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Concept: Length


Just a bit of water enables one to turn a pile of dry sand into a spectacular sandcastle. Too much water however will destabilize the material, as is seen in landslides. Here we investigated the stability of wet sand columns to account for the maximum height of sandcastles. We find that the columns become unstable to elastic buckling under their own weight. This allows to account for the maximum height of the sand column; it is found to increase as the 2/3 power of the base radius of the column. Measuring the elastic modulus of the wet sand, we find that the optimum strength is achieved at a very low liquid volume fraction of about 1%. Knowing the modulus we can quantitatively account for the measured sandcastle heights.

Concepts: Volume, Liquid, Length, Earthquake engineering, Beach, Sand, Column, Buckling


Endurance running may have a long evolutionary history in the hominin clade but it was not until very recently that humans ran wearing shoes. Research on modern habitually unshod runners has suggested that they utilize a different biomechanical strategy than runners who wear shoes, namely that barefoot runners typically use a forefoot strike in order to avoid generating the high impact forces that would be experienced if they were to strike the ground with their heels first. This finding suggests that our habitually unshod ancestors may have run in a similar way. However, this research was conducted on a single population and we know little about variation in running form among habitually barefoot people, including the effects of running speed, which has been shown to affect strike patterns in shod runners. Here, we present the results of our investigation into the selection of running foot strike patterns among another modern habitually unshod group, the Daasanach of northern Kenya. Data were collected from 38 consenting adults as they ran along a trackway with a plantar pressure pad placed midway along its length. Subjects ran at self-selected endurance running and sprinting speeds. Our data support the hypothesis that a forefoot strike reduces the magnitude of impact loading, but the majority of subjects instead used a rearfoot strike at endurance running speeds. Their percentages of midfoot and forefoot strikes increased significantly with speed. These results indicate that not all habitually barefoot people prefer running with a forefoot strike, and suggest that other factors such as running speed, training level, substrate mechanical properties, running distance, and running frequency, influence the selection of foot strike patterns.

Concepts: Evolution, Foot, Running, Length, Sprint, Barefoot running, Barefoot


BACKGROUND: Excessive shoe heel abrasion is of concern to patients, parents and shoe manufacturers, but little scientific information is available. The purpose of this study was to describe the phenomenon in a group of infantry recruits performing similar physical activity, and search for biomechanical factors that might be related. METHODS: Seventy-six subjects (median age 19) enrolled. Pre-training parameters measured included height, weight, tibial length, foot arch height and foot progression angle. Digital plantar pressure maps were taken to calculate arch indexes. Shoe heel abrasion was assessed manually after 14 weeks of training with different-sized clock transparencies and a calliper. RESULTS: Outsole abrasion was posterolateral, averaging 12 degrees on each shoe. The average heel volume that was eroded was almost 5 cm3. The angle of maximum wear was related to right foot progression angle (r = 0.27, p = 0.02). Recruits with lateral ankle sprains had higher angles of maximal abrasion (17[degree sign] versus 10[degree sign], p = 0.26) and recruits with lateral heel abrasion had more lateral ankle sprains (14% versus 3%, p = 0.12). CONCLUSION: While shoe heel wear affects many people, very little has been done to measure it. In this study in healthy subjects, we found the main abrasion to be posterolateral. This seems to be related to foot progression angle. It was not related to hindfoot valgus/varus or other factors related to subtalar joint motion. These findings do not warrant modification of subtalar joint motion in order to limit shoe heel abrasion.

Concepts: Foot, Arithmetic mean, Angle, Length, Tarsus, Ankle, Pes cavus, Subtalar joint


PURPOSE: To investigate the normative data of ocular axial length and its associations in Chinese. METHOD: The population-based Beijing Eye Study 2011 is a cross-sectional study performed in Greater Beijing. The study included 3468 individuals (1963 (56.6%) women) with a mean age of 64.6±9.8 years (range: 50-93 years). A detailed ophthalmic and medical examination was performed. Axial length was measured by optical low-coherence reflectometry. RESULTS: Axial length measurements were available for 3159 (91.1%) study participants. Mean axial length was 23.25±1.14 mm (range: 18.96-30.88 mm). In multivariate analysis, axial length was significantly associated with the systemic parameters of higher age (P<0.001), higher body height (P = 0.003), higher level of education (P<0.001) and urban region of habitation (P<0.001), and with the ocular parameters of thicker central cornea (P = 0.001), higher corneal curvature radius (P<0.001), deeper anterior chamber (P<0.001), thicker lens (P<0.001), more myopic refractive error (P<0.001), larger pupil diameter (P = 0.018), and higher best corrected visual acuity (P<0.001). It was additionally and negatively associated with the lens vault (P<0.001). In highly myopic eyes, axial length was significantly associated with lower level of education (P = 0.008), more myopic refractive error (P<0.001), and lower best corrected visual acuity (P = 0.034). CONCLUSIONS: Mean ocular axial length in the older adult population of Greater Beijing (23.25±1.14 mm) was similar to the value measured in other urban populations and was higher than in a rural Central Indian population. The association between axial length and older age may potentially be associated with a survival artifact. The association between axial length and body height agrees with the general association between anthropomorphic measures and eye globe size. The association with the level of education and urban region of habitation confirms with previous studies. In contrast in highly myopic eyes, axial length was negatively associated with educational level and best corrected visual acuity.

Concepts: Eye, Visual acuity, Cornea, Myopia, Contact lens, Refractive error, Length, Pupil


In contrast to western countries, foot complaints are rare in Africa. This is remarkable, as many African adults walk many hours each day, often barefoot or with worn-out shoes. The reason why Africans can withstand such loading without developing foot complaints might be related to the way the foot is loaded. Therefore, static foot geometry and dynamic plantar pressure distribution of 77 adults from Malawi were compared to 77 adults from the Netherlands. None of the subjects had a history of foot complaints. The plantar pressure pattern as well as the Arch Index (AI) and the trajectory of the center of pressure during the stance phase were calculated and compared between both groups. Standardized pictures were taken from the feet to assess the height of the Medial Longitudinal Arch (MLA). We found that Malawian adults: (1) loaded the midfoot for a longer and the forefoot for a shorter period during roll off, (2) had significantly lower plantar pressures under the heel and a part of the forefoot, and (3) had a larger AI and a lower MLA compared to the Dutch. These findings demonstrate that differences in static foot geometry, foot loading, and roll off technique exist between the two groups. The advantage of the foot loading pattern as shown by the Malawian group is that the plantar pressure is distributed more equally over the foot. This might prevent foot complaints.

Concepts: Africa, Foot, Malawi, Netherlands, Length, Dutch people, Arches of the foot, Flat feet


Inspired by theories of higher local order autocorrelation (HLAC), this paper presents a simple, novel, yet very powerful approach for wood recognition. The method is suitable for wood database applications, which are of great importance in wood related industries and administrations. At the feature extraction stage, a set of features is extracted from Mask Matching Image (MMI). The MMI features preserve the mask matching information gathered from the HLAC methods. The texture information in the image can then be accurately extracted from the statistical and geometrical features. In particular, richer information and enhanced discriminative power is achieved through the length histogram, a new histogram that embodies the width and height histograms. The performance of the proposed approach is compared to the state-of-the-art HLAC approaches using the wood stereogram dataset ZAFU WS 24. By conducting extensive experiments on ZAFU WS 24, we show that our approach significantly improves the classification accuracy.

Concepts: Statistics, Method acting, Histogram, Extraction, Height, Length, Power, The Mask


The simplification of fabrication processes that can define very fine patterns for large-area flexible radio-frequency (RF) applications is very desirable because it is generally very challenging to realize submicron scale patterns on flexible substrates. Conventional nanoscale patterning methods, such as e-beam lithography, cannot be easily applied to such applications. On the other hand, recent advances in nanoimprinting lithography (NIL) may enable the fabrication of large-area nanoelectronics, especially flexible RF electronics with finely defined patterns, thereby significantly broadening RF applications. Here we report a generic strategy for fabricating high-performance flexible Si nanomembrane (NM)-based RF thin-film transistors (TFTs), capable of over 100 GHz operation in theory, with NIL patterned deep-submicron-scale channel lengths. A unique 3-dimensional etched-trench-channel configuration was used to allow for TFT fabrication compatible with flexible substrates. Optimal device parameters were obtained through device simulation to understand the underlying device physics and to enhance device controllability. Experimentally, a record-breaking 38 GHz maximum oscillation frequency fmax value has been successfully demonstrated from TFTs with a 2 μm gate length built with flexible Si NM on plastic substrates.

Concepts: Nanotechnology, Semiconductor, Transistor, Frequency, Hertz, Pattern, International System of Units, Length


Dogs offer unique opportunities to study correlations between morphology and behavior because skull shapes and body shape are so diverse among breeds. Several studies have shown relationships between canine cephalic index (CI: the ratio of skull width to skull length) and neural architecture. Data on the CI of adult, show-quality dogs (six males and six females) were sourced in Australia along with existing data on the breeds' height, bodyweight and related to data on 36 behavioral traits of companion dogs (n = 8,301) of various common breeds (n = 49) collected internationally using the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ). Stepwise backward elimination regressions revealed that, across the breeds, 33 behavioral traits all but one of which are undesirable in companion animals correlated with either height alone (n = 14), bodyweight alone (n = 5), CI alone (n = 3), bodyweight-and-skull shape combined (n = 2), height-and-skull shape combined (n = 3) or height-and-bodyweight combined (n = 6). For example, breed average height showed strongly significant inverse relationships (p<0.001) with mounting persons or objects, touch sensitivity, urination when left alone, dog-directed fear, separation-related problems, non-social fear, defecation when left alone, owner-directed aggression, begging for food, urine marking and attachment/attention-seeking, while bodyweight showed strongly significant inverse relationships (p<0.001) with excitability and being reported as hyperactive. Apart from trainability, all regression coefficients with height were negative indicating that, across the breeds, behavior becomes more problematic as height decreases. Allogrooming increased strongly (p<0.001) with CI and inversely with height. CI alone showed a strong significant positive relationship with self-grooming (p<0.001) but a negative relationship with chasing (p = 0.020). The current study demonstrates how aspects of CI (and therefore brain shape), bodyweight and height co-vary with behavior. The biological basis for, and significance of, these associations remain to be determined.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Ratio, Skull, Human behavior, Length, Dog, Stepwise regression, Inverse relationship


Over the past two decades, single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) have received much attention because their extraordinary properties are promising for numerous applications. Many of these properties depend sensitively on SWCNT structure, which is characterized by the chiral index (n,m) that denotes the length and orientation of the circumferential vector in the hexagonal carbon lattice. Electronic properties are particularly strongly affected, with subtle structural changes switching tubes from metallic to semiconducting with various bandgaps. Monodisperse ‘single-chirality’ (that is, with a single (n,m) index) SWCNTs are thus needed to fully exploit their technological potential. Controlled synthesis through catalyst engineering, end-cap engineering or cloning strategies, and also tube sorting based on chromatography, density-gradient centrifugation, electrophoresis and other techniques, have delivered SWCNT samples with narrow distributions of tube diameter and a large fraction of a predetermined tube type. But an effective pathway to truly monodisperse SWCNTs remains elusive. The use of template molecules to unambiguously dictate the diameter and chirality of the resulting nanotube holds great promise in this regard, but has hitherto had only limited practical success. Here we show that this bottom-up strategy can produce targeted nanotubes: we convert molecular precursors into ultrashort singly capped (6,6) ‘armchair’ nanotube seeds using surface-catalysed cyclodehydrogenation on a platinum (111) surface, and then elongate these during a subsequent growth phase to produce single-chirality and essentially defect-free SWCNTs with lengths up to a few hundred nanometres. We expect that our on-surface synthesis approach will provide a route to nanotube-based materials with highly optimized properties for applications such as light detectors, photovoltaics, field-effect transistors and sensors.

Concepts: Carbon, Chirality, Transistor, Carbon nanotube, Graphite, Length, Sensor, Carbon nanotubes in photovoltaics


The purpose of this cross-over randomized controlled trial was to verify the effect of KT applied to the triceps surae with the aim to improve muscle performance during vertical jump (VJ), horizontal jump (HJ), and dynamic balance (DB) in healthy college athletes. The participants were 20 athletes (11 male) who competed in four different sports modalities (track and field, handball, volleyball and soccer). Participants had a mean age of 22.3 ± 3.3 years, mean height of 1.74 ± 0.08 m, and mean body mass of 67.8 ± 10.1 kg. The intervention consisted of applying KT from the origin of the triceps surae to its insertion with the purpose of increasing muscle performance; and the placebo consisted of applying tape with non-elastic properties. There were no significant differences between KT and placebo conditions for height (m) in VJ (KT, 0.18 ± 0.06; placebo, 0.17 ± 0.06; p = 0.14), distance (m) in HJ (KT, 1.48 ± 0.3; placebo, 1.47 ± 0.3; p = 0.40), and DB in distance reached (m) in the star excursion balance test, normalized by lower limb length (anterior: KT, 90.0 ± 6.7; placebo, 89.5 ± 7.5; p = 0.56; posterolateral: KT, 92.5 ± 7.5; placebo, 93.2 ± 5.8; p = 0.52; posteromedial: KT, 98.3 ± 6.7; placebo, 98.7 ± 7.4; p = 0.69). The KT technique was not found to be useful in improving performance in some sports-related movements in healthy college athletes, therefore KT applied to the triceps surae should not be considered by athletes when the sole reason of the application is to increase performance during jumping and balance.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Randomized controlled trial, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical research, Length, Vertical jump, Jumping