Cutting Propagation Studies in Pennisetum divisum and Tamarix aucheriana as Native Plant Species of Kuwait

Native plants are better adapted to the local environment providing a more natural effect on landscape projects; their use will both conserve natural resources and produce sustainable greenery. Continuation of evaluation of additional native plants is essential to increase diversity of plant resources for greenery projects. Therefore, in this project an effort was made to study the mass multiplication of further native plants for greenery applications. Standardization of vegetative propagation methods is essential for conservation and sustainable utilization of native plants in restoration projects. Moreover, these simple propagation methods can be readily adapted by the local nursery sector in Kuwait. In the present study, various treatments were used to mass multiply selected plants using vegetative parts to secure maximum rooting and initial growth. Soft or semi-hardwood cuttings of selected native plants were collected from mother plants and subjected to different treatments. Pennisetum divisum can be vegetatively propagated by cuttings/off-shoots. However, Tamarix aucheriana showed maximum number of rooted cuttings and stronger vigor seedlings with the lowest growth hormone concentration. Standardizing the propagation techniques for the native plant species will add to the rehabilitation and landscape revegetation projects in Kuwait.

Effects of Repetitive Strain/Stress Injury on the Human Body

This review describes some of the effects of repetitive strain/stress injury (RSI) on the human body especially among computer professionals today that spend extended hours of prolonged sitting in front of a computer day in and day out. The review briefly introduces the main factors that contribute to an increase of RSI among such computer professionals. The review briefly discusses how the human spinal column and knees are mainly affected by the onset of RSI resulting in poor posture. The root and secondary causes and effects of RSI are reviewed. The importance and value of the various breathing techniques are reviewed in an attempt to alleviate some of the effects of RSI. The review concludes with a small sample of suggested office stretches and poses geared towards at reducing RSI follows in this review. Readers will learn about the effects of RSI, as well as ways to cope with it. A better understanding of coping strategies may lead to well-being and a healthier overall lifestyle. Ultimately, the investment of time to connect with oneself with the poses and the power of the breath would promote a well-being that is overall healthier thus resulting in a better ability to cope/manage life stresses.

The Quality Assessment of Seismic Reflection Survey Data Using Statistical Analysis: A Case Study of Fort Abbas Area, Cholistan Desert, Pakistan

In geophysical exploration surveys, the quality of acquired data holds significant importance before executing the data processing and interpretation phases. In this study, 2D seismic reflection survey data of Fort Abbas area, Cholistan Desert, Pakistan was taken as test case in order to assess its quality on statistical bases by using normalized root mean square error (NRMSE), Cronbach’s alpha test (α) and null hypothesis tests (t-test and F-test). The analysis challenged the quality of the acquired data and highlighted the significant errors in the acquired database. It is proven that the study area is plain, tectonically least affected and rich in oil and gas reserves. However, subsurface 3D modeling and contouring by using acquired database revealed high degrees of structural complexities and intense folding. The NRMSE had highest percentage of residuals between the estimated and predicted cases. The outcomes of hypothesis testing also proved the biasness and erraticness of the acquired database. Low estimated value of alpha (α) in Cronbach’s alpha test confirmed poor reliability of acquired database. A very low quality of acquired database needs excessive static correction or in some cases, reacquisition of data is also suggested which is most of the time not feasible on economic grounds. The outcomes of this study could be used to assess the quality of large databases and to further utilize as a guideline to establish database quality assessment models to make much more informed decisions in hydrocarbon exploration field.

The Effects of Cow Manure Treated by Fruit Beetle Larvae, Waxworms and Tiger Worms on Plant Growth in Relation to Its Use as Potting Compost

Dairy industry is flourishing in world to provide milk and milk products to local population. Besides milk products, dairy industries also generate a substantial amount of cow manure that significantly affects the environment. Moreover, heat produced during the decomposition of the cow manure adversely affects the crop germination. Different companies are producing vermicompost using different species of worms/larvae to overcome the harmful effects using fresh manure. Tiger worm treatment enhanced plant growth, especially in the compost-manure ratio (75% compost, 25% cow manure), followed by a ratio of 50% compost, 50% cow manure.  Results also indicated that plant growth in Waxworm treated manure was weak as compared to plant growth in compost treated with Fruit Beetle (FB), Waxworms (WW), and Control (C) especially in the compost (25% compost, 75% cow manure) and 100% cow manure where there was no growth at all. Freshplant weight, fresh leaf weight and fresh root weight were significantly higher in the compost treated with Tiger worms in (75% compost, 25% cow manure); no evidence was seen for any significant differences in the dry root weight measurement between FB, Tiger worms (TW), WW, Control (C) in all composts. TW produced the best product, especially at the compost ratio of 75% compost, 25% cow manure followed by 50% compost, 50% cow manure.

Assessment of Soil Contamination on the Content of Macro and Microelements and the Quality of Grass Pea Seeds (Lathyrus sativus L.)

Comparative research has been conducted to allow us to determine the content of macro and microelements in the vegetative and reproductive organs of grass pea and the quality of grass pea seeds, as well as to identify the possibility of grass pea growth on soils contaminated by heavy metals. The experiment was conducted on an agricultural field subjected to contamination from the Non-Ferrous-Metal Works (MFMW) near Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The experimental plots were situated at different distances of 0.5 km and 8 km, respectively, from the source of pollution. On reaching commercial ripeness the grass pea plants were gathered. The composition of the macro and microelements in plant materials (roots, stems, leaves, seeds), and the dry matter content, sugars, proteins, fats and ash contained in the grass pea seeds were determined. Translocation factors (TF) and bioaccumulation factor (BCF) were also determined. The quantitative measurements were carried out through inductively-coupled plasma (ICP). The grass pea plant can successfully be grown on soils contaminated by heavy metals. Soil pollution with heavy metals does not affect the quality of the grass pea seeds. The seeds of the grass pea contain significant amounts of nutrients (K, P, Cu, Fe Mn, Zn) and protein (23.18-29.54%). The distribution of heavy metals in the organs of the grass pea has a selective character, which reduces in the following order: leaves > roots > stems > seeds. BCF and TF values were greater than one suggesting efficient accumulation in the above ground parts of grass pea plant. Grass pea is a plant that is tolerant to heavy metals and can be referred to the accumulator plants. The results provide valuable information about the chemical and nutritional composition of the seeds of the grass pea grown on contaminated soils in Bulgaria. The high content of macro and microelements and the low concentrations of toxic elements in the grass pea grown in contaminated soil make it possible to use the seeds of the grass pea as animal feed.

Under the ‘Fourth World’: A Discussion to the Transformation of Character-Settings in Chinese Ethnic Minority Films

Based on the key issue of the current fourth world studies, the article aims to analyze the features of character-settings in Chinese ethnic minority films. As a generalizable transformation, this feature progresses from a microcosmic representation. It argues that, as the mediation, films note down the current state of people and their surroundings, while the ‘fourth world’ theorization (or the fourth cinema) provides a new perspective to ethnic minority topics in China. Like the ‘fourth cinema’ focusing on the depiction of indigeneity groups, the ethnic minority films portrait the non-Han nationalities in China. Both types possess the motif of returning history-writing to the minority members’ own hand. In this article, the discussion entirely involves three types of cinematic role-settings in Chinese minority themed films, which illustrates that, similar to the creative principle of the fourth film, the themes and narratives of these films are becoming more individualized, with more concern to minority grassroots.

Failure Analysis of a Medium Duty Vehicle Leaf Spring

This paper summarizes the work conducted to assess the root cause of the failure of a medium commercial vehicle leaf spring failed in service. Macro- and micro-fractographic analyses by scanning electron microscope as well as material verification tests were conducted in order to understand the failure mechanisms and root cause of the failure. Findings from the fractographic analyses indicated that failure mechanism is fatigue. Crack initiation was identified to have occurred from a point on the top surface near to the front face and to the left side. Two other crack initiation points were also observed, however, these cracks did not propagate. The propagation mode of the fatigue crack revealed that the cyclic loads resulting in crack initiation and propagation were unidirectional bending. Fractographic analyses have also showed that the root cause of the fatigue crack initiation and propagation was loading the part above design stress. Material properties of the part were also verified by chemical composition analysis, microstructural analysis by optical microscopy and hardness tests.

The Governance of Islamic Banks in Morocco: Meaning, Strategic Vision and Purposes Attributed to the Governance System

Due to the setbacks on the international scene and the wave of cacophonic financial scandals affecting large international groups, the new Islamic finance industry is not immune despite its initial resistance. The purpose of this paper is to understand and analyze the meaning of the Corporate Governance (CG) concept in Moroccan Islamic banking systems with specific reference to their institutions. The research objective is to identify also the path taken and adopted by these banks recently set up in Morocco. The foundation is rooted in shari'a, in particular, no stakeholder (the shareholding approach) must be harmed, and the ethical value is reflected into these parties’ behavior. We chose a qualitative method, semi-structured interviews where six managers provided answers about their banking systems. Since these respondents held a senior position (directors) within their organizations, it is felt that they are well placed and have the necessary knowledge to provide us with information to answer the questions asked. The results identified the orientation of participating banks and assessing how governance works, while determining which party is fovoured: shareholders, stakeholders or both. This study discusses the favorable condition to the harmonization of the regulations and therefore a better integration between Islamic finance and conventional ones in the economic context of Morocco.

Modified Hybrid Genetic Algorithm-Based Artificial Neural Network Application on Wall Shear Stress Prediction

Prediction of wall shear stress in a rectangular channel, with non-homogeneous roughness distribution, was studied. Estimation of shear stress is an important subject in hydraulic engineering, since it affects the flow structure directly. In this study, the Genetic Algorithm Artificial (GAA) neural network is introduced as a hybrid methodology of the Artificial Neural Network (ANN) and modified Genetic Algorithm (GA) combination. This GAA method was employed to predict the wall shear stress. Various input combinations and transfer functions were considered to find the most appropriate GAA model. The results show that the proposed GAA method could predict the wall shear stress of open channels with high accuracy, by Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) of 0.064 in the test dataset. Thus, using GAA provides an accurate and practical simple-to-use equation.

Relation between Roots and Tangent Lines of Function in Fractional Dimensions: A Method for Optimization Problems

In this paper, a basic schematic of fractional dimensional optimization problem is presented. As will be shown, a method is performed based on a relation between roots and tangent lines of function in fractional dimensions for an arbitrary initial point. It is shown that for each polynomial function with order N at least N tangent lines must be existed in fractional dimensions of 0 < α < N+1 which pass exactly through the all roots of the proposed function. Geometrical analysis of tangent lines in fractional dimensions is also presented to clarify more intuitively the proposed method. Results show that with an appropriate selection of fractional dimensions, we can directly find the roots. Method is presented for giving a different direction of optimization problems by the use of fractional dimensions.

Forecast of Polyethylene Properties in the Gas Phase Polymerization Aided by Neural Network

A major problem that affects the quality control of polymer in the industrial polymerization is the lack of suitable on-line measurement tools to evaluate the properties of the polymer such as melt and density indices. Controlling the polymerization in ordinary method is performed manually by taking samples, measuring the quality of polymer in the lab and registry of results. This method is highly time consuming and leads to producing large number of incompatible products. An online application for estimating melt index and density proposed in this study is a neural network based on the input-output data of the polyethylene production plant. Temperature, the level of reactors' bed, the intensity of ethylene mass flow, hydrogen and butene-1, the molar concentration of ethylene, hydrogen and butene-1 are used for the process to establish the neural model. The neural network is taught based on the actual operational data and back-propagation and Levenberg-Marquart techniques. The simulated results indicate that the neural network process model established with three layers (one hidden layer) for forecasting the density and the four layers for the melt index is able to successfully predict those quality properties.

Empirical Modeling of Air Dried Rubberwood Drying System

Rubberwood is a crucial commercial timber in Southern Thailand. All processes in a rubberwood production depend on the knowledge and expertise of the technicians, especially the drying process. This research aims to develop an empirical model for drying kinetics in rubberwood. During the experiment, the temperature of the hot air and the average air flow velocity were kept at 80-100 °C and 1.75 m/s, respectively. The moisture content in the samples was determined less than 12% in the achievement of drying basis. The drying kinetic was simulated using an empirical solver. The experimental results illustrated that the moisture content was reduced whereas the drying temperature and time were increased. The coefficient of the moisture ratio between the empirical and the experimental model was tested with three statistical parameters, R-square (R²), Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) and Chi-square (χ²) to predict the accuracy of the parameters. The experimental moisture ratio had a good fit with the empirical model. Additionally, the results indicated that the drying of rubberwood using the Henderson and Pabis model revealed the suitable level of agreement. The result presented an excellent estimation (R² = 0.9963) for the moisture movement compared to the other models. Therefore, the empirical results were valid and can be implemented in the future experiments.

A Spatial Information Network Traffic Prediction Method Based on Hybrid Model

Compared with terrestrial network, the traffic of spatial information network has both self-similarity and short correlation characteristics. By studying its traffic prediction method, the resource utilization of spatial information network can be improved, and the method can provide an important basis for traffic planning of a spatial information network. In this paper, considering the accuracy and complexity of the algorithm, the spatial information network traffic is decomposed into approximate component with long correlation and detail component with short correlation, and a time series hybrid prediction model based on wavelet decomposition is proposed to predict the spatial network traffic. Firstly, the original traffic data are decomposed to approximate components and detail components by using wavelet decomposition algorithm. According to the autocorrelation and partial correlation smearing and truncation characteristics of each component, the corresponding model (AR/MA/ARMA) of each detail component can be directly established, while the type of approximate component modeling can be established by ARIMA model after smoothing. Finally, the prediction results of the multiple models are fitted to obtain the prediction results of the original data. The method not only considers the self-similarity of a spatial information network, but also takes into account the short correlation caused by network burst information, which is verified by using the measured data of a certain back bone network released by the MAWI working group in 2018. Compared with the typical time series model, the predicted data of hybrid model is closer to the real traffic data and has a smaller relative root means square error, which is more suitable for a spatial information network.

Impact of Foliar Application of Zinc on Micro and Macro Elements Distribution in Phyllanthus amarus

The present study was carried out to investigate the interaction of foliar applied zinc with other elements in Phyllanthus amarus plants. The plant samples for our experiment were collected from Lam Dong province, Vietnam. Seven suspension solutions of nanosized zinc hydroxide nitrate (Zn5(OH)8(NO3)2·2H2O) with different Zn concentration were used. Fertilization and irrigation were the same for all variants. The Zn content and the content of selected micro (Cu, Fe, Mn) and macro (Ca, Mg, P and K) nutrients in plant roots, and stems and leaves were determined. It was concluded that the zinc content of plant roots varies narrowly, with no significant impact of ZnHN fertilization. The same trend can be seen in the content of Cu, Mn, and macronutrients. The zinc content of plant stems and leaves varies within wide limits, with the significant impact of ZnHN fertilization. The trends in the content of Cu, Mn, and macronutrients are kept the same as in the root, whereas the iron trends to increase its content at increasing the zinc content.

Monte Carlo Estimation of Heteroscedasticity and Periodicity Effects in a Panel Data Regression Model

This research attempts to investigate the effects of heteroscedasticity and periodicity in a Panel Data Regression Model (PDRM) by extending previous works on balanced panel data estimation within the context of fitting PDRM for Banks audit fee. The estimation of such model was achieved through the derivation of Joint Lagrange Multiplier (LM) test for homoscedasticity and zero-serial correlation, a conditional LM test for zero serial correlation given heteroscedasticity of varying degrees as well as conditional LM test for homoscedasticity given first order positive serial correlation via a two-way error component model. Monte Carlo simulations were carried out for 81 different variations, of which its design assumed a uniform distribution under a linear heteroscedasticity function. Each of the variation was iterated 1000 times and the assessment of the three estimators considered are based on Variance, Absolute bias (ABIAS), Mean square error (MSE) and the Root Mean Square (RMSE) of parameters estimates. Eighteen different models at different specified conditions were fitted, and the best-fitted model is that of within estimator when heteroscedasticity is severe at either zero or positive serial correlation value. LM test results showed that the tests have good size and power as all the three tests are significant at 5% for the specified linear form of heteroscedasticity function which established the facts that Banks operations are severely heteroscedastic in nature with little or no periodicity effects.

Weak Instability in Direct Integration Methods for Structural Dynamics

Three structure-dependent integration methods have been developed for solving equations of motion, which are second-order ordinary differential equations, for structural dynamics and earthquake engineering applications. Although they generally have the same numerical properties, such as explicit formulation, unconditional stability and second-order accuracy, a different performance is found in solving the free vibration response to either linear elastic or nonlinear systems with high frequency modes. The root cause of this different performance in the free vibration responses is analytically explored herein. As a result, it is verified that a weak instability is responsible for the different performance of the integration methods. In general, a weak instability will result in an inaccurate solution or even numerical instability in the free vibration responses of high frequency modes. As a result, a weak instability must be prohibited for time integration methods.

Effect of Different Media and Mannitol Concentrations on Growth and Development of Vandopsis lissochiloides (Gaudich.) Pfitz. under Slow Growth Conditions

In vitro conservation of orchid germplasm provides an effective technique for ex situ conservation of orchid diversity. In this study, an efficient protocol for in vitro conservation of Vandopsis lissochiloides (Gaudich.) Pfitz. plantlet under slow growth conditions was investigated. Plantlets were cultured on different strength of Vacin and Went medium (½VW and ¼VW) supplemented with different concentrations of mannitol (0, 2, 4, 6 and 8%), sucrose (0 and 3%) and 50 g/L potato extract, 150 mL/L coconut water. The cultures were incubated at 25±2 °C and maintained under 20 µmol/m2s light intensity for 24 weeks without subculture. At the end of preservation period, the plantlets were subcultured to fresh medium for growth recovery. The results found that the highest leaf number per plantlet could be observed on ¼VW medium without adding sucrose and mannitol while the highest root number per plantlet was found on ½VW added with 3% sucrose without adding mannitol after 24 weeks of in vitro storage. The results showed that the maximum number of leaves (5.8 leaves) and roots (5.0 roots) of preserved plantlets were produced on ¼VW medium without adding sucrose and mannitol. Therefore, ¼VW medium without adding sucrose and mannitol was the best minimum growth conditions for medium-term storage of V. lissochiloides plantlets.

A 1H NMR-Linked PCR Modelling Strategy for Tracking the Fatty Acid Sources of Aldehydic Lipid Oxidation Products in Culinary Oils Exposed to Simulated Shallow-Frying Episodes

Objectives/Hypotheses: The adverse health effect potential of dietary lipid oxidation products (LOPs) has evoked much clinical interest. Therefore, we employed a 1H NMR-linked Principal Component Regression (PCR) chemometrics modelling strategy to explore relationships between data matrices comprising (1) aldehydic LOP concentrations generated in culinary oils/fats when exposed to laboratory-simulated shallow frying practices, and (2) the prior saturated (SFA), monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) contents of such frying media (FM), together with their heating time-points at a standard frying temperature (180 oC). Methods: Corn, sunflower, extra virgin olive, rapeseed, linseed, canola, coconut and MUFA-rich algae frying oils, together with butter and lard, were heated according to laboratory-simulated shallow-frying episodes at 180 oC, and FM samples were collected at time-points of 0, 5, 10, 20, 30, 60, and 90 min. (n = 6 replicates per sample). Aldehydes were determined by 1H NMR analysis (Bruker AV 400 MHz spectrometer). The first (dependent output variable) PCR data matrix comprised aldehyde concentration scores vectors (PC1* and PC2*), whilst the second (predictor) one incorporated those from the fatty acid content/heating time variables (PC1-PC4) and their first-order interactions. Results: Structurally complex trans,trans- and cis,trans-alka-2,4-dienals, 4,5-epxy-trans-2-alkenals and 4-hydroxy-/4-hydroperoxy-trans-2-alkenals (group I aldehydes predominantly arising from PUFA peroxidation) strongly and positively loaded on PC1*, whereas n-alkanals and trans-2-alkenals (group II aldehydes derived from both MUFA and PUFA hydroperoxides) strongly and positively loaded on PC2*. PCR analysis of these scores vectors (SVs) demonstrated that PCs 1 (positively-loaded linoleoylglycerols and [linoleoylglycerol]:[SFA] content ratio), 2 (positively-loaded oleoylglycerols and negatively-loaded SFAs), 3 (positively-loaded linolenoylglycerols and [PUFA]:[SFA] content ratios), and 4 (exclusively orthogonal sampling time-points) all powerfully contributed to aldehydic PC1* SVs (p 10-3 to < 10-9), as did all PC1-3 x PC4 interaction ones (p 10-5 to < 10-9). PC2* was also markedly dependent on all the above PC SVs (PC2 > PC1 and PC3), and the interactions of PC1 and PC2 with PC4 (p < 10-9 in each case), but not the PC3 x PC4 contribution. Conclusions: NMR-linked PCR analysis is a valuable strategy for (1) modelling the generation of aldehydic LOPs in heated cooking oils and other FM, and (2) tracking their unsaturated fatty acid (UFA) triacylglycerol sources therein.

Monitoring of Belt-Drive Defects Using the Vibration Signals and Simulation Models

The main aim of this paper is to dedicate the belt drive system faults like cogs missing, misalignment and belt worm using vibration analysis technique. Experimentally, the belt drive test-rig is equipped to measure vibrations signals under different operating conditions. Finite element 3D model of belt drive system is created and vibration response analyzed using commercial finite element software ABAQUS/CAE.  Root mean square (RMS) and Crest Factor will serve as indicators of average amplitude of envelope analysis signals. The vibration signals pattern obtained from the simulation model and experimental data have the same characteristics. It can be concluded that each case of the RMS is more effective in detecting the defect for acceleration response. While Crest Factor parameter has a response with the displacement and velocity of vibration signals. Also it can be noticed that the model has difficulty in completing the solution when the misalignment angle is higher than 1 degree.

Influence of Organic Supplements on Shoot Multiplication Efficiency of Phaius tankervilleae var. alba

The influence of organic supplements on growth and multiplication efficiency of Phaius tankervilleae var. alba seedlings was investigated. 12 week-old seedlings were cultured on half-strength semi-solid Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with 30 g/L sucrose, 8 g/L agar and various concentrations of coconut water (0, 50, 100, 150 and 200 mL/L) combined with potato extract (0, 25 and 50 g/L) and the pH was adjusted to 5.8 prior to autoclaving. The cultures were then kept under constant photoperiod (16 h light: 8 h dark) at 25 ± 2 °C for 12 weeks. The highest number of shoots (3.0 shoots/explant) was obtained when cultured on the medium added with 50 ml/L coconut water and 50 g/L potato extract whereas the highest number of leaves (5.9 leaves/explant) and roots (6.1 roots/explant) could receive on the medium supplemented with 150 ml/L coconut water and 50 g/L potato extract. with 150 ml/L coconut water and 50 g/L potato extract. Additionally, plantlets of P. tankervilleae var. alba were transferred to grow into seven different substrates i.e. soil, sand, coconut husk chip, soil-sand mix (1: 1), soil-coconut husk chip mix (1: 1), sand-coconut husk chip mix (1: 1) and soil-sand-coconut husk chip mix (1: 1: 1) for four weeks. The results found that acclimatized plants showed 100% of survivals when sand, coconut husk chip and sand-coconut husk chip mix are used as substrates. The number of leaves induced by sand-coconut husk chip mix was significantly higher than that planted in other substrates (P > 0.05). Meanwhile, no significant difference in new shoot formation among these substrates was observed (P < 0.05). This precursory developing protocol was likely to be applied for more large scale of plant production as well as conservation of germplasm of this orchid species.