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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  2. Introduction Using data collected from hearing aid users’ own hearing aids could improve the customization of hearing aid processing for different users based on the auditory environments they encounter in daily life. Prior studies characterizing hearing aid users’ auditory environments have focused on mean sound pressure levels and proportions of environments based on classifications. In this study, we extend these approaches by introducing entropy to quantify the diversity of auditory environments hearing aid users encounter. Materials and Methods Participants from 4 groups (younger listeners with normal hearing and older listeners with hearing loss from an urban or rural area) wore research hearing aids and completed ecological momentary assessments on a smartphone for 1 week. The smartphone was programmed to sample the processing state (input sound pressure level and environment classification) of the hearing aids every 10 min and deliver an ecological momentary assessment every 40 min. Entropy values for sound pressure levels, environment classifications, and ecological momentary assessment responses were calculated for each participant to quantify the diversity of auditory environments encountered over the course of the week. Entropy values between groups were compared. Group differences in entropy were compared to prior work reporting differences in mean sound pressure levels and proportions of environment classifications. Group differences in entropy measured objectively from the hearing aid data were also compared to differences in entropy measured from the self-report ecological momentary assessment data. Results Auditory environment diversity, quantified using entropy from the hearing aid data, was significantly higher for younger listeners than older listeners. Entropy measured using ecological momentary assessment was also significantly higher for younger listeners than older listeners. Discussion Using entropy, we show that younger listeners experience a greater diversity of auditory environments than older listeners. Alignment of group entropy differences with differences in sound pressure levels and hearing aid feature activation previously reported, along with alignment with ecological momentary response entropy, suggests that entropy is a valid and useful metric. We conclude that entropy is a simple and intuitive way to measure auditory environment diversity using hearing aid data. 
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  3. We report continuous wave (cw) operation of a terahertz quantum-cascade vertical-external-cavity surface-emitting laser with an external cavity length of approximately 30 mm, benefited by an intra-cryostat focusing cavity. Compared to previous plano–plano cavities, an off-axis paraboloid mirror is introduced into the external cavity as a focusing element to reduce the diffraction loss and to enable cw lasing using small-area metasurfaces and long cavity lengths. The device shows lasing operation in the cw mode up to 111 K, and cw output power up to 11.5 mW at 77 K (0.5% wall-plug efficiency). A circular, directive beam pattern is collected, and free-running linewidths on the order of tens of kHz are measured over tens of seconds. 
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  4. Abstract Accurate and (near) real-time earthquake monitoring provides the spatial and temporal behaviors of earthquakes for understanding the nature of earthquakes, and also helps in regional seismic hazard assessments and mitigations. Because of the increase in both the quality and quantity of seismic data, an automated earthquake monitoring system is needed. Most of the traditional methods for detecting earthquake signals and picking phases are based on analyses of features in recordings of an individual earthquake and/or their differences from background noises. When seismicity is high, the seismograms are complicated, and, therefore, traditional analysis methods often fail. With the development of machine learning algorithms, earthquake signal detection and seismic phase picking can be more accurate using the features obtained from a large amount of earthquake recordings. We have developed an attention recurrent residual U-Net algorithm, and used data augmentation techniques to improve the accuracy of earthquake detection and seismic phase picking on complex seismograms that record multiple earthquakes. The use of probability functions of P and S arrivals and potential P and S arrival pairs of earthquakes can increase the computational efficiency and accuracy of backprojection for earthquake monitoring in large areas. We applied our workflow to monitor the earthquake activity in southern California during the 2019 Ridgecrest sequence. The distribution of earthquakes determined by our method is consistent with that in the Southern California Earthquake Data Center (SCEDC) catalog. In addition, the number of earthquakes in our catalog is more than three times that of the SCEDC catalog. Our method identifies additional earthquakes that are close in origin times and/or locations, and are not included in the SCEDC catalog. Our algorithm avoids misidentification of seismic phases for earthquake location. In general, our algorithm can provide reliable earthquake monitoring on a large area, even during a high seismicity period. 
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  5. With the emergence of microsecond-scale NVMe storage devices, the Linux kernel storage stack overhead has become significant, almost doubling access times. We present XRP, a framework that allows applications to execute user-defined storage functions, such as index lookups or aggregations, from an eBPF hook in the NVMe driver, safely bypassing most of the kernel’s storage stack. To preserve file system semantics, XRP propagates a small amount of kernel state to its NVMe driver hook where the user-registered eBPF functions are called. We show how two key-value stores, BPF-KV, a simple B+-tree key-value store, and WiredTiger, a popular log-structured merge tree storage engine, can leverage XRP to significantly improve throughput and latency. 
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  6. Abstract What is the effect of migration on fuel use in rural Zambia? Opportunities to increase income can be scarce in this setting; in response, households may pursue a migration strategy to increase resources as well as to mitigate risk. Migrant remittances may make it possible for households to shift from primary reliance on firewood to charcoal, and the loss of productive labor through migration may reinforce this shift. This paper uses four waves of panel data collected as part of the Child Grant Programme in rural Zambia to examine the connection between migration and the choice of firewood or charcoal as cooking fuel and finds evidence for both mechanisms. Importantly, this paper considers migration as a process, including out as well as return migration, embedding it in the context of household dynamics generally. Empirical results suggest that while out-migration helps move households away from firewood as a fuel source, return migration moves them back, but because the former is more common, the overall effect of migration is to shift households away from primary reliance on firewood. 
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