The authors quantitatively analyse the long-term dynamics of technological progress from 40,000 BCE and offer projections through the 22nd century. We provide one method to measure technological progress over that time period, using a simple hyperbolic equation, yt = C/(t0 – t), as our model. We define yt as the technological growth rate, measured as number of technological phase transitions per unit of time. Our method measures the worldwide technology dynamic growth with an accuracy of R2 = 0.99. We find the singularity date occurs in the early 21st century and expect a new powerful acceleration of technological development after the 2030s followed by a slow-down in the late 21st and early 22nd centuries. The authors discuss the role of global ageing as one of the main factors in both the technological acceleration and the subsequent deceleration.
Previously published biographical accounts of Sir Boris Uvarov, K.C.M.G. F.R.S. (1886 [sic] — 1970) were based mostly on personal recollections by his friends and colleagues recorded for the first time in the 1970s or later. Archival research reveals the true date of his birth and allows some other key facts and dates of his early biography to be corrected.
Reanalysis data show an increasing trend in Arctic precipitation over the 20th century, but changes are not homogenous across seasons or space. The observed hydroclimate changes are expected to continue and possibly accelerate in the coming century, not only affecting pan-Arctic natural ecosystems and human activities, but also lower latitudes through the atmospheric and ocean circulations. However, a lack of spatiotemporal observational data makes reliable quantification of Arctic hydroclimate change difficult, especially in a long-term context. To understand Arctic hydroclimate and its variability prior to the instrumental record, climate proxy records are needed. The purpose of this review is to summarise the current understanding of Arctic hydroclimate during the past 2000 years. First, the paper reviews the main natural archives and proxies used to infer past hydroclimate variations in this remote region and outlines the difficulty of disentangling the moisture from the temperature signal in these records. Second, a comparison of two sets of hydroclimate records covering the Common Era from two data-rich regions, North America and Fennoscandia, reveals inter- and intra-regional differences. Third, building on earlier work, this paper shows the potential for providing a high-resolution hydroclimate reconstruction for the Arctic and a comparison with last-millennium simulations from fully coupled climate models. In general, hydroclimate proxies and simulations indicate that the Medieval Climate Anomaly tends to have been wetter than the Little Ice Age (LIA), but there are large regional differences. However, the regional coverage of the proxy data is inadequate, with distinct data gaps in most of Eurasia and parts of North America, making robust assessments for the whole Arctic impossible at present. To fully assess pan-Arctic hydroclimate variability for the last 2 millennia, additional proxy records are required.
In this paper a novel clustering algorithm is proposed as a version of the Seeded Region Growing (SRG) approach for the automatic recognition of coastal upwelling from Sea Surface Temperature (SST) images. The new algorithm, One Seed Expanding Cluster (SEC), takes advantage of the concept of approximate clustering due to Mirkin (1996, 2013) to derive a homogeneity criterion in the format of a product rather than the conventional difference between a pixel value and the mean of values over the region of interest. It involves a boundary-oriented pixel labeling so that the cluster growing is performed by expanding its boundary iteratively. The starting point is a cluster consisting of just one seed, the pixel with the cold est temperature. The baseline version of the SEC algorithm uses the Otsu’s thresholding method to fine-tune the homogeneity threshold. Unfortunately, this method does not always lead to a satisfactory solution. Therefore, we introduce a self-tuning version of the algorithm in which the homogeneity threshold parameter is abolished and the similarity threshold derived from the approximation criterion also serves as a homogeneity parameter.
Ribosomal protein S2 is an essential component of translation machinery, and its viable mutated variants conferring distinct phenotypes serve as a valuable tool in studying the role of S2 in translation regulation. One of a few available rpsB mutants, rpsB1, shows thermosensitivity and ensures enhanced expression of leaderless mRNAs. In this study, we identified the nature of the rpsB1 mutation. Sequencing of the rpsB1 allele revealed a G-to-A transition in the part of the rpsB gene which encodes a coiled-coil domain of S2. The resulting E132K substitution resides in a highly conserved site, TKKE, a so-called N-terminal capping box, at the beginning of the second alpha helix. The protruding coiled-coil domain of S2 is known to provide binding with 16S rRNA in the head of the 30S subunit and, in addition, to interact with a key mRNA binding protein, S1. Molecular dynamics simulations revealed a detrimental impact of the E132K mutation on the coiled-coil structure and thereby on the interactions between S2 and 16S rRNA, providing a clue for the thermosensitivity of the rpsB1 mutant. Using a strain producing a leaderless lacZ transcript from the chromosomal lac promoter, we demonstrated that not only the rpsB1 mutation generating S2/S1-deficient ribosomes but also the rpsA::IS10 mutation leading to partial deficiency in S1 alone increased translation efficiency of the leaderless mRNA by about 10-fold. Moderate overexpression of S1 relieved all these effects and, moreover, suppressed the thermosensitive phenotype of rpsB1, indicating the role of S1 as an extragenic suppressor of the E132K mutation.
Recent advances in single-cell genomics provide an alternative to largely gene-centric metagenomics studies, enabling whole-genome sequencing of uncultivated bacteria. However, single-cell assembly projects are challenging due to (i) the highly nonuniform read coverage and (ii) a greatly elevated number of chimeric reads and read pairs. While recently developed single-cell assemblers have addressed the former challenge, methods for assembling highly chimeric reads remain poorly explored. We present algorithms for identifying chimeric edges and resolving complex bulges in de Bruijn graphs, which significantly improve single-cell assemblies. We further describe applications of the single-cell assembler SPAdes to a new approach for capturing and sequencing "microbial dark matter" that forms small pools of randomly selected single cells (called a mini-metagenome) and further sequences all genomes from the mini-metagenome at once. On single-cell bacterial datasets, SPAdes improves on the recently developed E+V-SC and IDBA-UD assemblers specifically designed for single-cell sequencing. For standard (cultivated monostrain) datasets, SPAdes also improves on A5, ABySS, CLC, EULER-SR, Ray, SOAPdenovo, and Velvet. Thus, recently developed single-cell assemblers not only enable single-cell sequencing, but also improve on conventional assemblers on their own turf. SPAdes is available for free online download under a GPLv2 license
The paper presents a quantitative assessment of sturgeon catches and related Caspian Seals’ by-catches of the illegal sturgeon fishery in the region of Dagestan and the Volga River Delta in Russia. The study uses semi-structured interviews, direct observations and informal conversations to collect data and estimates that about 10,491 kg of sturgeons were caught with 788 seals of by-catch during 35 trips conducted by 15 boats in the period of 2013–2016. The results show that both IUU sturgeon catch and the rate of bycatch seals have not demonstrated significant change since 2013. However, the rates of seals by-catch have increased since the studies in 2008 – 2009 and may be recognized as the one of the biggest entanglements of pinnipeds as by-catch.
BACKGROUND: World mapping is an important tool to visualize stroke burden and its trends in various regions and countries. OBJECTIVES: To show geographic patterns of incidence, prevalence, mortality, disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and years lived with disability (YLDs) and their trends for ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke in the world for 1990-2013. METHODOLOGY: Stroke incidence, prevalence, mortality, DALYs and YLDs were estimated following the general approach of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2010 with several important improvements in methods. Data were updated for mortality (through April 2014) and stroke incidence, prevalence, case fatality and severity through 2013. Death was estimated using an ensemble modeling approach. A new software package, DisMod-MR 2.0, was used as part of a custom modeling process to estimate YLDs. All rates were age-standardized to new GBD estimates of global population. All estimates have been computed with 95% uncertainty intervals. RESULTS: Age-standardized incidence, mortality, prevalence and DALYs/YLDs declined over the period from 1990 to 2013. However, the absolute number of people affected by stroke has substantially increased across all countries in the world over the same time period, suggesting that the global stroke burden continues to increase. There were significant geographical (country and regional) differences in stroke burden in the world, with the majority of the burden borne by low- and middle-income countries. CONCLUSIONS: Global burden of stroke has continued to increase in spite of dramatic declines in age-standardized incidence, prevalence, mortality rates and disability. Population growth and aging have played an important role in the observed increase in stroke burden.
Previous research indicates that, under explicit instructions to listen to spoken stimuli or in speech-oriented behavioural tasks, the brain's responses to senseless pseudowords are larger than those to meaningful words; the reverse is true in non-attended conditions. These differential responses could be used as a tool to trace linguistic processes in the brain and their interaction with attention. However, as previous studies relied on explicit instructions to attend or ignore the stimuli, a technique for automatic attention modulation (i.e., not dependent on explicit instruction) would be more advantageous, especially when cooperation with instructions may not be guaranteed (e.g., neurological patients, children etc). Here we present a novel paradigm in which the stimulus context automatically draws attention to speech. In a non-attend passive auditory oddball sequence, rare words and pseudowords were presented among frequent non-speech tones of variable frequency and length. The low percentage of spoken stimuli guarantees an involuntary attention switch to them. The speech stimuli, in turn, could be disambiguated as words or pseudowords only in their end, at the last phoneme, after the attention switch would have already occurred. Our results confirmed that this paradigm can indeed be used to induce automatic shifts of attention to spoken input. At ~250ms after the stimulus onset, a P3a-like neuromagnetic deflection was registered to spoken (but not tone) stimuli indicating an involuntary attention shift. Later, after the word-pseudoword divergence point, we found a larger oddball response to pseudowords than words, best explained by neural processes of lexical search facilitated through increased attention. Furthermore, we demonstrate a breakdown of this orderly pattern of neurocognitive processes as a result of sleep deprivation. The new paradigm may thus be an efficient way to assess language comprehension processes and their dynamic interaction with those of attention allocation. It does it in an automatic and task-free fashion, indicating its potential benefit for assessing uncooperative clinical populations.
Although schizophrenia was previously associated with affected spatial neuronal synchronization, surprisingly little is known about the temporal dynamics of neuronal oscillations in this disease. However, given that the coordination of neuronal processes in time represents an essential aspect of practically all cognitive operations, it might be strongly affected in patients with schizophrenia. In the present study we aimed at quantifying long-range temporal correlations (LRTC) in patients (18 with schizophrenia; 3 with schizoaffective disorder) and 28 healthy control subjects matched for age and gender. Ongoing neuronal oscillations were recorded with multi-channel EEG at rest condition. LRTC in the range 5-50s were analyzed with Detrended Fluctuation Analysis. The amplitude of neuronal oscillations in alpha and beta frequency ranges did not differ between patients and control subjects. However, LRTC were strongly attenuated in patients with schizophrenia in both alpha and beta frequency ranges. Moreover, the cross-frequency correlation between LRTC belonging to alpha and beta oscillations was stronger for patients than healthy controls, indicating that similar neurophysiological processes affect neuronal dynamics in both frequency ranges. We believe that the attenuation of LRTC is most likely due to the increased variability in neuronal activity, which was previously hypothesized to underlie an excessive switching between the neuronal states in patients with schizophrenia. Attenuated LRTC might allow for more random associations between neuronal activations, which in turn might relate to the occurrence of thought disorders in schizophrenia.
This is a German language article about the Foreign Cemetery (Gaikokujin Bochi) in Yokohama: its history, the circumstances of its origin, the study of the national, ethnic, and religious background of those who are in the ground. This is the part of a project (with archival research and field study parts) about this cemetery and the reconstruction of the history of life and death of foreigners in Japan in the late 19th and 20th centuries.
Previous electrophysiological studies of automatic language processing revealed early (100-200 ms) reflections of access to lexical characteristics of speech signal using the so-called mismatch negativity (MMN), a negative ERP deflection elicited by infrequent irregularities in unattended repetitive auditory stimulation. In those studies, lexical processing of spoken stimuli became manifest as an enhanced ERP in response to unattended real words, as opposed to phonologically matched but meaningless pseudoword stimuli. This lexical ERP enhancement was explained by automaticactivation of word memory traces realized as distributed strongly intra-connected neuronal circuits, whose robustness guarantees memory trace activation even in the absence of attention on spoken input. Such an account would predict the automatic activation of these memory traces upon anypresentation of linguistic information, irrespective of the presentation modality. As previous lexical MMN studies exclusively used auditory stimulation, we here adapted the lexical MMN paradigm to investigate early automatic lexical effects in the visual modality. In a visual oddball sequence, matched short word and pseudoword stimuli were presented tachistoscopically in perifoveal area outside the visual focus of attention, as the subjects' attention was concentrated on a concurrent non-linguistic visual dual task in the center of the screen. Using EEG, we found a visual analogue of the lexicalERP enhancement effect, with unattended written words producing larger brain response amplitudes than matched pseudowords, starting at ~100 ms. Furthermore, we also found significant visual MMN, reported here for the first time for unattended perifoveal lexical stimuli. The data suggest earlyautomatic lexical processing of visually presented language which commences rapidly and can take place outside the focus of attention.
To address the hotly debated question of motor system involvement in language comprehension, we recorded neuromagnetic responses elicited in the human brain by unattended action-related spoken verbs and nouns and scrutinized their timecourse and neuroanatomical substrates. We found that already very early on, from ∼80 ms after disambiguation point when the words could be identified from the available acoustic information, both verbs and nouns produced characteristic somatotopic activations in the motor strip, with words related to different body parts activating the corresponding body representations. Strikingly, along with this category-specific activation, we observed suppression of motor-cortex activation by competitor words with incompatible semantics, documenting operation of the neurophysiological principles of lateral/surround inhibition in neural word processing. The extremely early onset of these activations and deactivations, their emergence in the absence of attention, and their similar presence for words of different lexical classes strongly suggest automatic involvement of motor-specific circuits in the perception of action-related language.
Error correction of sequenced reads remains a difficult task, especially in single-cell sequencing projects with extremely non-uniform coverage. While existing error correction tools designed for standard (multi-cell) sequencing data usually come up short in single-cell sequencing projects, algorithms actually used for single-cell error correction have been so far very simplistic.
We introduce several novel algorithms based on Hamming graphs and Bayesian subclustering in our new error correction tool BAYESHAMMER. While BAYESHAMMER was designed for single-cell sequencing, we demonstrate that it also improves on existing error correction tools for multi-cell sequencing data while working much faster on real-life datasets. We benchmark BAYESHAMMER on both k-mer counts and actual assembly results with the SPADES genome assembler.
One of the most important key factors for the development of non-urban areas is infrastructure, and energy generation is one of the fundamental infrastructure elements. This paper provides a new solution for energy generation based on wood chips which has a multi-sector effect because the authors offer to combine planning of forest cleaning cutting with bioenergy generation in one complex project, which will have socio-economic and ecological effects. The situation with forest fires makes the authors’ idea more attractive because after forest fires the problem of cleaning cutting in forest becomes very important and urgent by ecological and economical points: after cleaning cutting there are a lot of low quality wood which can be recycled into chips for the production bioenergy by the authors’ idea. This enriched methodology has successfully been applied into the regional strategical planning in the field of bioenergy and forestry of the Ural region of Russia; however, it is suitable for applications in regional development in any non-urban forested region of the world.
Although language is a key tool for communication in social interaction, most studies in the neuroscience of language have focused on language structures such as words and sentences. Here, the neural correlates of speech acts, that is, the actions performed by using language, were investigated with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Participants were shown videos, in which the same critical utterances were used in different communicative contexts, to Name objects, or to Request them from communication partners. Understanding of critical utterances asRequests was accompanied by activation in bilateral premotor, left inferior frontal and temporo-parietal cortical areas known to support action-related and social interactive knowledge. Naming, however, activated the left angular gyrus implicated in linking information about word forms and related reference objects mentioned in critical utterances. These findings show that the understanding of utterances as different communicative actions is reflected in distinct brain activation patterns, and thus suggest different neural substrates for different speech act types.
Human behaviour is affected by various forms of persuasion. The general persuasive effect of high expertise of the communicator, often referred to as ’expert power’, is well documented. We found that a single exposure to a combination of an expert and an object leads to a long-lasting positive effect on memory for and attitude towards the object. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we probed the neural processes predicting these behavioural effects. Expert context was associated with distributed left-lateralized brain activity in prefrontal and temporal cortices related to active semantic elaboration. Furthermore, experts enhanced subsequent memory effects in the medial temporal lobe (i.e. in hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus) involved in memory formation. Experts also affected subsequent attitude effects in the caudate nucleus involved in trustful behaviour, reward processing and learning. These results may suggest that the persuasive effect of experts is mediated by modulation of caudate activity resulting in a re-evaluation of the object in terms of its perceived value. Results extend our view of the functional role of the dorsal striatum in social interaction and enable us to make the first steps toward a neuroscientific model of persuasion.
Reading utilises at least two neural pathways. The temporal lexical route visually maps whole words to their lexical entries, whilst the nonlexical route decodes words phonologically via parietal cortex. Readers typically employ the lexical route for familiar words, but poor comprehension plus precocity at mechanically 'sounding out' words suggests that differences might exist in autism. Combined MEG/EEG recordings of adults with autistic spectrum conditions (ASC) and controls while reading revealed preferential recruitment of temporal areas in controls and additional parietal recruitment in ASC. Furthermore, a lack of differences between semantic word categories was consistent with previous suggestion that people with ASC may lack a 'default' lexical-semantic processing mode. These results are discussed with reference to dual-route models of reading.
We here investigate whether the well-known laterality of spoken language to the dominant left hemisphere could be explained by the learning of sensorimotor links between a word's articulatory program and its corresponding sound structure. Human-specific asymmetry of acoustic-articulatory connectivity is evident structurally, at the neuroanatomical level, in the arcuate fascicle, which connects superior-temporal and frontal cortices and is more developed in the left hemisphere. Because these left-lateralised fronto-temporal fibres provide a substrate for auditory-motor associations, we hypothesised that learning of acoustic-articulatory coincidences produces laterality, whereas perceptual learning does not. Twenty subjects studied a large (n=48) set of novel meaningless syllable combinations, pseudowords, in a perceptual learning condition, where they carefully listened to repeatedly presented novel items, and, crucially, in an articulatory learning condition, where each item had to be repeated immediately, so that articulatory and auditory speech-evoked cortical activations coincided. In the 14 subjects who successfully passed the learning routine and could recognize the learnt items reliably, both perceptual and articulatory learning were found to lead to an increase of pseudoword-elicited event-related potentials (ERPs), thus reflecting the formation of new memory circuits. Importantly, after articulatory learning, pseudoword-elicited ERPs were more strongly left-lateralised than after perceptual learning. Source localisation confirmed that perceptual learning led to increased activation in superior-temporal cortex bilaterally, whereas items learnt in the articulatory condition activated bilateral superior-temporal auditory in combination with left-pre-central motor areas. These results support a new explanation of the laterality of spoken language based on the neuroanatomy of sensorimotor links and Hebbian learning principles.
Cardiotoxins (CTs) from snake venoms are a family of homologous highly basic proteins that have extended hydrophobic patterns on their molecular surfaces. CTs are folded into three β-structured loops stabilized by four disulfide bridges. Being well-structured in aqueous solution, most of these proteins are membrane-active, although the exact molecular mechanisms of CT-induced cell damage are still poorly understood. To elucidate the structure–function relationships in CTs, a detailed knowledge of their spatial organization and local conformational dynamics is required. Protein domain motions can be either derived from a set of experimental structures or generated via molecular dynamics (MD). At the same time, traditional clustering algorithms in the Cartesian coordinate space often fail to properly take into account the local large-scale dihedral angle transitions that occur in MD simulations. This is because such perturbations are usually offset by changes in the neighboring dihedrals, thus preserving the overall protein fold. States with a “locally perturbed” backbone were found in experimental 3D models of some globular proteins and have been shown to be functionally meaningful. In this work, the possibility of large-scale dihedral angle transitions in the course of long-term MD in explicit water was explored for three CTs with different membrane activities: CT 1, 2 (Naja oxiana) and CT A3 (Naja atra). Analysis of the MD-derived distributions of backbone torsion angles revealed several important common and specific features in the structural/dynamic behavior of these proteins. First, large-amplitude transitions were detected in some residues located in the functionally important loop I region. The K5/L6 pair of residues was found to induce a perturbation of the hydrophobic patterns on the molecular surface of CTs—reversible breaking of a large nonpolar zone (“bottom”) into two smaller ones and their subsequent association. Second, the characteristic sizes of these patterns perfectly coincided with the dimensions of the nonpolar zones on the surfaces of model two-component (zwitterionic/anionic) membranes. Taken together with experimental data on the CT-induced leakage of fluorescent dye from such membranes, these results allowed us to formulate a two-stage mechanism of CT–membrane binding. The principal finding of this study is that even local conformational dynamics of CTs can seriously affect their functional activity via a tuning of the membrane binding site − specific “hot spots” (like the K5/L6 pair) in the protein structure.
Celebrity endorsement is omnipresent. However, despite its prevalence, it is unclear why celebrities are more persuasive than (equally attractive) non-famous endorsers. The present study investigates which processes underlie the effect of fame on product memory and purchase intention by the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging methods. We find an increase in activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex (mOFC) underlying the processing of celebrity–product pairings. This finding suggests that the effectiveness of celebrities stems from a transfer of positive affect from celebrity to product. Additional neuroimaging results indicate that this positive affect is elicited by the spontaneous retrieval of explicit memories associated with the celebrity endorser. Also, we demonstrate that neither the activation of implicit memories of earlier exposures nor an increase in attentional processing is essential for a celebrity advertisement to be effective. By explaining the neural mechanism of fame, our results illustrate how neuroscience may contribute to a better understanding of consumer behavior.