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Evolutionary psychology and the origins of language

(Editorial for the special issue of Journal of Evolutionary Psychology on the evolution of language)

Journal of Evolutionary Psychology
Author: Thomas C. Scott-Phillips

Abstract

A naïve observer would be forgiven for assuming that the field of language evolution would, in terms of its scope and methodologies, look much like the field of evolutionary psychology, but with a particular emphasis on language. However, this is not the case. This editorial outlines some reasons why such a research agenda has not so far been pursued in any large-scale or systematic way, and briefly discusses one foundational aspect of that agenda, the question of evolutionary function. This background provides context for an introduction of the articles that appear in this special issue on the evolution of language.

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The quest for a general account of communication

A review of Sociobiology of Communication, edited by Patrizia D'Ettorre and David P. Hughes. Oxford University Press (2008), 308+xiv pages, £75.00 ($150.00). ISBN: 0199216833 (hardback)

Journal of Evolutionary Psychology
Author: Thomas C. Scott-Phillips
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Abstract  

An investigation of the potentials of neutron activation analysis for the routine analysis of trace elements present in atmospheric pollutants is discussed. Various techniques including sequential air sampling, multiple neutron irradiation, high resolution γ-ray spectrometry, chemical isolation, high flux neutron irradiation and X-ray spectrometry have been employed to determine the levels of Pb, Al, V, I, Cl, Mn, Cu, Br, Na, La, Mo, Au, Cr, Fe, Ni, Se, Zn, Ag and Co in atmospheric pollutants. The results of the analysis of nearly two hundred samples collected from the Buffalo New York area during 1968–1969 are reported.

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Abstract  

Highly specific neutron activation analysis procedures involving post irradiation chemical separations were developed for the determination of Cu, Hg, Zn, Cd, As, Se and Cr in fish tissues. The procedures developed were used to determine the levels of these biologically active elements in some of the commercially important fish species of Lake Erie. The nuclear analytical procedures developed generally involved the irradiation of fish tissues followed by wet-ashing in the presence of nonradioactive carriers From the homogeneous solution of the tissue digest, the elements of interest were chemically isolated and the radio-activities were measured by scintillation gamma ray spectrometry. The results reported include both the determination of the precision and accuracies of each of these elemental analyses and a survey of these seven elements in nine major fish species of Lake Erie.

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Abstract  

A unique application of forensic neutron activation analysis involving the analysis of trace levels of tungsten, cobalt and tantalum was presented as evidence in a murder trial. The evidence materials analyzed included the blous of the victim, bed sheets, a pair of pantyhose used in strangulation, head and public hair from the suspect, and several samples of raw materials used at a factory where the suspect was employed. The stalned areas of the fabrics analyzed showed trace levels of cobalt, tantalum, and tungsten which were not present in the fabric mattrices. The occupation of the suspect exposed him to fine dust particulates containing these trace elements. Although eyewitness accounts indicated that the suspect was in the neighborhood, there was, however, no evidence other that the neutron activation analysis results to indicate the probable presence of the suspect at the scence of the crime. A jury trial accepting neutron activation analysis findings resulted in a conviction.

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The behaviour of the system PbO-PbSO4 was studied between 400 and 900°. Three basic sulphates could be identified by X-ray diffractometry namely: PbO · ·PbSO4; 2 PbO·PbSO4 and 4 PbO·PbSO4.

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Acta Mathematica Hungarica
Authors: C. Campbell, E. Robertson, M. Ruškuc, and R. Thomas
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Abstract  

Three different spent control rods were obtained for direct-assay measurements and empirical sampling and analysis. They were: 1) a BWR cruciform control rod, 2) a PWR rod-cluster control assembly, and 3) a burnable poison-rod assembly. The dominant activity of the BWR cruciform control rod and the PWR burnable poison-rod assembly is60Co, whereas the PWR rod-cluster control assembly is dominated not only by60Co, but also by108mAg and110mAg, which are found in the Ag–In–Cd alloy of the absorber rods. The radionuclide inventories calculated for the three spent control rods from the empirical sampling data agree very well with data determined from the two direct assay methodologies. The concentration of108mAg in the rod-cluster control assembly will have to be considered when these types of spent control rods are prepared for waste disposal.

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Abstract  

Analytical procedures for measuring various radionuclides in the238U and232Th chains in briney waters are described. Using methods such as mass spectrometry, and alpha, beta and gamma spectrometry, the desired measurement sensitivity required for each of the radionuclides is achieved.233U,228Th,208Po,212Pb, and133Ba are used as tracers for chemical yield recoveries. Typical precision of the results range from 5–20%.

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Abstract  

An International Monitoring System (IMS) is being created to monitor the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Radionuclide aerosols will be monitored to provide positive proof of an atmospheric explosion. In addition, a group of laboratories will perform quality assurance and confirmatory analyses of samples of interest. The field and laboratory systems will perform gamma-ray spectrometric analysis of air filters. While laboratories may undertake additional analysis such as chemical separation and beta counting, the scope of the work reported here is to make evaluations with respect only to gamma-ray spectrometry. Activation products have not been completely considered and are shaded with uncertainty, from the probability of escape from an underground test and the dependence on the sub-surface elemental composition.

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