The Art of Leadership: Skills to Inspire the Team to Overcome Project Challenges and Achieve Their Goals

This paper highlights skills that a leader needs to acquire to lead a team successfully. With an appropriate vision and strategy, a team can be inspired, influenced and easily led. The importance of setting codes of conduct and establishing mutual agreements between the team members can help in minimizing issues and improving overall productivity. Leadership skills include the power of questioning (PoQ), effective communication, identification of team member responsibilities, and assessment of self and the team. This paper will highlight the impact of good leadership on work progress and overall team performance. The paper explains how leaders make correct decisions by avoiding hasty actions that could generate new errors, mistakes, and issues. The importance of positive expectations for the team is addressed in this paper that could result in efficient control of the work with better outcomes.

Lagrangian Flow Skeletons Captured in the Wake of a Swimming Nematode C. elegans Using an Immersed Boundary Fluid-Structure Interaction Approach

In this paper, Lagrangian coherent structure (LCS) concept is applied to wake flows generated in the up/down-stream of a swimming nematode C. elegans in an intermediate Re number range, i.e., 250-1200. It materializes Lagrangian hidden structures depicting flow transport barriers. To pursue the goals, nematode swimming in a quiescent fluid flow environment is numerically simulated by a two-way fluid-structure interaction (FSI) approach with the aid of immersed boundary method (IBM). In this regard, incompressible Navier-Stokes equations, fully-coupled with Lagrangian deformation equations for the immersed body, are solved using IB2d code. For all simulations, nematode’s body is modeled with a parametrized spring-fiber built-in case available in the computational code. Reverse von-Kármán vortex street formation and vortex shedding characteristics are studied and discussed in details via LCS approach, including grid resolution, integration time and Reynolds number effects. Results unveil presence of different flow regions with distinct fluid particle fates in the swimming animal’s wake and formation of so-called ‘mushroom-shaped’ structures in attracting LCS identities.

Loss Function Optimization for CNN-Based Fingerprint Anti-Spoofing

As biometric systems become widely deployed, the security of identification systems can be easily attacked by various spoof materials. This paper contributes to finding a reliable and practical anti-spoofing method using Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) based on the types of loss functions and optimizers. The types of CNNs used in this paper include AlexNet, VGGNet, and ResNet. By using various loss functions including Cross-Entropy, Center Loss, Cosine Proximity, and Hinge Loss, and various loss optimizers which include Adam, SGD, RMSProp, Adadelta, Adagrad, and Nadam, we obtained significant performance changes. We realize that choosing the correct loss function for each model is crucial since different loss functions lead to different errors on the same evaluation. By using a subset of the Livdet 2017 database, we validate our approach to compare the generalization power. It is important to note that we use a subset of LiveDet and the database is the same across all training and testing for each model. This way, we can compare the performance, in terms of generalization, for the unseen data across all different models. The best CNN (AlexNet) with the appropriate loss function and optimizers result in more than 3% of performance gain over the other CNN models with the default loss function and optimizer. In addition to the highest generalization performance, this paper also contains the models with high accuracy associated with parameters and mean average error rates to find the model that consumes the least memory and computation time for training and testing. Although AlexNet has less complexity over other CNN models, it is proven to be very efficient. For practical anti-spoofing systems, the deployed version should use a small amount of memory and should run very fast with high anti-spoofing performance. For our deployed version on smartphones, additional processing steps, such as quantization and pruning algorithms, have been applied in our final model.

A Comparison of YOLO Family for Apple Detection and Counting in Orchards

In agricultural production and breeding, implementing automatic picking robot in orchard farming to reduce human labour and error is challenging. The core function of it is automatic identification based on machine vision. This paper focuses on apple detection and counting in orchards and implements several deep learning methods. Extensive datasets are used and a semi-automatic annotation method is proposed. The proposed deep learning models are in state-of-the-art YOLO family. In view of the essence of the models with various backbones, a multi-dimensional comparison in details is made in terms of counting accuracy, mAP and model memory, laying the foundation for realising automatic precision agriculture.

Management Prospects of Winery By-Products Based on Phenolic Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Grape Skins: The Case of Greek Ionian Islands

The aim of this work was to recover phenolic compounds from grape skins produced in Greek varieties of the Ionian Islands in order to form the basis of calculations for their further utilization in the context of the circular economy. Isolation and further utilization of phenolic compounds is an important issue in winery by-products. For this purpose, 37 samples were collected, extracted, and analyzed in an attempt to provide the appropriate basis for their sustainable exploitation. Extraction of the bioactive compounds was held using an eco-friendly, non-toxic, and highly effective water-glycerol solvent system. Then, extracts were analyzed using UV-Vis, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), FTIR, and Raman spectroscopy. Also, total phenolic content and antioxidant activity were measured. LC-MS chromatography showed qualitative differences between different varieties. Peaks were attributed to monomeric 3-flavanols as well as monomeric, dimeric, and trimeric proanthocyanidins. The FT-IR and Raman spectra agreed with the chromatographic data and contributed to identifying phenolic compounds. Grape skins exhibited high total phenolic content (TPC), and it was proved that during vinification, a large number of polyphenols remained in the pomace. This study confirmed that grape skins from Ionian Islands are a promising source of bioactive compounds, suggesting their utilization under a bio-economic and environmental strategic framework.

An Analysis of Uncoupled Designs in Chicken Egg

Nature has perfected her designs over 3.5 billion years of evolution. Research fields such as biomimicry, biomimetics, bionics, bio-inspired computing, and nature-inspired designs have explored nature-made artifacts and systems to understand nature’s mechanisms and intelligence. Learning from nature, the researchers have generated sustainable designs and innovation in a variety of fields such as energy, architecture, agriculture, transportation, communication, and medicine. Axiomatic design offers a method to judge if a design is good. This paper analyzes design aspects of one of the nature’s amazing object: chicken egg. The functional requirements (FRs) of components of the object are tabulated and mapped on to nature-chosen design parameters (DPs). The ‘independence axiom’ of the axiomatic design methodology is applied to analyze couplings and to evaluate if eggs’ design is good (i.e., uncoupled design) or bad (i.e., coupled design). The analysis revealed that eggs design is a good design, i.e., uncoupled design. This approach can be applied to any nature’s artifacts to judge whether their design is a good or a bad. This methodology is valuable for biomimicry studies. This approach can also be a very useful teaching design consideration of biology and bio-inspired innovation.

Low Temperature Biological Treatment of Chemical Oxygen Demand for Agricultural Water Reuse Application Using Robust Biocatalysts

The agriculture industry is especially vulnerable to forecasted water shortages. In the fresh and fresh-cut produce sector, conventional flume-based washing with recirculation exhibits high water demand. This leads to a large water footprint and possible cross-contamination of pathogens. These can be alleviated through advanced water reuse processes, such as membrane technologies including reverse osmosis (RO). Water reuse technologies effectively remove dissolved constituents but can easily foul without pre-treatment. Biological treatment is effective for the removal of organic compounds responsible for fouling, but not at the low temperatures encountered at most produce processing facilities. This study showed that the Microvi MicroNiche Engineering (MNE) technology effectively removes organic compounds (> 80%) at low temperatures (6-8 °C) from wash water. The MNE technology uses synthetic microorganism-material composites with negligible solids production, making it advantageously situated as an effective bio-pretreatment for RO. A preliminary technoeconomic analysis showed 60-80% savings in operation and maintenance costs (OPEX) when using the Microvi MNE technology for organics removal. This study and the accompanying economic analysis indicated that the proposed technology process will substantially reduce the cost barrier for adopting water reuse practices, thereby contributing to increased food safety and furthering sustainable water reuse processes across the agricultural industry.

Organic Agriculture Harmony in Nutrition, Environment and Health: Case Study in Iran

Organic agriculture is a kind of living and dynamic agriculture that was introduced in the early 20th century. The fundamental basis for organic agriculture is in harmony with nature. This version of farming emphasizes removing growth hormones, chemical fertilizers, toxins, radiation, genetic manipulation and instead, integration of modern scientific techniques (such as biologic and microbial control) that leads to the production of healthy food and the preservation of the environment and use of agricultural products such as forage and manure. Supports from governments for the markets producing organic products and taking advantage of the experiences from other successful societies in this field can help progress the positive and effective aspects of this technology, especially in developing countries. This research proves that till 2030, 25% of the global agricultural lands would be covered by organic farming. Consequently Iran, due to its rich genetic resources and various climates, can be a pioneer in promoting organic products. In addition, for sustainable farming, blend of organic and other innovative systems is needed. Important limitations exist to accept these systems, also a diversity of policy instruments will be required to comfort their development and implementation. The paper was conducted to results of compilation of reports, issues, books, articles related to the subject with library studies and research. Likewise we combined experimental and survey to get data.

The Environmental Impact of Wireless Technologies in Nigeria: An Overview of the IoT and 5G Network

Introducing wireless technologies in Nigeria have improved the quality of lives of Nigerians, however, not everyone sees it in that light. The paper on the environmental impact of wireless technologies in Nigeria summarizes the scholarly views on the impact of wireless technologies on the environment, beaming its searchlight on 5G and internet of things in Nigeria while also exploring the theory of the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). The study used a qualitative research method to gather important data from relevant sources and contextually draws inference from the derived data. The study concludes that the Federal Government of Nigeria, before agreeing to any latest development in the world of wireless technologies, should weigh the implications and deliberate extensively with all stalk holders putting into consideration the confirmation it will receive from the National Assembly.  

Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation in Jiaokou Irrigation District, Guanzhong Basin

Groundwater is an important water resource in the world, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. In the present study, 141 groundwater samples were collected and analyzed for various physicochemical parameters to assess the irrigation water quality using six indicators (sodium percentage (Na%), sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), magnesium hazard (MH), residual sodium carbonate (RSC), permeability index (PI), and potential salinity (PS)). The results show that the patterns for the average cation and anion concentrations were in decreasing orders of Na+ > Mg2+ > Ca2+ > K+and SO42- > HCO3- > Cl- > NO3- > CO32- > F-, respectively. The values of Na%, MH, and PS show that most of the groundwater samples are not suitable for irrigation. The same conclusion is drawn from the USSL and Wilcox diagrams. PS values indicate that Cl-and SO42-have a great influence on irrigation water in Jiaokou Irrigation District. RSC and PI values indicate that more than half of groundwater samples are suitable for irrigation. The finding is beneficial for the policymakers for future water management schemes to achieve a sustainable development goal.

Mechanical Properties of Enset Fibers Obtained from Different Breeds of Enset Plant

Enset fiber is agricultural waste and available in a surplus amount in Ethiopia. However, the hypothesized variation in properties of this fiber due to diversity of its plant source breed, fiber position within plant stem and chemical treatment duration had not proven that its application for the development of composite products is problematic. Currently, limited data are known on the functional properties of the fiber as a potential functional fiber. Thus, an effort is made in this study to narrow the knowledge gaps by characterizing it. The experimental design was conducted using Design-Expert software and the tensile test was conducted on Enset fiber from 10 breeds: Dego, Dirbo, Gishera, Itine, Siskela, Neciho, Yesherkinke, Tuzuma, Ankogena, and Kucharkia. The effects of 5% Na-OH surface treatment duration and fiber location along and across the plant pseudostem was also investigated. The test result shows that the rupture stress variation is not significant among the fibers from 10 Enset breeds. However, strain variation is significant among the fibers from 10 Enset breeds that breed Dego fiber has the highest strain before failure. Surface treated fibers showed improved rupture strength and elastic modulus per 24 hours of treatment duration. Also, the result showed that chemical treatment can deteriorate the load-bearing capacity of the fiber. The raw fiber has the higher load-bearing capacity than the treated fiber. And, it was noted that both the rupture stress and strain increase in the top to bottom gradient, whereas there is no significant variation across the stem. Elastic modulus variation both along and across the stem was insignificant. The rupture stress, elastic modulus, and strain result of Enset fiber are 360.11 ± 181.86 MPa, 12.80 ± 6.85 GPa and 0.04 ± 0.02 mm/mm, respectively. These results show that Enset fiber is comparable to other natural fibers such as abaca, banana, and sisal fibers and can be used as alternatives natural fiber for composites application. Besides, the insignificant variation of properties among breeds and across stem is essential for all breeds and all leaf sheath of the Enset fiber plant for fiber extraction. The use of short natural fiber over the long is preferable to reduce the significant variation of properties along the stem or fiber direction. In conclusion, Enset fiber application for composite product design and development is mechanically feasible.

Parametric Approach for Reserve Liability Estimate in Mortgage Insurance

Chain Ladder (CL) method, Expected Loss Ratio (ELR) method and Bornhuetter-Ferguson (BF) method, in addition to more complex transition-rate modeling, are commonly used actuarial reserving methods in general insurance. There is limited published research about their relative performance in the context of Mortgage Insurance (MI). In our experience, these traditional techniques pose unique challenges and do not provide stable claim estimates for medium to longer term liabilities. The relative strengths and weaknesses among various alternative approaches revolve around: stability in the recent loss development pattern, sufficiency and reliability of loss development data, and agreement/disagreement between reported losses to date and ultimate loss estimate. CL method results in volatile reserve estimates, especially for accident periods with little development experience. The ELR method breaks down especially when ultimate loss ratios are not stable and predictable. While the BF method provides a good tradeoff between the loss development approach (CL) and ELR, the approach generates claim development and ultimate reserves that are disconnected from the ever-to-date (ETD) development experience for some accident years that have more development experience. Further, BF is based on subjective a priori assumption. The fundamental shortcoming of these methods is their inability to model exogenous factors, like the economy, which impact various cohorts at the same chronological time but at staggered points along their life-time development. This paper proposes an alternative approach of parametrizing the loss development curve and using logistic regression to generate the ultimate loss estimate for each homogeneous group (accident year or delinquency period). The methodology was tested on an actual MI claim development dataset where various cohorts followed a sigmoidal trend, but levels varied substantially depending upon the economic and operational conditions during the development period spanning over many years. The proposed approach provides the ability to indirectly incorporate such exogenous factors and produce more stable loss forecasts for reserving purposes as compared to the traditional CL and BF methods.

Effectiveness of Earthing System in Vertical Configurations

This paper presents the measurement and simulation results by Finite Element Method (FEM) for earth resistance (RDC) for interconnected vertical ground rod configurations. The soil resistivity was measured using the Wenner four-pin Method, and RDC was measured using the Fall of Potential (FOP) method, as outlined in the standard. Genetic Algorithm (GA) is employed to interpret the soil resistivity to that of a 2-layer soil model. The same soil resistivity data that were obtained by Wenner four-pin method were used in FEM for simulation. This paper compares the results of RDC obtained by FEM simulation with the real measurement at field site. A good agreement was seen for RDC obtained by measurements and FEM. This shows that FEM is a reliable software to be used for design of earthing systems. It is also found that the parallel rod system has a better performance compared to a similar setup using a grid layout.

Development of an Intelligent Decision Support System for Smart Viticulture

The Internet of Things (IoT) represents the best option for smart vineyard applications, even if it is necessary to integrate the technologies required for the development. This article is based on the research and the results obtained in the DISAVIT project. For Smart Agriculture, the project aims to provide a trustworthy, intelligent, integrated vineyard management solution that is based on the IoT. To have interoperability through the use of a multiprotocol technology (being the future connected wireless IoT) it is necessary to adopt an agnostic approach, providing a reliable environment to address cyber security, IoT-based threats and traceability through blockchain-based design, but also creating a concept for long-term implementations (modular, scalable). The ones described above represent the main innovative technical aspects of this project. The DISAVIT project studies and promotes the incorporation of better management tools based on objective data-based decisions, which are necessary for agriculture adapted and more resistant to climate change. It also exploits the opportunities generated by the digital services market for smart agriculture management stakeholders. The project's final result aims to improve decision-making, performance, and viticulturally infrastructure and increase real-time data accuracy and interoperability. Innovative aspects such as end-to-end solutions, adaptability, scalability, security and traceability, place our product in a favorable situation over competitors. None of the solutions in the market meet every one of these requirements by a unique product being innovative.

Private Law, Public Justice: Another Look at Imprisonment for Debt under the Jordanian Law

Debtors' imprisonment in Jordan is a problematic issue since it impinges upon required financial guarantees that are presumably offered by debtors on the one hand, and infringes flagrantly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the other hand. Jordan lacks regulatory provisions in this respect and debtors' imprisonment is indirectly exercised in Jordan without giving a special legal attention to this concern. From this perspective, this research reviews the available regulations, standard laws and codes of conduct that might guide the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in the Jordanian context. Furthermore, this article will examine the suitability of the Jordanian legal system in providing sufficient protection for debtors. The author argues that there are serious obstacles in this aspect.

Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation Based on Multivariate Statistical Analysis: A Case Study of Jiaokou Irrigation District

Groundwater is main source of water supply in the Guanzhong Basin, China. To investigate the quality of groundwater for agricultural purposes in Jiaokou Irrigation District located in the east of the Guanzhong Basin, 141 groundwater samples were collected for analysis of major ions (K+, Na+, Mg2+, Ca2+, SO42-, Cl-, HCO3-, and CO32-), pH, and total dissolved solids (TDS). Sodium percentage (Na%), residual sodium carbonate (RSC), magnesium hazard (MH), and potential salinity (PS) were applied for irrigation water quality assessment. In addition, multivariate statistical techniques were used to identify the underlying hydrogeochemical processes. Results show that the content of TDS mainly depends on Cl-, Na+, Mg2+, and SO42-, and the HCO3- content is generally high except for the eastern sand area. These are responsible for complex hydrogeochemical processes, such as dissolution of carbonate minerals (dolomite and calcite), gypsum, halite, and silicate minerals, the cation exchange, as well as evaporation and concentration. The average evaluation levels of Na%, RSC, MH, and PS for irrigation water quality are doubtful, good, unsuitable, and injurious to unsatisfactory, respectively. Therefore, it is necessary for decision makers to comprehensively consider the indicators and thus reasonably evaluate the irrigation water quality.

The Relations among Business Model, Higher Education, University and Entrepreneurship Education: An Analysis of Academic Literature of 2009-2019 Period

Business model (BM) is a term that has been receiving the attention of scholars and practitioners and has been consolidating itself as a field of study and research. Although there is no agreement in the academic literature on the definition of BM, at least there is an explicit agreement: BM defines a logical structure of how an organization creates value, capture value and delivers value for the customers and stakeholders. The lack of understanding about connections and elements among BM and higher education, university, and entrepreneurship education opens a gap in the academic literature. Thus, it is interesting to analyze how BM has been approached by the literature and applied in higher education, university, and entrepreneurship education aimed to know the main streams of research. This is because higher education institutions are characterized by innovation, leading to a greater acceptance of new and modern concepts such as BM. Our research has the main motivation to fill the gap in the academic literature, making it possible to increase the power of understanding about connections and aspects among BM and higher education, university, and entrepreneurship education. The objective of the research is to analyze the main aspects among BM and higher education, university, and entrepreneurship education in academic literature. The research followed the systematic literature review (SLR). The SLR is based on three main factors: clarity, validity, and auditability. 82 academic papers were found in the past 10 years, from 2009-2019. The search was carried out in Science Direct and Periodicos Capes databases. The main findings indicate that there are links between BM and higher education, BM and university, BM, and entrepreneurship education. The main findings are inserted within seven aspects. The findings are innovative and contribute to increase the power of understanding about the connection among BM and higher education, university, and entrepreneurship education in academic literature. The research findings addressed to the gap exposed in academic literature. The research findings have several practical implications, and we highlight only two main ones. First, researchers will be able to use the research findings to mitigate a BM research agenda involving connections between BM and higher education, BM and university, and BM and entrepreneurship education. Second, directors, deans, and university leaders will be able to carry out BM awareness programs, BM professors training programs, and makers planning for the inclusion of BM, as one of the components of the curricula of the undergraduate and graduate courses.

Economic Efficiency of Cassava Production in Nimba County, Liberia: An Output-Oriented Approach

In Liberia, many of the agricultural households cultivate cassava for either sustenance purposes, or to generate farm income. Many of the concentrated cassava farmers reside in Nimba, a north-eastern County that borders two other economies: the Republics of Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea. With a high demand for cassava output and products in emerging Asian markets coupled with an objective of the Liberia agriculture policies to increase the competitiveness of valued agriculture crops; there is a need to examine the level of resource-use efficiency for many agriculture crops. However, there is a scarcity of information on the efficiency of many agriculture crops, including cassava. Hence the study applying an output-oriented method seeks to assess the economic efficiency of cassava farmers in Nimba County, Liberia. A multi-stage sampling technique was employed to generate a sample for the study. From 216 cassava farmers, data related to on-farm attributes, socio-economic and institutional factors were collected. The stochastic frontier models, using the Translog functional forms, of production and revenue, were used to determine the level of revenue efficiency and its determinants. The result showed that most of the cassava farmers are male (60%). Many of the farmers are either married, engaged or living together with a spouse (83%), with a mean household size of nine persons. Farmland is prevalently obtained by inheritance (95%), average farm size is 1.34 hectares, and most cassava farmers did not access agriculture credits (76%) and extension services (91%). The mean cassava output per hectare is 1,506.02 kg, which estimates average revenue of L$23,551.16 (Liberian dollars). Empirical results showed that the revenue efficiency of cassava farmers varies from 0.1% to 73.5%; with the mean revenue efficiency of 12.9%. This indicates that on average, there is a vast potential of 87.1% to increase the economic efficiency of cassava farmers in Nimba by improving technical and allocative efficiencies. For the significant determinants of revenue efficiency, age and group membership had negative effects on revenue efficiency of cassava production; while farming experience, access to extension, formal education, and average wage rate have positive effects. The study recommends the setting-up and incentivizing of farmer field schools for cassava farmers to primarily share their farming experiences with others and to learn robust cultivation techniques of sustainable agriculture. Also, farm managers and farmers should consider a fix wage rate in labor contracts for all stages of cassava farming.

Agritourism Potentials in Oman: An Overview with Visionary for Adoption

Most Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries with oil-based economy like Oman are looking for other potential revenue generation options as the crude oil price is regularly fluctuating due to changing geopolitical environment. Oman has advantage of possessing world-heritage nature tourism hotspots around the country and the government is making investments and strategies to uplift the tourism industry following Oman Vision 2040 strategies. Oman’s agriculture is not significantly contributing to the economy, but possesses specific and diversified arid cropping systems. Oman has modern farms; nevertheless some of the agricultural production activities are done with cultural practices and styles that would be attractive to tourists. The aim of this paper is to investigate the potentials for promoting agritourism industry in Oman; recognize potential sites, commodities and activities, and predict potential revenue generation as a projection from that of the tourism sector. Moreover, the study enables to foresee possible auxiliary advantages of agritourism such as, empowerment of women and youth, enhancement in the value-addition industry for agricultural produce through technology transfer and capacity building, and producing export quality products. Agritourism could increase employability, empowerment of women and youth, improve value-addition industry and export-oriented agribusiness. These efforts including provision of necessary technology-transfer and capacity-building should be rendered by the collaboration of academic institutions, relevant ministries and other public and private sector stakeholders.

Estimation of the Drought Index Based on the Climatic Projections of Precipitation of the Uruguay River Basin

The impact the climate change is not recent, the main variable in the hydrological cycle is the sequence and shortage of a drought, which has a significant impact on the socioeconomic, agricultural and environmental spheres. This study aims to characterize and quantify, based on precipitation climatic projections, the rainy and dry events in the region of the Uruguay River Basin, through the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). The database is the image that is part of the Intercomparison of Model Models, Phase 5 (CMIP5), which provides condition prediction models, organized according to the Representative Routes of Concentration (CPR). Compared to the normal set of climates in the Uruguay River Watershed through precipitation projections, seasonal precipitation increases for all proposed scenarios, with a low climate trend. From the data of this research, the idea is that this article can be used to support research and the responsible bodies can use it as a subsidy for mitigation measures in other hydrographic basins.