SciCombinator

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A limited nuclear war between India and Pakistan could ignite fires large enough to emit more than 5 Tg of soot into the stratosphere. Climate model simulations have shown severe resulting climate perturbations with declines in global mean temperature by 1.8 °C and precipitation by 8%, for at least 5 y. Here we evaluate impacts for the global food system. Six harmonized state-of-the-art crop models show that global caloric production from maize, wheat, rice, and soybean falls by 13 (±1)%, 11 (±8)%, 3 (±5)%, and 17 (±2)% over 5 y. Total single-year losses of 12 (±4)% quadruple the largest observed historical anomaly and exceed impacts caused by historic droughts and volcanic eruptions. Colder temperatures drive losses more than changes in precipitation and solar radiation, leading to strongest impacts in temperate regions poleward of 30°N, including the United States, Europe, and China for 10 to 15 y. Integrated food trade network analyses show that domestic reserves and global trade can largely buffer the production anomaly in the first year. Persistent multiyear losses, however, would constrain domestic food availability and propagate to the Global South, especially to food-insecure countries. By year 5, maize and wheat availability would decrease by 13% globally and by more than 20% in 71 countries with a cumulative population of 1.3 billion people. In view of increasing instability in South Asia, this study shows that a regional conflict using <1% of the worldwide nuclear arsenal could have adverse consequences for global food security unmatched in modern history.

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first reported in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and has since spread globally, resulting in >95,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide by March 5, 2020 (1). Singapore adopted a multipronged surveillance strategy that included applying the case definition at medical consults, tracing contacts of patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, enhancing surveillance among different patient groups (all patients with pneumonia, hospitalized patients in intensive care units [ICUs] with possible infectious diseases, primary care patients with influenza-like illness, and deaths from possible infectious etiologies), and allowing clinician discretion (i.e., option to order a test based on clinical suspicion, even if the case definition was not met) to identify COVID-19 patients. Containment measures, including patient isolation and quarantine, active monitoring of contacts, border controls, and community education and precautions, were performed to minimize disease spread. As of March 5, 2020, a total of 117 COVID-19 cases had been identified in Singapore. This report analyzes the first 100 COVID-19 patients in Singapore to determine the effectiveness of the surveillance and containment measures. COVID-19 patients were classified by the primary means by which they were detected. Application of the case definition and contact tracing identified 73 patients, 16 were detected by enhanced surveillance, and 11 were identified by laboratory testing based on providers' clinical discretion. Effectiveness of these measures was assessed by calculating the 7-day moving average of the interval from symptom onset to isolation in hospital or quarantine, which indicated significant decreasing trends for both local and imported COVID-19 cases. Rapid identification and isolation of cases, quarantine of close contacts, and active monitoring of other contacts have been effective in suppressing expansion of the outbreak and have implications for other countries experiencing outbreaks.

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Recent sampling efforts in Madagascar and Zanzibar, as well as examinations of six-gilled sawsharks in several museum collections provided evidence for a complex of species within Pliotrema warreni Regan. The present manuscript contains a redescription of P. warreni involving the syntypes and additional material, as well as formal descriptions of two new species of Pliotrema Regan. All specimens of both new species were found in the western Indian Ocean. Individuals of the first new species, hereafter referred to as P. kajae sp. nov., were identified originating from Madagascar and the Mascarene Ridge. Specimens of the second new species, hereafter referred to as P. annae sp. nov., were only found off Zanzibar. Pliotrema kajae sp. nov. appears to inhabit upper insular slopes and submarine ridges at depths of 214-320 m, P. annae sp. nov. so far is only known from shallow waters (20-35 m). Both new species differ from P. warreni in a number of characteristics including the known distribution range and fresh coloration. Taxonomical differences include barbels that are situated approximately half way from rostral tip to mouth, with prebarbel length equidistant from barbel origin to symphysis of the upper jaw in P. kajae sp. nov. and P. annae sp. nov. (vs. about two thirds way from rostral tip to mouth, with prebarbel length about twice the distance from barbel origin to symphysis of upper jaw in P. warreni) and rostra that are clearly and slightly constricted between barbel origin and nostrils, respectively (vs. rostrum not constricted). Pliotrema kajae sp. nov. differs from P. annae sp. nov. in a longer snout, more numerous large lateral rostral teeth and upper jaw tooth rows, jaw teeth with (vs. without) sharp basal folds, and coloration, particularly pale to light brown (vs. medium to dark brown) dorsal coloration with (vs. without) two indistinct yellowish stripes. A revised diagnosis of Pliotrema and a key to the species are provided.

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Our understanding of the earliest stages of crown bird evolution is hindered by an exceedingly sparse avian fossil record from the Mesozoic era. The most ancient phylogenetic divergences among crown birds are known to have occurred in the Cretaceous period1-3, but stem-lineage representatives of the deepest subclades of crown birds-Palaeognathae (ostriches and kin), Galloanserae (landfowl and waterfowl) and Neoaves (all other extant birds)-are unknown from the Mesozoic era. As a result, key questions related to the ecology4,5, biogeography3,6,7 and divergence times1,8-10 of ancestral crown birds remain unanswered. Here we report a new Mesozoic fossil that occupies a position close to the last common ancestor of Galloanserae and fills a key phylogenetic gap in the early evolutionary history of crown birds10,11. Asteriornis maastrichtensis, gen. et sp. nov., from the Maastrichtian age of Belgium (66.8-66.7 million years ago), is represented by a nearly complete, three-dimensionally preserved skull and associated postcranial elements. The fossil represents one of the only well-supported crown birds from the Mesozoic era12, and is the first Mesozoic crown bird with well-represented cranial remains. Asteriornis maastrichtensis exhibits a previously undocumented combination of galliform (landfowl)-like and anseriform (waterfowl)-like features, and its presence alongside a previously reported Ichthyornis-like taxon from the same locality13 provides direct evidence of the co-occurrence of crown birds and avialan stem birds. Its occurrence in the Northern Hemisphere challenges biogeographical hypotheses of a Gondwanan origin of crown birds3, and its relatively small size and possible littoral ecology may corroborate proposed ecological filters4,5,9 that influenced the persistence of crown birds through the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.

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Switzerland is among the countries with the highest number of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) cases per capita in the world. There are likely many people with undetected SARS-CoV-2 infection because testing efforts are currently not detecting all infected people, including some with clinical disease compatible with COVID-19. Testing on its own will not stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Testing is part of a strategy. The World Health Organization recommends a combination of measures: rapid diagnosis and immediate isolation of cases, rigorous tracking and precautionary self-isolation of close contacts. In this article, we explain why the testing strategy in Switzerland should be strengthened urgently, as a core component of a combination approach to control COVID-19.

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Functional morphology of the atlas reflects multiple aspects of an organism’s biology. More specifically, its shape indicates patterns of head mobility, while the size of its vascular foramina reflects blood flow to the brain. Anatomy and function of the early hominin atlas, and thus, its evolutionary history, are poorly documented because of a paucity of fossilized material. Meticulous excavation, cleaning and high-resolution micro-CT scanning of the StW 573 (‘Little Foot’) skull has revealed the most complete early hominin atlas yet found, having been cemented by breccia in its displaced and flipped over position on the cranial base anterolateral to the foramen magnum. Description and landmark-free morphometric analyses of the StW 573 atlas, along with other less complete hominin atlases from Sterkfontein (StW 679) and Hadar (AL 333-83), confirm the presence of an arboreal component in the positional repertoire of Australopithecus. Finally, assessment of the cross-sectional areas of the transverse foramina of the atlas and the left carotid canal in StW 573 further suggests there may have been lower metabolic costs for cerebral tissues in this hominin than have been attributed to extant humans and may support the idea that blood perfusion of these tissues increased over the course of hominin evolution.

41

This study assessed whether initiating e-cigarette use increases the uptake of cigarette smoking in US adolescents compared with behavioural and synthetic controls.

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It appears inevitable that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 will continue to spread. Although we still have limited information on the epidemiology of this virus, there have been multiple reports of superspreading events (SSEs), which are associated with both explosive growth early in an outbreak and sustained transmission in later stages. Although SSEs appear to be difficult to predict and therefore difficult to prevent, core public health actions can prevent and reduce the number and impact of SSEs. To prevent and control of SSEs, speed is essential. Prevention and mitigation of SSEs depends, first and foremost, on quickly recognizing and understanding these events, particularly within healthcare settings. Better understanding transmission dynamics associated with SSEs, identifying and mitigating high-risk settings, strict adherence to healthcare infection prevention and control measures, and timely implementation of nonpharmaceutical interventions can help prevent and control severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, as well as future infectious disease outbreaks.

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The contamination of indoor nonsmoking environments with thirdhand smoke (THS) is an important, poorly understood public health concern. Real-time THS off-gassing from smokers into a nonsmoking movie theater was observed with online and offline high-resolution mass spectrometry. Prominent emission events of THS tracers (e.g., 2,5-dimethylfuran, 2-methylfuran, and acetonitrile) and other tobacco-related volatile organic compounds (VOCs) coincided with the arrival of certain moviegoers and left residual contamination. These VOC emission events exposed occupants to the equivalent of 1 to 10 cigarettes of secondhand smoke, including multiple hazardous air pollutants (e.g., benzene and formaldehyde) at parts-per-billion concentrations. Nicotine and related intermediate-volatility nitrogen-containing compounds, which vaporized from clothes/bodies and recondensed onto aerosol, comprised 34% of observed functionalized organic aerosol abundance. Exposure to THS VOC emission events will be considerably enhanced in poorly ventilated or smaller spaces in contrast with a large, well-ventilated theater-amplifying concentrations and potential impacts on health and indoor chemistry.

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Systems consolidation (SC) theory proposes that recent, contextually rich memories are stored in the hippocampus (HPC). As these memories become remote, they are believed to rely more heavily on cortical structures within the prefrontal cortex (PFC), where they lose much of their contextual detail and become schematized. Odor is a particularly evocative cue for intense remote memory recall and despite these memories being remote, they are highly contextual. In instances such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), intense remote memory recall can occur years after trauma, which seemingly contradicts SC. We hypothesized that odor may shift the organization of salient or fearful memories such that when paired with an odor at the time of encoding, they are delayed in the de-contextualization process that occurs across time, and retrieval may still rely on the HPC, where memories are imbued with contextually rich information, even at remote time points. We investigated this by tagging odor- and non-odor-associated fear memories in male c57BL/6 mice and assessed recall and c-Fos expression in the dorsal CA1 (dCA1) and prelimbic cortex (PL) 1 or 21 d later. In support of SC, our data showed that recent memories were more dCA1-dependent whereas remote memories were more PL-dependent. However, we also found that odor influenced this temporal dynamic, biasing the memory system from the PL to the dCA1 when odor cues were present. Behaviorally, inhibiting the dCA1 with activity-dependent DREADDs had no effect on recall at 1 d and unexpectedly caused an increase in freezing at 21 d. Together, these findings demonstrate that odor can shift the organization of fear memories at the systems level.