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- Making it last on St Valentine's Day
On St Valentine's Day, 14th February, some people may have been lucky enough to receive fresh-cut roses. A new study published International Journal Postharvest Technology and Innovation has advice on how to make the blooms, if not the love, last.
Esmaeil Chamani of the Department of Horticultural Sciences at the University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, in Ardabil, Iran and Carol Wagstaff of the School of Food Biosciences at the University of Reading, Reading, UK, have evaluated the effect of different levels of relative humidity (60%, 75%, and 90%) and re-cutting of the stems at 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 centimetres re-cutting at the end of the stem on "vase life". The team carried out two parallel experiments using either a bucket or a vase. Conditions were randomised and eight replications in the bucket experiment and five replications in the vase experiment were carried out.
The basic result was that re-cutting stems had little effect on how long the blooms retained their floral prowess. Increasing humidity from 60 to 90 percent was the optimal alteration for prolonging the display. The findings corroborate how shortened longevity of cut roses is primarily related to water loss from their large leaf area and the essentially unfavourable growth conditions for a cut flower. That said, the team also found that higher humidity would increase bacterial growth. This could be counteracted by cutting 5 centimetres from the end of the cut stem.
The blooming bottom line for Valentine's lovers – trim your rose stems and make sure things are kept quite steamy around the vase.
Chamani, E. and Wagstaff, C. (2019) 'Effects of postharvest relative humidity and various re-cutting on vase life of cut rose flowers', Int. J. Postharvest Technology and Innovation, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp.70–82.
- The digital whistleblower
Research published in the International Journal of Technology Policy and Law sets out to answer the question: Can artificial intelligence (AI) replace whistle-blowers in the business sector?
Kafteranis Dimitrios in the Faculty of Law at the University of Luxembourg, suggests that major technological developments in recent years have changed significantly the way we business and at the same time they have created new ways for insiders to expose unethical behaviour in those businesses. Evidence of wrongdoing can be accrued digitally very quickly and modern communication tools allow for the almost instantaneous dissemination of such information to regulatory authorities, the media, and the public.
The emergence of so-called artificial intelligence and machine learning also now means that the extraction of evidence of wrongdoing might be automated. This could remove the human whistleblower from the equation allowing problems to be flagged far more effectively and efficiently without making any one individual a target for remonstrations from those involved in the wrongdoing. This could apply equally to exposure to management within a company or beyond the company when it is the management or the company itself that is involved in the wrongdoing.
The research as it stands suggests that artificial whistleblowing is not credible but could be used to assist a human whistleblower in reporting misdemeanours at various levels to the appropriate authority.
Dimitrios, K. (2019) 'Can artificial intelligence replace whistle-blowers in the business sector?', Int. J. Technology Policy and Law, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp.160–171.
- Smoothing out the rough diamonds
Easier access to information and better communication tools has empowered consumers and allows them to make informed and perhaps more socially responsible purchasing decisions. At the same time, corporate responsibility and sustainability are gaining momentum. One might imagine that such positive moves in the world of commerce are universal. However, the diamond industry remains opaque.
Writing in the International Journal of Sustainable Society, Meike Schulte and Cody Morris Paris of Middlesex University Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, suggest that the Kimberley Process was set up to allow the rough diamond trade to monitored and to impede the flow of conflict, or blood, diamonds. Such products hewn from areas of conflict and where human rights abuses, child labour, and slavery, are manifest should not be on the market in a socially responsible world.
The team reports that one in five diamonds in terms of volume and one in ten diamonds in terms of value may have been produced under conditions that cannot be regarded as sustainable or ethical. Human rights abuses in the industry are thus incredibly common across several African nations where diamonds are mined with Angola having the worst record for conflict diamonds where the ethics of human rights are taken into account.
The team suggests that human rights violations are systematic and systemic in the rough diamond industry. Global rough diamond production amounts to around 150 million carats each year with a market value of around 16 billion US dollars. It is time, some of these vast revenues were turned to improving the lives of those working in the mines and to extracting child slaves from the often-horrendous working conditions they face. The team adds that related industries – gold, tin, tungsten, and tantalum – have similar ethical problems that must also be addressed.
Schulte, M. and Paris, C.M. (2020) 'Blood diamonds: an analysis of the state of affairs and the effectiveness of the Kimberley Process', Int. J. Sustainable Society, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp.51–75.
- The recency period
The notion of "recency bias" is related to hubris. It is the perception that the events and happenings of recent history will persist into the future. It suggests that the status quo will generally be maintained. Unfortunately, it does not take into account the random effects of human behaviour, environmental response, and many other factors that can upset a recent balance. Of course, hubris usually implies that complacency and recency bias will have a negative outcome as the future unfolds, but occasionally good things do happen.
A team writing in the International Journal of Trade and Global Markets, considers the effects of emotions on recency bias in the context of managerial decision making. Felizia Arni Rudiawarni, Made Narsa, and Bambang Tjahjadi of the Faculty of Economics and Business at the Universitas Airlangga in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, have carried out an experimental study to investigate the emotional baggage associated with recency bias in international financial markets with a specific focus on emerging markets rather than the established markets of the developed world.
Previous studies have demonstrated the existence of recency bias where people give more weight to the latest information they receive rather than considering all previous information too in their decision making and judgement. The present study looks at how elements of emotion affect recency bias. The team has found that recency bias is so strong and ingrained in our behaviour that emotions do not seem to affect our decisions. However, there is an impact on judgement of the order in which positive and negative information is received and perceived. Fundamentally, people don't like to hear bad news.
As such, the team has some advice for strategists in the corporate communications department: When a company has mixed information to disseminate, it is essential to disclose the bad news first and then quickly follow up with positive information to avoid the severely punishing effects of recency bias on the company's share price, for instance.
Rudiawarni, F.A., Made Narsa, I. and Tjahjadi, B. (2020) 'Are emotions exacerbating the recency bias?: An experimental study', Int. J. Trade and Global Markets, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp.61-70.
- Making money on Youtube
How do "Youtubers" make money? This is an important question for the modern aged posed in the latest issue of the International Journal Business Information Systems. Bo Han of the College of Business at Texas A&M University-Commerce, in Commerce, Texas, USA, offers an answer.
There might be several ways for someone who uploads video content to the site Youtube. Advertising revenue and the marketing of products, services, and digital resources are a couple. However, under the company's current guidelines only Youtubers with more than a threshold number of subscribers will earn advertising revenues from advertisements displayed alongside or within their content and channel.
"YouTube has been a critical social media site for users to share their self-made videos such as 'vlogs', amateur performances, parodies, and funny 'fail' videos with the public," Han explains; there are more than one billion active users and some 400 hours worth of content is uploaded every minute generating billions of video views every day.
Han's analysis of the most popular Youtubers suggests that annual revenues are in line with the number of views received on a given channel, the after-view comment rate, and the attitude of viewers. Revenues tend to slide for older Youtubers, suggesting it is very much a youth phenomenon.
Han has some advice for those hoping to earn a living as a Youtuber:
"We expect our findings can inform entrepreneurial YouTubers that their monetisation model is strongly dependent on both their impact breadth and how well they utilise the acquired resources," he says. "The traditional marketing strategy is critical (e.g., more views leading to more revenues), but it is also important for YouTubers to utilise the social media features offered by YouTube to deepen their impacts on the audience, in order to achieve the expected monetisation success."
Han, B. (2020) 'How do YouTubers make money? A lesson learned from the most subscribed YouTuber channels', Int. J. Business Information Systems, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp.132-143.
- Crawling the invisible web genetically
The World-wide Web, WWW, or the web, has grown immensely since its academic and research inception in 1991 and its subsequent expansion into the public and commercial domains. Initially, it was a network of hyperlinked pages and other digital resources. Very early on, it became obvious that some resources were so vast that it would make more sense to generate the materials required by individual users dynamically rather than storing every single digital entity as a unique item.
Today, countless websites are dynamic, every unique visit draws information and data dynamically from a back-end database and presents it to the user on-demand. Whereas static pages can easily be spidered by search engines, database content that drives dynamic websites is inaccessible. Even as long ago as 2001 when there were already several terabytes of public, static web data, it was estimated that the "invisible web", or "hidden web", not to be confused with the "dark web", was some 550 times bigger than the visible resources.
Writing in the International Journal of Business Intelligence and Data Mining, a team from India describes how they have developed a genetic algorithm-based intelligent multiagent architecture that can extract information from the invisible web. The tools could allow even materials that are purportedly off-limits to conventional search engines to be spidered, scraped, and catalogued for a wide range of applications.
D. Weslin of Bharathiar University and Joshva Devadas of Vellore Institute of Technology describe the details and benefits of their approach in the latest issue of the journal. "The experimental results show that the proposed architecture provides better precision and recall than the existing web crawlers," the team writes.
Weslin, D. and Devadas, T.J. (2020) 'Genetic algorithm-based intelligent multiagent architecture for extracting information from hidden web databases', Int. J. Business Intelligence and Data Mining, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp.204–213.
- Safely ageing in a smart home
With an aging population, there is an increasing need for a smart home to be able to monitor health and behaviour with a view to allowing people to continue to live in their homes independently. Research published in the International Journal of Ad Hoc and Ubiquitous Computing shows how motion sensors, actuators, and surveillance systems can be used in different rooms in a home to monitor people are they carry out household chores, such as cooking and cleaning, and other activities, such as using the bathroom, watching television, partaking of hobbies, and sleeping.
Yo-Ping Huang of the Department of Electrical Engineering at the National Taipei University of Technology, in Taiwan, and colleagues suggest that the outputs from sensors and monitors can be fed to an algorithm trained to recognise normal behaviour and to flag issues when a person is unexpectedly immobilized or carrying out an unusual activity in a part of their home where such activities are not commonly undertaken. The system can then alert healthcare workers or family members that there may be a crisis underway and the elderly person can be contacted or emerging services sent to assist.
The team has simulated behaviour and tested the system and its results show that the proposed system outperforms support vector machines in terms of score and accuracy in identifying daily activities.
The researchers add that they will next integrate the system with voice recognition to allow the remote control of appliances used in daily life as well as making wireless and mobile devices connectable so that carers can be availed of potentially hazardous or life-threatening situations as they arise in the person's home without the carer needing to be in the home continuously to look after the person.
Huang, Y-P., Basanta, H., Kuo, H-C. and Chiao, H-T. (2020) 'Sensor-based detection of abnormal events for elderly people using deep belief networks', Int. J. Ad Hoc and Ubiquitous Computing, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp.36–47.
- Recommending children's books
Yiu-Kai Ng of the Computer Science Department at Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah, USA, suggests that promoting good reading habits in children is critical to their learning and development as mature members of a thriving society. Writing in the International Journal of Business Intelligence and Data Mining, he also suggests that we need novel ways to recommend reading matter to children that is not based simply on popularity.
Given the prevalence of the internet and mobile phone apps, there is surely a way to extract reading habits and create a so-called recommendation engine based on wider data points than simple popularity. The development of such a tool would allow customisation and personalisation to come to the fore and at the same time avoid what one might perceive as a reading "echo chamber" based on a few popular authors. This is especially important in a multicultural world where exposure to diversity is increasingly important to help us combat bigotry and prejudice and to create a more accepting world as our children grow.
Ng and colleagues have now developed "CBRec". This is a book recommendation system for children that uses matrix factorisation and content-based filtering approaches to offer suggestions of what the child should read next with greater potential for their enjoying and learning from those books. The new system avoids the need for any kind of social "tags" that might be gleaned from adult users of online social networking sites but at the same time also considers age and reading level.
Given that there are tens of thousands of books for children published every year, this tool could become a significant part of engaging young readers with a wider authorship than the bestsellers lists might otherwise offer them.
Ng, Y-K. (2020) 'CBRec: a book recommendation system for children using the matrix factorisation and content-based filtering approaches', Int. J. Business Intelligence and Data Mining, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp.129-149.
- Attacking the clones
It is relatively easy to clone parts of an image with photo editing software to remove objects and backgrounds or even to duplicate objects. A skilful digital artist will be able to do this almost seamlessly. Such artists with malicious intent can use cloning tools and to fake and forge images and detecting such distortions of the originals can be difficult even to those trained in the art themselves.
Now, work published in the International Journal of Forensic Software Engineering shows how two distinct analytical techniques – ad hoc method and principal component analysis (PCA) based scale-invariant feature transform (SIFT) method – can work together in a hybrid system to analyse an image and reveal where such cloning techniques have been used for illicit purposes. Ashish Kumar Chakraverti of IKG-Punjab Technical University, in Jalandhar, and Vijay Dhir of the M.K. Group of Institutes, in Amritsar, Punjab, India, provide details in the latest issue of the journal.
The approach involves a pre-processing step in which the image of interest is adjusted in terms of contrast and colour and other factors to create a version of the image that can be analysed more readily. The hybrid analytical technique then works its way through the image to reveal errant regions of the image. The team has tested its hybrid approach successfully on the CoMoFoD image database. They had fewer false positives and negatives than state-of-art detection programs, which bodes well for its application in defeating criminality involving such image manipulation.
Chakraverti, A.K. and Dhir, V. (2019) 'A hybrid approach to find cloned objects in copy move forged images', Int. J. Forensic Software Engineering, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp.3–20.
- Ozone levels and climate change
The oxygen in the air that we breathe is O2. Two oxygen atoms joined together to form a diatomic molecule. It is essential to life. However, there is another form of oxygen where three oxygen atoms join together to make an O3 molecule. We call this triatomic oxygen, ozone. Ozone is present in the upper atmosphere and protects the planet to some extent from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. However, combustion and other processes at ground level generate ozone as a noxious and toxic pollutant that can cause smog and is deleterious to air quality and so human and environmental health.
Writing in the International Journal of Environment and Pollution, an international team has developed an advanced algorithm that can be used to investigate the impact of climate change on ozone levels. Zahari Zlatev of the Department of Environmental Science at Aarhus University in Roskilde, Denmark, Ivan Dimov and Krassimir Georgiev of the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia, Bulgaria, and István Faragó and Ágnes Havasi of the MTA-ELTE Numerical Analysis and Large Networks Research Group in Budapest, Hungary, discuss details in the paper. Their model is built on a system of non-linear partial differential equations. They use it to analyse a sixteen-year timeframe across the whole of Europe and environs.
The team has to some extent overcome the complexities of the data and its uncertainties, but their conclusion is that climate change will ultimately lead to higher levels of an atmospheric pollutant like ozone.
Zlatev, Z., Dimov, I., Faragó, I., Georgiev, K. and Havasi, Á. (2019) 'Advanced algorithms for studying the impact of climate changes on ozone levels in the atmosphere', Int. J. Environment and Pollution, Vol. 66, Nos. 1/2/3, pp.212-238.
New Editor for International Journal of Ultra Wideband Communications and Systems
Associate Prof. Yunfei Chen from the University of Warwick in the UK has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Ultra Wideband Communications and Systems.
New Editor for International Journal of Systems, Control and Communications
Prof. Jianbo Su from Shanghai Jiaotong University in China has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Systems, Control and Communications.
New Editor for Latin American Journal of Management for Sustainable Development
Associate Prof. Luciana Oranges Cezarino from the Federal University of Uberlandia in Brazil has been appointed to take over editorship of the Latin American Journal of Management for Sustainable Development. She will be joined by a new Executive Editor, Prof. Lara Bartocci Liboni of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
New Editor for International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising
Associate Prof. Jesús García-Madariaga from Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising.
New Editor for International Journal of Ocean Systems Management
Prof. José António Correia from the University of Porto in Portugal has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Ocean Systems Management.