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Concept: Sink


There have been an increasing number of reports implicating Gammaproteobacteria often carrying genes of drug resistance from colonized sink traps to vulnerable hospitalized patients. However, the mechanism of transmission from the wastewater of the sink P-trap to patients remains poorly understood. Herein we report the use of a designated hand washing sink lab gallery to model dispersion of green fluorescent protein (GFP)- expressing Escherichia coli from sink wastewater to the surrounding environment. We found no dispersion of GFP-E.coli directly from the P-trap to the sink basin or surrounding countertop with coincident water flow from a faucet. However, when the GFP-E.coli were allowed to mature in the P-trap under conditions similar to a hospital environment a GFP-E.coli containing putative biofilm extended upward over seven days to reach the strainer. This subsequently resulted in droplet dispersion to the surrounding areas (<30 inches) during faucet operation. We also demonstrated that P-trap colonization could occur by retrograde transmission along a common pipe. We postulate that the organisms mobilize up to the strainer from the P-trap resulting in droplet dispersion rather than directly from the P-trap. This work helps to further define the mode of transmission of bacteria from a P-trap reservoir to a vulnerable hospitalized patient.Importance Many recent reports demonstrate that sink drain pipes become colonized with highly consequential multidrug resistant bacteria, which then result in hospital acquired infections. However, the mechanism of dispersal of bacteria from the sink to patients has not been fully elucidated. Through establishment of a unique sink gallery this work found that a staged mode of transmission involving biofilm growth from the lower pipe to the sink strainer and subsequent splatter to the bowl and surrounding area occurs rather than splatter directly from the water in the lower pipe. We have also demonstrated that bacterial transmission can occur via connections in wastewater plumbing to neighboring sinks. This work helps to more clearly define the mechanism and risk of transmission from a wastewater source to hospitalized patients in a world with increasingly antibiotic resistant bacteria which can thrive in wastewater environments and cause infections in vulnerable patients.

Concepts: Protein, Gene, Bacteria, Antibiotic resistance, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Plumbing, Sink


There is a rising concern regarding the accumulation of floating plastic debris in the open ocean. However, the magnitude and the fate of this pollution are still open questions. Using data from the Malaspina 2010 circumnavigation, regional surveys, and previously published reports, we show a worldwide distribution of plastic on the surface of the open ocean, mostly accumulating in the convergence zones of each of the five subtropical gyres with comparable density. However, the global load of plastic on the open ocean surface was estimated to be on the order of tens of thousands of tons, far less than expected. Our observations of the size distribution of floating plastic debris point at important size-selective sinks removing millimeter-sized fragments of floating plastic on a large scale. This sink may involve a combination of fast nano-fragmentation of the microplastic into particles of microns or smaller, their transference to the ocean interior by food webs and ballasting processes, and processes yet to be discovered. Resolving the fate of the missing plastic debris is of fundamental importance to determine the nature and significance of the impacts of plastic pollution in the ocean.

Concepts: Mathematics, Ocean, Marine debris, Open problem, Convergence, The Missing, Sink, Convergence zone


During January 2014, an industrial solvent contaminated West Virginia’s Elk River and 15% of the state population’s tap water. A rapid in-home survey and water testing was conducted two weeks following the spill to understand resident perceptions, tap water chemical levels, and premise plumbing flushing effectiveness. Water odors were detected in all 10 homes sampled before and after premise plumbing flushing. Survey and medical data indicated flushing caused adverse health impacts. Bench-scale experiments and physiochemical property predictions showed flushing promoted chemical volatilization, and contaminants did not appreciably sorb into crosslinked polyethylene (PEX) pipe. Flushing reduced tap water 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (4-MCHM) concentrations within some but not all homes. 4-MCHM was detected at unflushed (<10 to 420 µg/L) and flushed plumbing systems (<10 to 96 µg/L) and sometimes concentrations differed among faucets within each home. All waters contained less 4-MCHM than the 1,000 µg/L Centers for Disease Control drinking water limit but one home exceeded the 120 µg/L drinking water limit established by independent toxicologists. Nearly all households refused to resume water use activities after flushing because of water safety concerns. Science based flushing protocols should be developed to expedite recovery, minimize health impacts, and reduce concentrations in homes when future events occur.

Concepts: Water, Water pollution, Water quality, Valve, Drinking water, Water supply, Tap water, Sink


Multiple sinks competition is investigated for a walker diffusing on directed complex networks. The asymmetry of the imposed spatial support makes the system non transitive. As a consequence, it is always possible to identify a suitable location for the second absorbing sink that screens at most the flux of agents directed against the first trap, whose position has been preliminarily assigned. The degree of mutual competition between pairs of nodes is analytically quantified through apt indicators that build on the topological characteristics of the hosting graph. Moreover, the positioning of the second trap can be chosen so as to minimize, at the same time, the probability of being in turn shaded by a thirdly added trap. Supervised placing of absorbing traps on a asymmetric disordered and complex graph is hence possible, as follows a robust optimization protocol. This latter is here discussed and successfully tested against synthetic data.

Concepts: Mathematics, Topology, Graph theory, Trap, Optimization, Plumbing, Garbage disposal, Sink


Sucrose produced in source leaves is loaded into collection phloem, transported to sinks and unloaded for utilisation or storage. In the context of long distance transport, sucrose transporters (SUTs) can function to load sucrose into collection phloem, retrieve leaked sucrose during long distance transport, and load sucrose into sink cells. SUTs have also been proposed to efflux sucrose under conditions of low proton motive force and low extracellular sucrose. The involvement of sucrose transporters in phloem unloading in a representative monocot stem, Sorghum bicolor, was evaluated during different stages of internode development. Transcript levels and functional properties of selected key transporters were measured, with both cellular and subcellular localisation determined.

Concepts: Transport, Epidermis, Leaf, Plant stem, Plumbing, Sink


Hand hygiene (HH) prevents harmful contaminants spreading in settings including domestic, healthcare and food handling. Strategies to improve HH range from behavioural techniques through to automated sinks that ensure hand surface cleaning. This study aimed to assess user experience and acceptance towards a new automated sink, compared to a normal sink. An adapted version of the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) assessed each mode of handwashing. A within-subjects design enabled N=46 participants to evaluate both sinks. Perceived Ease of Use and Satisfaction of Use were significantly lower for the automated sink, compared to the conventional sink (p<. 005). Across the remaining TAM factors there was no significant difference. Participants suggested design features including jet strength, water temperature, and device affordance may improve HH technology. We provide recommendations for future HH technology development to contribute a positive user experience, relevant to technology developers, ergonomists and those involved in HH across all sectors. Practitioner Summary: The need to facilitate timely, effective hand hygiene to prevent illness has led to a rise in automated handwashing systems across different contexts. User acceptance is a key factor in system uptake. This paper applies the technology acceptance model as a means to explore and optimise the design of such systems.

Concepts: Marketing, Technology, Hygiene, Hand washing, Sink


During the last decades, achieving water efficiency in buildings has increasingly become an important challenge in the scope of sustainability. Water consumption is directly related to individual conduct. Despite the various technological improvements in fixtures and appliances, their performance will be influenced by human preferences and behavior. As a result, the potential for effective water consumption saving is influenced by behavior change as well as water-efficient fixtures and appliances. This work evaluates the impact of user preferences and behavior change on the water-efficient performance of tap aerators in a case study building: the Department of Civil Engineering building of the University of Aveiro, Portugal. Four aerators with different discharge reductions and types were installed in the toilet’s washbasins and the user’s preferences and behavior change measured through direct and online questionnaires. It was observed that the effective water consumption reduction (15 to 49%) was less than the discharge reduction (30 to 70%), confirming that user factors influence water savings. Water use reductions in the tested range (2.0 to 6.7 l/min) also varied according to gender, with male users using less water than their female counterparts. It was noted that an awareness of sustainability values prevailed amongst the users when confronted with the choice between comfort and water efficiency, although differences were observed in the user preferences regarding the various aerators. When confronted with the information that the lower discharge aerator would contribute to a reduction of about 70% on the water discharge, 25% of the users agreed with its use, even if it resulted in a certain degree of dissatisfaction. In comparison, only 8% of the users completely disagreed with its installation. On average, the water consumption reduction was 46% smaller than the discharge reduction achievable with the aerator alone. This further confirms the user factors inform the degree of water savings that is achievable from water-efficient fittings and fixtures.

Concepts: Water, Plumbing, Indian Reductions, Toilet, Civil engineering, User, Tap, Sink


In addition to the traditional densely deployed cases, widely distributed wireless sensor networks (WDWSNs) have begun to emerge. In these networks, sensors are far away from each other and have no network connections. In this paper, a special application of data collection for WDWSNs is considered where each sensor (Unmanned Ground Vehicle, UGV) moves in a hazardous and complex terrain with many obstacles. They have their own work cycles and can be accessed only at a few locations. A mobile sink cruises on the ground to collect data gathered from these UGVs. Considerable delay is inevitable if the UGV and the mobile sink miss the meeting window or wait idly at the meeting spot. The unique challenge here is that, for each cycle of an UGV, there is only a limited time window for it to appear in front of the mobile sink. Therefore, we propose scheduling the path of a single mobile sink, targeted at visiting a maximum number of UGVs in a timely manner with the shortest path, according to the timing constraints bound by the cycles of UGVs. We then propose a bipartite matching based algorithm to reduce the number of mobile sinks. Simulation results show that the proposed algorithm can achieve performance close to the theoretical maximum determined by the duty cycle instance.

Concepts: Shortest path problem, Sensor, Cycle, Mobile River, Wireless sensor network, Unmanned aerial vehicle, Unmanned ground vehicle, Sink


Traditional underground coalmine monitoring systems are mainly based on the use of wired transmission. However, when cables are damaged during an accident, it is difficult to obtain relevant data on environmental parameters and the emergency situation underground. To address this problem, the use of wireless sensor networks (WSNs) has been proposed. However, the shape of coalmine tunnels is not conducive to the deployment of WSNs as they are long and narrow. Therefore, issues with the network arise, such as extremely large energy consumption, very weak connectivity, long time delays, and a short lifetime. To solve these problems, in this study, a new routing protocol algorithm for multisink WSNs based on transmission power control is proposed. First, a transmission power control algorithm is used to negotiate the optimal communication radius and transmission power of each sink. Second, the non-uniform clustering idea is adopted to optimize the cluster head selection. Simulation results are subsequently compared to the Centroid of the Nodes in a Partition (CNP) strategy and show that the new algorithm delivers a good performance: power efficiency is increased by approximately 70%, connectivity is increased by approximately 15%, the cluster interference is diminished by approximately 50%, the network lifetime is increased by approximately 6%, and the delay is reduced with an increase in the number of sinks.

Concepts: English-language films, Problem solving, Computer network, Sensor, Delays, Wireless sensor network, Routing, Sink


To balance energy consumption and reduce latency on data transmission in Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), a type of low-latency data gathering method with multi-Sink (LDGM for short) is proposed in this paper. The network is divided into several virtual regions consisting of three or less data gathering units and the leader of each region is selected according to its residual energy as well as distance to all of the other nodes. Only the leaders in each region need to communicate with the mobile Sinks which have effectively reduced energy consumption and the end-to-end delay. Moreover, with the help of the sleep scheduling and the sensing radius adjustment strategies, redundancy in network coverage could also be effectively reduced. Simulation results show that LDGM is energy efficient in comparison with MST as well as MWST and its time efficiency on data collection is higher than one Sink based data gathering methods.

Concepts: The Network, Java, Leadership, Sensor, Region, Mobile River, Wireless sensor network, Sink