard operating processes and estimated production flow rates, accounting for a desired level of utilization or required throughput times. However, for distributed production control systems, the flows across multiple possible production paths are not known a priori. In this contribution, we use methods from algorithmic game-theory and traffic-modeling to predict the flows, and hence capacity demand across worksystems, based on the available production paths and desired output rates, assuming non-cooperative agents with global information. We propose an iterative algorithm that converges simultaneously to a feasible capacity distribution and a flow distribution over multiple paths that satisfies Wardrop's first principle. We demonstrate our method on models of real-world production networks.
Background: Virus infections often result in quasispecies of viral strains that can have dramatic impacts on disease outcomes. However, sequencing of viruses to determine strain composition is time consuming and often cost-prohibitive. Rapid, cost-effective methods are needed for accurate measurement of virus diversity to understand virus evolution and can be useful for experimental systems.
Methods: We have developed a novel molecular method for sequence-specific detection of RNA virus genetic variants called Tentacle Probes. The probes are modified molecular beacons that have dramatically improved false positive rates and specificity in routine qPCR. To validate this approach, we have designed Tentacle Probes for two different strains of Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCMV) that differ by only 3 nucleotide substitutions, the parental Armstrong and the more virulent Clone-13 strain. One of these mutations is a missense mutation in the receptor protein GP1 that leads to the Armstrong strain to cause an acute infection and Clone-13 to cause a chronic infection instead. The probes were designed using thermodynamic calculations for hybridization between target or non-target sequences and the probe.
Results: Using this approach, we were able to distinguish these two strains of LCMV individually by a single nucleotide mutation. The assay showed high reproducibility among different concentrations of viral cDNA, as well as high specificity and sensitivity, especially for the Clone-13 Tentacle Probe. Furthermore, in virus mixing experiments we were able to detect less than 10% of Clone-13 cDNA diluted in Armstrong cDNA.
Conclusions: Thus, we have developed a fast, cost-effective approach for identifying Clone-13 strain in a mix of other LCMV strains.
Resolution Extension by Image Summing in Serial Femtosecond Crystallography of Two-Dimensional Membrane-Protein Crystals
Previous proof-of-concept measurements on single-layer two-dimensional membrane-protein crystals performed at X-ray free-electron lasers (FELs) have demonstrated that the collection of meaningful diffraction patterns, which is not possible at synchrotrons because of radiation-damage issues, is feasible. Here, the results obtained from the analysis of a thousand single-shot, room-temperature X-ray FEL diffraction images from two-dimensional crystals of a bacteriorhodopsin mutant are reported in detail. The high redundancy in the measurements boosts the intensity signal-to-noise ratio, so that the values of the diffracted intensities can be reliably determined down to the detector-edge resolution of 4 Å. The results show that two-dimensional serial crystallography at X-ray FELs is a suitable method to study membrane proteins to near-atomic length scales at ambient temperature. The method presented here can be extended to pump–probe studies of optically triggered structural changes on submillisecond timescales in two-dimensional crystals, which allow functionally relevant large-scale motions that may be quenched in three-dimensional crystals.
We compute one-loop renormalization group equations for non-singlet twist-four operators in QCD. The calculation heavily relies on the light-cone gauge formalism in the momentum fraction space that essentially rephrases the analysis of all two-to-two and two-to-three transition kernels to purely algebraic manipulations both for non- and quasipartonic operators. This is the first brute force calculation of this sector available in the literature. Fourier transforming our findings to the coordinate space, we checked them against available results obtained within a conformal symmetry-based formalism that bypasses explicit diagrammatic calculations and confirmed agreement with the latter.
Rapid Urban Growth in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal: Monitoring Land Use Land Cover Dynamics of a Himalayan City With Landsat Imageries
The Kathmandu Valley of Nepal epitomizes the growing urbanization trend spreading across the Himalayan foothills. This metropolitan valley has experienced a significant transformation of its landscapes in the last four decades resulting in substantial land use and land cover (LULC) change; however, no major systematic analysis of the urbanization trend and LULC has been conducted on this valley since 2000. When considering the importance of using LULC change as a window to study the broader changes in socio-ecological systems of this valley, our study first detected LULC change trajectories of this valley using four Landsat images of the year 1989, 1999, 2009, and 2016, and then analyzed the detected change in the light of a set of proximate causes and factors driving those changes. A pixel-based hybrid classification (unsupervised followed by supervised) approach was employed to classify these images into five LULC categories and analyze the LULC trajectories detected from them. Our results show that urban area expanded up to 412% in last three decades and the most of this expansion occurred with the conversions of 31% agricultural land. The majority of the urban expansion happened during 1989–2009, and it is still growing along the major roads in a concentric pattern, significantly altering the cityscape of the valley. The centrality feature of Kathmandu valley and the massive surge in rural-to-urban migration are identified as the primary proximate causes of the fast expansion of built-up areas and rapid conversions of agricultural areas.
Cooperation is essential for evolution of biological complexity. Recent work has shown game theoretic arguments, commonly used to model biological cooperation, can also illuminate the dynamics of chemical systems. Here we investigate the types of cooperation possible in a real RNA system based on the Azoarcus ribozyme, by constructing a taxonomy of possible cooperative groups. We construct a computational model of this system to investigate the features of the real system promoting cooperation. We find triplet interactions among genotypes are intrinsically biased towards cooperation due to the particular distribution of catalytic rate constants measured empirically in the real system. For other distributions cooperation is less favored. We discuss implications for understanding cooperation as a driver of complexification in the origin of life.
Starting with the dynamical picture of the exotic c[¯over c]-containing states XYZas the confinement-induced hadronization of a rapidly separating pair of a compact diquark and antidiquark, we describe the pentaquark candidates P[+ over c](4380)and P[+ over c](4450)in terms of a confined but rapidly separating color-antitriplet diquark cuand color-triplet “triquark” [¯ over c](ud). This separation explains the relatively small P[+ over c] widths, despite these 5-quark systems lying far above both the J/ψp and Ac [¯ over D](∗)0 thresholds. The P[+ over c] states are predicted to form isospin doublets with neutral partners P[0 over c].
On the Association Between Weather Variability and Total and Cause-Specific Mortality Before and During Industrialization in Sweden
Background: While there is ample evidence for health risks associated with heat and other extreme weather events today, little is known about the impact of weather patterns on population health in preindustrial societies.
Objective: To investigate the impact of weather patterns on population health in Sweden before and during industrialization.
Methods: We obtained records of monthly mortality and of monthly mean temperatures and precipitation for Skellefteå parish, northern Sweden, for the period 1800-1950. The associations between monthly total mortality, as well as monthly mortality due to infectious and cardiovascular diseases, and monthly mean temperature and cumulative precipitation were modelled using a time series approach for three separate periods, 1800−1859, 1860-1909, and 1910-1950.
Results: We found higher temperatures and higher amounts of precipitation to be associated with lower mortality both in the medium term (same month and two-months lag) and in the long run (lag of six months up to a year). Similar patterns were found for mortality due to infectious and cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, the effect of temperature and precipitation decreased over time.
Conclusions: Higher temperature and precipitation amounts were associated with reduced death counts with a lag of up to 12 months. The decreased effect over time may be due to improvements in nutritional status, decreased infant deaths, and other changes in society that occurred in the course of the demographic and epidemiological transition.
Contribution: The study contributes to a better understanding of the complex relationship between weather and mortality and, in particular, historical weather-related mortality.