In December 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2, a novel coronavirus, initiated an outbreak of pneumonia from Wuhan in China, which rapidly spread worldwide. The outbreak was declared as “a public health emergency of international concern” by the WHO on January 30, 2020, and as a pandemic on March 11, 2020. The disease is transmitted by inhalation or contact with infected droplets and the incubation period ranges from 2 to 14 d. The symptoms are usually fever, cough, sore throat, breathlessness, fatigue, malaise among others. The disease is mild in most people; in some (usually the elderly and those with comorbidities), it may progress to pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and multi organ dysfunction. Many people are asymptomatic. The virus spreads faster than its two ancestors the SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), but has lower fatality.
Autism affects how someone makes sense of the world around them. About 1–2% of people are autistic. You might have an autistic classmate or family member, or maybe you are autistic. Autistic people might communicate differently than people who are not autistic. This means that it can be difficult for other people to understand what autistic people are trying to say or what they mean. We tend to think that people who are not autistic might be more successful at understanding other people, but in fact, autistic people may be better understood by other autistic people. We will examine and explain some research that has explored how autistic and non-autistic people communicate with each other and explore how this research fits with a theory called the double empathy problem. Understanding what makes interaction comfortable and easy for different people can help us all understand each other better.
Abstract Plasmid persistence in bacterial populations is strongly influenced by the fitness effects associated with plasmid carriage. However, plasmid fitness effects in wild-type bacterial hosts remain largely unexplored. In this study, we determined the fitness effects of the major antibiotic resistance plasmid pOXA-48_K8 in wild-type, ecologically compatible enterobacterial isolates from the human gut microbiota. Our results show that although pOXA-48_K8 produced an overall reduction in bacterial fitness, it produced small effects in most bacterial hosts, and even beneficial effects in several isolates. Moreover, genomic results showed a link between pOXA-48_K8 fitness effects and bacterial phylogeny, helping to explain plasmid epidemiology. Incorporating our fitness results into a simple population dynamics model revealed a new set of conditions for plasmid stability in bacterial communities, with plasmid persistence increasing with bacterial diversity and becoming less dependent on conjugation. These results help to explain the high prevalence of plasmids in the greatly diverse natural microbial communities.
Agriculture is a major contributor to air pollution, the largest environmental risk factor for mortality in the United States and worldwide. It is largely unknown, however, how individual foods or entire diets affect human health via poor air quality. We show how food production negatively impacts human health by increasing atmospheric fine particulate matter (PM 2.5 ), and we identify ways to reduce these negative impacts of agriculture. We quantify the air quality–related health damages attributable to 95 agricultural commodities and 67 final food products, which encompass >99% of agricultural production in the United States. Agricultural production in the United States results in 17,900 annual air quality–related deaths, 15,900 of which are from food production. Of those, 80% are attributable to animal-based foods, both directly from animal production and indirectly from growing animal feed. On-farm interventions can reduce PM 2.5 -related mortality by 50%, including improved livestock waste management and fertilizer application practices that reduce emissions of ammonia, a secondary PM 2.5 precursor, and improved crop and animal production practices that reduce primary PM 2.5 emissions from tillage, field burning, livestock dust, and machinery. Dietary shifts toward more plant-based foods that maintain protein intake and other nutritional needs could reduce agricultural air quality–related mortality by 68 to 83%. In sum, improved livestock and fertilization practices, and dietary shifts could greatly decrease the health impacts of agriculture caused by its contribution to reduced air quality.
We are witnessing a modeling shift from CNN to Transformers in computer vision. In this paper, we present a self-supervised learning approach called MoBY, with Vision Transformers as its backbone architecture. The approach is basically a combination of MoCo v2 and BYOL, tuned to achieve reasonably high accuracy on ImageNet-1K linear evaluation: 72.8% and 75.0% top-1 accuracy using DeiT-S and Swin-T, respectively, by 300-epoch training. The performance is slightly better than recent works of MoCo v3 and DINO which adopt DeiT as the backbone, but with much lighter tricks. More importantly, the general-purpose Swin Transformer backbone enables us to also evaluate the learnt representations on downstream tasks such as object detection and semantic segmentation, in contrast to a few recent approaches built on ViT/DeiT which only report linear evaluation results on ImageNet-1K due to ViT/DeiT not tamed for these dense prediction tasks. We hope our results can facilitate more comprehensive evaluation of self-supervised learning methods designed for Transformer architectures. Our code and models are available at https://github.com/SwinTransformer/Transformer-SSL, which will be continually enriched.
Feet must mediate substrate interactions across an animal's entire range of limb poses used in life. Metatarsals, the ‘bones of the sole,’ are the dominant pedal skeletal elements for most tetrapods. In plantigrade species that walk on the entirety of their sole, such as living crocodylians, intermetatarsal mobility offers the potential for a continuum of reconfiguration within the foot itself. Alligator hindlimbs are capable of postural extremes from a belly sprawl to a high walk to sharp turns—how does the foot morphology dynamically accommodate these diverse demands? We implemented a hybrid combination of marker-based and markerless X-ray Reconstruction of Moving Morphology (XROMM) to measure 3-D metatarsal kinematics in three juvenile American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) across their locomotor and maneuvering repertoire on a motorized treadmill and flat-surfaced arena. We found that alligators adaptively conformed their metatarsals to the ground, maintaining plantigrade contact throughout a spectrum of limb placements with non-planar feet. Deformation of the metatarsus as a whole occurred through variable abduction (two-fold range of spread) and differential metatarsal pitching (45° arc of skew). Internally, metatarsals also underwent up to 65° of long axis rotation. Such reorientation, which correlated with skew, was constrained by the overlapping arrangement of the obliquely expanded metatarsal bases. Such a proximally overlapping metatarsal morphology is shared by fossil archosaurs and archosaur relatives. In these extinct taxa, we suggest that intermetatarsal mobility likely played a significant role in maintaining ground contact across plantigrade postural extremes.