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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Aquatic microcosm studies often increase either chamber height or base diameter (to increase water volume) to test spatial ecology theories such as “scale” effects on ecological processes, but it is unclear whether the increase of chamber height or base diameter have the same effect on the processes, i.e., whether the effect of the shape of three-dimensional spaces is significant. We orthogonally manipulated chamber height and base diameter and determined swimming activity, average swimming velocity and grazing rates of the cladocerans Daphnia magna and Moina micrura (on two algae Scenedesmus quadricauda and Chlorella vulgaris; leading to four aquatic algae-cladoceran systems in total) under different microcosm conditions. Across all the four aquatic systems, increasing chamber height at a given base diameter significantly decreased the duration and velocity of horizontal swimming, and it tended to increase the duration but decrease the velocity of vertical swimming. These collectively led to decreases in both average swimming velocity and grazing rate of the cladocerans in the tall chambers (at a given base diameter), in accordance with the positive relationship between average swimming velocity and grazing rate. In contrast, an increase of base diameter at a given chamber height showed contrasting effects on the above parameters. Consistently, at a given chamber volume increasing ratio of chamber height to base diameter decreased the average swimming velocity and grazing rate across all the aquatic systems. In general, increasing chamber depth and base diameter may exert contrasting effects on zooplankton behavior and thus phytoplankton-zooplankton interactions. We suggest that spatial shape plays an important role in determining ecological process and thus should be considered in a theoretical framework of spatial ecology and also the physical setting of aquatic microcosm experiments.
This study determined the population structure and genome-wide marker-trait association of agronomic traits of wheat for drought-tolerance breeding. Ninety-three diverse bread wheat genotypes were genotyped using the Diversity Arrays Technology sequencing (DArTseq) protocol. The number of days-to-heading (DTH), number of days-to-maturity (DTM), plant height (PHT), spike length (SPL), number of kernels per spike (KPS), thousand kernel weight (TKW) and grain yield (GYLD), assessed under drought-stressed and non-stressed conditions, were considered for the study. Population structure analysis and genome-wide association mapping were undertaken based on 16,383 silico DArTs loci with < 10% missing data. The population evaluated was grouped into nine distinct genetic structures. Inter-chromosomal linkage disequilibrium showed the existence of linkage decay as physical distance increased. A total of 62 significant (P < 0.001) marker-trait associations (MTAs) were detected explaining more than 20% of the phenotypic variation observed under both drought-stressed and non-stressed conditions. Significant (P < 0.001) MTA event(s) were observed for DTH, PHT, SPL, SPS, and KPS; under both stressed and non-stressed conditions, while additional significant (P < 0.05) associations were observed for TKW, DTM and GYLD under non-stressed condition. The MTAs reported in this population could be useful to initiate marker-assisted selection (MAS) and targeted trait introgression of wheat under drought-stressed and non-stressed conditions, and for fine mapping and cloning of the underlying genes and QTL.
We present a synthetic-wavelength based heterodyne interferometer of optical frequency combs with wide consecutive measurement range for absolute distance measurement. The synthetic wavelength is derived from two wavelengths obtained by two band-pass filters. The interferometric phase of the synthetic wavelength is used as a marker for the pulse-to-pulse alignment, which greatly improves the accuracy of traditional peak finding method. The consecutive measurement range is enlarged by using long fiber to increase the path length difference of the reference and measurement arms. The length of the long fiber is stabilized according to the interferometric phase of a CW laser. The experimental results show the present system can realize an accuracy of 75 nm in 350 mm consecutive measurement range.
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.