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Riots in Istanbul's Gezi Park in 2013 lasted two months and had a significant and ongoing impact on Turkey's social, cultural and economic life. A study by Mehmet Ali Turkmenoglu of the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Mus Alparslan University suggests that the multi-layered crisis seriously affected food sector businesses in the neighbourhood around the park. He has interviewed dozens of managers in this sector to find out how they coped with the problems and how they are addressing the long-term issues that arose from the riots.
His survey of managers reveals that there were two main psychological copying mechanisms that food sector managers used. The first was simply being hopeful about the future and the second being patient against the multiple challenges they were facing including those surrounding emotional, physical, interpersonal and financial problems that emerged.
"Many managers stated that they consider their shops as ekmek teknesi (their bread and butter)," Turkmenoglu explains. He adds that "managers endured challenges by keeping this notion in their minds." Motivation was also found in the proverb “umut fakirin ekmegidir” - hope is the poor man's bread.
Turkmenoglu, M.A. (2018) 'Hope and patience as coping mechanisms of food managers in the face of challenges: the Turkish case', Int. J. Work Organisation and Emotion, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp.209–223.
A new approach to detecting the addresses of potentially malicious websites that might compromise an individual or corporate computing environment is being developed by researchers in China. The approach avoids a simplistic analysis based on keywords in the address, the URL (uniform resource locator) and instead uses statistical analyses based on gradient learning and feature extraction to feed the machine learning of an algorithm that can quickly detect malicious website addresses.
Baojiang Cui, Shanshan He, and Peilin Shi of Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications worked with Xi Yao of QIHU 360 Software Co. Limited on the study and report details in the International Journal of High Performance Computing and Networking.
The approach has been validated against the naïve Bayes, decision tree, and support vector machine (SVM) and found to be efficient and to have an accuracy rate of 98.7%. Moreover, the team reports that their system is in practical use and analyzing approximately 2 terabytes of data every day automatically classifying URLs as benign or malicious and blocking access to the latter. The system does not defer to a blacklist of sites as have other security approaches nor does it rely on any single characteristic of the URL being tested.
The approach, the team says, represents "a comprehensive approach that utilises all the features of machine learning." They hope to be able to improve the accuracy to close to 99.99% by better keyword analysis and the extraction of additional features. The same technique might also be used to identify other types of web attack that appear not only in URLs but also in user agent strings, cookies, and other features of internet traffic.
Cui, B., He, S., Yao, X. and Shi, P. (2018) 'Malicious URL detection with feature extraction based on machine learning', Int. J. High Performance Computing and Networking, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp.166–178.
Emissions reduction and decarbonisation targets are two common phrases on the political agenda of governments around the world. Jelte Harnmeijer of the University of Edinburgh, David Toke of the University of Aberdeen, and Bill Slee of the James Hutton Institute, in Aberdeen discuss these concepts in the context of UK community renewables policy and uptake and the differences between Scotland, England and Wales.
They suggest that until very recently, most of the community renewable capacity (in terms of megawatts of electrical power) has been seen in Scotland rather than England and Wales. This, the team explains, is perhaps due to the more egalitarian approaches taken in organising community renewables in Scotland, whereas an individualistic approach has been adopted in England and Wales. The presence of "communitarian" local institutions in Scotland that are not seen in England and Wales might underpin this difference.
However, the team says, trends towards community renewables policy are moving towards a more hierarchical modality. They point out that governments are now stressing the advantages of partnering community renewable initiatives with commercial renewable energy schemes. Their study points to how "community energy might present a clear example of a domain that benefits from bespoke, fit-for-purpose, regional policymaking that furthermore leaves appropriate space for local institutional innovation."
Harnmeijer, J., Toke, D. and Slee, B. (2018) 'Community renewables in the UK – a clash of cultures?', Int. J. Technology Intelligence and Planning, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp.99–120.
Commercial operation of the CHASNUPP-1 996 megawatt intermediate type pressurised water reactor began in May 2000 in Pakistan. It is a conventional two-loop PWR and is run by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. Now, scientists Khurram Mehboob and Mohammad Aljohani of the Department of Nuclear Engineering at King Abdul Aziz University in Saudi Arabia have carried out simulations of the activity of the unit using MATLAB to probe the risks associated with a putative coolant leak that might see radioactivity entering the environment. The team reports details of their study in the International Journal of Nuclear Energy Science and Technology.
The researchers point out that as energy demands growing around the world, there is a pressing need to meet this demand and nuclear power or sustainable sources can provide the alternatives that avoid the burning of fossil fuels. However, there are perennial concerns with the operation of nuclear power stations and the associated risks of radiation leaks that might be caused by human error, systems failure, accident, or even criminal activity.
Mehboob and Aljohani have used a kinetic model in MATLAB to simulate the anticipated amount of radioactivity that might be released from the CHASNUPP-1 nuclear power plant in the form of contaminated coolant following an accident leading to core damage. The model suggests that leakage would be similar to another reactor the South Korean KORI-1 reactor and that the containment would be sufficient to preclude anything but negligible leakage into the outside world. Given the potential global impact of a leak from a nuclear reactor anywhere in the world, it is important to model worst-case scenarios and to understand the implications for the local and wider environment.
Mehboob, K. and Aljohani, M.S. (2018) 'Estimation of radioactivity released from CHASNUPP-1 nuclear power plant during loss of coolant accident', Int. J. Nuclear Energy Science and Technology, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp.111–126.
Researchers from Greece and France have worked together to use an agent-based methodology to research pedestrian behaviour and to help them develop a decision support system for urban planners hoping to improve "walkability" of the built environment. Writing in the International Journal of Decision Support Systems, Georgios Tsaples of the University of Macedonia, in Thessaloniki and Giovanna Fancello of the Université Paris Dauphine, explain how pedestrian accessibility in our cities is one of the most important aspects of developing urban public policies.
In recent years, pedestrian accessibility has received attention from research fields as diverse as medicine, social and environmental sciences, engineering, healthcare, and the arts and humanities. To be effective, such research has to consider more than transport, the distances involved, services, and activities, but must also take a dynamic view of how people interact with the environment, each other, and traffic within the city. However, as the team points out, "rarely [are] dynamic methods used with the aim of analysing and estimating the processes that influence the behaviour of individuals in space and in time." They add that this is something a multi-agent model can do.
The team has now used a computational technique known as agent-based modelling to simulate an urban environment and the movement of people within it and the various modes of transport available to them. Their approach encodes the people, the "agents", and their interactions in simple rules, which then allows the team to predict the outcomes of those interactions.
Ultimately, the models revealed by studying different scenarios, that improving the urban environment people is conducive to people walking more and parts of the environment become favourite places for walking. Moreover, walking behaviour has a positive effect on the individuals and even the economic activity of the city, the team found. The next step will be to assimilate real behaviour in different environments and to improve the models still further to make more definitive predictions about urban human behaviour and guide policymakers and town planners with greater precision.
Tsaples, G. and Fancello, G. (2018) 'An agent-based model to explore urban policies, pedestrian behaviour and walkability', Int. J. Decision Support Systems, Vol. 3, Nos. 1/2, pp.4–18.
Given the environmental pressures that society faces today, is there room for the concept of an eco-airport? And, if so, might airline passengers be willing to pay more to fly from such an airport if it means that the environmental impact and the carbon footprint of their journey are somehow offset by the airport's "green" credentials? Researchers in the USA have carried out a study with over 1100 participants in an attempt to find out.
They found that most participants were willing to pay for the development of a green airport if it was to have significant environmental benefits. Indeed, anger and disgust were felt towards the idea of having to for a new airport that did not use renewable resources. The team reports that "As awareness of climate change, and its consequences, continues to grow, support for eco-friendly practices have steadily increased. Current behavioural trends indicate that consumers favour eco-friendly businesses utilising green initiatives."
The team suggests that the findings should be reflected in new design procedures for future airports and even for the upgrading of existing airports. "Developers can [thus] accommodate a changing attitude in the current and future society while cutting operational costs," the team concludes.
Walters, N.W., Rice, S., Winter, S.R., Baugh, B.S., Ragbir, N.K., Anania, E.C., Capps, J. and Milner, M.N. (2018) 'Consumer willingness to pay for new airports that use renewable resources', Int. J. Sustainable Aviation, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp.79–98.
Chitosan is a natural substance extracted from the chitin shells of crustacean. It is a linear polysaccharide comprising randomly distributed deacetylated glucosamine units and acetylated units. It has been the focus of much research in materials science for medical device applications for many years because of its biocompatibility and the potential for it to be bio-absorbed by the body given sufficient time. Similarly, collagen is another natural material, a connective tissue protein found in animals' bodies. It too has been the target of much research given its strength and structural properties. However, collagen shows rapid biodegradation.
Now, a team from Costa Rica has developed a hybrid material from chitosan and collagen, which they suggest combines the useful properties of both materials synergistically. They say it can be fabricated into highly porous three-dimensional solids with almost any shape that can then serve as 3D scaffolds for tissue engineering applications. Living cells can grow on and within such a scaffold and the product might be used to create implant as prosthetic devices for a wide range of medical problems as well as biocompatible wound-healing materials.
The team reports that the hybrid 3D scaffold material has 'improved stability, greater porosity, increased thermal stability, and mechanical properties, as well higher biodegradation as compared to single 3D scaffolds.' The team has now demonstrated that their scaffold materials can support the attachment of living cells, promote their growth, and differentiation, making them a good candidate for tissue engineering applications.
Ureña-Saborio, H., Alfaro-Viquez, E., Esquivel-Alvarado, D., Esquivel, M. and Madrigal-Carballo, S. (2018) 'Collagen/chitosan hybrid 3D-scaffolds as potential biomaterials for tissue engineering', Int. J. Nano and Biomaterials, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp.163–175.
Data lakes allow information to be added to a system without pre-processing or modelling. Contrast this with a conventional database where data must be delivered in a much more refined and formal manner. Thus a data lake offers much timelier speed of entry. However, as research from Brazil shows, even though a data lake preserves highest granularity level of the data, that useful flexibility can be problematic too. "If not managed, it is easy to lose control of the repository because of the volume it holds and its growth", the team explains.
The researchers explain further that data lakes carry none of the semantics of a conventional database, but while this can be advantageous in avoiding certain types of bias when re-extracting and analyzing days, it does mean that understanding the contents of the data lake can become a rather cumbersome task. This, the team suggests, has perhaps undermined the widespread adoption and use of data lakes within the corporate environment and stymied acceptance of this useful tool because of certain misconceptions regarding how they might be used in data science efforts.
The team has now turned to knowledge management models to help them address the issues associated with data lake use and to enrich the data floating within to enhance information usability. They also add that through the use of a data portal platform and associated metadata they reason that their approach would provide easy access to the data lake maintaining and boosting its usefulness and precluding its denigration into a so-called data swamp.
Ferreira, M.C., dos Santos, F.B., Barbosa, C.E. and de Souza, J.M. (2018) 'Using knowledge management to create a Data Hub and leverage the usage of a Data Lake', Int. J. Knowledge Management Studies, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp.260–277.
Human waste is a big problem, but might it be turned to our advantage, offering a sustainable source of biofuels to usurp oil-derived petrochemicals? An international collaboration in Africa has assessed the potential of extracting lipids (fatty molecules) from sewage sludge and converting those fatty compounds into the kind of compounds that can be blended with conventional fuels for use in vehicles of all kinds.
The team tested the process by extracting lipids from dried sewage sludge using the soxhlet extraction technique. They then carried out a conversion to biodiesel acid catalysis transesterification to make the requisite fatty acid methyl esters. They used gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis to test the product. The materials contained a high lipid yield of almost 80 percent and the biodiesel properties considered conformed to global specifications, the team reports.
"Sewage sludge could serve as an alternative and a cheap feedstock for biodiesel development," the team concludes.
Obisanya, J.F., Oyekunle, J.A.O., Ogunfowokan, A.O. and Fatoki, O.S. (2018) 'Evaluation of biodiesel potential of sewage sludge', Int. J. Environment and Waste Management, Vol. 22, Nos. 1/2/3/4, pp.61–73.
Pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) has been cultivated as a food crop for at least 3500 years. It is a great source of protein and widely consumed in South Asia, as well as Asia as a whole, Africa, and Latin America. Researchers in Kenya point out that land degradation and drought conditions can seriously constrain agricultural production in arid and semi-arid areas. However, even without significant rain there can be bumper harvests of this crop plant.
The researchers have looked at the yields of sole- and inter-crops of maize and pigeon ea varieties under different weather conditions over the period 2009 to 2013 and found that harvests where the Mbaazi II strain of pigeon pea was intercropped with maize offers the best option for marginal farmers especially if water conservation methods are employed and excess crop and waste plants parts are ploughed back into the soil rather than being fed to livestock.
Kwena, K.M., Ayuke, F.O., Karuku, G.N. and Esilaba, A.O. (2018) 'No rain but bumper harvest: the magic of pigeonpea in semi-arid Kenya', Int. J. Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp.181–203.
New Editor for International Journal of Granular Computing, Rough Sets and Intelligent Systems
Dr. Liang Zhou from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Granular Computing, Rough Sets and Intelligent Systems.
New Editor for International Journal of Sustainable Design
Prof. Guangwei Huang from Sophia University in Japan has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Sustainable Design.
International Journal of Automation and Control increases issues
The International Journal of Automation and Control has announced that it will be increasing issues from four to six from 2019 onwards.
International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management increases issues
The International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management has announced that it will be increasing issues from six to eight from 2019 onwards.
International Journal of Heavy Vehicle Systems increases issues
The International Journal of Heavy Vehicle Systems has announced that it will be increasing issues from four to six from 2019 onwards.