Accelerated Ageing of Unidirectional Flax Fibers Reinforced Recycled Polypropylene Composites

Over the last decades, worldwide environmental awareness has grown due to the depletion of raw material resources and global warming. This awareness has prompted the development of new products more environmentally friendly. Among these products are biocomposite materials reinforced with natural fibers. The main challenge in developing the use of biocomposites in exterior applications is the lack of knowledge about their durability and the evolution of their mechanical and physicochemical properties in the long term. The aim of this work is to study the photooxidation of unidirectional (UD) composites based on recycled matrix. For this purpose, UD flax fiber composites based on recycled polypropylene were prepared by thermocompression. An accelerated aging test was carried out using a xenon arc WeatherOmeter. The consequences of UV exposure on the chemical composition and morphology of the surface of composites as well as on their tensile mechanical properties have been reported. The results showed that accelerated aging had a significant effect on the surface of these composites while it had little impact on their mechanical properties.

Unattended Crowdsensing Method to Monitor the Quality Condition of Dirt Roads

In developing countries, most roads in rural areas are dirt road. They require frequent maintenance since they are affected by erosive events, such as rain or wind, and the transit of heavy-weight trucks and machinery. Early detection of damages on the road condition is a key aspect, since it allows to reduce the maintenance time and cost, and also the limitations for other vehicles to travel through. Most proposals that help address this problem require the explicit participation of drivers, a permanent internet connection, or important instrumentation in vehicles or roads. These constraints limit the suitability of these proposals when applied into developing regions, like Latin America. This paper proposes an alternative method, based on unattended crowdsensing, to determine the quality of dirt roads in rural areas. This method involves the use of a mobile application that complements the road condition surveys carried out by organizations in charge of the road network maintenance, giving them early warnings about road areas that could be requiring maintenance. Drivers can also take advantage of the early warnings while they move through these roads. The method was evaluated using information from a public dataset. Although they are preliminary, the results indicate the proposal is potentially suitable to provide awareness about dirt roads condition to drivers, transportation authority and road maintenance companies.

Abating the Barriers to the Deployment of Radio Frequency Identification for Construction Project Delivery in South Africa

The use of technological innovations has been touted to be beneficial in the delivery of construction projects. Particularly, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is widely regarded to be of immense advantage for the management of construction projects. This study focused on evaluating the barriers to the use of RFID technology for the delivery of construction projects. Using Gauteng Province in South Africa as the study area, questionnaire was used in eliciting responses from construction professionals which made up the population of the study. Retrieved data were analyzed using Mean Item Score and One-Sample t-test. Findings from the study showed that the most significant barriers to the deployment of RFID for construction project delivery are high cost and lack of awareness. Conclusively, the study made recommendations that would aid in the abatement of the barriers to the use of RFID technology for construction project delivery.

Domestic Violence against Children and Trafficking in Human Beings: Two Worrying Phenomena in Kosovo

Domestic violence, trafficking with human beings especially violence against children, is a worldwide problem. Hence, it remains one of the most widespread forms of violence in Kosovo and which often continues to be described as a "closed door issue". Recognition, acceptance and prioritization of cases of domestic violence definitely require a much greater awareness of individuals in institutions for the risks, consequences and costs that the lack of such a well-coordinated response brings to the country. Considering that children are the future and the wealth of the country, violence and neglect against them should be treated as carefully as possible. The purpose of this paper is to identify steps towards prevention of the domestic violence and trafficking with human beings, so that the reflection of the consequences and the psychological flow do not reflect to a large extent in society. In this study is described: How is the phenomenon of domestic violence related to trafficking in human beings? The methods used are: historical, comparative, qualitative. Data derived from the relevant institutions were presented, i.e., by the actors who are the first reactors as well as the policy makers. Although these phenomena are present in all countries of the world, Kosovo is no exception and therefore comparisons of the development of child abuse have been made with other countries in the region as well. Since Kosovo is a country in transition, a country with a relatively high level of education, low economic development, high unemployment, political instability, dysfunctional legal infrastructure, it can be concluded that the potential for the development of negative phenomena is present and inevitable. Thus, during the research, the stages of development of these phenomena are analyzed, determining the causes and consequences which come from abuse, neglect of children and the impact on trafficking in human beings. The Kosovar family (parental responsibility), culture and religion, social services, the dignity of the abused child, etc. were analyzed. The review was also done on the legislation, educational institutions (curricula), governmental and non-governmental institutions their responsibilities and cooperation towards combating child abuse and trafficking. It is worth noting that during the work on paper, recommendations and conclusions have been drawn where it is concluded that we need an environment with educational reforms, stability in the political environment, economic development, a review of social policies, greater awareness of society, more adequate information through media, so that information and awareness could penetrate even in the most remote places of Kosovo society.

Production and Application of Organic Waste Compost for Urban Agriculture in Emerging Cities

Composting is one of the conventional techniques adopted for organic waste management but the practice is very limited in emerging cities despite that most of the waste generated is organic. This paper aims to examine the viability of composting for organic waste management in the emerging city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by addressing the composting practice, quality of compost and application of compost in urban agriculture. The study collects data using compost laboratory testing and urban farm households’ survey and uses descriptive analysis on the state of compost production and application, physicochemical analysis of the compost samples, and regression analysis on the urban farmer’s willingness to pay for compost. The findings of the study indicated that there is composting practice at a small scale, most of the producers use unsorted feedstock materials, aerobic composting is dominantly used and the maturation period ranged from four to 10 weeks. The carbon content of the compost ranges from 30.8 to 277.1 due to the type of feedstock applied and this surpasses the ideal proportions for C:N ratio. The total nitrogen, pH, organic matter and moisture content are relatively optimal. The levels of heavy metals measured for Mn, Cu, Pb, Cd and Cr6+ in the compost samples are also insignificant. In the urban agriculture sector, chemical fertilizer is the dominant type of soil input in crop productions but vegetable producers use a combination of both fertilizer and other organic inputs including compost. The willingness to pay for compost depends on income, household size, gender, type of soil inputs, monitoring soil fertility, the main product of the farm, farming method and farm ownership. Finally, this study recommends the need for collaboration among stakeholders along the value chain of waste, awareness creation on the benefits of composting and addressing challenges faced by both compost producers and users.

Circular Economy: Relationship of the Natural Water Collection System, Afforestation and Country Park towards Environmental Sustainability

The government and community have raised their awareness of the benefits of water reuse. Deforestation has a significant effect to climate change as it causes the drying out of the tropical rainforest and hence increases the chance of natural threaten the storage and supply of clean water. This paper focuses on discussion of the relationship of the natural water collection system, afforestation and country parks towards environmental sustainability and circular economy, with a case study of water conservation policy and strategy in Hong Kong and Singapore for further research.

The Significance of Awareness about Gender Diversity for the Future of Work: A Multi-Method Study of Organizational Structures and Policies Considering Trans and Gender Diversity

The future of work becomes less predictable which requires increasing adaptability of organizations to social and work changes. Society is transforming regarding gender identity in the sense that more people come forward to identify as trans and gender diverse (TGD). Organizations are ill-equipped to provide a safe and encouraging work environment by lacking inclusive organizational structures. The qualitative multi-method research about TGD inclusivity in the workplace explores the enablers and barriers for TGD individuals to satisfactorily engage in the work environment and organizational culture. Furthermore, these TGD insights are analyzed based on organizational implications and awareness from a leadership and management perspective. The semi-structured online interviews with TGD individuals and the photo-elicit open-ended questionnaire addressed to leadership and management in diversity, career development, and human resources have been analyzed with a critical grounded theory approach. Findings demonstrated the significance of TGD voices, the support of leadership and management, as well as the synergy between voices and leadership. Hence, it indicates practical implications such as the revision of exclusive language used in policies, data collection, or communication and reconsideration of organizational decision-making by leaders to include TGD voices.

The Role of People and Data in Complex Spatial-Related Long-Term Decisions: A Case Study of Capital Project Management Groups

Significant long-term investment projects can involve complex decisions. These are often described as capital projects and the factors that contribute to their complexity include budgets, motivating reasons for investment, stakeholder involvement, interdependent projects, and the delivery phases required. The complexity of these projects often requires management groups to be established involving stakeholder representatives, these teams are inherently multidisciplinary. This study uses two university campus capital projects as case studies for this type of management group. Due to the interaction of projects with wider campus infrastructure and users, decisions are made at varying spatial granularity throughout the project lifespan. This spatial-related context brings complexity to the group decisions. Sensemaking is the process used to achieve group situational awareness of a complex situation, enabling the team to arrive at a consensus and make a decision. The purpose of this study is to understand the role of people and data in complex spatial related long-term decision and sensemaking processes. The paper aims to identify and present issues experienced in practical settings of these types of decision. A series of exploratory semi-structured interviews with members of the two projects elicit an understanding of their operation. From two stages of thematic analysis, inductive and deductive, emergent themes are identified around the group structure, the data usage, and the decision making within these groups. When data were made available to the group, there were commonly issues with perception of veracity and validity of the data presented; this impacted the ability of the group to reach consensus and therefore for decision to be made. Similarly, there were different responses to forecasted or modelled data, shaped by the experience and occupation of the individuals within the multidisciplinary management group. This paper provides an understanding of further support required for team sensemaking and decision making in complex capital projects. The paper also discusses the barriers found to effective decision making in this setting and suggests opportunities to develop decision support systems in this team strategic decision-making process. Recommendations are made for further research into the sensemaking and decision-making process of this complex spatial-related setting.

Willingness and Attitude Towards Organ Donation of Nurses in Taiwan

Taking the medical staff in an emergency ward of a medical center in Central Taiwan as the research object, the questionnaire data were collected by anonymous and voluntary reporting methods with structured questionnaires to explore organ donation’s actual situation, willingness, and attitude. Only 80 valid questionnaires were gathered. Of the 8 questions, the correct mean rate was 5.9 and the correct rate was 73.13%. According to the statistics of organ donation survey, only 8.7% have signed the consent for organ donation, 21.3% are willing but have not yet signed the consent for organ donation, 62.5% have not yet decided, and 7.5% are unwilling. The average total score (standard deviation) of attitude towards organ donation was 36.2. There is no significant difference between the demographic variables and the awareness and willingness of organ donation, but there is a significant correlation between marital status and the attitude toward organ donation.

Save Lives: The Application of Geolocation-Awareness Service in Iranian Pre-Hospital EMS Information Management System

For emergency and relief service providers such as pre-hospital emergencies, quick arrival at the scene of an accident or any EMS mission is one of the most important requirements of effective service delivery. EMS Response time (the interval between the time of the call and the time of arrival on scene) is a critical factor in determining the quality of pre-hospital Emergency Medical Services (EMS). This is especially important for heart attack, stroke, or accident patients that seconds are vital in saving their lives. Location-based e-services can be broadly defined as any service that provides information pertinent to the current location of an active mobile handset or precise address of landline phone call at a specific time window, regardless of the underlying delivery technology used to convey the information. According to research, one of the effective methods of meeting this goal is determining the location of the caller via the cooperation of landline and mobile phone operators in the country. The follow-up of the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) organization has resulted in the receipt of two separate secured electronic web services. Thus, to ensure human privacy, a secure technical architecture was required for launching the services in the pre-hospital EMS information management system. In addition, to quicken medics’ arrival at the patient's bedside, rescue vehicles should make use of an intelligent transportation system to estimate road traffic using a GPS-based mobile navigation system independent of the Internet. This paper seeks to illustrate the architecture of the practical national model used by the Iranian EMS organization.

Proposals for the Thermal Regulation of Buildings in Algeria: An Energy Label for Social Housing

Despite the international commitment of Algeria towards the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy in the country, the internal energy demand has been continuously growing during the last decade due to the substantial increase of population and of living conditions, which in turn has led to an unprecedented expansion of the residential building sector. The RTB (Thermal Building Regulation) is the technical document that establishes the calculation framework for the thermal performance of buildings in Algeria, setting up minimum obligatory targets for the thermal performance of new buildings. An update of this regulation is due in the coming years and this paper discusses some proposals in this regard, with the aim to improve the energy efficiency of the building sector, particularly with regard to social housing. In particular, it proposes a methodology for drafting an energy performance label of new Algerian residential buildings, moving from the results of the thermal compliance verification and sizing of technical systems as defined in the RTB. Such an energy performance label – whose calculation method is briefly described in the paper – aims to raise citizens' awareness of the benefits of energy efficiency. It can represent the first step in a process of integrating technical installations into the calculation of the energy performance of buildings in Algeria.

Energy Policy in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges

Energy is the major force that drives any country`s socio-economic development. Without electricity, the country could be at risk of losing many potential investors. As such, good policy implementation could play a significant role in harnessing all the available energy resources. Nigeria has the prospects of meeting its energy demand and supply if there are good policies and proper implementation of them. The current energy supply needs to improve in order to meet the present and future demand. Sustainable energy development is the way forward. Renewable energy plays a significant role in socio-economic development of any country. Nigeria is a country blessed with abundant natural resources such as, solar radiation for solar power, water for hydropower, wind for wind power, and biomass from both plants and animal’s waste. Both conventional energy (fossil fuel) and unconventional energy (renewable) could be harmonized like in the case of energy mix or biofuels. Biofuels like biodiesel could be produced from biomass and combined with petro-diesel in different ratios. All these can be achieved if good policy is in place. The challenges could be well overcome with good policy, masses awareness, technological knowledge and other incentives that can attract investors in Nigerian energy sector.

Comparative Study of Affricate Initial Consonants in Chinese and Slovak

The purpose of the comparative study of the affricate consonants in Chinese and Slovak is to increase the awareness of the main distinguishing features between these two languages taking into consideration this particular group of consonants. We determine the main difficulties of the Slovak learners in the process of acquiring correct pronunciation of affricate initial consonants in Chinese based on the understanding of the distinguishing features of Chinese and Slovak affricates in combination with the experimental measuring of voice onset time (VOT) values. The software tool Praat is used for the analysis of the recorded language samples. The language samples contain recordings of a Chinese native speaker and Slovak students of Chinese with different language proficiency levels. Based on the results of the analysis in Praat, we identify erroneous pronunciation and provide clarification of its cause.

An Overview of Technology Availability to Support Remote Decentralized Clinical Trials

Developing new medicine and health solutions and improving patient health currently rely on the successful execution of clinical trials, which generate relevant safety and efficacy data. For their success, recruitment and retention of participants are some of the most challenging aspects of protocol adherence. Main barriers include: i) lack of awareness of clinical trials; ii) long distance from the clinical site; iii) the burden on participants, including the duration and number of clinical visits, and iv) high dropout rate. Most of these aspects could be addressed with a new paradigm, namely the Remote Decentralized Clinical Trials (RDCTs). Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted additional advantages and challenges for RDCTs in practice, allowing participants to join trials from home and not depending on site visits, etc. Nevertheless, RDCTs should follow the process and the quality assurance of conventional clinical trials, which involve several processes. For each part of the trial, the Building Blocks, existing software and technologies were assessed through a systematic search. The technology needed to perform RDCTs is widely available and validated but is yet segmented and developed in silos, as different software solutions address different parts of the trial and at various levels. The current paper is analyzing the availability of technology to perform RDCTs, identifying gaps and providing an overview of Basic Building Blocks and functionalities that need to be covered to support the described processes.

User’s Susceptibility Factors to Malware Attacks: A Systemic Literature Review

Users’ susceptibility to malware attacks have been noticed in the past few years. Investigating the factors that make a user vulnerable to those attacks is critical because they can be utilized to set up proactive strategies such as awareness and education to mitigate the impacts of those attacks. Demographic, behavioral, and cultural vulnerabilities are the main factors that make users susceptible to malware attacks. It is challenging, however, to draw more general conclusions based on those factors due to the varieties in the type of users and different types of malware. Therefore, we conducted a systematic literature review (SLR) of the existing research for user susceptibility factors to malware attacks. The results showed that all demographic factors are consistently associated with malware infection regardless of the users' type except for age and gender. Besides, the association of culture and personality factors with malware infection is consistent in most of the selected studies and for all types of users. Moreover, malware infection varies based on age, geographic location, and host types. We propose that future studies should carefully take into consideration the type of users because different users may be exposed to different threats or targeted based on their user domains’ characteristics. Additionally, as different types of malware use different tactics to trick users, taking the malware types into consideration is important.

Integrating Wearable Devices in Real-Time Computer Applications of Petrochemical Systems

As notifications become more common through mobile devices, it is important to understand the impact of wearable devices for improved user experience of man-machine interfaces. This study examined the use of a wearable device for a real-time system using a computer simulated petrochemical system. The key research question was to determine how using information provided by the wearable device can improve human performance through measures of situational awareness and decision making. Results indicate that there was a reduction in response time when using the watch and there was no difference in situational awareness. Perception of using the watch was positive, with 83% of users finding value in using the watch and receiving haptic feedback.

Careers-Outreach Programmes for Children: Lessons for Perceptions of Engineering and Manufacturing

The training and education of under- and post-graduate students can be promoted by more active learning especially in engineering, overcoming more passive and vicarious experiences and approaches in their documented effectiveness. However, the possibility of outreach to young pupils and school-children in primary and secondary schools is a lesser explored area in terms of Education and Public Engagement (EPE) efforts – as relates to feedback and influence on shaping 3rd-level engineering training and education. Therefore, the outreach and school-visit agenda constitutes an interesting avenue to observe how active learning, careers stimulus and EPE efforts for young children and teenagers can teach the university sector, to improve future engineering-teaching standards and enhance both quality and capabilities of practice. This intervention involved careers-outreach efforts to lead to statistical determinations of motivations towards engineering, manufacturing and training. The aim was to gauge to what extent this intervention would lead to an increased careers awareness in engineering, using the method of the schools-visits programme as the means for so doing. It was found that this led to an increase in engagement by school pupils with engineering as a career option and a greater awareness of the importance of manufacturing. 

Translation, Cultural Adaptation and Validation of the Hungarian Version of Self-Determination Scale

There is a scarcity of validated instruments in Hungarian for the assessment of self-determination related traits and behaviors. In order to fill in this gap, the aim of this study was the translation, cultural adaptation and validation of Self-Determination Scale (SDS) for the Hungarian population. A total of 4335 adults participated in the study. The mean age of the participants was 27.97 (SD = 9.60). The sample consisted mostly of females, less than 20% were males. Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor Analysis was performed for factorial structure checking and validation Cronbach’s alpha was used to examine the reliability of the factors. Our results revealed that the Hungarian version of SDS has good psychometric properties and it is a reliable tool for psychologists who would like to study or assess self-determination traits in their clients. The adapted and validated Hungarian version of SDS is presented in this paper.

Parameters Influencing Human-Machine Interaction in Hospitals

Handling life-critical systems complexity requires to be equipped with appropriate technology and the right human agents’ functions such as knowledge, experience, and competence in problem’s prevention and solving. Human agents are involved in the management and control of human-machine system’s performance. Documenting human agent’s situation awareness is crucial to support human-machine designers’ decision-making. Knowledge about risks, critical parameters and factors that can impact and threaten automation system’s performance should be collected using preventive and retrospective approaches. This paper aims to document operators’ situation awareness through the analysis of automated organizations’ feedback. The analysis of automated hospital pharmacies feedback helps identify and control critical parameters influencing human machine interaction in order to enhance system’s performance and security. Our human machine system evaluation approach has been deployed in Macon hospital center’s pharmacy which is equipped with automated drug dispensing systems since 2015. Automation’s specifications are related to technical aspects, human-machine interaction, and human aspects. The evaluation of drug delivery automation performance in Macon hospital center has shown that the performance of the automated activity depends on the performance of the automated solution chosen, and also on the control of systemic factors. In fact, 80.95% of automation specification related to the chosen Sinteco’s automated solution is met. The performance of the chosen automated solution is involved in 28.38% of automation specifications performance in Macon hospital center. The remaining systemic parameters involved in automation specifications performance need to be controlled. 

Recycling Behavior in a Multicultural Urban Area in Sweden

Alabastern, a multicultural rental housing area in the Växjö city of Sweden, was identified as poor at recycling household waste compared to other housing areas in the town. In this paper, a qualitative and quantitative analysis is conducted to understand the underlying causes of waste recycling behavior of the tenants. Results showed that majority of the studied participants perceived themselves to be environmentally friendly. They reported that they recycled household waste quite often, but it was the other tenants who did not sort their waste properly. The respondents identified the causes of the improper waste recycling as lack of attitude and awareness, limitation of communication, sense of insecurity, lack of means to transport bulky waste, limitation of the recycling room, and inadequate action by the housing company Växjöbostäder.