SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Building

11

The amount of electricity generated by Photovoltaic (PV) systems is affected by factors such as shading, building orientation and roof slope. To increase electricity generation and reduce volatility in generation of PV systems, a portfolio of PV systems can be made which takes advantages of the potential synergy among neighboring buildings. This paper contains data supporting the research article entitled: PACPIM: new decision-support model of optimized portfolio analysis for community-based photovoltaic investment [1]. We present a set of data relating to physical properties of 24 houses in Oregon, USA, along with simulated hourly electricity data for the installed PV systems. The developed Matlab code to construct optimized portfolios is also provided in . The application of these files can be generalized to variety of communities interested in investing on PV systems.

Concepts: MATLAB, Risk, Bond, Construction, House, Building, Investment, Photovoltaics

10

While dissemination and implementation (D&I) science has grown rapidly, there is an ongoing need to understand how to build and sustain capacity in individuals and institutions conducting research. There are three inter-related domains for capacity building: people, settings, and activities. Since 2008, Washington University in St. Louis has dedicated significant attention and resources toward building D&I research capacity. This paper describes our process, challenges, and lessons with the goal of informing others who may have similar aims at their own institution.

Concepts: Capacity building, Washington University, Building, Institution, Political science terms, Society, St. Louis, Missouri, Washington University in St. Louis

8

Mike English and colleagues argue that as efforts are made towards achieving universal health coverage it is also important to build capacity to develop regionally relevant evidence to improve healthcare.

Concepts: Building, Medical ethics, Healthcare, Clinical trial, Health economics, Universal health care, Medicine, Health care

7

The indoor microbiome is a complex system that is thought to depend on dispersal from the outdoor biome and the occupants' microbiome combined with selective pressures imposed by the occupants' behaviors and the building itself. We set out to determine the pattern of fungal diversity and composition in indoor air on a local scale and to identify processes behind that pattern. We surveyed airborne fungal assemblages within 1-month time periods at two seasons, with high replication, indoors and outdoors, within and across standardized residences at a university housing facility. Fungal assemblages indoors were diverse and strongly determined by dispersal from outdoors, and no fungal taxa were found as indicators of indoor air. There was a seasonal effect on the fungi found in both indoor and outdoor air, and quantitatively more fungal biomass was detected outdoors than indoors. A strong signal of isolation by distance existed in both outdoor and indoor airborne fungal assemblages, despite the small geographic scale in which this study was undertaken (<500 m). Moreover, room and occupant behavior had no detectable effect on the fungi found in indoor air. These results show that at the local level, outdoor air fungi dominate the patterning of indoor air. More broadly, they provide additional support for the growing evidence that dispersal limitation, even on small geographic scales, is a key process in structuring the often-observed distance-decay biogeographic pattern in microbial communities.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 21 February 2013; doi:10.1038/ismej.2013.28.

Concepts: Building, Taxon, Natural selection, Eukaryote, Biogeography, Psychology, Fungus, Bacteria

6

Animal constructions such as termite mounds have received scrutiny by architects, structural engineers, soil scientists and behavioural ecologists but their basic building blocks remain uncharacterized and the criteria used for material selection unexplored. By conducting controlled experiments on Odontotermes obesus termites, we characterize the building blocks of termite mounds and determine the key elements defining material choice and usage by these accomplished engineers. Using biocement and a self-organized process, termites fabricate, transport and assemble spherical unitary structures called boluses that have a bimodal size distribution, achieving an optimal packing solution for mound construction. Granular, hydrophilic, osmotically inactive, non-hygroscopic materials with surface roughness, rigidity and containing organic matter are the easiest to handle and are crucial determinants of mass transfer during mound construction. We suggest that these properties, along with optimal moisture availability, are important predictors of the global geographic distribution of termites.

Concepts: Soil, Architect, Building, Materials science, Chemistry, Building code, Construction, Termite

5

Essential to building cardiovascular health promotion capacity in youth, which extends into adulthood, are approaches that seek to empower, educate, and support. The Five Cs model of positive youth development (PYD) guided this study. This model represents the ability of youth to develop competence, confidence, connection, character, and caring when given the appropriate resources. The purpose of this two-year school-based feasibility study was to determine if providing a research intervention in the form of education, empowerment, and support build youth’s capacity for cardiovascular health promotion.

Concepts: Education, Building, Empowerment, House, Community youth development, Youth development, Positive youth development, Youth

5

Living in high-rise buildings could influence the health of residents. Previous studies focused on structural features of high-rise buildings or characteristics of their neighbourhoods, ignoring differences within buildings in socio-economic position or health outcomes. We examined mortality by floor of residence in the Swiss National Cohort, a longitudinal study based on the linkage of December 2000 census with mortality and emigration records 2001-2008. Analyses were based on 1.5 million people living in buildings with four or more floors and 142,390 deaths recorded during 11.4 million person-years of follow-up. Cox models were adjusted for age, sex, civil status, nationality, language, religion, education, professional status, type of household and crowding. The rent per m(2) increased with higher floors and the number of persons per room decreased. Mortality rates decreased with increasing floors: hazard ratios comparing the ground floor with the eighth floor and above were 1.22 [95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.15-1.28] for all causes, 1.40 (95 % CI 1.11-1.77) for respiratory diseases, 1.35 (95 % CI 1.22-1.49) for cardiovascular diseases and 1.22 (95 % CI 0.99-1.50) for lung cancer, but 0.41 (95 % CI 0.17-0.98) for suicide by jumping from a high place. There was no association with suicide by any means (hazard ratio 0.81; 95 % CI 0.57-1.15). We conclude that in Switzerland all-cause and cause-specific mortality varies across floors of residence among people living in high-rise buildings. Gradients in mortality suggest that floor of residence captures residual socioeconomic stratification and is likely to be mediated by behavioural (e.g. physical activity), and environmental exposures, and access to a method of suicide.

Concepts: Longitudinal study, Building, Death, Floor, High-rise, Sociology, Epidemiology, Storey

4

PCBs appear in school air because many school buildings were built when PCBs were still intentionally added to building materials and because PCBs are also present through inadvertent production in modern pigment. This is of concern because children are especially vulnerable to the toxic effects of PCBs. Here we report indoor and outdoor air concentrations of PCBs and OH-PCBs from two rural schools and four urban schools, the latter near a PCB-contaminated waterway of Lake Michigan in the United States. Samples (n = 108) were collected as in/out pairs using polyurethane foam passive air samplers (PUF-PAS) from January 2012 to November 2015. Samples were analyzed using GC/MS-MS for all 209 PCBs and 72 OH-PCBs. Concentrations inside schools were 1-2 orders of magnitude higher than outdoors and ranged from 0.5 to 194 ng/m(3) (PCBs) and from 4 to 665 pg/m(3) (OH-PCBs). Congener profiles were similar within each sampling location across season but different between schools and indicated the sources as Aroclors from building materials and individual PCBs associated with modern pigment. This study is the first cohort-specific analysis to show that some children’s PCB inhalation exposure may be equal to or higher than their exposure through diet.

Concepts: Sample, Polyurethane, Building, Equals sign, Toxicity, Polychlorinated biphenyl, School, United States

4

It is becoming apparent that birds learn from their own experiences of nest building. What is not clear is whether birds can learn from watching conspecifics build. As social learning allows an animal to gain information without engaging in costly trial-and-error learning, first-time builders should exploit the successful habits of experienced builders. We presented first-time nest-building male zebra finches with either a familiar or an unfamiliar conspecific male building with material of a colour the observer did not like. When given the opportunity to build, males that had watched a familiar male build switched their material preference to that used by the familiar male. Males that observed unfamiliar birds did not. Thus, first-time nest builders use social information and copy the nest material choices when demonstrators are familiar but not when they are strangers. The relationships between individuals therefore influence how nest-building expertise is socially transmitted in zebra finches.

Concepts: Building, Learning, Male, Heuristics, Experience, Bird, Philosophy of science, Knowledge

4

Malignant mesothelioma cases among primary school teachers are usually linked with asbestos exposure due to the mineral contained in the building structure. Among the approximately 12,000 cases of mesothelioma described in the fourth report of the National Mesothelioma Register, 11 cases of primary school teachers are reported, in spite of the fact that the “catalogue of asbestos use” does not describe circumstances of asbestos exposure other than or different to that due to asbestos contained in the buildings. Four cases in the Brescia Provincial Mesothelioma Register are identified as teachers, without this circumstance of exposure.

Concepts: Primary education, Asbestos and the law, Primary school, Building, School, Cancer, Mesothelioma, Asbestos