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- A little trouble in big data
Statistics based on so-called "big data" may not always be as reliable as we might hope, according to a study published in the International Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management. The research analysed a manageable subset of time-stamped dynamic information from the internet pertinent to COVID-19 infections. Study author Kenneth David Strang of W3-Research in Saint Thomas in US Virgin Islands writes that the results were "surprising" and revealed some limitations to conventional statistical techniques. Strang's work suggests that using general analytics tools for healthcare big data may not be reliable.
Strang points out that while the study is pertinent to our understanding and approach to big data in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it has broader implications for how big data is analysed using statistical tools and whether there needs to be a paradigm shift in our approach and seemingly conflicting ideas that big data can be handled just as we do any other scientific data or whether such scientific evidence warrants a different approach entirely simply by virtue of the scale of that evidence manifest in big data.
"More research will certainly be needed to verify these reliability problems with healthcare big data since only the coronavirus case study was used here," says Strang. He points out that the nature of big data and a researcher's access to such vast repositories and the processing power needed to analyse them may offer inherent limitations and how much new information and insight can be readily extracted. Moreover, it is difficult to run checks to prove that any such analysis is valid simply because of the scale of the data and those limitations. Strang offers a hypothetical approach that might allow such validation by using a control data set for a given experiment that is not itself "big" data.
It is almost an aside of the study's findings regarding our approach to big data that Strang was able to demonstrate that there were some "fascinating potential relationships between foreign property ownership in Australia near the two biggest cities, with links to China, and thereby, potential vulnerabilities to future pandemic outbreaks."
Strang, K.D. (2021) 'General analytics limitations with coronavirus healthcare big data', Int. J. Healthcare Technology and Management, Vol. 18, Nos. 3/4, pp.153–167.
- Phinding and philtering the phish
Most of us will have received a scam email that looks like it has come from our bank or an online store or other company or organization. They can look genuine but usually hidden within are malicious links that once clicked take you to a third-party server that either steals login details you enter or drops malware on your device. These are phishing emails. The deliberate misspelling of "fish" with a "ph" is related etymologically to the term "phreak" which is an abbreviated portmanteau from the 1960s meaning "phone freak" and alluding to a person who hacked phone systems for pleasure or personal gain.
Some phishing emails may have poor grammar and spelling are rarely perfect or the layout may be askew and not exactly what one would expect from a legitimate organization. Such phishing attacks are relatively easy to spot, but the close-to-perfect ones may well not be and protective systems on one's device are then needed to avoid the user being duped into clicking a malicious link.
Writing in the International Journal of Information Privacy, Security and Integrity a team from China has developed a deep learning-based framework that might be used to detect phishing websites. Huanhuan Wang, Debin Cheng, and Hui Peng of the Fifth Electronic Research Institute of Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in Guangzhou, China, explain how their framework can extract descriptive and statistical features from a website and then determine whether these features are indicative of a phishing website. The detection of such sites could then be used in online security research and perhaps even be incorporated into browsers to protect unwary users from being phished.
The team has tested their system against two databases, one containing the website address (uniform resource locators, URLs) of 10000 legitimate and otherwise benign sites and 13000 URLs found in the PhishTank public dataset of sites that have previously been themselves hooked and identified as malicious. The team has demonstrated a detection accuracy of almost 99 percent, which they say is a significant improvement on earlier phish detection methods. The approach they have taken might also point to new areas of research in this area and the development and optimization of detection systems that can be incorporated into security systems for mobile and desktop devices.
Wang, H., Cheng, D. and Peng, H. (2021) 'Phishing website detection method based on CNAIR framework', Int. J. Information Privacy, Security and Integrity, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp.18–35.
- Developing a liquid radio antenna
Solid, metal antennae have been the standard in a wide range of technologies for decades, including a wide variety of radio communications and scanning such as radar. However, research into the concept of liquid antennae was discussed in the 1990s. A liquid antenna would comprise a lightweight and perhaps collapsible container that could be erected into the appropriate shape and filled with a suitable liquid. Water, saltwater, ionic liquids, and other substances have been investigated over the years.
New work in the International Journal of Ultra Wideband Communications and Systems offers a novel design of a conical structure for a liquid antenna that can operate effectively across a wide frequency range. The antenna is compact and cost effective the team reports as well as offering a simple way to reconfigure it for different applications, something that is not easy with a solid metal antenna. Conical antennae are usually the form required for radio-frequency broadcast.
S. Roopa and E. Kiran Kumar of the Siddaganga Institute of Technology Tumakuru, in Karnataka, India, have demonstrated proof of principle for their new type of liquid antenna using pure water, seawater, and glycerin as the liquid component. The device can achieve voltage standing wave ratio of 1 to 2 over a frequency range of 300 to 850 megahertz, the team reports. They add that the gain achieved in experimental results was 2 dBi, which is comparable with their simulations in which the gain is around 1.9 dBi. The operating frequency is adjusted by changing the height of liquid within the cone.
The team concludes that their proposed antenna is simple, low cost, and covers a wide range of frequencies, which can be tuned easily. The radio emission from the antenna is omnidirectional and the fact that it is transparent gives it an additional attractive design feature for the development of wireless applications. In addition, the antenna is 30 to 40 percent shorter than its equivalent metal antenna.
Roopa, S. and Kiran Kumar, E. (2021) 'Analysis of conical liquid antenna for wide range of frequencies', Int. J. Ultra Wideband Communications and Systems, Vol. 4, Nos. 3/4, pp.197–204.
- Understanding the hive mind
Crowdsourcing is a method of problem solving that taps the intellectual potential and skills of a large number of people simultaneously, commonly by using the tools of social media and the internet. New research published in the International Journal of Ad Hoc and Ubiquitous Computing has investigated this phenomenon from the perspective of the various influencing factors and incentive strategies used to make crowdsourcing work the most effectively.
Zhang, X., Peng, Z., Zhang, Q., Lu, X. and Song, H. (2021) 'User participation behaviour in crowdsourcing initiatives: influencing factors, related theories and incentive strategies', Int. J. Ad Hoc and Ubiquitous Computing, Vol. 38, Nos. 1/2/3, pp.30–44.
- COVID's effects on control room operators
Critical workers across many different sectors and industries from healthcare and education to manufacturing and retail have faced tough times during the many months of the COVID-19 pandemic. New research in the International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, considers the plight of control room operators in the oil, gas, and petrochemical industry and the psychological fatigue many such workers have faced during the pandemic.
Budiyanto Soinangun, Ivan Novendri, Jaka Matsana, Fergyanto E. Gunawan, Muhammad Asrol, and A.A.N. Perwira Redi of the Industrial Engineering Department at Bina Nusantara University in Jakarta, Indonesia, explain how within the petrochemical industry sites have to be kept running continuously and so rely on employees working shifts. However, the emergence of a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, in late 2019, and the pandemic that arose, meant measures such as social distancing, lockdowns, quarantines, and self-isolation had to be instigated in many parts of the world to slow the spread of the disease. There were significant problems as a result for many sectors, particularly those industries which must be "always-on".
The team recognised that in such an industry the pandemic may well have serious psychological effects on its workers. As such, they undertook research to measure sleep quality and quantity, cognitive performance, and fatigue incidents among petrochemical workers and associated accidents.
The results show that many control room operators got less sleep during the pandemic and the sleep they experienced was of a lower quality than before COVID-19. The researchers also found that cognitive performance was lower as indicated by an almost 15% increase in the number of alarms triggered on average than prior to the pandemic. Companies that adapted to the so-called "new normal" of the pandemic world saw a gradual fall in the number of incidents and accidents over time, however, as they implemented new control and monitoring measures.
As to the psychological wellbeing of workers, there is a need to implement new measures for them too. Measures that monitor well-being as well as offering counselling with an expert independent third party would improve the situation for over-stressed workers suffering from poor sleep and mental health problems. In addition, companies should offer their workers access to physical exercise equipment, the team suggests.
Soinangun, B., Novendri, I., Matsana, J., Gunawan, F.E., Asrol, M. and Redi, A.A.N.P. (2021) 'The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the psychological fatigue of control room operators in oil, gas and petrochemical industry', Int. J. Human Factors and Ergonomics, Vol. 8, No. 4, pp.393–407.
- Mindfulness can help you work better in the cold and wet
Mindfulness can be used by people who work in extremely cold and wet environments to tolerate low temperatures better and so carry out tasks that require motor skills more effectively, according to research published in the International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics.
Commonly, sudden exposure to extreme cold, particularly in wet conditions or following submersion in water, can lead to a cold-shock response. This affects the person's cardiovascular system, metabolism, and leads to changes in breathing and subsequently hypothermia, which is a serious risk to life. Finding ways to inhibit the cold-shock response could be a lifesaver and so methods for improving cold tolerance and endurance to exposure to cold water are important for workers who need to spend time in cold, wet environments or underwater.
Mindfulness can be described as the practice of deliberately focusing one's attention on the present moment without evaluation. It is an important component of many spiritual and philosophical approaches to life allowing practitioners. It allows people to concentrate on a particular experience or task in a positive way avoiding the distractions of their natural emotional responses and thought processes that normally arise in a given situation and which can interfere with the experience or task in negative ways. Mindfulness is not just another word for meditation rather it is an approach to focus and concentration that can help people cope or work better in many situations. It can also allow them to enjoy and appreciate their life's experiences in a clearer way than if they do not focus on the given situation. There is growing clinical evidence that mindfulness can have physical and mental health benefits.
Kaitlin Mugford Heather Barry, Michael King, and Heather Carnahan of Memorial University in St. John's NL, Canada, and Gal Ziv of The Academic College at Wingate, Netanya, Israel, investigated whether listening to a mindful passage being read could improve a person's motor performance and cold tolerance in a low-temperature environment. Cold exposure for the participants involved holding their hand in water at a temperature of 2 Celsius while they listened to a mindfulness passage being read. The control group did not have the reading.
After this training period, the team then tested each group of participants for their ability to ensure a cold exposure. They were also tested with a grooved pegboard and knot untying. Both groups performed similarly in the motor tests. However, members of the mindfulness group were able to tolerate exposure to cold much longer than the other participants.
Mugford, K., Barry, H., King, M., Ziv, G. and Carnahan, H. (2021) 'The effects of mindfulness and repeated cold exposure on cold tolerance and motor skill performance', Int. J. Human Factors and Ergonomics, Vol. 8, No. 4, pp.408–420.
The following is the mindfulness passage read to one group of participants:
Please submerge your hand in the water. We will start with a few deep breaths as you experience your first exposure to this water. Breathe in through the nose… out through the mouth. Keep breathing deep into your abdomen. In. Out. Don't divert your attention from the cold. Be mindful of the cold and accept it. Although it may feel uncomfortable or painful, just keep breathing. In through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to steady your breath. Focus on accepting the sensations that your body is experiencing. Know that what you are feeling is only temporary and it is okay to feel some discomfort. Allow these sensations to happen without reacting to them. Keep your attention on your breath and accept the sensations you are experiencing. Breathe in… and out. Think about the fact that because this is only temporary, you can do this. Remind yourself it is okay.
- Emergency management of the pandemic potential of poultry pathogens
Research published in the International Journal of Emergency Management asserts that infectious animal diseases, such as foot and mouth disease and avian influenza, are a significant and perennial problem in the South Korean winter. These diseases affect food production and so food security but also pose a risk to human health when people are in close proximity to such diseases especially when a pathogen mutates into a strain that has pandemic potential.
Kyoo-Man Ha of the Department of Emergency Management at Inje University in Gimhae City, South Korea, explains how better stakeholder management is possible and that this could lead to improved oversight and control of such infectious diseases. Ultimately, there needs to be a shift from an ad hoc approach to emergency disease management, Ha suggests.
Numerous factors, including climate change, globalisation, and bird migration, are involved in the pattern of outbreaks of infectious animal diseases around the world. Some diseases appear on an annual basis and there is in some parts of the world a lack of urgency regarding outbreaks. This lethargy is problematic in that new strains of common pathogens could at any time lead to far greater incidence of disease and so the loss of livestock and poultry. Moreover, neglecting the management of such pathogens might lead to the wider spread of such diseases and the chance emergence of a novel pathogen that leads to human disease.
Ha suggests that all of the stakeholders putatively affected by the impact of foot and mouth disease and avian influenza must play their role in the South Korean farming landscape to address the perennial problems of these diseases. First, central government must coordinate the 18 Korean ministries. Secondly, local governments must consider the local risks, politics, culture, and emergency management. Thirdly, farms need to be redesigned to give livestock and poultry more space. The fourth group of stakeholders, scientists must focus on research and development. And the fifth group, visitors must be aware of disease outbreaks and the hazards.
Ha, K-M. (2021) 'Management of infectious animal diseases: the Korean experience', Int. J. Emergency Management, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp.1–16.
- Now we're cooking in the sun
Much of the developed world is focused on the conversion of natural resources, such as sunlight, wind, the turning of the tides, waves, and other phenomena into electrical power. However, conversions require sophisticated equipment to allow a device to harness energy from the sun or the wind, for instance, and generate a usable current that can then be used to power another device or charge a battery. Moreover, any energy conversion comes with inherent losses at each stage of the process, which reduces overall efficiency.
Sometimes, a more effective approach to garnering a sustainable energy supply is simply to tap the energy source directly as is the case with rooftop water-heating systems. Similarly, there is no need to convert sunlight into electricity to power a cooker if the sunlight is bright and strong enough to be focused with a parabolic reflector on any food that is to be cooked.
As such, solar cooking is very much a viable zero-carbon and low-pollution option where gas heating or electricity supply is not necessarily available and burning wood would be the usual option in that place. Unfortunately, in rural India, firewood and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cooking are widespread and both can lead to alarming levels of indoor pollution as well as producing large amounts of the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. More than three-quarters of households use firewood in rural India and just under one in ten use LPG.
Writing in the International Journal of Global Warming, a team from the Renewable Energy Center at Manipal Academy of Higher Education in Manipal, Karnataka, India, explain their design of a novel solar cooking – a thermosyphon heat transport device. Their system works far more efficiently than a simple closed thermosyphon. Coupled with a hob-top parabolic dish reflector, the new design allows highly efficient solar-powered cooking and if adopted widely might bite into millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted by cooking with firewood or LPG.
Of course, such a solar-powered cooking system can only be active during daylight hours when the sun's intensity is sufficient to generate enough heat in the pan.
Varun, K., Arunachala, U.C. and Manjunath, M.S. (2021) 'Role of solar indoor cooker with natural circulation in mitigation of carbon emissions', Int. J. Global Warming, Vol. 25, Nos. 3/4, pp.440–460.
- Let's get physical
Physical activity and diet are inextricably linked to health and life expectancy. The subtleties of the connections emerge from scientific research regularly and new messages for public health do change from time to time as a result. New work published in the International Journal of Behavioural and Healthcare Research has investigated the potential of an optimal range for physical activity- and diet-related habits. This cut-off point could be used to determine the effectiveness of fitness and lifestyle programmes in clinical and healthcare settings.
Nadja Walter of the Institute of Sport Psychology and Physical Education at Leipzig University, Germany, explains that developing good activity and dietary habits is important to health and wellbeing. Clinicians and healthcare workers hoping to advise people in this regard often use the Self-Report Habit Index (SRHI). Unfortunately, current practice does not embed a pre-defined cut-off value and so there is no way to measure how effective that index is when a health programme is in place.
In attempting to define such a cut-off, Walter has discovered that SHRI scores and optimal levels are different for physical activity as opposed to dietary habits. "The present study is among the first to systematically investigate the strength of daily or weekly physical activity and diet habits using the SRHI, and to calculate an optimal range," Walter writes. The findings could be used practically in intervention studies aimed at helping people develop healthy eating and activity habits. "Against this background, discussions of frequency and physical activity habits should be pursued further," she adds.
She adds that the optimal ranges she has defined might also be used in behaviour-change programmes other than those concerned with physical activity and diet, such as reducing unhealthy behaviour such as smoking, alcohol consumption, drug use, and addressing eating disorders.
Walter, N. (2021) 'Determining habits in physical activity and diet', Int. J. Behavioural and Healthcare Research, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp.289–303.
- If we couch scientific misconduct as social misconduct the wider effects can be seen more clearly
We all live and work in a scientific world, even those who perceive their realm to be within the arts and humanities. At no time is this more apparent than at the height of a global pandemic. The impact of science on our lives and the environment are profound given that the technology wrought by our scientific understanding of the world around us can be used in a positive way or abused. As such, science is deeply embedded in our society.
Writing in the International Journal of Sustainable Development, Juliette Rouchier of the Université Paris-Dauphine, France, argues that the notion of scientific misconduct, once seemingly distant from our everyday lives, is in fact far more relevant and is, in reality, social misconduct. The consequences of such misconduct however it might be labelled are therefore critically important to society.
Rouchier points out that scientists might imagine they benefit from an "aura of neutrality and reason". In this sense, they can express their negative personal opinions in public as if those opinions are somehow relevant constructed knowledge. This can have serious consequences when an issue being discussed is as important as pollution, which has a significant political component that somehow lies outside the scientific realm. This is despite the fact that the technologies involved and their effects require a fundamental scientific understanding without which the technologies would not exist, our picture of the environment and the effects of pollution, and the new technologies to address the problem would not exist.
Fake news and misinformation emerging from the realm of science must be seen as a social problem and addressed as such. If falsehoods are being spread by individuals for political, economic, or other gain, then those disseminating such lies must be seen as being involved in scientific conduct of a most serious nature. The public needs to trust science, its processes and the knowledge it generates. Without that trust, the nuance of what is meant by a scientific theory is lost and those who take an anti-scientific stance on many topics is reinforced to the detriment of us all and to the detriment of the world in which we live.
Rouchier, J. (2021) 'Scientific misconduct as social misconduct', Int. J. Sustainable Development, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp.141–154.
In Memory of Professor Jesús Perfecto Xamán Villaseñor (academically known as Jesús Xaman)
The editors and staff of the International Journal of Global Warming are sad to note the passing of Prof. Jesús Perfecto Xamán. Prof. Xamán was a longstanding supporter of the journal and a valued and active member of the Editorial Board for over fout years. We offer our sincere condolences to his family, friends and students.
Inderscience journals increasing issue frequency in 2022
Inderscience is pleased to announce that the following journals are increasing their issue frequency from 2022:
International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning
Increasing from 4 to 6 issues per year
International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital
Increasing from 4 to 6 issues per year
International Journal of Masonry Research and Innovation
Increasing from 4 to 6 issues per year
International Journal of Economic Policy in Emerging Economies
Increasing from 6 to 8 issues per year
International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising
Increasing from 6 to 8 issues per year
International Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics
Increasing from 6 to 8 issues per year
International Journal of Trade and Global Markets
Increasing from 6 to 8 issues per year
New Editor for International Journal of Reliability and Safety
Associate Prof. Yiliu Liu from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Norway has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Reliability and Safety.
New Editor for International Journal of Business and Emerging Markets
Prof. Vincent Charles from CENTRUM PUCP in Peru has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Business and Emerging Markets.
New Editor for International Journal of Islamic Marketing and Branding
Dr. Ahmad Jamal from Cardiff University in the UK has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Islamic Marketing and Branding.