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The 1979 census conducted across the vast expanse of the Soviet Union revealed that the makeupof the country's population had undergone enormous change. The census recorded lowbirth-rates among the Slavic population relative to their Central Asian compatriots, among othertrends. The results were worrisome to Soviet planners in that they feared that these domesticpopulation trends were going to undermine the country's power. At the same time, Soviets facedthe defeat of communist allies in Afghanistan at the hands of fighters beholden to religion, andan Islamic revolution in Iran. What these dynamics revealed was a complex interplay betweendomestic, regional and international politics. Interpreted through the lens of population dynamics,the convergence of these events revealed 1979 to be a critical turning point in the disintegrationof the Soviet Union.
Israel perceives itself to be under a constant and general threat to its existence. Like many other aspects of its security, Israel's small size relative to its neighbors means that even relatively small demographic shifts may have unexpected and threatening political consequences. Israel's struggles with security, identity, and demography therefore serve to highlight a relationship not unique to Israel but particularly intense there: a relationship between demographic shifts and state, regional,and interstate security. This article demonstrates that Israel's demographic shifts have come to be regarded as an existential threat by Israel, and the contemporary salience of demography in Israel explains both (1) Israel's decision to build a ‘security fence' between it and the Palestinian Occupied Territories in the West Bank, and (2) the timing of that decision. The article examines Israel's historical demographic trends and discourse and makes the case that this high-level national policy was a response to the perception among Israel's leaders that demographic threats to both the Jewish and democratic character of Israel were more grave even than the physical threat of terrorism.
In this essay I advance two arguments. First, while Afghanistan was once a state built on a social contract that demanded a balance of both modernist and traditional goals, a combination of exogenous shocks shattered that equilibrium, resulting in a territory that is no longer governed by a state, and that continues to generate what economists might call ‘negative externalities.' It is these negative externalities that have drawn in overlapping interventions (the most salient of which remains Operation Enduring Freedom, or OEF), all of which have failed or will fail. Second, the key feature of Afghanistan's disintegration is the flight of its public servants – the people most directly necessary for any state to work. I argue that Afghanistan does possess sufficient human capital for effective government, but that its public servants are effectively bounded by tribe, clan and valley. I conclude by showing that state-building demands public servants and public service, and that as long as Afghanistan fails to devote resources towards acquiring and maintaining a minimal critical mass of such people, it can be expected to continue to generate negative externalities that harm its people, its neighbors and the international system more broadly.
Background: In Ayurveda, pulse examination (nadipariksha) is an important tool to assess the status of three doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. Long historical use has been seen as a documentation of its efficacy; however, there is a lack of a quantitative measure of the reliability of the pulse examination method. The objective of this study was to test the intrarater and interrater reliability of pulse examination in Ayurveda. Methods: Fifteen registered Ayurvedic doctors with 3–15 years of experience examined the pulse of 20 healthy volunteers twice, for a total of 600 examinations. The examinations were performed blind and in a random order. Only the current status of dosha-specific methods of pulse examination were considered. Cohen's weighted κ statistic was used as a measure of intrarater and interrater reliability, and a hypothesis of homogeneous diagnosis (random rating) was tested. Following this, we tested whether proportions of ratings were equal between doctors. Results: According to the Landis and Koch scale, the level of reliability ranged from poor to moderate. It was observed that the doctors more frequently diagnosed a combination of two doshas than a single dosha. The κ values were generally larger for experienced doctors (p = 0.04). Conclusion: Experience and proper training have important roles in pulse examination.
The moss Physcomitrella patens was engineered to produce the diterpenoid sclareol, an important precursor for the synthesis of ambergris substitutes for the perfume industry. The best total yield of sclareol was 2.84 mg/g dry weight (2.28 mg/l culture) obtained after 18 days of cultivation in liquid media (extracted from both media and cell pellet). The two active sclareol synthase genes were integrated in a random fashion, and linked with the ribosomal skip 2A under the control of the CaMV 35S promoter. We conclude that moss can produce sclareol and utilize the ribosomal skip 2A. In addition, we observed growth impairment in all our sclareol-producing lines and moss lines knocked out in the endogenous diterpene synthase (copalyl/kaurene synthase—PpCPS/KS). A RT-PCR study, with ubiquitin as the best reference gene, showed that there was a down-regulation of the transcription of the terpenoid biosynthetic genes in the PpCPS/KS knock out moss. This down-regulation was recovered by the introduction of the two sclareol synthases, suggesting that the regulation of the general terpenoid biosynthesis is very flexible and can be amended in future biotechnological engineering.