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Michael Weekes

and 11 more

Nick K. Jones1,2*, Lucy Rivett1,2*, Chris Workman3, Mark Ferris3, Ashley Shaw1, Cambridge COVID-19 Collaboration1,4, Paul J. Lehner1,4, Rob Howes5, Giles Wright3, Nicholas J. Matheson1,4,6¶, Michael P. Weekes1,7¶1 Cambridge University NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK2 Clinical Microbiology & Public Health Laboratory, Public Health England, Cambridge, UK3 Occupational Health and Wellbeing, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge, UK4 Cambridge Institute of Therapeutic Immunology & Infectious Disease, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK5 Cambridge COVID-19 Testing Centre and AstraZeneca, Anne Mclaren Building, Cambridge, UK6 NHS Blood and Transplant, Cambridge, UK7 Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK*Joint first authorship¶Joint last authorshipCorrespondence: UK has initiated mass COVID-19 immunisation, with healthcare workers (HCWs) given early priority because of the potential for workplace exposure and risk of onward transmission to patients. The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has recommended maximising the number of people vaccinated with first doses at the expense of early booster vaccinations, based on single dose efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 disease.1-3At the time of writing, three COVID-19 vaccines have been granted emergency use authorisation in the UK, including the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech). A vital outstanding question is whether this vaccine prevents or promotes asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, rather than symptomatic COVID-19 disease, because sub-clinical infection following vaccination could continue to drive transmission. This is especially important because many UK HCWs have received this vaccine, and nosocomial COVID-19 infection has been a persistent problem.Through the implementation of a 24 h-turnaround PCR-based comprehensive HCW screening programme at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUHNFT), we previously demonstrated the frequent presence of pauci- and asymptomatic infection amongst HCWs during the UK’s first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.4 Here, we evaluate the effect of first-dose BNT162b2 vaccination on test positivity rates and cycle threshold (Ct) values in the asymptomatic arm of our programme, which now offers weekly screening to all staff.Vaccination of HCWs at CUHNFT began on 8th December 2020, with mass vaccination from 8th January 2021. Here, we analyse data from the two weeks spanning 18thto 31st January 2021, during which: (a) the prevalence of COVID-19 amongst HCWs remained approximately constant; and (b) we screened comparable numbers of vaccinated and unvaccinated HCWs. Over this period, 4,408 (week 1) and 4,411 (week 2) PCR tests were performed from individuals reporting well to work. We stratified HCWs <12 days or > 12 days post-vaccination because this was the point at which protection against symptomatic infection began to appear in phase III clinical trial.226/3,252 (0·80%) tests from unvaccinated HCWs were positive (Ct<36), compared to 13/3,535 (0·37%) from HCWs <12 days post-vaccination and 4/1,989 (0·20%) tests from HCWs ≥12 days post-vaccination (p=0·023 and p=0·004, respectively; Fisher’s exact test, Figure). This suggests a four-fold decrease in the risk of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection amongst HCWs ≥12 days post-vaccination, compared to unvaccinated HCWs, with an intermediate effect amongst HCWs <12 days post-vaccination.A marked reduction in infections was also seen when analyses were repeated with: (a) inclusion of HCWs testing positive through both the symptomatic and asymptomatic arms of the programme (56/3,282 (1·71%) unvaccinated vs 8/1,997 (0·40%) ≥12 days post-vaccination, 4·3-fold reduction, p=0·00001); (b) inclusion of PCR tests which were positive at the limit of detection (Ct>36, 42/3,268 (1·29%) vs 15/2,000 (0·75%), 1·7-fold reduction, p=0·075); and (c) extension of the period of analysis to include six weeks from December 28th to February 7th 2021 (113/14,083 (0·80%) vs 5/4,872 (0·10%), 7·8-fold reduction, p=1x10-9). In addition, the median Ct value of positive tests showed a non-significant trend towards increase between unvaccinated HCWs and HCWs > 12 days post-vaccination (23·3 to 30·3, Figure), suggesting that samples from vaccinated individuals had lower viral loads.We therefore provide real-world evidence for a high level of protection against asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection after a single dose of BNT162b2 vaccine, at a time of predominant transmission of the UK COVID-19 variant of concern 202012/01 (lineage B.1.1.7), and amongst a population with a relatively low frequency of prior infection (7.2% antibody positive).5This work was funded by a Wellcome Senior Clinical Research Fellowship to MPW (108070/Z/15/Z), a Wellcome Principal Research Fellowship to PJL (210688/Z/18/Z), and an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship (MR/P008801/1) and NHSBT workpackage (WPA15-02) to NJM. Funding was also received from Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust and the Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre. We also acknowledge contributions from all staff at CUHNFT Occupational Health and Wellbeing and the Cambridge COVID-19 Testing Centre.

Guangming Wang

and 4 more

Tam Hunt

and 1 more

Tam Hunt [1], Jonathan SchoolerUniversity of California Santa Barbara Synchronization, harmonization, vibrations, or simply resonance in its most general sense seems to have an integral relationship with consciousness itself. One of the possible “neural correlates of consciousness” in mammalian brains is a combination of gamma, beta and theta synchrony. More broadly, we see similar kinds of resonance patterns in living and non-living structures of many types. What clues can resonance provide about the nature of consciousness more generally? This paper provides an overview of resonating structures in the fields of neuroscience, biology and physics and attempts to coalesce these data into a solution to what we see as the “easy part” of the Hard Problem, which is generally known as the “combination problem” or the “binding problem.” The combination problem asks: how do micro-conscious entities combine into a higher-level macro-consciousness? The proposed solution in the context of mammalian consciousness suggests that a shared resonance is what allows different parts of the brain to achieve a phase transition in the speed and bandwidth of information flows between the constituent parts. This phase transition allows for richer varieties of consciousness to arise, with the character and content of that consciousness in each moment determined by the particular set of constituent neurons. We also offer more general insights into the ontology of consciousness and suggest that consciousness manifests as a relatively smooth continuum of increasing richness in all physical processes, distinguishing our view from emergentist materialism. We refer to this approach as a (general) resonance theory of consciousness and offer some responses to Chalmers’ questions about the different kinds of “combination problem.”  At the heart of the universe is a steady, insistent beat: the sound of cycles in sync…. [T]hese feats of synchrony occur spontaneously, almost as if nature has an eerie yearning for order. Steven Strogatz, Sync: How Order Emerges From Chaos in the Universe, Nature and Daily Life (2003) If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.Nikola Tesla (1942) I.               Introduction Is there an “easy part” and a “hard part” to the Hard Problem of consciousness? In this paper, we suggest that there is. The harder part is arriving at a philosophical position with respect to the relationship of matter and mind. This paper is about the “easy part” of the Hard Problem but we address the “hard part” briefly in this introduction.  We have both arrived, after much deliberation, at the position of panpsychism or panexperientialism (all matter has at least some associated mind/experience and vice versa). This is the view that all things and processes have both mental and physical aspects. Matter and mind are two sides of the same coin.  Panpsychism is one of many possible approaches that addresses the “hard part” of the Hard Problem. We adopt this position for all the reasons various authors have listed (Chalmers 1996, Griffin 1997, Hunt 2011, Goff 2017). This first step is particularly powerful if we adopt the Whiteheadian version of panpsychism (Whitehead 1929).  Reaching a position on this fundamental question of how mind relates to matter must be based on a “weight of plausibility” approach, rather than on definitive evidence, because establishing definitive evidence with respect to the presence of mind/experience is difficult. We must generally rely on examining various “behavioral correlates of consciousness” in judging whether entities other than ourselves are conscious – even with respect to other humans—since the only consciousness we can know with certainty is our own. Positing that matter and mind are two sides of the same coin explains the problem of consciousness insofar as it avoids the problems of emergence because under this approach consciousness doesn’t emerge. Consciousness is, rather, always present, at some level, even in the simplest of processes, but it “complexifies” as matter complexifies, and vice versa. Consciousness starts very simple and becomes more complex and rich under the right conditions, which in our proposed framework rely on resonance mechanisms. Matter and mind are two sides of the coin. Neither is primary; they are coequal.  We acknowledge the challenges of adopting this perspective, but encourage readers to consider the many compelling reasons to consider it that are reviewed elsewhere (Chalmers 1996, Griffin 1998, Hunt 2011, Goff 2017, Schooler, Schooler, & Hunt, 2011; Schooler, 2015).  Taking a position on the overarching ontology is the first step in addressing the Hard Problem. But this leads to the related questions: at what level of organization does consciousness reside in any particular process? Is a rock conscious? A chair? An ant? A bacterium? Or are only the smaller constituents, such as atoms or molecules, of these entities conscious? And if there is some degree of consciousness even in atoms and molecules, as panpsychism suggests (albeit of a very rudimentary nature, an important point to remember), how do these micro-conscious entities combine into the higher-level and obvious consciousness we witness in entities like humans and other mammals?  This set of questions is known as the “combination problem,” another now-classic problem in the philosophy of mind, and is what we describe here as the “easy part” of the Hard Problem. Our characterization of this part of the problem as “easy”[2] is, of course, more than a little tongue in cheek. The authors have discussed frequently with each other what part of the Hard Problem should be labeled the easier part and which the harder part. Regardless of the labels we choose, however, this paper focuses on our suggested solution to the combination problem.  Various solutions to the combination problem have been proposed but none have gained widespread acceptance. This paper further elaborates a proposed solution to the combination problem that we first described in Hunt 2011 and Schooler, Hunt, and Schooler 2011. The proposed solution rests on the idea of resonance, a shared vibratory frequency, which can also be called synchrony or field coherence. We will generally use resonance and “sync,” short for synchrony, interchangeably in this paper. We describe the approach as a general resonance theory of consciousness or just “general resonance theory” (GRT). GRT is a field theory of consciousness wherein the various specific fields associated with matter and energy are the seat of conscious awareness.  A summary of our approach appears in Appendix 1.  All things in our universe are constantly in motion, in process. Even objects that appear to be stationary are in fact vibrating, oscillating, resonating, at specific frequencies. So all things are actually processes. Resonance is a specific type of motion, characterized by synchronized oscillation between two states.  An interesting phenomenon occurs when different vibrating processes come into proximity: they will often start vibrating together at the same frequency. They “sync up,” sometimes in ways that can seem mysterious, and allow for richer and faster information and energy flows (Figure 1 offers a schematic). Examining this phenomenon leads to potentially deep insights about the nature of consciousness in both the human/mammalian context but also at a deeper ontological level.

Susanne Schilling*^

and 9 more

Jessica mead

and 6 more

The construct of wellbeing has been criticised as a neoliberal construction of western individualism that ignores wider systemic issues including increasing burden of chronic disease, widening inequality, concerns over environmental degradation and anthropogenic climate change. While these criticisms overlook recent developments, there remains a need for biopsychosocial models that extend theoretical grounding beyond individual wellbeing, incorporating overlapping contextual issues relating to community and environment. Our first GENIAL model \cite{Kemp_2017} provided a more expansive view of pathways to longevity in the context of individual health and wellbeing, emphasising bidirectional links to positive social ties and the impact of sociocultural factors. In this paper, we build on these ideas and propose GENIAL 2.0, focusing on intersecting individual-community-environmental contributions to health and wellbeing, and laying an evidence-based, theoretical framework on which future research and innovative therapeutic innovations could be based. We suggest that our transdisciplinary model of wellbeing - focusing on individual, community and environmental contributions to personal wellbeing - will help to move the research field forward. In reconceptualising wellbeing, GENIAL 2.0 bridges the gap between psychological science and population health health systems, and presents opportunities for enhancing the health and wellbeing of people living with chronic conditions. Implications for future generations including the very survival of our species are discussed.  

Mark Ferris

and 14 more

IntroductionConsistent with World Health Organization (WHO) advice [1], UK Infection Protection Control guidance recommends that healthcare workers (HCWs) caring for patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) should use fluid resistant surgical masks type IIR (FRSMs) as respiratory protective equipment (RPE), unless aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) are being undertaken or are likely, when a filtering face piece 3 (FFP3) respirator should be used [2]. In a recent update, an FFP3 respirator is recommended if “an unacceptable risk of transmission remains following rigorous application of the hierarchy of control” [3]. Conversely, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that HCWs caring for patients with COVID-19 should use an N95 or higher level respirator [4]. WHO guidance suggests that a respirator, such as FFP3, may be used for HCWs in the absence of AGPs if availability or cost is not an issue [1].A recent systematic review undertaken for PHE concluded that: “patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection who are breathing, talking or coughing generate both respiratory droplets and aerosols, but FRSM (and where required, eye protection) are considered to provide adequate staff protection” [5]. Nevertheless, FFP3 respirators are more effective in preventing aerosol transmission than FRSMs, and observational data suggests that they may improve protection for HCWs [6]. It has therefore been suggested that respirators should be considered as a means of affording the best available protection [7], and some organisations have decided to provide FFP3 (or equivalent) respirators to HCWs caring for COVID-19 patients, despite a lack of mandate from local or national guidelines [8].Data from the HCW testing programme at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUHNFT) during the first wave of the UK severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic indicated a higher incidence of infection amongst HCWs caring for patients with COVID-19, compared with those who did not [9]. Subsequent studies have confirmed this observation [10, 11]. This disparity persisted at CUHNFT in December 2020, despite control measures consistent with PHE guidance and audits indicating good compliance. The CUHNFT infection control committee therefore implemented a change of RPE for staff on “red” (COVID-19) wards from FRSMs to FFP3 respirators. In this study, we analyse the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in HCWs before and after this transition.

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Mary Orr

and 2 more

Background: Bronchiolitis is a viral respiratory illness most commonly caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). COVID-19 disrupted typical patterns of viral transmission. Our study aimed to compare low value care for bronchiolitis in a tertiary emergency department (ED) in the United States over the previous five years. Methods: This was a descriptive cohort study through a retrospective chart review from 2017-2022 analyzing ED visits for bronchiolitis including disposition, disease severity, chest radiographs, albuterol, and high flow nasal cannula. A year was a 12 month period from March to February. Results: In the three years prior to the pandemic, there were over 2000 ED visits for bronchiolitis per year (3.1% of all ED visits), which decreased to 450 visits for bronchiolitis (1% of all visits) in 2020. Human rhino/enterovirus was the most common virus detected (92%). Admission rates, albuterol use, high flow nasal cannula use, and chest radiographs were all higher during the first year of the pandemic. The summer of 2021 had the highest visits across the 5 study years (2743, 4.0% of all visits) with a return to previous rates of resource utilization. Conclusions: During the early pandemic, measures to halt the spread of COVID-19 also altered the transmission of RSV and emergency visits for bronchiolitis. There was an increase in lower value care while the volume was low and rhinovirus was the dominant virus detected. As restrictions lifted in 2021, there was a large resurgence of RSV in the atypical summer months with a return of previous rates of resource utilization.
Title Guideline consultation generates inevitable challenges but invaluable communicationSignatoryPauline McDonagh Hull, Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Alberta, CanadaLetterDear Sir, As first author of one of the BJOG letters cited in Dr. Murphy’s commentary on the ‘unwelcome consequences of guideline authorship’1 (‘Montgomery is missing from RCOG’s Assisted Vaginal Birth guideline ’2), and director of one of the organisations that submitted comments during the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ consultation, I would appreciate the opportunity to clarify my involvement and position in the matters described, to avoid potential misinterpretations or assumptions where individuals and organisations have not been named. Dr. Murphy mentions ‘individuals who…believe that forceps should be abolished entirely’, and informs readers that this view ‘was reflected in one submission…from a patient advocacy organisation who suggested that planned caesarean section should be recommended to women as a means of avoiding AVB.’ She then notes our Montgomeryletter2 ‘repeated the same point about planned caesarean section they had made during the consultation process.’ For the record, the submission from my voluntary organisation, Caesarean Birth, did not suggest forceps should be abolished. I disagree with Dr. Murphy’s assertion that our letter was ‘hostile’, and we stand by the concerns expressed therein. However, where I do agree with Dr. Murphy is in relation to the irrefutable challenge ‘of reconciling polarised views’. While our criticism of the RCOG guideline may be perceived as ‘an agenda’ to ‘undermine authors’, it may also be perceived as a sincere effort to influence a hegemonic shift in maternity services in the face of unprecedented maternity litigation resulting from avoidable harm. These views may never be fully reconciled, but I believe we all share the same goal of improving health outcomes. Moreover, the RCOG has responded to criticism of its assisted vaginal birth and caesarean birth recommendations in the past; initially removing them from its website temporarily, and then permanently five years later.3Last year, the University of Aberdeen was awarded almost £1 million to develop a decision aid, to be offered to all women, for planning mode of birth.4 In my view, the option of planned caesarean birth should not be reserved for obstetricians or women who initiate discussions, as this does not constitute equitable care. Language in maternity services is changing too. While Dr. Murphy refers to ‘caesarean section’, both the RCOG and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) adopted ‘caesarean birth’ for their respective 2021 guideline and 2022 Considering a caesarean birthpublications. Finally, when Dr. Murphy highlights the lack of remuneration for guideline authors, she echoes my own experience of countless hours in unpaid consultation, barring one significant difference. Only authors have the privilege of determining the final version. We also concur on the importance of providing stakeholders the opportunity for public debate. Prior to reading Dr. Murphy’s commentary, I was not aware of the complaint she received, and certainly support individual safeguarding as we all navigate the inevitable disagreements ahead. Nevertheless, open channels of communication and consultation remain a valuable and indispensable method to examine, and in some cases disrupt, established ways of thinking, and they must not be diminished.Reference s 1. Murphy DJ. The unwelcome consequences of Guideline authorship. BJOG 2023;00:1-2. 2. Hull PM, Thomas K, Skinner E, Dawes A, Christensen P. Re: assisted vaginal birth: green-top guideline no. 26: Montgomery is missing from RCOG’s assisted vaginal birth guideline. BJOG2020;127(10):1297–8. 3. Weston N. Making sense of commissioning Maternity Services in England – some issues for Clinical Commissioning Groups to consider . Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 14 August 2012. 4. Scientists awarded £1million to help women make childbirth choices. University of Aberdeen, 27 September 2022. Accessed 5 June 2023.

Sean Kow

and 4 more

Background Individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF) often have psychological difficulties on top of their medically complex care, such as anxiety, depression, and medical mistrust. These have been shown to be associated with worse adherence, pulmonary function test results, and other health outcomes. In this pilot trial, we implemented a journaling program based on narrative therapy methodology to improve mental and physical health outcomes for individuals with CF. Methods Eight adolescents aged 12-17 with a confirmed diagnosis of CF followed in a single center cystic fibrosis clinic were emailed weekly journaling prompts that explored topics like: treatment adherence, feeling different with CF, anxiety, depression, and interpersonal relationships. Subjects were emailed surveys about their experience with the writing assignment, and baseline health data was collected from the electronic medical records. Results The average score for the Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC-17) decreased by 5.5 points, and the post-study average (mean 23.5, SD 12.2) fell to less than 28, which is the cutoff for screening positive for behavioral or emotional problems. Participants reported the study was enjoyable and had improvement in feelings of anxiety/depression. 100% of participants responded “Strongly Agree” to the statement “I recommend other people with CF to write about the topics from this study”. Conclusions The journaling intervention for individuals with CF was feasible and well received. Initial results show improvement in PSC-17 and other wellbeing measures. Further studies are needed to evaluate the impact of journaling on mental health and disease outcomes.

Yonatan Wolfson

and 5 more

Objective: This retrospective observational cohort study aimed to assess the real-life application of bronchial challenge test (BCT) in the management of preschool children presenting with atypical recurrent respiratory symptoms (ARRS). Methods: We included children, aged 0.5-6 years referred to a pediatric-pulmonology clinic, who underwent BCT using methacholine or adenosine between 2012-2018 due to ARRS including uncertain severity of airway hyperactivity. BCT was considered positive based on spirometry results and/or wheezing, desaturation, and tachypnea reactions. We collected data on demographics, BCT results, pre-BCT treatment, post-BCT treatment change and post-BCT symptoms control. The primary outcome measure was the change in treatment post-BCT (step-up or step-down). Secondary outcome included clinical improvement observed 3-6 months after BCT. Results: A total of 228 children (55% males) with a mean age of 4.2±0.6 years underwent BCT (52% adenosine-BCT, 48% methacholine-BCT). Children referred for methacholine were significantly younger compared to adenosine (3.6±1.2 vs. 4.2±1.2 years, P<0.01). Methacholine and adenosine BCTs were positive in 95% and 61%, respectively. Overall, changes in management were observed in 122(53.5%) children following BCT, with 83(36.4%) being stepped up and 37(17%) being stepped down. Significantly more children in the methacholine group were stepped up compared to the adenosine (46% vs 28%, p=0.004). During the follow-up assessment, we observed a clinical improvement in 119/162 (73.4%) of the children. Conclusion: This study demonstrates the importance of BCT in the management of preschool children presenting to pediatric pulmonary-units with ARRS. The change in treatment and subsequent clinical improvement observed, highlight the added-value of BCT in this populations.

Zehua Zhang

and 5 more

The development of an urban rail transit network conforms to the characteristics of logistic dynamic equations. Studying the evolution laws of urban rail transit networks and accurately reproducing the entire process of evolution can provide targeted guidance for rail transit network planning and phased construction. This article studies the structure and evolution laws of urban rail transit networks and finds that the evolution and development of urban rail transit networks are based on the evolution of lines, which aligns with the evolution characteristics of hyperedge-driven hyper networks. At the same time, the links between lines have the evolutionary characteristics of combining randomness and prioritization. On this basis, a hyper network model of urban rail transit was established with stations as nodes and lines as hyperedges. Based on the allometry growth relationship between transfer nodes and common nodes in urban rail transit networks, this paper proposes a hyper network evolution model of rail transit that can simulate the evolution process and generate a network similar to the existing network. Finally, a comparative analysis was conducted between the network generated by the model and four different levels of urban rail transit networks, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Tianjin. The evolutionary network generated by the new model is highly consistent with the leading critical indicators of the existing network and has a high degree of similarity. A comparative verification was conducted with the evolution data of the Beijing Rail Transit Network (1984-2020) over a total of 45 years. Both network evolution processes were found to conform to the dynamic logistic equation, proving that the evolution model can reproduce the evolution process of the urban rail transit network, which has practical guiding significance for the study of rail transit network evolution.

Nicole Fickling

and 6 more

Soil bacterial taxa have important functional roles in ecosystems (e.g., nutrient cycling, soil formation, plant health). Many factors influence their assembly and regulation, with land cover type (e.g., remnant vegetation, agriculture, urban parks) and plant-soil feedbacks being two well studied factors. However, changes in soil bacterial communities in situ over light-dark cycles have received little attention, despite plants and some bacteria having endogenous circadian rhythms that could influence soil bacterial communities. We sampled surface soils in situ across 24-hour light-dark cycles (at 00:00, 06:00, 12:00, 18:00) at two land cover types (remnant vegetation vs. cleared, grassy areas) and applied 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing to investigate changes in bacterial communities. We show that land cover type strongly affected soil bacterial diversity, with soils under native vegetation expressing 15.41-16.42% lower alpha diversity but 4.92-10.67% greater heterogeneity than soils under cleared vegetation. In addition, we report time-dependent and site-specific changes in bacterial network complexity and between 598-922 ASVs showing significant changes in relative abundance across times. Native site node degree (bacterial interactions) at phylum level was 16.0% higher in the early morning hours compared to the afternoon/evening. Our results demonstrate for the first time that light-dark cycles have subtle yet important effects on the composition of soil bacterial communities in situ and that land cover influences these dynamics. We provide a new view of soil microbial ecology and suggest that future studies should consider the time of day when sampling soil bacteria.

Muhammad Muzammal

and 2 more

The new era of automation is obsoleting the antiquated manual systems rapidly. Global trends are shifting towards small integrated systems which are smarter, more user-friendly and remotely accessible. This project presents an intelligent battery management system for solar and off-peak energy systems to meet the global demands. This micro-controller-based battery management system stores off-peak and solar energy in the battery pack consisting of four batteries and aptly supplies this energy to drive DC and AC loads. The controller is programmed to automatically shift the load to the next battery in the sequence when the previous battery is discharged below the permissible limit. The controller also connects the discharged battery to a smart charging system that automatically starts charging to maintain an uninterruptible power supply. Moreover, the system has a monitoring and control mechanism that prevents intrinsic and extrinsic factors (such as temperature) from affecting the health of the batteries. The voltage difference among cells within a battery undermines the battery life severely. A smart charge equalizer is thus incorporated in the system to deter this detrimental effect. In addition, the state of charge of each battery is graphically illustrated through Internet of Things (IoT) so that any anomaly can be detected and treated, and remote access can be assured. Thus, this system provides a smart and effective way to store energy and use it efficiently. Keywords: Battery Management, Charge equalization, Uninterruptible power supply, Off-peak, Internet of Things (IoT), Arduino (microcontroller)

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Shen Shen

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Optimizing the spatial configuration of diverse best management practices (BMPs) can provide valuable decision-making support for comprehensive watershed management. Most existing methods focus on selecting BMP types and locations but neglect their implementation time or order in management scenarios, which are often investment-restricted. This study proposes a new simulation-optimization framework for determining the implementation plan of BMPs by using the net present value to calculate the economic costs of BMP scenarios and the time-varying effectiveness of BMPs to evaluate the environmental effectiveness of BMP scenarios. The proposed framework was implemented based on a Spatially Explicit Integrated Modeling System and demonstrated in an agricultural watershed case study. This case study optimized the implementation time of four erosion control BMPs in a specific spatial configuration scenario under a 5-year stepwise investment process. The proposed method could effectively provide more feasible BMP scenarios with a lower overall investment burden with only a slight loss of environmental effectiveness. Time-varying BMP effectiveness data should be gathered and incorporated into watershed modeling and scenario optimization to better depict the environmental improvement effects of BMPs over time. The proposed framework was sufficiently flexible to be applied to other technical implementations and extensible to more actual application cases with sufficient BMP data. Overall, this study demonstrated the basic idea of extending the spatial optimization of BMPs to a spatiotemporal level by considering stepwise investment, emphasizing the value of integrating physical geographic processes and anthropogenic influences.

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