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Concept: Anomaly


Stratospheric aerosols from large tropical explosive volcanic eruptions backscatter shortwave radiation and reduce the global mean surface temperature. Observations suggest that they also favour an El Niño within 2 years following the eruption. Modelling studies have, however, so far reached no consensus on either the sign or physical mechanism of El Niño response to volcanism. Here we show that an El Niño tends to peak during the year following large eruptions in simulations of the Fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). Targeted climate model simulations further emphasize that Pinatubo-like eruptions tend to shorten La Niñas, lengthen El Niños and induce anomalous warming when occurring during neutral states. Volcanically induced cooling in tropical Africa weakens the West African monsoon, and the resulting atmospheric Kelvin wave drives equatorial westerly wind anomalies over the western Pacific. This wind anomaly is further amplified by air-sea interactions in the Pacific, favouring an El Niño-like response.El Niño tends to follow 2 years after volcanic eruptions, but the physical mechanism behind this phenomenon is unclear. Here the authors use model simulations to show that a Pinatubo-like eruption cools tropical Africa and drives westerly wind anomalies in the Pacific favouring an El Niño response.

Concepts: Africa, Earth, Climate, Temperature, Anomaly, Volcano, Monsoon, Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project


PURPOSE: To determine the type and distribution of ocular conditions cared for in a clinic dedicated to scleral devices and to report the clinical outcomes afforded by this approach. METHODS: Fifty-one charts of patients fitted unilaterally or bilaterally with a scleral device (Prosthetic Replacement of the Ocular Surface Ecosystem - PROSE) in a two year period were retrospectively reviewed. Patient demographics, ocular diagnoses, associated systemic conditions, best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) before and after fitting, Visual Function Questionnaire score (VFQ-25), and ocular surface disease index (OSDI) score were collected. RESULTS: All 51 patients were successfully wearing the PROSE device for a period of anywhere from weeks to years. The most common reasons for fitting were to relieve symptoms of moderate to severe dry eye syndrome (“DES”, n=25), management of refractive problems (“refractive”, n=23) with keratoconus being the most common (n=14), and to manage other anomalies (“other”, n=3). Best corrected visual acuity (logMAR) improved with the wearing of the PROSE device for both the DES (17 letters) and the refractive group (10 letters), but not the “other” group. No serious complications were recorded for any of the patients. CONCLUSIONS: The PROSE device is a useful option not only for the management of ocular surface disease and optical imperfections, but also for other ophthalmic conditions. Moderate to severe dry eye was the most common anomaly managed, followed by eyes with irregular corneal astigmatism. DES and refractive patients experienced improvement in visual acuity with wearing of the PROSE device.

Concepts: Eye, Visual acuity, Ophthalmology, Contact lens, Anomaly, Refractive error, Tears, Keratoconjunctivitis sicca


In India, Atlantoaxial dislocation (AAD) is the commonest skeletal craniovertebral junction (CVJ) anomaly, followed by occipitalisation of atlas and basilar invagination. The usual presentation is progressive neurological deficit (76-95% cases) involving the high cervical cord, lower brainstem and cranial nerves. The association between vertebro-basilar insufficiency and skeletal CVJ anomalies is well recognised and angiographic abnormalities of the vertebrobasilar arteries and their branches have been reported; however, initial presentation of CVJ anomaly as thalamic syndrome due to posterior circulation stroke is extremely rare. Here, we report one such rare case of thalamic syndrome as the initial presentation of CVJ anomaly with AAD.

Concepts: Atherosclerosis, Report, Cranial nerves, Asperger syndrome, Case, Anomaly, Vertebral artery, Progressive revelation


India suffers from major heatwaves during March-June. The rising trend of number of intense heatwaves in recent decades has been vaguely attributed to global warming. Since the heat waves have a serious effect on human mortality, root causes of these heatwaves need to be clarified. Based on the observed patterns and statistical analyses of the maximum temperature variability, we identified two types of heatwaves. The first-type of heatwave over the north-central India is found to be associated with blocking over the North Atlantic. The blocking over North Atlantic results in a cyclonic anomaly west of North Africa at upper levels. The stretching of vorticity generates a Rossby wave source of anomalous Rossby waves near the entrance of the African Jet. The resulting quasi-stationary Rossby wave-train along the Jet has a positive phase over Indian subcontinent causing anomalous sinking motion and thereby heatwave conditions over India. On the other hand, the second-type of heatwave over the coastal eastern India is found to be due to the anomalous Matsuno-Gill response to the anomalous cooling in the Pacific. The Matsuno-Gill response is such that it generates northwesterly anomalies over the landmass reducing the land-sea breeze, resulting in heatwaves.

Concepts: Africa, Earth, Atlantic Ocean, India, Indian subcontinent, Indian Ocean, Anomaly, Rossby wave


High-resolution gravity data from the GRAIL spacecraft have clarified the origin of lunar mascons. Free-air gravity anomalies over lunar impact basins display bulls-eye patterns consisting of a central positive (mascon) anomaly, a surrounding negative collar, and a positive outer annulus. We show that this pattern results from impact basin excavation and collapse followed by isostatic adjustment and cooling and contraction of a voluminous melt pool. We employed a hydrocode to simulate the impact and a self-consistent finite-element model to simulate the subsequent viscoelastic relaxation and cooling. The primary parameters controlling the modeled gravity signatures of mascon basins are the impactor energy, the lunar thermal gradient at the time of impact, the crustal thickness, and the extent of volcanic fill.

Concepts: Time, Mars, Moon, Impact event, Anomaly, Spacecraft, Impact crater, Gauge theory


Recent psycholinguistic models hypothesize that anticipatory processing can speed the response to linguistic input during language comprehension by pre-activating representations necessary for word recognition. We investigated the neurocognitive mechanisms of anticipatory processing by recording event-related potentials (ERPs) to syntactically anomalous (The thief was caught by for police) and well-formed (e.g., The thief was caught by the police) sentences. One group of participants saw anomalies elicited by the same word in every instance (e.g., for; low-variability stimuli), providing high affordances for predictions about the word-form appearing in the critical position. A second group saw anomalies elicited by seven different prepositions (at, of, on, for, from, over, with; high-variability stimuli) across the study, creating a more difficult prediction task. Syntactic category anomalies enhanced the occipital-temporal N170 component of the ERP, indicating rapid sensitivity - within 200 ms of word-onset - to syntactic anomaly. For low-variability but not the high-variability stimuli, syntactic anomaly also enhanced the earlier occipital-temporal P1 component, around 130 ms after word-onset, indicating that affordances for prediction engendered earlier sensitivity to syntactic anomaly. Independent components analysis revealed three sources within the ERP signal whose functional dynamics were consistent with predictive processing and early responses to syntactic anomaly. Distributed neural source modeling (sLORETA) of these early active sources produced a candidate network for early responses to words during reading in the right posterior occipital, left occipital-temporal, and medial parietal cortex.

Concepts: Scientific method, Prediction, Futurology, Cerebrum, Linguistics, Anomaly, Syntax, Irregular


Indicators of compliance and efficiency in combatting money laundering, collected by EUROSTAT, are plagued with shortcomings. In this paper, I have carried out a forensic analysis on a 2003-2010 dataset of indicators of compliance and efficiency in combatting money laundering, that European Union member states self-reported to EUROSTAT, and on the basis of which, their efforts were evaluated. I used Benford’s law to detect any anomalous statistical patterns and found that statistical anomalies were also consistent with strategic manipulation. According to Benford’s law, if we pick a random sample of numbers representing natural processes, and look at the distribution of the first digits of these numbers, we see that, contrary to popular belief, digit 1 occurs most often, then digit 2, and so on, with digit 9 occurring in less than 5% of the sample. Without prior knowledge of Benford’s law, since people are not intuitively good at creating truly random numbers, deviations thereof can capture strategic alterations. In order to eliminate other sources of deviation, I have compared deviations in situations where incentives and opportunities for manipulation existed and in situations where they did not. While my results are not a conclusive proof of strategic manipulation, they signal that countries that faced incentives and opportunities to misinform the international community about their efforts to combat money laundering may have manipulated these indicators. Finally, my analysis points to the high potential for disruption that the manipulation of national statistics has, and calls for the acknowledgment that strategic manipulation can be an unintended consequence of the international community’s pressure on countries to put combatting money laundering on the top of their national agenda.

Concepts: Statistics, European Union, Member State of the European Union, Randomness, Standard deviation, Anomaly


With the aim to contribute to humanitarian response to disasters and violent events, scientists have proposed the development of analytical tools that could identify emergency events in real-time, using mobile phone data. The assumption is that dramatic and discrete changes in behavior, measured with mobile phone data, will indicate extreme events. In this study, we propose an efficient system for spatiotemporal detection of behavioral anomalies from mobile phone data and compare sites with behavioral anomalies to an extensive database of emergency and non-emergency events in Rwanda. Our methodology successfully captures anomalous behavioral patterns associated with a broad range of events, from religious and official holidays to earthquakes, floods, violence against civilians and protests. Our results suggest that human behavioral responses to extreme events are complex and multi-dimensional, including extreme increases and decreases in both calling and movement behaviors. We also find significant temporal and spatial variance in responses to extreme events. Our behavioral anomaly detection system and extensive discussion of results are a significant contribution to the long-term project of creating an effective real-time event detection system with mobile phone data and we discuss the implications of our findings for future research to this end.

Concepts: Psychology, Behavior, Motivation, Human behavior, Behaviorism, Anomaly, Mobile phone, Social relation


People who report objects moving in their presence, unusual sounds, glows around other people, and multiple sensed presences but do not meet the criteria for psychiatric disorders have been shown to exhibit electrical anomalies over the right temporal lobes. This article reports the striking quantitative electroencephalography, sLORETA results, and experimental elicitation of similar subjective experiences in a middle-aged woman who has been distressed by these classic phenomena that began after a head injury. She exhibited a chronic electrical anomaly over the right temporoinsular region. The rotation of a small pinwheel near her while she ‘concentrated’ upon it was associated with increased coherence between the left and right temporal lobes and concurrent activation of the left prefrontal region. The occurrence of the unusual phenomena and marked ‘sadness’ was associated with increased geomagnetic activity; she reported a similar mood when these variations were simulated experimentally. Our quantitative measurements suggest people displaying these experiences and possible anomalous energies can be viewed clinically and potentially treated.

Concepts: Left-wing politics, Right-wing politics, Anomaly


In this paper, we provide a robust framework to detect anomalous electromyographic (EMG) signals and identify contamination types. As a first step for feature selection, optimally selected Lawton wavelets transform is applied. Robust principal component analysis (rPCA) is then performed on these wavelet coefficients to obtain features in a lower dimension. The rPCA based features are used for constructing a self-organizing map (SOM). Finally, hierarchical clustering is applied on the SOM that separates anomalous signals residing in the smaller clusters and breaks them into logical units for contamination identification. The proposed methodology is tested using synthetic and real world EMG signals. The synthetic EMG signals are generated using a heteroscedastic process mimicking desired experimental setups. A sub-part of these synthetic signals is introduced with anomalies. These results are followed with real EMG signals introduced with synthetic anomalies. Finally, a heterogeneous real world data set is used with known quality issues under an unsupervised setting. The framework provides recall of 90% (± 3.3) and precision of 99%(±0.4).

Concepts: Electromyography, Principal component analysis, Machine learning, Data mining, Anomaly, Wavelet, Nonlinear dimensionality reduction, Irregular