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Concept: Strike action


Humans can use hand tools smoothly and effectively in varying circumstances; in other words, skillfully. A few other species of primates crack encased foods using hammer tools and anvils. Are they skilled? Positioning the food on the anvil so that it does not fall off when struck is a component of skilled cracking. We discovered that bearded capuchin monkeys deliberately place palm nuts in a relatively stable position on the anvil before striking them. In the first experiment, we marked the meridians of palm nuts where they stopped when rolled on a flat surface (“Stop meridian”). We videotaped monkeys as they cracked these nuts on an anvil. In playback we coded the position of the Stop meridian prior to each strike. Monkeys typically knocked the nuts on the anvil a few times before releasing them in a pit. They positioned the nuts so that the Stop meridian was within 30 degrees of vertical with respect to gravity more often than expected, and the nuts rarely moved after the monkeys released them. In the second experiment, 14 blindfolded people (7 men) asked to position marked nuts on an anvil as if to crack them reliably placed them with the Stop meridian in the same position as the monkeys did. In the third experiment, two people judged that palm nuts are most bilaterally symmetric along a meridian on, or close to, the Stop meridian. Thus the monkeys reliably placed the more symmetrical side of the nuts against the side of the pit, and the nuts reliably remained stationary when released. Monkeys apparently used information gained from knocking the nut to achieve this position. Thus, monkeys place the nuts skillfully, strategically managing the fit between the variable nuts and pits in the anvil, and skilled placement depends upon information generated by manual action.

Concepts: Leadership, Symmetry, Learning, Capuchin monkey, Strike action, Primate


Running with a forefoot strike (FFS) pattern has been suggested to reduce the risk of overuse running injuries, due to a reduced vertical loadrate compared with rearfoot strike (RFS) running. However, resultant loadrate has been reported to be similar between foot strikes when running in traditional shoes, leading to questions regarding the value of running with a FFS. The influence of minimal footwear on the resultant loadrate has not been considered. This study aimed to compare component and resultant instantaneous loadrate (ILR) between runners with different foot strike patterns in their habitual footwear conditions.

Concepts: Footwear, Shoe, Strike action, Pattern, Semitone


Runners are often categorized as forefoot, midfoot or rearfoot strikers, but how much and why do individuals vary in foot strike patterns when running on level terrain? This study used general linear mixed-effects models to explore both intra- and inter-individual variations in foot strike pattern among 48 Kalenjin-speaking participants from Kenya who varied in age, sex, body mass, height, running history, and habitual use of footwear. High speed video was used to measure lower extremity kinematics at ground contact in the sagittal plane while participants ran down 13 meter-long tracks with three variables independently controlled: speed, track stiffness, and step frequency. 72% of the habitually barefoot and 32% of the habitually shod participants used multiple strike types, with significantly higher levels of foot strike variation among individuals who ran less frequently and who used lower step frequencies. There was no effect of sex, age, height or weight on foot strike angle, but individuals were more likely to midfoot or forefoot strike when they ran on a stiff surface, had a high preferred stride frequency, were habitually barefoot, and had more experience running. It is hypothesized that strike type variation during running, including a more frequent use of forefoot and midfoot strikes, used to be greater before the introduction of cushioned shoes and paved surfaces.

Concepts: Strike action, Sagittal plane, Foot, Pattern, Stiffness, Frequency, Surface, Barefoot running


Effects of early and permanent footwear use are not well understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of habituation to footwear on foot strike patterns of children and adolescents. Healthy habitually barefoot and shod participants (aged 6-18 years) from South Africa (n=288) and Germany (n=390) performed multiple 20-m jogging and running trials with and without shoes. Each foot strike was captured using a high-speed camera to determine a rearfoot or non-rearfoot strike. The probability of a rearfoot strike in both cohorts and each age was analyzed by using a mixed-effects logistic regression adjusted for possible confounders. Habitually barefoot children showed a higher probability of using rearfoot strikes than habitually shod children (p<0.001). The probability was age-dependent and decreased in habitually barefoot children with age (ORbarefoot-jogging=0.82, 95% CI, 0.71 to 0.96, p=0.014; ORbarefoot-running=0.58, 95% CI, 0.50 to 0.67, p<0.001 and ORshod-running=0.68, 95% CI, 0.59 to 0.79, p<0.001). In habitually shod children, the probability increased significantly for shod jogging (OR=1.19, 95% CI, 1.05 to 1.35, p=0.006). To conclude, foot strike patterns of children are influenced by habituation to footwear. Younger habitually barefoot children show higher rates of rearfoot strikes for shod and barefoot running, and it converges in later adolescence.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Logistic function, Running, Barefoot, Adolescence, Strike action, Ageing, Barefoot running


The risk of effects to fishes and other aquatic life from impulsive sound produced by activities such as pile driving and seismic exploration is increasing throughout the world, particularly with the increased exploitation of oceans for energy production. At the same time, there are few data that provide insight into the effects of these sounds on fishes. The goal of this study was to provide quantitative data to define the levels of impulsive sound that could result in the onset of barotrauma to fish. A High Intensity Controlled Impedance Fluid filled wave Tube was developed that enabled laboratory simulation of high-energy impulsive sound that were characteristic of aquatic far-field, plane-wave acoustic conditions. The sounds used were based upon the impulsive sounds generated by an impact hammer striking a steel shell pile. Neutrally buoyant juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) were exposed to impulsive sounds and subsequently evaluated for barotrauma injuries. Observed injuries ranged from mild hematomas at the lowest sound exposure levels to organ hemorrhage at the highest sound exposure levels. Frequency of observed injuries were used to compute a biological response weighted index (RWI) to evaluate the physiological impact of injuries at the different exposure levels. As single strike and cumulative sound exposure levels (SEL(ss), SEL(cum) respectively) increased, RWI values increased. Based on the results, tissue damage associated with adverse physiological costs occurred when the RWI was greater than 2. In terms of sound exposure levels a RWI of 2 was achieved for 1920 strikes by 177 dB re 1 µPa(2)⋅s SEL(ss) yielding a SEL(cum) of 210 dB re 1 µPa(2)⋅s, and for 960 strikes by 180 dB re 1 µPa(2)⋅s SEL(ss) yielding a SEL(cum) of 210 dB re 1 µPa(2)⋅s. These metrics define thresholds for onset of injury in juvenile Chinook salmon.

Concepts: Decibel, Strike action, Kamchatka Peninsula, Sound, Salmonidae, Oncorhynchus, Salmon, Chinook salmon


Published reviews of national physician strikes have shown a reduction in patient mortality. From 5 December 2016 until 14 March 2017, Kenyan physicians in the public sector went on strike leaving only private (not-for-profit and for-profit) hospitals able to offer physician care. We report on our experience at AIC-Kijabe Hospital, a not-for-profit, faith-based Kenyan hospital, before, during and after the 100-day strike was completed by examining patient admissions and deaths in the time periods before, during and after the strike. The volume of patients increased and exceeded the hospital’s ability to respond to needs. There were substantial increases in sick newborn admissions during this time frame and an additional ward was opened to respond to this need. Increased need occurred across all services but staffing and space limited ability to respond to increased demand. There were increases in deaths during the strike period across the paediatric medical, newborn, paediatric surgical and obstetric units with an OR (95% CI) of death of 3.9 (95% CI 2.3 to 6.4), 4.1 (95% CI 2.4 to 7.1), 7.9 (95% CI 3.2 to 20) and 3.2 (95% CI 0.39 to 27), respectively. Increased mortality across paediatric and obstetrical services at AIC-Kijabe Hospital correlated with the crippling of healthcare delivery in the public sector during the national physicians' strike in Kenya.

Concepts: 2016, Strike action, Surgery, Pediatrics, Hospital, Patient, Physician, Medicine


Dexterous tool use has been crucial in the evolution of hominid percussive technology [1-3]. According to Newell [4], “dexterity” is the ability of an organism to make goal-directed corrections in movements to optimize effort. Dexterous movements are smooth and effective and accomplish the same goal with less energy than less dexterous movements. Dexterity develops during the later phases of refining a motor skill as the actor becomes sensitive to the outcome of the preceding movement, or to its modulation. In the present study, we examined how wild bearded capuchin monkeys, Sapajus libidinosus, at Fazenda Boa Vista in Piauí, Brazil, that routinely crack palm nuts using stones by placing them on rock outcrops, boulders, and logs (collectively termed anvils) [5] modulate the kinematic parameters of the strikes while processing a single tucum, Astrocaryum campestre nut. The monkeys cracked the nuts by repeatedly striking them with moderate force (i.e., not exceeding a threshold), rather than by striking them more forcefully once, and modulated the kinematic parameters of the current strike on the basis of the condition of the nut following the preceding strike (i.e., the development of any fracture or crack). Repeatedly striking the nuts with moderate force is energetically more efficient than forcefully striking them once and reduces the likelihood of smashing the kernel. Determining the changing energetic constraints of the task and dynamically optimizing movements using those as criteria are dexterous accomplishments. We discuss the implications of the present findings.

Concepts: Module, Strike action, Motor skills, Modulation, Boa Vista, Roraima, Energy, Primate, Motor control


Stereo or ‘3D’ vision is an important but costly process seen in several evolutionarily distinct lineages including primates, birds and insects. Many selective advantages could have led to the evolution of stereo vision, including range finding, camouflage breaking and estimation of object size. In this paper, we investigate the possibility that stereo vision enables praying mantises to estimate the size of prey by using a combination of disparity cues and angular size cues. We used a recently developed insect 3D cinema paradigm to present mantises with virtual prey having differing disparity and angular size cues. We predicted that if they were able to use these cues to gauge the absolute size of objects, we should see evidence for size constancy where they would strike preferentially at prey of a particular physical size, across a range of simulated distances. We found that mantises struck most often when disparity cues implied a prey distance of 2.5 cm; increasing the implied distance caused a significant reduction in the number of strikes. We, however, found no evidence for size constancy. There was a significant interaction effect of the simulated distance and angular size on the number of strikes made by the mantis but this was not in the direction predicted by size constancy. This indicates that mantises do not use their stereo vision to estimate object size. We conclude that other selective advantages, not size constancy, have driven the evolution of stereo vision in the praying mantis.This article is part of the themed issue ‘Vision in our three-dimensional world’.

Concepts: Insects, Insect, Strike action, Evolution, Natural selection, 3-D film, Depth perception, Mantis


In 2011, a series of physician strikes in Israel followed eight months of unsuccessful negotiations with the government (Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance). Strikes by physicians may be a warning that all is not well in a health system and protestors have claimed that they signify a system failure. In contrast, others argue that strikes have been a feature of the Israeli health system from its inception and should not be a cause for alarm. This paper analyses the Israeli health system from the perspective of the strikers' demands using the World Health Organisation’s six health system building blocks as a framework, including: service delivery; health workforce; information; medical products, vaccines and technologies; leadership and governance; and financing. While we recognise that the immediate causes of the 2011 strikes were concerns about salaries and working conditions, we argue that a complex set of interacting factors underlie the strikers' demands, resonating with issues relating to five of the WHO building blocks. We argue that of the five, three are most significant and limit progress with all the others: a disgruntled health workforce, many of whom believe that striking is the only way to be heard; a lack of leadership by the government in understanding and responding to physicians' concerns; and a purported information insufficiency, manifest as a lack of critique and analysis that may have prevented those at the top from making a reliable diagnosis of the system’s problems. This paper argues that there are cracks within the Israeli health system but that these are not irresolvable. The Israeli health system is a relatively new and popular health system, but there are no grounds for complacency.

Concepts: Mathematical analysis, Public health, Pediatrics, Ministry of Truth, Physician, Strike action, Government, Medicine


Ambush predation is characterized by an animal scanning the environment from a concealed position and then rapidly executing a surprise attack. Mantis shrimp (Stomatopoda) consist of both ambush predators (‘spearers’) and foragers (‘smashers’). Spearers hide in sandy burrows and capture evasive prey, whereas smashers search for prey away from their burrows and typically hammer hard-shelled, sedentary prey. Here, we examined the kinematics, morphology and field behavior of spearing mantis shrimp and compared them with previously studied smashers. Using two species with dramatically different adult sizes, we found that strikes produced by the diminutive species, Alachosquilla vicina, were faster (mean peak speed 5.72±0.91 m s(-1); mean duration 3.26±0.41 ms) than the strikes produced by the large species, Lysiosquillina maculata (mean peak speed 2.30±0.85 m s(-1); mean duration 24.98±9.68 ms). Micro-computed tomography and dissections showed that both species have the spring and latch structures that are used in other species for producing a spring-loaded strike; however, kinematic analyses indicated that only A. vicina consistently engages the elastic mechanism. In the field, L. maculata ambushed evasive prey primarily at night while hidden in burrows, striking with both long and short durations compared with laboratory videos. We expected ambush predators to strike with very high speeds, yet instead we found that these spearing mantis shrimp struck more slowly and with longer durations than smashers. Nonetheless, the strikes of spearers occurred at similar speeds and durations to those of other aquatic predators of evasive prey. Although counterintuitive, these findings suggest that ambush predators do not actually need to produce extremely high speeds, and that the very fastest predators are using speed to achieve other mechanical feats, such as producing large impact forces.

Concepts: Velocity, Spider, Kinematics, Crustacean, Strike action, Ambush, Ambush predator, Predation