The final stage of gravitationally collapsed thick matter layers
- In the presence of a minimal length, physical objects cannot collapse to an infinite density, singular, matter point. In this paper, we consider the possible final stage of the gravitational collapse of “thick” matter layers. The energy momentum tensor we choose to model these shell-like objects is a proper modification of the source for “noncommutative geometry inspired,” regular black holes. By using higher momenta of Gaussian distribution to localize matter at finite distance from the origin, we obtain new solutions of the Einstein equation which smoothly interpolates between Minkowski’s geometry near the center of the shell and Schwarzschild’s spacetime far away from the matter layer. The metric is curvature singularity free. Black hole type solutions exist only for “heavy” shells; that is, M >= Mρ, where Mρ is the mass of the extremal configuration. We determine the Hawking temperature and a modified area law taking into account the extended nature of the source.
Synthesis of superheavy nuclei: obstacles and opportunities
Valeriy I. Zagrebaev
Alexander V. Karpov
- There are only 3 methods for the production of heavy and superheavy (SH) nuclei, namely, fusion reactions, a sequence of neutron capture and beta(-) decay and multinucleon transfer reactions. Low values of the fusion cross sections and very short half-lives of nuclei with Z<120 put obstacles in synthesis of new elements. At the same time, an important area of SH isotopes located between those produced in the cold and hot fusion reactions remains unstudied yet. This gap could be filled in fusion reactions of 48Ca with available lighter isotopes of Pu, Am, and Cm. New neutron-enriched isotopes of SH elements may be produced with the use of a 48Ca beam if a 250Cm target would be prepared. In this case we get a real chance to reach the island of stability owing to a possible beta(+) decay of 291114 and 287112 nuclei formed in this reaction with a cross section of about 0.8 pb. A macroscopic amount of the long-living SH nuclei located at the island of stability may be produced by using the pulsed nuclear reactors of the next generation only if the neutron fluence per pulse will be increased by about three orders of magnitude. Multinucleon transfer processes look quite promising for the production and study of neutron-rich heavy nuclei located in upper part of the nuclear map not reachable by other reaction mechanisms. Reactions with actinide beams and targets are of special interest for synthesis of new neutron-enriched transfermium nuclei and not-yet-known nuclei with closed neutron shell N=126 having the largest impact on the astrophysical r-process. The estimated cross sections for the production of these nuclei allows one to plan such experiments at currently available accelerators.
Eukaryotic LYR proteins interact with mitochondrial protein complexes
- In eukaryotic cells, mitochondria host ancient essential bioenergetic and biosynthetic pathways. LYR (leucine/tyrosine/arginine) motif proteins (LYRMs) of the Complex1_LYR-like superfamily interact with protein complexes of bacterial origin. Many LYR proteins function as extra subunits (LYRM3 and LYRM6) or novel assembly factors (LYRM7, LYRM8, ACN9 and FMC1) of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) core complexes. Structural insights into complex I accessory subunits LYRM6 and LYRM3 have been provided by analyses of EM and X-ray structures of complex I from bovine and the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica, respectively. Combined structural and biochemical studies revealed that LYRM6 resides at the matrix arm close to the ubiquinone reduction site. For LYRM3, a position at the distal proton-pumping membrane arm facing the matrix space is suggested. Both LYRMs are supposed to anchor an acyl-carrier protein (ACPM) independently to complex I. The function of this duplicated protein interaction of ACPM with respiratory complex I is still unknown. Analysis of protein-protein interaction screens, genetic analyses and predicted multi-domain LYRMs offer further clues on an interaction network and adaptor-like function of LYR proteins in mitochondria.
The re-greening of the Sahel: natural cyclicity or human-induced change?
- The Sahel has been the focus of scientific interest in environmental-human dynamics and interactions. The objective of the present study is to contribute to the recent debate on the re-greening of Sahel. The paper examines the dynamics of barren land in the Sahel of Burkina Faso through analysis of remotely-sensed and rainfall data from 1975–2011. Discussions with farmers and land management staff have helped to understand the anthropogenic efforts toward soil restoration to enable the subsistence farming agriculture. Results showed that area of barren land has been fluctuating during the study period with approximately 10-year cyclicity. Similarly, rainfall, both at national and local levels has followed the same trends. The trends of the area of barren land and rainfall variability suggest that when rainfall increases, the area of barren land decreases and barren land increases when rainfall decreases. This implies that rainfall is one of the main factors driving the change in area of barren land. In addition, humans have contributed positively and negatively to the change by restoring barren lands for agriculture using locally known techniques and by accelerating land degradation through intensive and inappropriate land use practices.
On unitary evolution and collapse in quantum mechanics
- In the framework of an interference setup in which only two outcomes are possible (such as in the case of a Mach–Zehnder interferometer), we discuss in a simple and pedagogical way the difference between a standard, unitary quantum mechanical evolution and the existence of a real collapse of the wavefunction. This is a central and not-yet resolved question of quantum mechanics and indeed of quantum field theory as well. Moreover, we also present the Elitzur–Vaidman bomb, the delayed choice experiment, and the effect of decoherence. In the end, we propose two simple experiments to visualize decoherence and to test the role of an entangled particle.
Indication for 'Over the Scope' (OTS)-Clip vs. Covered Self-Expanding Metal Stent (cSEMS) Is Unequal in Upper Gastrointestinal Leakage: Results from a Retrospective Head-to-Head Comparison
Wolf O. Bechstein
Jörg G. Albert
- Background: Intestinal perforation or leakage increases morbidity and mortality of surgical and endoscopic interventions. We identified criteria for use of full-covered, extractable self-expanding metal stents (cSEMS) vs. ‘Over the scope’-clips (OTSC) for leak closure.
Methods: Patients who underwent endoscopic treatment for postoperative leakage, endoscopic perforation, or spontaneous rupture of the upper gastrointestinal tract between 2006 and 2013 were identified at four tertiary endoscopic centers. Technical success, outcome (e.g. duration of hospitalization, in-hospital mortality), and complications were assessed and analyzed with respect to etiology, size and location of leakage.
Results: Of 106 patients (male: 75 (71%), female: 31 (29%); age (mean ± SD): 62.5 ± 1.3 years, 72 (69%) were treated by cSEMS and 34 (31%) by OTSC. For cSEMS vs. OTSC, mean treatment duration was 41.1 vs. 25 days, p<0.001, leakage size 10 (1-50) vs. 5 (1-30) mm (median (range)), and complications were observed in 68% vs. 8.8%, p<0.001, respectively. Clinical success for primary interventional treatment was observed in 29/72 (40%) vs. 24/34 (70%, p = 0.006), and clinical success at the end of follow-up was 46/72 (64%) vs. 29/34 (85%) for patients treated by cSEMS vs. OTSC; p = 0.04.
Conclusion: OTSC is preferred in small-sized lesions and in perforation caused by endoscopic interventions, cSEMS in patients with concomitant local infection or abscess. cSEMS is associated with a higher frequency of complications. Therefore, OTSC might be preferred if technically feasible. Indication criteria for cSEMS vs. OTSC vary and might impede design of randomized studies.
Primary Biliary Acids Inhibit Hepatitis D Virus (HDV) Entry into Human Hepatoma Cells Expressing the Sodium-Taurocholate Cotransporting Polypeptide (NTCP)
Isabel Veloso Alves Pereira
Michael P. Manns
Cláudia Pinto Marques Souza de Oliveira
Thomas von Hahn
- Background: The sodium-taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide (NTCP) is both a key bile acid (BA) transporter mediating uptake of BA into hepatocytes and an essential receptor for hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis D virus (HDV). In this study we aimed to characterize to what extent and through what mechanism BA affect HDV cell entry.
Methods: HuH-7 cells stably expressing NTCP (HuH-7/NTCP) and primary human hepatocytes (PHH) were infected with in vitro generated HDV particles. Infectivity in the absence or presence of compounds was assessed using immunofluorescence staining for HDV antigen, standard 50% tissue culture infectious dose (TCID50) assays and quantitative PCR.
Results: Addition of primary conjugated and unconjugated BA resulted in a dose dependent reduction in the number of infected cells while secondary, tertiary and synthetic BA had a lesser effect. This effect was observed both in HuH-7/NTCP and in PHH. Other replication cycle steps such as replication and particle assembly and release were unaffected. Moreover, inhibitory BA competed with a fragment from the large HBV envelope protein for binding to NTCP-expressing cells. Conversely, the sodium/BA-cotransporter function of NTCP seemed not to be required for HDV infection since infection was similar in the presence or absence of a sodium gradient across the plasma membrane. When chenodeoxycolic acid (15 mg per kg body weight) was administered to three chronically HDV infected individuals over a period of up to 16 days there was no change in serum HDV RNA.
Conclusions: Primary BA inhibit NTCP-mediated HDV entry into hepatocytes suggesting that modulation of the BA pool may affect HDV infection of hepatocytes.
Hegemonic language : towards a historical-materialist theory of language
- The practical aim of this work is twofold. Firstly, it is to construct a theory of language based on historical-materialist premises, i.e. a theory which stresses the sociality and historicity of language, and finds in them the fundamental characteristics which make language one of the central phenomena of human life. Such a theory is inherently counterposed to the dominant theories and philosophies of language in the last century, be they Saussurean, idealistic, structuralist, psychologistic or Chomskyan etc. It also rejects vulgar materialistic accounts of language, where language is seen merely as a “reflection” of the economic base of society, as well as the version proposed in Stalin’s short pamphlet, Marxism and Linguistics, which sees language merely as a means of communication, regardless of society or class, therefore neutralised and consequently branded irrelevant for Marxist theory. In short, the first aim would be showing what language is not and what it cannot be by showing what it is.
The second aim is related to Marxist theory in general. Following the presuppositions of this work, a Marxist account of language proves to be an immensely important field of research for Marxism. The reasons are fairly simple, if one is willing to accept them: language is a certain type of social practice, it is related to the way people act, which also means that it is interconnected with consciousness, i.e. to the way people think and to the content of their thought. Language is ideological and political; it is an element of class rule and class struggle. Thus, understanding language should be of utmost importance for any socialist revolutionary project, as ideological struggle is central not only to a revolutionary period, but, perhaps even more, to a period where revolution is not even in sight. I do not wish to derogate other Marxist fields of research, but, on the contrary, to simply insist on their equal importance. Ideological phenomena should not be a secondary or inferior object of research to strictly economic phenomena, or vice-versa. In reality, those phenomena form a dialectic unity; only if theory follows suit, can a pregnant Marxist philosophy be formed.
Closed circuits – subversive dialogues : artistic strategies against
- In the past years surveillance, especially visual surveillance systems, have entered our cities and streets on a large scale. In my hometown Frankfurt/Main, the city centre and traffic-hubs have become zones under intensive surveillance. Over 120 cameras are installed at the central station, over 2,000 at the airport. In such highly surveilled places it is impossible to remain unobserved. The extent of surveillance in the United Kingdom and the USA offers a glance into the future. In these countries visual surveillance systems have spread into the farthest corners of cities and villages and into the privacy of their inhabitants.
This development calls for artistic endeavours which examine the phenomenon and raise people’s awareness of CCTV. Subversive strategies have to be developed which counter the inherent power relations of surveillance systems and foster self-confident, active behaviour towards the instruments of control.
The ongoing artistic project, Contemporary Closed Circuits – Subversive Dialogues, examines practices of contemporary visual surveillance. The works explore possibilities of interaction with and subversion of systems of observation. Most of the works were produced during the past three years as an artistic final thesis at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany.
The construction of masculinity in international relations
- International politics is characterized by a lack of women. The few women holding high political positions are more likely to be criticized and judged based upon, what the author calls, ‘the construction of masculinity in international relations’. Tracing the origin and logic of this construction, the article critiques the dominant theories of international relations (namely, realism and liberalism) and argues for the aptness of a radical feminist social constructivist approach to the study of international politics. The article also illuminates the strong focus on men and men’s perspectives of these influential mainstream theories on their conception and interpretation of war. An examination of the concept of war reveals how masculinity and femininity are portrayed on matters of war and national security and what side effects this has on women in politics, particularly women with political positions.