Abstract:
Wolbachia are well known as bacterial symbionts of arthropods, where they are reproductive parasites, but have also been described from nematode hosts, where the symbiotic interaction has features of mutualism. The majority of arthropod Wolbachia belong to clades A and B, while nematode Wolbachia mostly belong to clades C and D, but these relationships have been based on analysis of a small number of genes. To investigate the evolution and relationships of Wolbachia symbionts we have sequenced over 70 kb of the genome of wOvo, a Wolbachia from the human-parasitic nematode Onchocerca volvulus, and compared the genes identified to orthologues in other sequenced Wolbachia genomes. In comparisons of conserved local synteny, we find that wBm, from the nematode Brugia malayi, and wMel, from Drosophila melanogaster, are more similar to each other than either is to wOvo. Phylogenetic analysis of the protein-coding and ribosomal RNA genes on the sequenced fragments supports reciprocal monophyly of nematode and arthropod Wolbachia. The nematode Wolbachia did not arise from within the A clade of arthropod Wolbachia, and the root of the Wolbachia clade lies between the nematode and arthropod symbionts. Using the wOvo sequence, we identified a lateral transfer event whereby segments of the Wolbachia genome were inserted into the Onchocerca nuclear genome. This event predated the separation of the human parasite O. volvulus from its cattle-parasitic sister species, O. ochengi. The long association between filarial nematodes and Wolbachia symbionts may permit more frequent genetic exchange between their genomes.

Abstract:
The philosophical orientation of Gadamerian hermeneutic phenomenology is explored in this paper. Gadamer offers a hermeneutics of the humanities that differs significantly from models of the human sciences historically rooted in scientific methodologies. In particular, Gadamer proposes that understanding is first a mode of being before it is a mode of knowing; what this effectively offers is an alternative to the traditional way of understanding in the human sciences. This paper details why the work of hermeneutics is not to develop a procedure for understanding, but to clarify the conditions of understanding. In this explication, the author examines the hermeneutic experience and, in the process, relates it to both the practical and the historical horizons of the lifeworld of health professionals, particularly nurses. Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology<, Volume 7, Edition 2 September 2007

Abstract:
In the modified bootstrap percolation model, sites in the cube {1,...,L}^d are initially declared active independently with probability p. At subsequent steps, an inactive site becomes active if it has at least one active nearest neighbour in each of the d dimensions, while an active site remains active forever. We study the probability that the entire cube is eventually active. For all d>=2 we prove that as L\to\infty and p\to 0 simultaneously, this probability converges to 1 if L=exp^{d-1} (lambda+epsilon)/p, and converges to 0 if L=exp^{d-1} (lambda-epsilon)/p, for any epsilon>0. Here exp^n denotes the n-th iterate of the exponential function, and the threshold lambda equals pi^2/6 for all d.

Abstract:
The number of partitions of n into parts divisible by a or b equals the number of partitions of n in which each part and each difference of two parts is expressible as a non-negative integer combination of a or b. This generalizes identities of MacMahon and Andrews. The analogous identities for three or more integers (in place of a,b) hold in certain cases.

Abstract:
Peres and Winkler proved a "censoring" inequality for Glauber dynamics on monotone spins systems such as the Ising model. Specifically, if, starting from a constant-spin configuration, the spins are updated at some sequence of sites, then inserting another site into this sequence brings the resulting configuration closer in total variation to the stationary distribution. We show by means of simple counterexamples that the analogous statements fail for Glauber dynamics on proper colorings of a graph, and for lazy transpositions on permutations, answering two questions of Peres. It is not known whether the censoring property holds in other natural settings such as the Potts model.

Abstract:
Holroyd and Liggett recently proved the existence of a stationary 1-dependent 4-coloring of the integers, the first stationary k-dependent q-coloring for any k and q. That proof specifies a consistent family of finite-dimensional distributions, but does not yield a probabilistic construction on the whole integer line. Here we prove that the process can be expressed as a finitary factor of an i.i.d. process. The factor is described explicitly, and its coding radius obeys power-law tail bounds.

Abstract:
In the bootstrap percolation model, sites in an $L$ by $L$ square are initially independently declared active with probability $p$. At each time step, an inactive site becomes active if at least two of its four neighbours are active. We study the behaviour as $p \to 0$ and $L \to \infty$ simultaneously of the probability $I(L,p)$ that the entire square is eventually active. We prove that $I(L,p) \to 1$ if $\liminf p \log L > \lambda$, and $I(L,p) \to 0$ if $\limsup p \log L < \lambda$, where $\lambda = \pi^2/18$. We prove the same behaviour, with the same threshold $\lambda$, for the probability $J(L,p)$ that a site is active by time $L$ in the process on the infinite lattice. The same results hold for the so-called modified bootstrap percolation model, but with threshold $\lambda' = \pi^2/6$. The existence of the thresholds $\lambda,\lambda'$ settles a conjecture of Aizenman and Lebowitz, while the determination of their values corrects numerical predictions of Adler, Stauffer and Aharony.

Abstract:
Suppose that red and blue points occur as independent Poisson processes of equal intensity in R^d, and that the red points are matched to the blue points via straight edges in a translation-invariant way. We address several closely related properties of such matchings. We prove that there exist matchings that locally minimize total edge length in d=1 and d>=3, but not in the strip R x [0,1]. We prove that there exist matchings in which every bounded set intersects only finitely many edges in d>=2, but not in d=1 or in the strip. It is unknown whether there exists a matching with no crossings in d=2, but we prove positive answers to various relaxations of this question. Several open problems are presented.

Abstract:
In the bootstrap percolation model, sites in an L by L square are initially infected independently with probability p. At subsequent steps, a healthy site becomes infected if it has at least 2 infected neighbours. As (L,p)->(infinity,0), the probability that the entire square is eventually infected is known to undergo a phase transition in the parameter p log L, occurring asymptotically at lambda = pi^2/18. We prove that the discrepancy between the critical parameter and its limit lambda is at least Omega((log L)^(-1/2)). In contrast, the critical window has width only Theta((log L)^(-1)). For the so-called modified model, we prove rigorous explicit bounds which imply for example that the relative discrepancy is at least 1% even when L = 10^3000. Our results shed some light on the observed differences between simulations and rigorous asymptotics.

Abstract:
The rotor walk on a graph is a deterministic analogue of random walk. Each vertex is equipped with a rotor, which routes the walker to the neighbouring vertices in a fixed cyclic order on successive visits. We consider rotor walk on an infinite rooted tree, restarted from the root after each escape to infinity. We prove that the limiting proportion of escapes to infinity equals the escape probability for random walk, provided only finitely many rotors send the walker initially towards the root. For i.i.d. random initial rotor directions on a regular tree, the limiting proportion of escapes is either zero or the random walk escape probability, and undergoes a discontinuous phase transition between the two as the distribution is varied. In the critical case there are no escapes, but the walker's maximum distance from the root grows doubly exponentially with the number of visits to the root. We also prove that there exist trees of bounded degree for which the proportion of escapes eventually exceeds the escape probability by arbitrarily large o(1) functions. No larger discrepancy is possible, while for regular trees the discrepancy is at most logarithmic.