Profitability and Budgeting of Kenaf Cultivation and Fiber Production in Kelantan Districts

The purpose of the analysis is estimation of viability and profitability of kenaf plant farming in Kelantan State. The monetary information was gathered through interviewing kenaf growers as well group discussion. In addition, the production statistics were collected from Kenaf factory administrative group. The monetary data were analyzed using the Precision financial Calculator. For kenaf production per hectare three scenarios of productivity were adopted, they were 15, 12 and ten; the research results exposed that, when kenaf productivity was 15 ton and the agronomist received financial supports from kenaf administration, the margin profit reached up to 37% which is almost dual profitability that is expected without government support. The financial analysis explains that, the adopted scenarios of the productivity are feasible when Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) was used as financial indicator. Nonetheless, the kenaf productivity of 15 ton is the superlative viable among the others and payback period is 5 years which equals to middle period time to return the invested amount back. The study concluded that for the farmer to increase the productivity of kenaf per hectare the well farming practices as well as continuously farmers financial support are highly needed.

Affective (and Effective) Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: Getting Social Again

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have given their courses. From emergency remote where all students and faculty were immediately confined to home teaching and learning, the continuing evolving sanitary situation obliged HEIs to adopt other methods of teaching and learning from blended courses that included both synchronous and asynchronous courses and activities to HyFlex models where some students were on campus while others followed the course simultaneously online. Each semester brought new challenges for HEIs and, subsequently, additional emotional reactions. This paper investigates the affective side of teaching and learning in various online modalities and its toll on students and faculty members over the past three semesters. The findings confirm that students and faculty who have more self-efficacy, flexibility, and resilience reported positive emotions and embraced the opportunities that these past semesters have offered. While HEIs have begun a new semester in an attempt to return to ‘normal’ face-to-face courses, this paper posits that there are lessons to be learned from these past three semesters. The opportunities that arose from the challenge of the pandemic should be considered when moving forward by focusing on a greater emphasis on the affective aspect of teaching and learning in HEIs worldwide. 

Technical, Environmental, and Financial Assessment for the Optimal Sizing of a Run-of-River Small Hydropower Project: A Case Study in Colombia

Run-of-river (RoR) hydropower projects represent a viable, clean, and cost-effective alternative to dam-based plants and provide decentralized power production. However, RoR schemes’ cost-effectiveness depends on the proper selection of site and design flow, which is a challenging task because it requires multivariate analysis. In this respect, this study presents the development of an investment decision support tool for assessing the optimal size of an RoR scheme considering the technical, environmental, and cost constraints. The net present value (NPV) from a project perspective is used as an objective function for supporting the investment decision. The tool has been tested by applying it to an actual RoR project recently proposed in Colombia. The obtained results show that the optimum point in financial terms does not match the flow that maximizes energy generation from exploiting the river's available flow. For the case study, the flow that maximizes energy corresponds to a value of 5.1 m3/s. In comparison, an amount of 2.1 m3/s maximizes the investors NPV. Finally, a sensitivity analysis is performed to determine the NPV as a function of the debt rate changes and the electricity prices and the CapEx. Even for the worst-case scenario, the optimal size represents a positive business case with an NPV of 2.2 USD million and an internal rate of return (IRR) 1.5 times higher than the discount rate. 

Assessing the Theoretical Suitability of Sentinel-2 and WorldView-3 Data for Hydrocarbon Mapping of Spill Events, Using HYSS

Identification of hydrocarbon oil in remote sensing images is often the first step in monitoring oil during spill events. Most remote sensing methods adopt techniques for hydrocarbon identification to achieve detection in order to model an appropriate cleanup program. Identification on optical sensors does not only allow for detection but also for characterization and quantification. Until recently, in optical remote sensing, quantification and characterization were only potentially possible using high-resolution laboratory and airborne imaging spectrometers (hyperspectral data). Unlike multispectral, hyperspectral data are not freely available, as this data category is mainly obtained via airborne survey at present. In this research, two operational high-resolution multispectral satellites (WorldView-3 and Sentinel-2) are theoretically assessed for their suitability for hydrocarbon characterization, using the Hydrocarbon Spectra Slope model (HYSS). This method utilized the two most persistent hydrocarbon diagnostic/absorption features at 1.73 µm and 2.30 µm for hydrocarbon mapping on multispectral data. In this research, spectra measurement of seven different hydrocarbon oils (crude and refined oil) taken on 10 different substrates with the use of laboratory ASD Fieldspec were convolved to Sentinel-2 and WorldView-3 resolution, using their full width half maximum (FWHM) parameter. The resulting hydrocarbon slope values obtained from the studied samples enable clear qualitative discrimination of most hydrocarbons, despite the presence of different background substrates, particularly on WorldView-3. Due to close conformity of central wavelengths and narrow bandwidths to key hydrocarbon bands used in HYSS, the statistical significance for qualitative analysis on WorldView-3 sensors for all studied hydrocarbon oil returned with 95% confidence level (P-value ˂ 0.01), except for Diesel. Using multifactor analysis of variance (MANOVA), the discriminating power of HYSS is statistically significant for most hydrocarbon-substrate combinations on Sentinel-2 and WorldView-3 FWHM, revealing the potential of these two operational multispectral sensors as rapid response tools for hydrocarbon mapping. One notable exception is highly transmissive hydrocarbons on Sentinel-2 data due to the non-conformity of spectral bands with key hydrocarbon absorptions and the relatively coarse bandwidth (> 100 nm).

Classification of Extreme Ground-Level Ozone Based on Generalized Extreme Value Model for Air Monitoring Station

Higher ground-level ozone (GLO) concentration adversely affects human health, vegetations as well as activities in the ecosystem. In Malaysia, most of the analysis on GLO concentration are carried out using the average value of GLO concentration, which refers to the centre of distribution to make a prediction or estimation. However, analysis which focuses on the higher value or extreme value in GLO concentration is rarely explored. Hence, the objective of this study is to classify the tail behaviour of GLO using generalized extreme value (GEV) distribution estimation the return level using the corresponding modelling (Gumbel, Weibull, and Frechet) of GEV distribution. The results show that Weibull distribution which is also known as short tail distribution and considered as having less extreme behaviour is the best-fitted distribution for four selected air monitoring stations in Peninsular Malaysia, namely Larkin, Pelabuhan Kelang, Shah Alam, and Tanjung Malim; while Gumbel distribution which is considered as a medium tail distribution is the best-fitted distribution for Nilai station. The return level of GLO concentration in Shah Alam station is comparatively higher than other stations. Overall, return levels increase with increasing return periods but the increment depends on the type of the tail of GEV distribution’s tail. We conduct this study by using maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) method to estimate the parameters at four selected stations in Peninsular Malaysia. Next, the validation for the fitted block maxima series to GEV distribution is performed using probability plot, quantile plot and likelihood ratio test. Profile likelihood confidence interval is tested to verify the type of GEV distribution. These results are important as a guide for early notification on future extreme ozone events.

Time and Wavelength Division Multiplexing Passive Optical Network Comparative Analysis: Modulation Formats and Channel Spacings

In light of the substantial increase in end-user requirements and the incessant need of network operators to upgrade the capabilities of access networks, in this paper, the performance of the different modulation formats on eight-channels Time and Wavelength Division Multiplexing Passive Optical Network (TWDM-PON) transmission system has been examined and compared. Limitations and features of modulation formats have been determined to outline the most suitable design to enhance the data rate and transmission reach to obtain the best performance of the network. The considered modulation formats are On-Off Keying Non-Return-to-Zero (NRZ-OOK), Carrier Suppressed Return to Zero (CSRZ), Duo Binary (DB), Modified Duo Binary (MODB), Quadrature Phase Shift Keying (QPSK), and Differential Quadrature Phase Shift Keying (DQPSK). The performance has been analyzed by varying transmission distances and bit rates under different channel spacing. Furthermore, the system is evaluated in terms of minimum Bit Error Rate (BER) and Quality factor (Qf) without applying any dispersion compensation technique, or any optical amplifier. Optisystem software was used for simulation purposes.

Exploring the Effect of Accounting Information on Systematic Risk: An Empirical Evidence of Tehran Stock Exchange

This paper highlights the empirical results of analyzing the correlation between accounting information and systematic risk. This association is analyzed among financial ratios and systematic risk by considering the financial statement of 39 companies listed on the Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE) for five years (2014-2018). Financial ratios have been categorized into four groups and to describe the special features, as representative of accounting information we selected: Return on Asset (ROA), Debt Ratio (Total Debt to Total Asset), Current Ratio (current assets to current debt), Asset Turnover (Net sales to Total assets), and Total Assets. The hypotheses were tested through simple and multiple linear regression and T-student test. The findings illustrate that there is no significant relationship between accounting information and market risk. This indicates that in the selected sample, historical accounting information does not fully reflect the price of stocks.

Perturbative Analysis on a Lunar Free Return Trajectory

In this study, starting with a predetermined Lunar free-return trajectory, an analysis of major near-Earth perturbations is carried out. Referencing to historical Apollo-13 flight, changes in the mission’s resultant perimoon and perigee altitudes with each perturbative effect are evaluated. The perturbations that were considered are Earth oblateness effects, up to the 6th order, atmospheric drag, third body perturbations consisting of solar and planetary effects and solar radiation pressure effects. It is found that for a Moon mission, most of the main perturbative effects spoil the trajectory significantly while some came out to be negligible. It is seen that for apparent future request of constructing low cost, reliable and safe trajectories to the Moon, most of the orbital perturbations are crucial.

A Tribe, a County, and a Casino: Socioeconomic Disparities between the Mohegan Tribe and New London County through Two Decades

Since British established colonial settlements across the East Coast, Native Americans have suffered stark socio economic disparities in comparison to their neighboring communities. This paper employs the 1990, 2000, and 2010 United States Decennial Census to assess whether and to what extent the casino economy helped to close this socioeconomic gap between the Mohegan tribe and its surrounding community. These three Decennial Censuses cover two decades, from six years prior to the erection of Mohegan Sun casino to 14 years afterwards, including the Great Recession 2007-2009. Income, employment, education and housing parameters are selected as socio economic indicators. The profitable advent of the Mohegan Sun in 1996 dramatically improved the socio economic status of the Mohegan Tribe between 1990 and 2000. In fact, for most of these indicators––poverty, median household income, employment, home ownership, and car ownership––disparities shifted; tribal socioeconomic parameters improved from well below the level of New London County in 1990, to the same level or above the county rates in 2000. However, economic downturn in 2007-2009 Great Recession impacted Mohegan people remarkably. By 2010, disparities for household income, employment, home ownership, and car ownership returned. The casino bridged socio economic inequalities, but at the face of economic crises, the mono-product economy grew vulnerable.

Robust Numerical Scheme for Pricing American Options under Jump Diffusion Models

The goal of option pricing theory is to help the investors to manage their money, enhance returns and control their financial future by theoretically valuing their options. However, most of the option pricing models have no analytical solution. Furthermore, not all the numerical methods are efficient to solve these models because they have nonsmoothing payoffs or discontinuous derivatives at the exercise price. In this paper, we solve the American option under jump diffusion models by using efficient time-dependent numerical methods. several techniques are integrated to reduced the overcome the computational complexity. Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) algorithm is used as a matrix-vector multiplication solver, which reduces the complexity from O(M2) into O(M logM). Partial fraction decomposition technique is applied to rational approximation schemes to overcome the complexity of inverting polynomial of matrices. The proposed method is easy to implement on serial or parallel versions. Numerical results are presented to prove the accuracy and efficiency of the proposed method.

Pricing European Options under Jump Diffusion Models with Fast L-stable Padé Scheme

The goal of option pricing theory is to help the investors to manage their money, enhance returns and control their financial future by theoretically valuing their options. Modeling option pricing by Black-School models with jumps guarantees to consider the market movement. However, only numerical methods can solve this model. Furthermore, not all the numerical methods are efficient to solve these models because they have nonsmoothing payoffs or discontinuous derivatives at the exercise price. In this paper, the exponential time differencing (ETD) method is applied for solving partial integrodifferential equations arising in pricing European options under Merton’s and Kou’s jump-diffusion models. Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) algorithm is used as a matrix-vector multiplication solver, which reduces the complexity from O(M2) into O(M logM). A partial fraction form of Pad`e schemes is used to overcome the complexity of inverting polynomial of matrices. These two tools guarantee to get efficient and accurate numerical solutions. We construct a parallel and easy to implement a version of the numerical scheme. Numerical experiments are given to show how fast and accurate is our scheme.

Private Monetary Rates of Return to Humanities and Education Programs in Public Universities in Osun State, Nigeria

This study estimates the private cost of Humanities and Education programs in public universities in Osun state, Nigeria, as well as the private monetary returns to Humanities and Education programs in public universities in the state. It also estimates the private rates of return to Humanities and Education programmes in public universities in Osun state; with the view of providing information on the relative profitability of investments in Humanities and Education programs in public universities in Osun state. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design. The population for the study consisted of all Humanities and Education students from public universities in Osun State and all Humanities and Education graduates who are workers in Osun state establishments. The sample was made up of 600 students and 120 workers. The students were selected through simple random sampling technique from the two public universities in the state while the workers were purposively selected from Osun state establishments. These workers were graduates of Humanities and Education programs. The selected programs included Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English, Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) in English, B.A. in Religious Studies, B.Ed. in Religious Studies, B.A. in Yoruba and B.Ed. in Yoruba. Two research instruments were used, namely: Private Costs of University Education Questionnaire (PCUEQ) and Age Education Earnings of Workers Questionnaire (AEEWQ). The data were analyzed using compounding and discount cash flow techniques. The results showed that the private costs of Humanities and Education programs in public universities in Osun state were N855,935.59 and N694,269.34 respectively. The private monetary returns to Humanities and Education programs in public universities in the State were N9,052,859.28 and N9,052,859.28, respectively. The private rates of return to Humanities and Education programmes in public universities in Osun state were 27.36% and 34.40% respectively. The study concluded that it was more profitable to invest in Education programs than in Humanities programs at public universities in Osun state, Nigeria.

Ozone Therapy and Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields Interplay in Controlling Tumor Growth, Symptom and Pain Management: A Case Report

Background: The immune system has evolved several mechanisms to protect the host against cancer, and it has now been suggested that the expansion of its functions may prevent tumor growth and control the symptoms of cancer patients. Two techniques, ozone therapy and pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF), are independently associated with an increase in the immune system functions and they maybe help palliative care of patients in these conditions. Case Report: A patient with rectal adenocarcinoma with metastases decides to interrupt the clinical chemotherapy protocol due to refractoriness and side effects. As a palliative care alternative treatment it is suggested to the patient the use of ozone therapy associated with PEMF techniques. Results: The patient reports an improvement in well-being, in autonomy and in pain control. Imaging tests confirm a pause in tumor growth despite more than 60 days without using classic treatment. These results associated with palliative care alternative treatment stimulate the return to the chemotherapy protocol. Discussion: This case illustrates that these two techniques can contribute to the control of tumor growth and refractory symptoms, such as pain, probably by enhancing the immune system. Conclusions: The potential use of the combination of these two therapies, ozone therapy and PEMF therapy, can contribute to palliation of cancer patients, alone or in combination with pharmacological therapies. The conduct of future investigations on this paradigm can elucidate how much these techniques contribute to the survival and well-being of these patients.

Biomechanical Prediction of Veins and Soft Tissues beneath Compression Stockings Using Fluid-Solid Interaction Model

Elastic compression stockings (ECSs) have been widely applied in prophylaxis and treatment of chronic venous insufficiency of lower extremities. The medical function of ECS is to improve venous return and increase muscular pumping action to facilitate blood circulation, which is largely determined by the complex interaction between the ECS and lower limb tissues. Understanding the mechanical transmission of ECS along the skin surface, deeper tissues, and vascular system is essential to assess the effectiveness of the ECSs. In this study, a three-dimensional (3D) finite element (FE) model of the leg-ECS system integrated with a 3D fluid-solid interaction (FSI) model of the leg-vein system was constructed to analyze the biomechanical properties of veins and soft tissues under different ECS compression. The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the human leg was divided into three regions, including soft tissues, bones (tibia and fibula) and veins (peroneal vein, great saphenous vein, and small saphenous vein). The ECSs with pressure ranges from 15 to 26 mmHg (Classes I and II) were adopted in the developed FE-FSI model. The soft tissue was assumed as a Neo-Hookean hyperelastic model with the fixed bones, and the ECSs were regarded as an orthotropic elastic shell. The interfacial pressure and stress transmission were simulated by the FE model, and venous hemodynamics properties were simulated by the FSI model. The experimental validation indicated that the simulated interfacial pressure distributions were in accordance with the pressure measurement results. The developed model can be used to predict interfacial pressure, stress transmission, and venous hemodynamics exerted by ECSs and optimize the structure and materials properties of ECSs design, thus improving the efficiency of compression therapy.

Optical Signal-To-Noise Ratio Monitoring Based on Delay Tap Sampling Using Artificial Neural Network

With the development of optical communication, optical performance monitoring (OPM) has received more and more attentions. Since optical signal-to-noise ratio (OSNR) is directly related to bit error rate (BER), it is one of the important parameters in optical networks. Recently, artificial neural network (ANN) has been greatly developed. ANN has strong learning and generalization ability. In this paper, a method of OSNR monitoring based on delay-tap sampling (DTS) and ANN has been proposed. DTS technique is used to extract the eigenvalues of the signal. Then, the eigenvalues are input into the ANN to realize the OSNR monitoring. The experiments of 10 Gb/s non-return-to-zero (NRZ) on–off keying (OOK), 20 Gb/s pulse amplitude modulation (PAM4) and 20 Gb/s return-to-zero (RZ) differential phase-shift keying (DPSK) systems are demonstrated for the OSNR monitoring based on the proposed method. The experimental results show that the range of OSNR monitoring is from 15 to 30 dB and the root-mean-square errors (RMSEs) for 10 Gb/s NRZ-OOK, 20 Gb/s PAM4 and 20 Gb/s RZ-DPSK systems are 0.36 dB, 0.45 dB and 0.48 dB respectively. The impact of chromatic dispersion (CD) on the accuracy of OSNR monitoring is also investigated in the three experimental systems mentioned above.

Public Economic Efficiency and Case-Based Reasoning: A Theoretical Framework to Police Performance

At present, public efficiency is a concept that intends to maximize return on public investment focus on minimizing the use of resources and maximizing the outputs. The concept takes into account statistical criteria drawn up according to techniques such as DEA (Data Envelopment Analysis). The purpose of the current work is to consider, more precisely, the theoretical application of CBR (Case-Based Reasoning) from economics and computer science, as a preliminary step to improving the efficiency of law enforcement agencies (public sector). With the aim of increasing the efficiency of the public sector, we have entered into a phase whose main objective is the implementation of new technologies. Our main conclusion is that the application of computer techniques, such as CBR, has become key to the efficiency of the public sector, which continues to require economic valuation based on methodologies such as DEA. As a theoretical result and conclusion, the incorporation of CBR systems will reduce the number of inputs and increase, theoretically, the number of outputs generated based on previous computer knowledge.

Design and Parametric Analysis of Pentaband Meander Line Antenna for Mobile Handset Applications

Wireless communication technology is rapidly changing with recent developments in portable devices and communication protocols. This has generated demand for more advanced and compact antenna structures and therefore, proposed work focuses on Meander Line Antenna (MLA) design. Here, Pentaband MLA is designed on a FR4 substrate (85 mm x 40 mm) with dielectric constant (ϵr) 4.4, loss tangent (tan ) 0.018 and height 1.6 mm with coplanar feed and open stub structure. It can be operated in LTE (0.670 GHz-0.696 GHz) GPS (1.564 GHz-1.579 GHz), WCDMA (1.920 GHz-2.135 GHz), LTE UL frequency band 23 (2-2.020 GHz) and 5G (3.10 GHz-3.550 GHz) application bands. Also, it gives good performance in terms of Return Loss (RL) which is < -10 dB, impedance bandwidth with maximum Bandwidth (BW) up to 0.21 GHz and realized gains with maximum gain up to 3.28 dBi. Antenna is simulated with open stub and without open stub structures to see the effect on impedance BW coverage. In addition to this, it is checked with human hand and head phantoms to assure that it falls within specified Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) limits.

Women's Employment Issues in Georgia and Solutions Based on European Experience

Women's Employment is one of the most important issues in the global economy. The article discusses the stated topic in Georgia, through historical content, Soviet experience, and modern perspectives. The paper discusses segmentation insa terms of employment and related problems. Based on statistical analysis, women's unemployment rate and its factors are analyzed. The level of employment of women in Transcaucasia (Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan) is discussed and is compared with Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia). The study analyzes women’s level of development, according to the average age of marriage and migration level. The focus is on Georgia's Association Agreement with the EU in 2014, which includes economic, social, trade and political issues. One part of it is gender equality at workplaces. According to the research, the average monthly remuneration of women managers in the financial and insurance sector equaled to 1044.6 Georgian Lari, while in overall business sector average monthly remuneration equaled to 961.1 GEL. Average salaries are increasing; however, the employment rate remains problematic. For example, in 2017, 74.6% of men and 50.8% of women were employed from a total workforce. It is also interesting that the proportion of men and women at managerial positions is 29% (women) to 71% (men). Based on the results, the main recommendation for government and civil society is to consider women as a part of the country’s economic development. In this aspect, the experience of developed countries should be considered. It is important to create additional jobs in urban or rural areas and help migrant women return and use their working resources properly.

Efficiency Analyses of Higher Education in Taiwan: Implications to Higher Education Crisis

This study applies nonparametric DEA to analyze Taiwan’s 46 comprehensive and 73 technical universities from 2012 to 2017. The inter-category comparison of efficient universities percentage reveals that, on the whole, private universities outperform public universities in the same category. In addition, comprehensive universities outperform technical universities. However, the trend analyses confirm that facing the challenge of the higher education crisis, performance improvement is much more urgent for PriCU, PubTECH and PriTECH than for PubCU, especially for PriTECH. The crisis in higher education has hit private universities harder than public ones, and technical universities harder than comprehensive ones, and is worsening fast. Moreover, for PubCU, PubTECH, and PriTECH to better their overall operational efficiency, facilitating management efficiency or innovating teaching and research are equally crucial with optimizing operational scale. Conversely, for PriCU, they should, first of all, put more emphasis on scale efficiency improvement to boom their efficiencies. In terms of scale efficiency, it is required to together consider pure technical efficiency and scale return, and thus seems no merger combinations can better their efficiencies and simultaneously solve their urgent crisis. That thus suggests PriCU, PubTECH, and PriTECH should take other ways, such as to raise income from outputs other than tuition fees, rather than a merger, to reduce the shock as could as possible and thus improve their scale efficiency. Finally, the robustness test suggests consolidated estimation is a more objective and fair evaluation of university efficiency.

The Delaying Influence of Degradation on the Divestment of Gas Turbines for Associated Gas Utilisation: Part 1

An important feature of the exploitation of associated gas as fuel for gas turbine engines is a declining supply. So when exploiting this resource, the divestment of prime movers is very important as the fuel supply diminishes with time. This paper explores the influence of engine degradation on the timing of divestments. Hypothetical but realistic gas turbine engines were modelled with Turbomatch, the Cranfield University gas turbine performance simulation tool. The results were deployed in three degradation scenarios within the TERA (Techno-economic and environmental risk analysis) framework to develop economic models. An optimisation with Genetic Algorithms was carried out to maximize the economic benefit. The results show that degradation will have a significant impact. It will delay the divestment of power plants, while they are running less efficiently. Over a 20 year investment, a decrease of $0.11bn, $0.26bn and $0.45bn (billion US dollars) were observed for the three degradation scenarios as against the clean case.