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- Drinking water? There's an app for that
The human body is well equipped to maintain an adequate level of hydration through the various biological feedback control mechanisms of homeostasis. However, this regulation relies on an adequate supply of water. While there is much mythology surrounding how many glasses of water we each must drink daily to stay healthy. Many people sip at a water bottle throughout the day in the belief that this will keep them well hydrated without considering the possibility that it might nudge their systems to expect such levels of water consistently and so when they have no access to their bottle they feel far more thirsty and suffer a feeling of dryness more than another individual who drinks water only when they feel thirsty and is perfectly well hydrated nevertheless.
Of course, the problem with recommendations for how much we each need and when we should drink it varies from person to person, changes with body weight, environment and specifically temperatures and humidity, personal fitness level, physical activity, age, and illness.
Monitoring water intake, which comes from drinks and food, of course, is the top of a paper published by a team in China in the International Journal of Embedded Systems. Bin Dai, Rung-Ching Chen, and Yuan-Yu Ding of Xiamen University of Technology. They have used "fuzzy" reasoning taking into account the various personal factors such as age, weight, temperature, activity level etc, to develop an application on the Arduino platform that uses Bluetooth electronic scales to connect to a smart phone and can monitor a person's water intake and give them a recommendation on whether they need to drink more or less water.
Dai, B., Chen, R-C. and Ding, Y-Y. (2019) 'A practical approach for estimating human daily water intake', Int. J. Embedded Systems, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp.210–219.
- Storming cloud storage security
Storing one's personal or company data on remote storage systems "in the cloud" is an increasingly popular way to reduce internal computing costs and to provide all the securities of off-site backup without having to deal with encryption and data limits in-house. A team from Tunisia has now looked at an identity-based cryptographic scheme that cloud computing providers might employer to make that data even more secure.
Manel Medhioub of the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Management of Sfax, ESPRIT School of Engineering, Sfax and Mohamed Hamdi of the School of Communication Engineering (Sup'Com), Ariana provide details in the International Journal of Grid and Utility Computing. They point out that while cloud computing and remote storage systems have many advantages there is always the issue of outsourcing one's data to a third party in terms of critical security, confidentiality, integrity, authentication, anonymity, and resiliency.
The team's approach to addressing that issue lies in an ID-based authentication approach in which the cloud tenant is assigned a private key generator function, technically the IBC-Private Key Generator (PKG) function, which is certificate free and so removes one of the possible entry points for a malicious third party. The tenant can then use this to issue public elements to each of its users but keep confidential and private from the provider the resulting IBC secrets. The team suggests that their approach might be used by a popular cloud storage service, such as Dropbox.
Medhioub, M. and Hamdi, M. (2019) 'An identity-based cryptographic scheme for cloud storage applications', Int. J. Grid and Utility Computing, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp.93–104.
- Corporate social responsibility on the science park
What role might science and technology parks have in the context of corporate social responsibility? That is the question researchers from Spain address in a paper in the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management.
José Moyano-Fuentes, Antonia Rodríguez-Martínez, and Juan José Jiménez-Delgado of the University of Jaén, explain their work as flowing in the stream of research that investigates the factors that explain corporate social responsibility. They use reasoning derived from institutional theory to examine the effects of the sense of belonging to such a park, the involvement of institutions with links to the park, and the know-how that exists within the park. The research literature has paid much attention to geographical concentrations of companies and been used in some areas to justify the benefits to companies of setting up in such environments.
The study of some 239 companies based on science and technology parks reveals that all three aspects have a significant positive influence on the corporate social responsibility of those companies. However, "know-how" was shown to be of only secondary importance when compared to the corporate sense of belonging and the role played by institutions associated with the parks.
"The literature has also paid significant attention to geographical concentrations of companies and justified the benefits to companies of setting up in such environments," the team writes. Fundamentally, "Companies could be observed to want to pay back society in return for the benefits that they obtained from being located in a science and technology park," the team adds.
Moyano-Fuentes, J., Rodríguez-Martínez, A. and Jiménez-Delgado, J.J. (2019) 'Territorial agglomerations and corporate social responsibility: the role of science and technology parks', Int. J. Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp.180–203.
- Ubiquitous mobile motivation
Mobile computing is pervaded society the world over across all walks of life. Smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets are always on, always connected, always in our hands. But, why? Why has grasping a device for the constant feed of novel information grabbed us so tightly? Writing in the International Journal of Mobile Communications, a team from South Korea and the USA discusses the effects of personal motivation and computing characteristics on ubiquitous mobile device usage.
Changsu Kim of the School of Business, at Yeungnam University, Gyeongbuk-Do, South Korea, Jongheon Kim of the Department of Information Systems, at Auburn University Montgomery, Alabama, and Dan Kim of the Department of Information Technology and Decision Sciences at the University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA, have focused on intrinsic and extrinsic values that the mobile user experiences when possessing, interacting with, and using ubiquitous computing via mobile devices. The study extends previous research on the use of ubiquitous computing by introducing a theory from consumer research and applying gratifications theory.
The team makes the broad assumption that ubiquitous computing characteristics and user motivation can be considered as the key features of the adoption of such devices. Their results clearly reveal that user attitudes towards the adoption of ubiquitous computing mobile devices are positively related to the individual's innovativeness, sociability, and ability to personalise their device. In addition, the team reports, users generally perceived the utility of mobile devices through UC dimensions, including mobility, context awareness, interoperability, and personalisation.
Kim, C., Kim, J. and Kim, D.J. (2019) 'Effects of personal motivation and computing characteristics on ubiquitous mobile device usages', Int. J. Mobile Communications, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp.127–156.
- Happiness, economics, and air pollution
Is there a link between levels of air pollution, a country's economic growth, and the happiness of its citizens? That is the question Zahra Fotourehchi and Habib Ebrahimpour of the Department of Management and Economics, at the University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, in Ardabil, Iran, hoped to answer in their paper just published in the aptly named International Journal of Happiness and Development.
Prior research into a putative link between economic growth and happiness has not offered researchers the chance to reach a consensus. The results have been mixed. In an attempt to reconcile this state of affairs, the team has looked at gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and its impact on happiness by taking into account the role of air pollution in each country using annual unbalanced panel data for 59 countries between the years 2005 and 2015.
It is curious that the team's analysis suggests that rising per capita GDP leads to a decrease in happiness if the air pollution level is sufficiently high but in contrast, if air pollution is low, rising GDP leads to an increased level of happiness. "We also found that leaving air pollution out of the analysis led to about 15-27% underestimation of the income effect, the team reports. "These results provide some important implications for policymakers seeking to increase economic growth without aggravating happiness."
Fundamentally, "Our research emphasises that improving air quality is an important policy measure to increase happiness in developing countries. Along with economic growth, the current focus on related costs of physical health ignores other hidden costs of pollution on mental health (happiness). If counting these additional costs, the benefits of reducing pollution would be higher," the team concludes.
Fotourehchi, Z. and Ebrahimpour, H. (2019) 'Happiness, economic growth and air pollution: an empirical investigation', Int. J. Happiness and Development, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp.1-13.
- Brexit's impact on inward international investment
In June 2016, the UK voted to leave the EU in a national referendum vote. At the time of writing, the economic implications of the so-called British Exit from the EU, "Brexit" are yet to be fully clarified. Writing in "Global Business and Economics Review", Jeremy Head of the International Business and Economics Research Group (IBERG), Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University, analyses the possible impacts of different Brexit scenarios on inward foreign direct investment (FDI) to the UK.
Head demonstrated that the "harder" forms of Brexit are likely to have worse outcomes in terms of inward FDI to the UK. He also suggested that the export platform FDI will be potentially significantly affected too. "The effects of Brexit could also be diverse in different industries, given the different motives for FDI, and also diverse in terms of the type of activity of the FDI," explains Head. He also points out that the effects will not be evenly spread across the UK given the patterns of FDI in the UK. There are clear policy implications...
Even though there was slow economic growth in the UK between 2010 and 2015 following the 2018 economic crash, FDI remained an important component of the UK economy. It was reported in 2016, that FDI amounted to the equivalent of almost US$40 billion for 2015. The flows led to a stock of inward FDI in the UK of $1.5 trillion by 2015. Most studies suggest that inward FDI boosts gross domestic product (GDP). Indeed, there is broad agreement that the UK’s membership of the European Union led to greater inward FDI than the country would otherwise have experienced and it is a matter of record that GDP increased. A 2015 report suggested that EU membership enhanced UK inward FDI by 25 to 30 percent.
However, there is some research that suggests that countries outside the EU benefit in terms of inward FDI and thence GDP significantly and that it may well be that the UK would have been better off outside the EU in some economic sense. Unfortunately, there is no way to carry out randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in the world of economics. Moreover, how things might have been is generally an irrelevant consideration in future prosperity or otherwise, especially given political machinations and the personal and partisan agendas of those playing out the script on behalf of the electorate.
Head, J. (2019) 'An analysis of different Brexit outcomes and their effect on inward FDI to the UK', Global Business and Economics Review, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp.139-155.
- Fair Isle Bird Observatory - Watching the birdwatchers
UPDATE: This post was scheduled just as news came in that the Fair Isle Bird Observatory had been destroyed by fire on Sunday, 10th March 2019). Thankfully, nobody was injured in the fire. Plans are already afoot to rebuild, but that will take time and money.
Richard Butler of Strathclyde Business School at the University of Strathclyde, in Glasgow, UK, is worried about the impact of niche tourism, specifically birdwatching, on the well-being of a remote island and its residents. Writing in the International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, he explains how birdwatching has been the predominant form of tourism on Fair Isle, the most remote of the inhabited British islands since tourism began there in 1905.
The research analyses data collected in two surveys of the resident population that were carried out half a century apart. "The information obtained allows a longitudinal examination of the impact of tourism on the well-being of island residents and resident attitudes towards, and involvement with, tourism, and reveals that attitudes have remained positive throughout the half-century of study," Butler reports. Moreover, the numbers, location, and nature of tourists and tourism are identified as key factors in the positive relationship between residents and visitors. Tourism has benefited Fair Isle in terms of environmental, sociocultural, and economic well-being.
Fair Isle has a world-famous bird observatory and represents something of a pilgrimage site for keen birdwatchers. Aside from resident species, the position of the island halfway between Shetland and Orkney at about seven degrees south of The Arctic Circle makes it a likely place for migrants and vagrant bird species from other continents to pass through on their various travels. Even if many of the human residents departed the island there would likely still be enthusiastic ornithologists and amateur birdwatchers who would take to the see in order to reach the observatory.
"While it would be naïve to claim that the current nature of tourism is completely sustainable or perfect, it is closer to sustainability than in most tourist destinations, and overall achieves a measure of symbiosis with both the human and non-human environment with positive effects upon resident well-being," Butler concludes.
Butler, R.W. (2019) 'Niche tourism (birdwatching) and its impacts on the well-being of a remote island and its residents', Int. J. Tourism Anthropology, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp.5–20.
- Efficiency boost for robot submarines
Researchers in China have designed an improved energy-aware and self-adaptive deployment method for autonomous underwater vehicles. The team of Chunlai Peng and Tao Wang of the Guangdong University of Technology, in Guangzhou, provide details in the International Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control.
The researchers explain that autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) are essential mobile robots that can travel underwater and perform tasks that are considered to hazardous for people to carry out for various reasons. There are, however, problems that face the operators of AUVs, specifically the fact that control algorithms are not necessarily optimized for distance nor energy consumption.
The team’s approach to enabling energy awareness, as well as self-adaptive deployment, has now been tested with ten AUVs. Their work demonstrates that they can reduce energy consumption with their algorithm in the test AUVs by almost a third. This could be a real boon for marine environment monitoring, military missions, search missions after the loss of a craft at sea, and perhaps even after a tsunami, earthquake or other geological catastrophes.
The team concludes their paper with a nod to the future direction of their research. "Future work will study an energy-supplying problem during the ocean rescue that generating trajectories for AUVs to rendezvous with energy-carrying robots, such as mobile charging stations, i.e., a rendezvous problem for AUVs and mobile charging stations," they explain.
Peng, C. and Wang, T. (2019) 'An improved energy-aware and self-adaptive deployment method for autonomous underwater vehicles', Int. J. Modelling, Identification and Control, Vol. 31, No. 2, pp.182-192.
- Automated disease detection in maize
Maize is perhaps the single, most-important cereal crop in the world. It is consumed by millions of people and is a staple for a large proportion of the global population. It is also used for animal feed and its total production far outstrips rice and wheat. It is also converted into other edible products such as corn syrup and corn starch as well as useful, but inedible products, like bioethanol. Unfortunately, as with many vital crops, there are significant pests and diseases that can devastate the harvest or damage the product afterwards, during transportation and storage prior to consumption.
Writing in the International Journal of Computational Vision and Robotics, Enquhone Alehegn of the Bahir Dar University, in Ethiopia, has used a support vector machine and image processing to develop a recognition and classification system for maize diseases. Alehegn points out that Ethiopian maize is afflicted by some 72 diseases that attack different parts of the plants. Visual observation and chemical analysis are commonly used to identify a particular infection in the plants' leaves. However, such approaches require experts, time, and often costly equipment and facilities. His new approach side-steps many of the problems of conventional disease detection and classification.
He explains that he used 640 images from a dataset of 800 to train the algorithm and the other 20% for testing. "Based on the experiment result using combined (texture, colour and morphology) features with support vector machine an average accuracy of 95.63% achieved." It should be possible to improve accuracy by optimization of the image segmentation part of the analysis.
Alehegn, E. (2019) 'Ethiopian maize diseases recognition and classification using support vector machine', Int. J. Computational Vision and Robotics, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp.90–109.
- Luxuriating in aspiration
Many people enjoy luxury and those that don't have access to luxury goods and services often aspire to it. Writing in the International Journal of Indian Culture and Business Management, a team explain how in the "West" the notion of luxury, which has existed for millennia was perhaps considered sinful or wasteful but is now a way of life for many people and as mentioned an aspiration for others. With worldwide economic growth, globalization, and many other factors the notion of luxury and it accessibility to the nouveaux riches is now essentially independent of one's location, provided one is sufficiently "riche", nouveau or otherwise.
The team has used multi-dimensional scaling used to map the aspiration to possess and willingness to purchase luxury products in the near future among Indian women, looking at the type of luxury products women desire and their ability and wont to buy them. The team adds how the luxury market is growing rapidly in India and although still in its infancy, it is already in double figures of billions of dollars.
"With evolved tastes, awareness and worldliness, Indian consumers are willing to pay a premium for a well-designed, quality product," the team reports. Specifically, the team found that lifestyle products are the most appealing and include jewellery (as was always the case), designer clothes, luxury vehicles, exotic holidays, top-end mobile phones, laptops, and other gadgets.
The team suggests that their paper will be invaluable in marketing research and for marketers themselves looking to understand and exploit luxury brands.
Chacko, P.S., Ramanathan, H.N. and Prashar, S. (2019) 'Desire and likeliness to buy luxury products: mapping perceptions using multi-dimensional scaling', Int. J. Indian Culture and Business Management, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp.123–136.
New Editor for International Journal of High Performance Computing and Networking
Dr. Dharma P. Agrawal from the University of Cincinnati in the USA has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of High Performance Computing and Networking. Prof. B.B. Gupta of the National Institute of Technology Kurukshetra, India, will be working alongside Dr. Agrawal in the role of Editor.
New Editor for International Journal of Intercultural Information Management
Associate Prof. John Dong from University of Groningen in the Netherlands has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Intercultural Information Management.
New Editor for International Journal of Nuclear Governance, Economy and Ecology
Prof. Alexander Kryanev from the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute in Russia has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Nuclear Governance, Economy and Ecology.
New Editor for International Journal of Healthcare Policy
Prof. Djamel Eddine Laouisset from the Northeastern Institute of Technology in Algeria has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Healthcare Policy.
New Editor for International Journal of Information Systems and Management
Prof. Yue Guo from King's College London in the UK has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Information Systems and Management. The journal's previous Editor in Chief, Prof. Eldon Li, will remain with the journal as Honorary Editor in Chief.