Sea surface and subsurface temperatures over large parts of the ocean during the Eocene epoch (55.5–33.7 Ma) exceeded modern values by several degrees, which must have affected a number of oceanic processes. Here, we focus on the effect of elevated water column temperatures on the efficiency of the biological pump, particularly in relation to carbon and nutrient cycling. We use stable isotope values from exceptionally well-preserved planktonic foraminiferal calcite from Tanzania and Mexico to reconstruct vertical carbon isotope gradients in the (...) upper water column, exploiting the fact that individual species lived and calcified at different depths. The oxygen isotope ratios of different species' tests are used to estimate the temperature of calcification, which we converted to absolute depths using Eocene temperature profiles generated by general circulation models. This approach, along with potential pitfalls, is illustrated using data from modern core-top assemblages from the same area. Our results indicate that, during the Early and Middle Eocene, carbon isotope gradients were steeper (and larger) through the upper thermocline than in the modern ocean. This is consistent with a shallower average depth of organic matter remineralization and supports previously proposed hypotheses that invoke high metabolic rates in a warm Eocene ocean, leading to more efficient recycling of organic matter and reduced burial rates of organic carbon. (shrink)
The question of how well we need to be known, to be loved, is considered. A ?second-person? model is argued for, on which love requires that the beloved's demands to be known be respected. This puts pressure on the idea that lovers need to make a beloved's interests their own, taking that to require comprehension of the beloved's interests: a lover would have to appreciate the normative intelligibility and motivating force of an interest. The possibility of love with failure of (...) comprehension is defended, using illustrations from Marilynne Robinson's novel Gilead. (shrink)
This paper examines the nature of classical correspondence in the case of coherent states at the level of quantum trajectories. We first show that for a harmonic oscillator, the coherent state complex quantum trajectories and the complex classical trajectories are identical to each other. This congruence in the complex plane, not restricted to high quantum numbers alone, illustrates that the harmonic oscillator in a coherent state executes classical motion. The quantum trajectories we consider are those conceived in a modified de (...) Broglie-Bohm scheme. Though quantum trajectory representations are widely discussed in recent years, identical classical and quantum trajectories for coherent states are obtained only in the present approach. We may note that this result for standard harmonic oscillator coherent states is not totally unexpected because of their holomorphic nature. The study is extended to coherent states of a particle in an infinite potential well and that in a symmetric Poschl-Teller potential by solving for the trajectories numerically. For the Gazeau-Klauder coherent state of the infinite potential well, almost identical classical and quantum trajectories are obtained whereas for the Poschl-Teller potential, though classical trajectories are not regained, a periodic motion results as t→∞. Similar features were found for the SUSY quantum mechanics-based coherent states of the Poschl-Teller potential too, but this time the pattern of complex trajectories is quite different from that of the previous case. Thus we find that the method is a potential tool in analyzing the properties of generalized coherent states. (shrink)
Pre-natal-diagnosis technologies allow parents to discover whether their child is likely to suffer from serious disability. One argument for state funding of access to such technologies is that doing so would be “cost-effective”, in the sense that the expected financial costs of such a programme would be outweighed by expected “benefits”, stemming from the births of fewer children with serious disabilities. This argument is extremely controversial. This paper argues that the argument may not be as unacceptable as is often assumed. (...) In doing so, it sets out a more general framework for assessing the relevance of efficiency calculations to policy-making. The final section also investigates the relationship between the paper’s arguments and claims about parental responsibility for child-bearing and rearing, with reference to Scanlon’s work on “substantive responsibility”. (shrink)
In his “Third Way” Aquinas appears to argue in a way that relies upon shifting quantifiers in a fallacious way. Some have tried to save this and other parts of the “Third Way” by introducing sophisticated logical and metaphysical machinery. Alternatively, Aquinas’ apparently fallacious quantifier shift can be seen to be part of a valid argument if we supply a simple premise which an Aristotelian natural philosopher would surely hold. In this short paper, I consider candidates for this premise, defend (...) a specific premise, and from that discussion draw a moral about quantifier predicate logic. I conclude that Aristotelian natural philosophy is more than an historical backdrop to Aquinas’ arguments. (shrink)
This paper presents the intelligent virtual animals that inhabit Omosa, a virtual learning environment to help secondary school students learn how to conduct scientific inquiry and gain concepts from biology. Omosa supports multiple agents, including animals, plants, and human hunters, which live in groups of varying sizes and in a predator-prey relationship with other agent types (species). In this paper we present our generic agent architecture and the algorithms that drive all animals. We concentrate on two of our animals to (...) present how different parameter values affect their movements and inter/intra-group interactions. Two evaluations studies are included: one to demonstrate the effect of different components of our architecture; another to provide domain expert validation of the animal behavior. (shrink)
This paper reports on an ongoing ARC Discovery Project that is conducting design research into learning in collaborative virtual worlds (CVW).The paper will describe three design components of the project: (a) pedagogical design, (b)technical and graphics design, and (c) learning research design. The perspectives of each design team will be discussed and how the three teams worked together to produce the CVW. The development of productive failure learning activities for the CVW will be discussed and there will be an interactive (...) demonstration of the project's CVW. (shrink)
Using the controversy over the MMR vaccine, I consider the reasons why non-experts should defer to experts, and I sketch a model for understanding cases where they fail to defer. I first suggest that an intuitively plausible model of the expert/non-expert relationship is complicated by shifting epistemic standards. One possible moderate response to this challenge, based on a more complex notion of non-experts' relationship with experts, seems unappealing as an account of the MMR controversy. A more radical suggestion is that (...) non-experts might have a political reason to defer to experts, when not doing so will involve ‘epistemological free-riding’. I investigate the implications. (shrink)
This paper investigates whether being “physically insecure” (being at risk of not continuing to meet one's physical needs in the future) should be thought of as a constituent of current wellbeing. In §1, it is argued that we cannot understand the value of security in terms of “freedom from fear”. In §2, it is argued that the reliablist approach to epistemology can help us to construct an account of why physical security is valuable, by relating security to the conditions of (...) agency for practically and epistemically limited animals. In §3, this argument is compared with other attempts to understand the value of physical security. In §4, the relationship between security and threats of rights violation is clarified. In §5, the epistemic analogy of §2 is used to suggest a difference between the concepts of “security” and “capability”. (shrink)
We explore the match of a computational information foraging model to participant data on multi-page web search tasks and find its correlation on several important metrics to be too low to be used with confidence in the evaluation of user-interface designs. We examine the points of mismatch to inspire changes to the model in how it calculates information scent scores and how it assesses the utility of backing up from a lower-level page to a higher-level page. The outcome is a (...) new model that qualitatively matches participant behavior better than the original model, has utility equations more appealing to “common sense” than the original equations, and significantly improves the correlation between model and participant data on our metrics. (shrink)
Representational theorists identify experiences’ phenomenal properties with their representational properties. Qualia theorists reject this identity, insisting that experiences’ phenomenal properties can come apart from and completely outrun their representational properties. Qualia theorists account for phenomenal properties in terms of “qualia,” intrinsic mental properties they allege experiences to instantiate. The debate between representational theorists and qualia theorists has focused on whether phenomenal properties really can come apart from and completely outrun representational properties. As a result, qualia theorists have failed (1) to (...) explain how experiences owe their phenomenal properties to their instantiation of qualia and (2) to clarify the nature of subjects’ epistemic access to qualia. I survey qualia theorists’ options for dealing with each issue and find them all wanting. (shrink)
In the first part of the paper, three objections to the precautionary principle are outlined: the principle requires some account of how to balance risks of significant harms; the principle focuses on action and ignores the costs of inaction; and the principle threatens epistemic anarchy. I argue that these objections may overlook two distinctive features of precautionary thought: a suspicion of the value of “full scientific certainty”; and a desire to distinguish environmental doings from allowings. In Section 2, I argue (...) that any simple distinction between environmental doings and allowings is untenable. However, I argue that the appeal of such a distinction can be captured within a relational account of environmental equity. In Section 3 I show how the proposed account of environmental justice can generate a justification for distinctively “precautionary” policy-making. (shrink)
Professional responsibility -- Social justice -- Professional development -- Actionable knowledge -- Expert knowledge and skills -- Strategy and artistry -- Professional effectiveness -- Critical social challenges -- Transformational practice -- Conclusions.
We normally think that public health policy is an important political activity. In turn, we normally understand the value of public health policy in terms of the promotion of health or some health-related good (such as opportunity for health), on the basis of the assumption that health is an important constituent or determinant of wellbeing. In this paper, I argue that the assumption that the value of public health policy should be understood in terms of health leads us to overlook (...) important benefits generated by such policy. To capture these benefits we need to understand the ends of public health policy in terms of the promotion of 'physical safety'. I then go on to argue that the idea that 'health' is an important category for evaluating or estimating individuals' wellbeing in the normative context of social policy is confused. I then clarify the relationship between my arguments and QALY-based accounts of health assessment. In the final section of the paper, I defend this surprising conclusion against various attacks. (shrink)
Sometimes, states face emergencies: situations where many individuals face an imminent threat of serious harm. Some believe that in such cases certain sorts of actions which are normally morally prohibited might be permissible. In this paper, I discuss this view as it applies in both the contexts of war and of public health policy. I suggest that the deontologist can best understand emergencies by analogy with the distinction between act- and rule consequentialism. In real world cases, we must often make (...) decisions in ‘epistemically murky’ situations, such that the application of deontological principles to particular cases is unclear. I suggest that we develop conventions to deal with such cases in a manner which we think is most likely to approximate the demands of abstract deontologicalprinciples across time. I claim that we can best understand ‘supreme emergencies’ as situations which ‘epistemic murkiness’ is resolved. In such cases, there may be a conflict between what would be valid application of abstract deontological principles and the conventions which normally guide us in epistemically murky situations. (shrink)
Medicalization has been a process articulated primarily by social scientists, historians, and cultural critics. Comparatively little is written about the role of bioethics in appraising medicalization as a social process. The authors consider what medicalization means, its definition, functions, and criteria for assessment. A series of brief case sketches illustrate how bioethics can contribute to the analysis and public policy discussion of medicalization.
We have synthesized a 582,970-base pair Mycoplasma genitalium genome. This synthetic genome, named M. genitalium JCVI-1.0, contains all the genes of wild-type M. genitalium G37 except MG408, which was disrupted by an antibiotic marker to block pathogenicity and to allow for selection. To identify the genome as synthetic, we inserted "watermarks" at intergenic sites known to tolerate transposon insertions. Overlapping "cassettes" of 5 to 7 kilobases (kb), assembled from chemically synthesized oligonucleotides, were joined by in vitro recombination to produce intermediate (...) assemblies of approximately 24 kb, 72 kb ("1/8 genome"), and 144 kb ("1/4 genome"), which were all cloned as bacterial artificial chromosomes in Escherichia coli. Most of these intermediate clones were sequenced, and clones of all four 1/4 genomes with the correct sequence were identified. The complete synthetic genome was assembled by transformation-associated recombination cloning in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, then isolated and sequenced. A clone with the correct sequence was identified. The methods described here will be generally useful for constructing large DNA molecules from chemically synthesized pieces and also from combinations of natural and synthetic DNA segments. 10.1126/science.1151721. (shrink)
This study examines the use of a video news release in a specific story. Press coverage and editorial criticism in the case showed that journalists do not articulate sufficiently how the news owners' sway, through institutional controls, can lead to a hegemony of expedient action in the newsroom. Critical self-reflection by news workers will better enable journalists to ethically deliberate news choices that balance their responsibilities to owners, peers, and the public.