Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 28

Search results for: Monisha Isaac

28 Vulnerability of Indian Agriculture to Climate Change: A Study of the Himalayan Region State

Authors: Rajendra Kumar Isaac, Monisha Isaac

Abstract:

Climate variability and changes are the emerging challenges for Indian agriculture with the growing population to ensure national food security. A study was conducted to assess the Climatic Change effects in medium to low altitude areas of the Himalayan region causing changes in land use and cereal crop productivity with the various climatic parameters. The rainfall and temperature changes from 1951 to 2013 were studied at four locations of varying altitudes, namely Hardwar, Rudra Prayag, Uttar Kashi and Tehri Garwal. It was observed that there is noticeable increment in temperature on all the four locations. It was surprisingly observed that the mean rainfall intensity of 30 minutes duration has increased at the rate of 0.1 mm/hours since 2000. The study shows that the combined effect of increasing temperature, rainfall, runoff and urbanization at the mid-Himalayan region is causing an increase in various climatic disasters and changes in agriculture patterns. A noticeable change in cropping patterns, crop productivity and land use change was observed. Appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies are necessary to ensure that sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture. Appropriate information is necessary for farmers, as well as planners and decision makers for developing, disseminating and adopting climate-smart technologies.

Keywords: Climate variability, agriculture, land use, mitigation strategies.

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27 21st Century Biotechnological Research and Development Advancements for Industrial Development in India

Authors: Monisha Isaac

Abstract:

Biotechnology is a discipline which explains the use of living organisms and systems to construct a product, or we can define it as an application or technology developed to use biological systems and organisms processes for a specific use. Particularly, it includes cells and its components use for new technologies and inventions. The tools developed can be further used in diverse fields such as agriculture, industry, research and hospitals etc. The 21st century has seen a drastic development and advancement in biotechnology in India. Significant increase in Government of India’s outlays for biotechnology over the past decade has been observed. A sectoral break up of biotechnology-based companies in India shows that most of the companies are agriculture-based companies having interests ranging from tissue culture to biopesticides. Major attention has been given by the companies in health related activities and in environmental biotechnology. The biopharmaceutical, which comprises of vaccines, diagnostic, and recombinant products is the most reliable and largest segment of the Indian Biotech industry. India has developed its vaccine markets and supplies them to various countries. Then there are the bio-services, which mainly comprise of contract researches and manufacturing services. India has made noticeable developments in the field of bio industries including manufacturing of enzymes, biofuels and biopolymers. Biotechnology is also playing a crucial and significant role in the field of agriculture. Traditional methods have been replaced by new technologies that mainly focus on GM crops, marker assisted technologies and the use of biotechnological tools to improve the quality of fertilizers and soil. It may only be a small contributor but has shown to have huge potential for growth. Bioinformatics is a computational method which helps to store, manage, arrange and design tools to interpret the extensive data gathered through experimental trials, making it important in the design of drugs.

Keywords: Biotechnology, advancement, agriculture, bio-services, bio-industries, bio-pharmaceuticals.

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26 Determinants of E-Government Services Adoption from the African Students’ Perspective

Authors: Isaac Kofi Mensah, Jianing Mi, Cheng Feng

Abstract:

The patronage of e-government services (demand side of e-government) is vital to the successful implementation of e-government initiatives. The purpose of this study is to explore the predictors determining the willingness of African students in China to adopt and use e-government services. The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) will be used as the theoretical foundation for this research. Research instrument will be developed and administered to 500 African students in China. Factors such as performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence, facilitating conditions and culture will be investigated to determine its significant impact on the willingness to use e-government services. This study is a research in progress. The outcome of this study will provide valuable recommendations to improve the provision of public services through e-government.

Keywords: E-government, e-government services, predictors UTAUT.

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25 Electronic Government Services Adoption from Multi-Nationalities Perspectives

Authors: Isaac Kofi Mensah, Jianing Mi, Cheng Feng

Abstract:

Electronic government is the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by the government to improve public service delivery to citizens and businesses. The purpose of this study is to investigate factors influencing the adoption and use of e-government services from different nationalities perspectives. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) will be used as the theoretical framework for the study. A questionnaire would be developed and administered to 500 potential respondents who are students from different nationalities in China. Predictors such as perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, computer self-efficacy, trust in both the internet and government, social influence and perceived service quality would be examined with regard to their impact on the intention to use e-government services. This research is currently at the design and implementation stage. The completion of this study will provide useful insights into understanding factors impacting the decision to use e-government services from a cross and multi nationalities perspectives.

Keywords: Different nationalities, e-government, e-government services, technology acceptance model.

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24 A Virtual Electrode through Summation of Time Offset Pulses

Authors: Isaac Cassar, Trevor Davis, Yi-Kai Lo, Wentai Liu

Abstract:

Retinal prostheses have been successful in eliciting visual responses in implanted subjects. As these prostheses progress, one of their major limitations is the need for increased resolution. As an alternative to increasing the number of electrodes, virtual electrodes may be used to increase the effective resolution of current electrode arrays. This paper presents a virtual electrode technique based upon time-offsets between stimuli. Two adjacent electrodes are stimulated with identical pulses with too short of pulse widths to activate a neuron, but one has a time offset of one pulse width. A virtual electrode of twice the pulse width was then shown to appear in the center, with a total width capable of activating a neuron. This can be used in retinal implants by stimulating electrodes with pulse widths short enough to not elicit responses in neurons, but with their combined pulse width adequate to activate a neuron in between them.

Keywords: Electrical stimulation, Neuroprosthesis, Retinal implant, Retinal Prosthesis, Virtual electrode.

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23 Perceived Ease-of-Use and Intention to Use E-Government Services in Ghana: The Moderating Role of Perceived Usefulness

Authors: Isaac Kofi Mensah

Abstract:

Public sector organizations, ministries, departments and local government agencies are adopting e-government as a means to provide efficient and quality service delivery to citizens. The purpose of this research paper is to examine the extent to which perceived usefulness (PU) of e-government services moderates between perceived ease-of-use (PEOU) of e-government services and intention to use (IU) e-government services in Ghana. A structured research questionnaire instrument was developed and administered to 700 potential respondents in Ghana, of which 693 responded, representing 99% of the questionnaires distributed. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) was used as the theoretical framework for the study. The Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) was used to capture and analyze the data. The results indicate that even though predictors such as PU and PEOU are main determiners of citizens’ intention to adopt and use e-government services in Ghana, it failed to show that PEOU and IU e-government services in Ghana is significantly moderated by the PU of e-government services. The implication of this finding on theory and practice is further discussed.

Keywords: E-government services, intention to use, moderating role, perceived ease-of-use, perceived usefulness, Ghana, technology acceptance model.

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22 Citizens’ Readiness to Adopt and Use Electronic Voting System in Ghana

Authors: Isaac Kofi Mensah

Abstract:

The adoption and application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in government administration through e-government is expected to permeate all sectors of state/ public institutions as well as democratic institutions. One of such public institutions is the Electoral Commission of Ghana mandated by the 1992 Constitution to hold all public elections including presidential and parliamentary elections. As Ghana holds its 7th General Elections since 1992, on 7th November 2016, there are demands from key stakeholders for the Election Management Body, which is the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana to adopt and implement an electronic voting system. This case study, therefore, attempts to contribute significantly to the debate by examining influencing factors that would impact on citizen’s readiness to adopt and use an electronic voting system in Ghana. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) was used as a theoretical framework for this study, out of which a research model and hypotheses were developed. Importantly, the outcome of this research finding would form a basis for appropriate policy recommendation for consideration of Government and EC of Ghana.

Keywords: Citizens readiness, e-government, electronic voting, technology acceptance model (TAM).

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21 E-Government, China Internet Plus, and the One Belt One Road Initiative: The Africa Connection

Authors: Isaac Kofi Mensah, Mi Jianing

Abstract:

The lack of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) infrastructure in African countries is hampering the successful adoption, development and implementation of e-government in Africa. Electronic government is the use of ICTs to modernize government public administration processes and to provide government services to citizens with a purpose to enhance efficiency, accountability, and transparency in government’s interaction with the citizenry. ICT application in public administration has the potential to modernize and create smarter government and improvement in public service delivery. China’s Internet Plus policy and One Belt One Road strategy present a golden opportunity for countries in Africa to attract the huge financial investment through Chinese IT companies to develop and close Africa’s ICT infrastructure gap. This study recommends the establishment of One Belt One Road ICT Infrastructure Fund for Africa (OBOR ICT Fund for Africa) to enable countries in Africa to source solely for the purpose of ICT infrastructure development in the public sector/government machinery which would in turn promote the adoption and development of e-government in the public sectors of respective countries in Africa.

Keywords: E-government, public service delivery, internet plus, one belt one road initiative, China, Africa.

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20 Effective Wind-Induced Natural Ventilation in a Residential Apartment Typology

Authors: Tanvi P. Medshinge, Prasad Vaidya, Monisha E. Royan

Abstract:

In India, cooling loads in residential sector is a major contributor to its total energy consumption. Due to the increasing cooling need, the market penetration of air-conditioners is further expected to rise. Natural Ventilation (NV), however, possesses great potential to save significant energy consumption especially for residential buildings in moderate climates. As multifamily residential apartment buildings are designed by repetitive use of prototype designs, deriving individual NV based design prototype solutions for a combination of different wind incidence angles and orientations would provide significant opportunity to address the rise in cooling loads by residential sector. This paper presents the results of NV performance of a selected prototype apartment design with a cluster of four units in Pune, India, and an attempt to improve the NV performance through design modifications. The water table apparatus, a physical modelling tool, is used to study the flow patterns and simulate wind-induced NV performance. Quantification of NV performance is done by post processing images captured from video recordings in terms of percentage of area with good and poor access to ventilation. NV performance of the existing design for eight wind incidence angles showed that of the cluster of four units, the windward units showed good access to ventilation for all rooms, and the leeward units had lower access to ventilation with the bedrooms in the leeward units having the least access. The results showed improved performance in all the units for all wind incidence angles to more than 80% good access to ventilation. Some units showed an additional improvement to more than 90% good access to ventilation. This process of design and performance evaluation improved some individual units from 0% to 100% for good access to ventilation. The results demonstrate the ease of use and the power of the water table apparatus for performance-based design to simulate wind induced NV.  

Keywords: Prototype design, water table apparatus, NV, wind incidence angles, simulations, fluid dynamics.

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19 Factors Influencing the Continuance Usage of Online Mobile Payment Apps: A Case Study of WECHAT Users in China

Authors: Isaac Kofi Mensah, Jianing Mi, Feng Cheng

Abstract:

This research paper seeks to investigate the factors determining the continuance usage of online mobile payment applications among WECHAT users in China. Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and the Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) theory would both be applied as the theoretical foundation for this study. A developed instrument would be administered to the targeted sample of 1000 WECHAT Users in the City of Harbin, China, through an online questionnaire administration platform. Factors such as perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, perceived service quality, social influence, trust in the internet, internet self-efficacy, relative advantage, compatibility, and complexity would be explored to determine its significant impact on the continuance intention to use mobile payment apps. This study is at the development and implementation stage. The successful completion of this research article would not only provide an insightful understanding of the factors influencing the decision of WECHAT users in China to use mobile payment applications but also enrich the e-commerce adoption literature.

Keywords: Diffusion of innovation (DOI), e-commerce, mobile payment, technology acceptance model (TAM), WECHAT.

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18 Combined Effect of Cold Rolling and Heat Treatment on the Mechanical Properties of Al-Ti Alloy

Authors: Adeosun S. Oluropo, Sekunowo O. Israel, Talabi S. Isaac

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This study investigated the combined effect of cold rolling and heat treatment on the mechanical properties of Al-Ti alloy. Samples of the alloy are cast in metal mould to obtain 0.94-2.19wt% mixes of titanium. These samples are grouped into untreated (as-cast) and those that are cold rolled to fifty percent reduction, homogenized at 5000C and soaked for one hour. The cold rolled and heat treated samples are normalized (RTn) and quench-tempered (RTq-t) at 1000C. All these samples are subjected to tensile, micro-hardness and microstructural evaluation. Results show remarkable improvement in the mechanical properties of the cold rolled and heat treated samples compared to the as-cast. In particular, the RTq-t samples containing titanium in the range of 1.7-2.2% demonstrates improve tensile strength by 24.7%, yield strength, 28%, elastic modulus, 38.3% and micro-hardness, 20.5%. The Al3Ti phase being the most stable precipitate in the α-Al matrix appears to have been responsible for the significant improvement in the alloy’s mechanical properties. It is concluded that quench and temper heat treatment is an effective method of improving the strength-strain ratio of cold rolled Al-.0.9-2.2%Ti alloy.

Keywords: Aluminum-titanium alloy, heat treatment, mechanical properties, precipitate.

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17 Cold-pressed Kenaf and Fibreglass Hybrid Composites Laminates: Effect of Fibre Types

Authors: Z. Salleh, M. N. Berhan, Koay Mei Hyie, D. H. Isaac

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Natural fibres have emerged as the potential reinforcement material for composites and thus gain attraction by many researchers. This is mainly due to their applicable benefits as they offer low density, low cost, renewable, biodegradability and environmentally harmless and also comparable mechanical properties with synthetic fibre composites. The properties of hybrid composites highly depends on several factors, including the interaction of fillers with the polymeric matrix, shape and size (aspect ratio), and orientation of fillers [1]. In this study, natural fibre kenaf composites and kenaf/fibreglass hybrid composites were fabricated by a combination of hand lay-up method and cold-press method. The effect of different fibre types (powder, short and long) on the tensile properties of composites is investigated. The kenaf composites with and without the addition of fibreglass were then characterized by tensile testing and scanning electron microscopy. A significant improvement in tensile strength and modulus were indicated by the introduction of long kenaf/woven fibreglass hybrid composite. However, the opposite trends are observed in kenaf powder composite. Fractographic observation shows that fibre/matrix debonding causes the fibres pull out. This phenomenon results in the fibre and matrix fracture.

Keywords: Kenaf, Fibreglass, Hybrid Composite, Tensile Strength, Tensile Modulus.

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16 Communication Styles of Business Students: A Comparison of Four National Cultures

Authors: Tiina Brandt, Isaac Wanasika

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Culturally diverse global companies need to understand cultural differences between leaders and employees from different backgrounds. Communication is culturally contingent and has a significant impact on effective execution of leadership goals. The awareness of cultural variations related to communication and interactions will help leaders modify their own behavior, and consequently improve the execution of goals and avoid unnecessary faux pas. Our focus is on young adults that have experienced cultural integration, culturally diverse surroundings in schools and universities, and cultural travels. Our central research problem is to understand the impact of different national cultures on communication. We focus on four countries with distinct national cultures and spatial distribution. The countries are Finland, Indonesia, Russia and USA. Our sample is based on business students (n = 225) from various backgrounds in the four countries. Their responses of communication and leadership styles were analyzed using ANOVA and post-hoc test. Results indicate that culture impacts on communication behavior. Even young culturally-exposed adults with cultural awareness and experience demonstrate cultural differences in their behavior. Apparently, culture is a deeply seated trait that cannot be completely neutralized by environmental variables. Our study offers valuable input for leadership training programs and for expatriates when recognizing specific differences on leaders’ behavior due to culture.

Keywords: Culture, communication, Finland, Indonesia, Russia, USA.

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15 Intensity Analysis to Link Changes in Land-Use Pattern in the Abuakwa North and South Municipalities, Ghana, from 1986 to 2017

Authors: Isaac Kwaku Adu, Jacob Doku Tetteh, John Joseph Puthenkalam, Kwabena Effah Antwi

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The continuous increase in population implies increase in food demand. There is, therefore, the need to increase agricultural production and other forest products to ensure food security and economic development. This paper employs the three-level intensity analysis to assess the total change of land-use in two-time intervals (1986-2002 and 2002-2017), the net change and swap as well as gross gains and losses in the two intervals. The results revealed that the overall change in the 31-year period was greater in the second period (2002-2017). Agriculture and forest categories lost in the first period while the other land class gained. However, in the second period agriculture and built-up increased greatly while forest, water bodies and thick bushes/shrubland experienced loss. An assessment revealed a reduction of forest in both periods but was greater in the second period and expansion of agricultural land was recorded as population increases. The pixels gaining built-up targeted agricultural land in both intervals, it also targeted thick bushes/shrubland and waterbody in the second period only. Built-up avoided forest in both intervals as well as waterbody and thick bushes/shrubland. To help in developing the best land-use strategies/policies, a further validation of the social factors is necessary.

Keywords: Agricultural land-use, forest, intensity analysis, land-cover change, sustainable land-use.

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14 Reality and Preferences in Community Mopane (Colophospermum Mopane) Woodland Management in Zimbabwe and Namibia

Authors: Constansia Musvoto, Isaac Mapaure, Tendayi Gondo, Albertina Ndeinoma, Takaendesa Mujawo

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There is increasing pressure on, and decline of mopane woodlands due to increasing use and competition for mopane resources in Zimbabwe in Namibia. Community management strategies, based largely on local knowledge are evidently unable to cope. Research has generated potentially useful information for mopane woodland management, but this information has not been utilized. The work reported in this paper sought to add value to research work conducted on mopane woodlands by developing effective community-based mopane woodland management regimes that were based on both local and scientific knowledge in Zimbabwe and Namibia. The conditions under which research findings were likely to be adopted for mopane woodland management by communities were investigated. The study was conducted at two sites each in Matobo and Omusati Districts in Zimbabwe and Namibia respectively. The mopane woodland resources in the two study areas were assessed using scientific ecological methods. A range of participatory methods was used to collect information on use of mopane woodland resources by communities, institutional arrangements governing access to and use of these resources and to evaluate scientific knowledge for applicability in local management regimes. Coppicing, thinning and pollarding were the research generated management methods evaluated. Realities such as availability of woodland resources and social roles and responsibilities influenced preferences for woodland management interventions

Keywords: Woodland management, community, coppicing, thinning, pollarding

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13 Bio-Heat Transfer in Various Transcutaneous Stimulation Models

Authors: Trevor E. Davis, Isaac Cassar, Yi-Kai Lo, Wentai Liu

Abstract:

This study models the use of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation on skin with a disk electrode in order to simulate tissue damage. The current density distribution above a disk electrode is known to be a dynamic and non-uniform quantity that is intensified at the edges of the disk. The non-uniformity is subject to change through using various electrode geometries or stimulation methods. One of these methods known as edge-retarded stimulation has shown to reduce this edge enhancement. Though progress has been made in modeling the behavior of a disk electrode, little has been done to test the validity of these models in simulating the actual heat transfer from the electrode. This simulation uses finite element software to couple the injection of current from a disk electrode to heat transfer described by the Pennesbioheat transfer equation. An example application of this model is studying an experimental form of stimulation, known as edge-retarded stimulation. The edge-retarded stimulation method will reduce the current density at the edges of the electrode. It is hypothesized that reducing the current density edge enhancement effect will, in turn, reduce temperature change and tissue damage at the edges of these electrodes. This study tests this hypothesis as a demonstration of the capabilities of this model. The edge-retarded stimulation proved to be safer after this simulation. It is shown that temperature change and the fraction of tissue necrosis is much greater in the square wave stimulation. These results bring implications for changes of procedures in transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation as well.

Keywords: Bioheat transfer, Electrode, Neuroprosthetics, TENS, Transcutaneous stimulation.

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12 A Comparative Analysis of the Performance of COSMO and WRF Models in Quantitative Rainfall Prediction

Authors: Isaac Mugume, Charles Basalirwa, Daniel Waiswa, Mary Nsabagwa, Triphonia Jacob Ngailo, Joachim Reuder, Sch¨attler Ulrich, Musa Semujju

Abstract:

The Numerical weather prediction (NWP) models are considered powerful tools for guiding quantitative rainfall prediction. A couple of NWP models exist and are used at many operational weather prediction centers. This study considers two models namely the Consortium for Small–scale Modeling (COSMO) model and the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. It compares the models’ ability to predict rainfall over Uganda for the period 21st April 2013 to 10th May 2013 using the root mean square (RMSE) and the mean error (ME). In comparing the performance of the models, this study assesses their ability to predict light rainfall events and extreme rainfall events. All the experiments used the default parameterization configurations and with same horizontal resolution (7 Km). The results show that COSMO model had a tendency of largely predicting no rain which explained its under–prediction. The COSMO model (RMSE: 14.16; ME: -5.91) presented a significantly (p = 0.014) higher magnitude of error compared to the WRF model (RMSE: 11.86; ME: -1.09). However the COSMO model (RMSE: 3.85; ME: 1.39) performed significantly (p = 0.003) better than the WRF model (RMSE: 8.14; ME: 5.30) in simulating light rainfall events. All the models under–predicted extreme rainfall events with the COSMO model (RMSE: 43.63; ME: -39.58) presenting significantly higher error magnitudes than the WRF model (RMSE: 35.14; ME: -26.95). This study recommends additional diagnosis of the models’ treatment of deep convection over the tropics.

Keywords: Comparative performance, the COSMO model, the WRF model, light rainfall events, extreme rainfall events.

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11 Phyllantus niruri Protects against Fe2+ and SNP Induced Oxidative Damage in Mitochondrial Enriched Fractions of Rats Brain

Authors: Olusola Olalekan Elekofehinti, Isaac Gbadura Adanlawo, Joao Batista Teixeira Rocha

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The potential neuroprotective effect of Phyllantus nuriri against Fe2+ and sodium nitroprusside (SNP) induced oxidative stress in mitochondria of rats brain was evaluated. Cellular viability was assessed by MTT reduction, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation was measured using the probe 2,7-dichlorofluoresce indiacetate (DCFH-DA). Glutathione content was measured using dithionitrobenzoic acid (DTNB). Fe2+ (10μM) and SNP (5μM) significantly decreased mitochondrial activity, assessed by MTT reduction assay, in a dose-dependent manner, this occurred in parallel with increased glutathione oxidation, ROS production and lipid peroxidation end-products (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, TBARS). The co-incubation with methanolic extract of Phyllantus nuriri (10-200 μg/ml) reduced the disruption of mitochondrial activity, gluthathione oxidation, ROS production as well as the increase in TBARS levels caused by both Fe2+ and SNP in a dose dependent manner. HPLC analysis of the extract revealed the presence of gallic acid (20.540.01), caffeic acid (7.930.02), rutin (25.310.05), quercetin (31.280.03) and kaemferol (14.360.01). This result suggests that these phytochemicals account for the protective actions of P. niruri against Fe2+ and SNP -induced oxidative stress. Our results show that P. nuriri consist important bioactive molecules in the search for an improved therapy against the deleterious effects of Fe2+, an intrinsic producer of reactive oxygen species (ROS), that leads to neuronal oxidative stress and neurodegeneration.

Keywords: Phyllantus niruri, mitochondria, antioxidant, oxidative stress, synaptosome.

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10 Protective Effect of Saponin Extract from the Root of Garcinia kola (Bitter kola) against Paracetamol- Induced Hepatotoxicity in Albino Rats

Authors: Yemisi Rufina Alli Smith, Isaac Gbadura Adanlawo

Abstract:

Liver disorders are one of the major problems of the world. Despite its frequent occurrence, high morbidity and high mortality, its medical management is currently inadequate. This study was designed to evaluate the hepatoprotective effect of saponin extract of the root of Garcinia kola on the integrity of the liver of paracetamol induced wistar albino rats. Twenty five (25) male adult wistar albino rats were divided into five (5) groups. Group I was the Control group that received distilled water only, group II was the negative control that received 2 g/kg of paracetamol on the 13th day, and group III, IV and V were pre-treated with 100, 200 and 400mg/kg of the saponin extract before inducing the liver damage on the 13th day with 2 g/kg of paracetamol. Twenty four (24) h after administration, the rats were sacrificed and blood samples were collected. The serum Alanine Transaminase (ALT), Aspartate Transaminase (AST), Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) activities, Bilirubin and conjugated bilirubin, glucose and protein concentrations were evaluated. The liver was fixed immediately in Formalin and was processed and stained in Haematoxylin and Eosin (H&E). Administration of saponin extract from the root of Garcinia kola significantly decreased paracetamol induced elevated enzymes in the test group. Also histological observations showed that saponin extract of the root of Garcinia kola exhibited a significant liver protection against the toxicant as evident by the cells trying to return to normal. Saponin extract from the root of Garcinia kola indicated a protection of structural integrity of the hepatocytic cell membrane and regeneration of the damaged liver.

Keywords: Garcinia kola, Hepatoprotective, paracetamol, Saponin.

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9 Autonomous Robots- Visual Perception in Underground Terrains Using Statistical Region Merging

Authors: Omowunmi E. Isafiade, Isaac O. Osunmakinde, Antoine B. Bagula

Abstract:

Robots- visual perception is a field that is gaining increasing attention from researchers. This is partly due to emerging trends in the commercial availability of 3D scanning systems or devices that produce a high information accuracy level for a variety of applications. In the history of mining, the mortality rate of mine workers has been alarming and robots exhibit a great deal of potentials to tackle safety issues in mines. However, an effective vision system is crucial to safe autonomous navigation in underground terrains. This work investigates robots- perception in underground terrains (mines and tunnels) using statistical region merging (SRM) model. SRM reconstructs the main structural components of an imagery by a simple but effective statistical analysis. An investigation is conducted on different regions of the mine, such as the shaft, stope and gallery, using publicly available mine frames, with a stream of locally captured mine images. An investigation is also conducted on a stream of underground tunnel image frames, using the XBOX Kinect 3D sensors. The Kinect sensors produce streams of red, green and blue (RGB) and depth images of 640 x 480 resolution at 30 frames per second. Integrating the depth information to drivability gives a strong cue to the analysis, which detects 3D results augmenting drivable and non-drivable regions in 2D. The results of the 2D and 3D experiment with different terrains, mines and tunnels, together with the qualitative and quantitative evaluation, reveal that a good drivable region can be detected in dynamic underground terrains.

Keywords: Drivable Region Detection, Kinect Sensor, Robots' Perception, SRM, Underground Terrains.

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8 A Sentence-to-Sentence Relation Network for Recognizing Textual Entailment

Authors: Isaac K. E. Ampomah, Seong-Bae Park, Sang-Jo Lee

Abstract:

Over the past decade, there have been promising developments in Natural Language Processing (NLP) with several investigations of approaches focusing on Recognizing Textual Entailment (RTE). These models include models based on lexical similarities, models based on formal reasoning, and most recently deep neural models. In this paper, we present a sentence encoding model that exploits the sentence-to-sentence relation information for RTE. In terms of sentence modeling, Convolutional neural network (CNN) and recurrent neural networks (RNNs) adopt different approaches. RNNs are known to be well suited for sequence modeling, whilst CNN is suited for the extraction of n-gram features through the filters and can learn ranges of relations via the pooling mechanism. We combine the strength of RNN and CNN as stated above to present a unified model for the RTE task. Our model basically combines relation vectors computed from the phrasal representation of each sentence and final encoded sentence representations. Firstly, we pass each sentence through a convolutional layer to extract a sequence of higher-level phrase representation for each sentence from which the first relation vector is computed. Secondly, the phrasal representation of each sentence from the convolutional layer is fed into a Bidirectional Long Short Term Memory (Bi-LSTM) to obtain the final sentence representations from which a second relation vector is computed. The relations vectors are combined and then used in then used in the same fashion as attention mechanism over the Bi-LSTM outputs to yield the final sentence representations for the classification. Experiment on the Stanford Natural Language Inference (SNLI) corpus suggests that this is a promising technique for RTE.

Keywords: Deep neural models, natural language inference, recognizing textual entailment, sentence-to-sentence relation.

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7 Electronic Government around the World: Key Information and Communication Technology Indicators

Authors: Isaac Kofi Mensah

Abstract:

Governments around the world are adopting Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) because of the important opportunities it provides through E-government (EG) to modernize government public administration processes and delivery of quality and efficient public services. Almost every country in the world is adopting ICT in its public sector administration (EG) to modernize and change the traditional process of government, increase citizen engagement and participation in governance, as well as the provision of timely information to citizens. This paper, therefore, seeks to present the adoption, development and implementation of EG in regions globally, as well as the ICT indicators around the world, which are making EG initiatives successful. Europe leads the world in its EG adoption and development index, followed by the Americas, Asia, Oceania and Africa. There is a gradual growth in ICT indicators in terms of the increase in Internet access and usage, increase in broadband penetration, an increase of individuals using the Internet at home and a decline in fixed telephone use, while the mobile cellular phone has been on the increase year-on-year. Though the lack of ICT infrastructure is a major challenge to EG adoption and implementation around the world, in Africa it is very pervasive, hampering the expansion of Internet access and provision of broadband, and hence is a barrier to the successful adoption, development, and implementation of EG initiatives in countries on the continent. But with the general improvement and increase in ICT indicators around the world, it provides countries in Europe, Americas, Asia, Arab States, Oceania and Africa with the huge opportunity to enhance public service delivery through the adoption of EG. Countries within these regions cannot fail their citizens who desire to enjoy an enhanced and efficient public service delivery from government and its many state institutions.

Keywords: E-government development index, e-government, indicators, information and communication technologies.

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6 An Estimation of Rice Output Supply Response in Sierra Leone: A Nerlovian Model Approach

Authors: Alhaji M. H. Conteh, Xiangbin Yan, Issa Fofana, Brima Gegbe, Tamba I. Isaac

Abstract:

Rice grain is Sierra Leone’s staple food and the nation imports over 120,000 metric tons annually due to a shortfall in its cultivation. Thus, the insufficient level of the crop's cultivation in Sierra Leone is caused by many problems and this led to the endlessly widening supply and demand for the crop within the country. Consequently, this has instigated the government to spend huge money on the importation of this grain that would have been otherwise cultivated domestically at a cheaper cost. Hence, this research attempts to explore the response of rice supply with respect to its demand in Sierra Leone within the period 1980-2010. The Nerlovian adjustment model to the Sierra Leone rice data set within the period 1980-2010 was used. The estimated trend equations revealed that time had significant effect on output, productivity (yield) and area (acreage) of rice grain within the period 1980-2010 and this occurred generally at the 1% level of significance. The results showed that, almost the entire growth in output had the tendency to increase in the area cultivated to the crop. The time trend variable that was included for government policy intervention showed an insignificant effect on all the variables considered in this research. Therefore, both the short-run and long-run price response was inelastic since all their values were less than one. From the findings above, immediate actions that will lead to productivity growth in rice cultivation are required. To achieve the above, the responsible agencies should provide extension service schemes to farmers as well as motivating them on the adoption of modern rice varieties and technology in their rice cultivation ventures.

Keywords: Nerlovian adjustment model, price elasticities, Sierra Leone, Trend equations.

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5 Manual Pit Emptiers and Their Heath: Profiles, Determinants and Interventions

Authors: Ivy Chumo, Sheillah Simiyu, Hellen Gitau, Isaac Kisiangani, Caroline Kabaria Kanyiva Muindi, Blessing Mberu

Abstract:

The global sanitation workforce bridges the gap between sanitation infrastructure and the provision of sanitation services through essential public service work. Manual pit emptiers often perform the work at the cost of their dignity, safety, and health as their work requires repeated heavy physical activities such as lifting, carrying, pulling, and pushing. This exposes them to occupational and environmental health hazards and risking illness, injury, and death. The study will extend the studies by presenting occupational health risks and suggestions for improvement in informal settlements of Nairobi, Kenya. This is a qualitative study conducted among sanitation stakeholders in Korogocho, Mukuru and Kibera informal settlements in Nairobi. Data were captured using digital voice recorders, transcribed and thematically analysed. The discussion notes were further supported by observational notes made during the interviews. These formed the basis for a robust picture of occupational health of manual pit emptiers; a lack or inappropriate use of protective clothing, and prolonged duration of working hours were described to contribute to the occupational health hazard. To continue working, manual pit emptiers had devised coping strategies which include working in groups, improvised protective clothing, sharing the available protective clothing, working at night and consuming alcohol drinks while at work. Many of these strategies are detrimental to their health. Occupational health hazards among pit emptiers are key for effective working and is as a result of a lack of collaboration amongst stakeholders linked to health, safety and lack of PPE of pit emptiers. Collaborations amongst sanitation stakeholders is paramount for health, safety, and in ensuring the provision and use of personal protective devices.

Keywords: Sanitation, occupational health, manual emptiers, informal settlements.

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4 Adoption and Use of an Electronic Voting System in Ghana

Authors: Isaac Kofi Mensah

Abstract:

The manual system of voting has been the most widely used system of electing representatives around the globe, particularly in Africa. Due to the known numerous problems and challenges associated with the manual system of voting, many countries are migrating to the electronic voting system as a suitable and credible means of electing representatives over the manual paper-based system. This research paper therefore investigated the factors influencing adoption and use of an electronic voting system in Ghana. A total of 400 Questionnaire Instruments (QI) were administered to potential respondents in Ghana, of which 387 responded representing a response rate of 96.75%. The Technology Acceptance Model was used as the theoretical framework for the study. The research model was tested using a simple linear regression analysis with SPSS. A little of over 71.1% of the respondents recommended the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana to adopt an electronic voting system in the conduct of public elections in Ghana. The results indicated that all the six predictors such as perceived usefulness (PU), perceived ease of use (PEOU), perceived free and fair elections (PFFF), perceived credible elections (PCE), perceived system integrity (PSI) and citizens trust in the election management body (CTEM) were all positively significant in predicting the readiness of citizens to adopt and use an electronic voting system in Ghana. However, jointly, the hypotheses tested revealed that apart from Perceived Free and Fair Elections and Perceived Credible and Transparent Elections, all the other factors such as PU, Perceived System Integrity and Security and Citizen Trust in the Election Management Body were found to be significant predictors of the Willingness of Ghanaians to use an electronic voting system. All the six factors considered in this study jointly account for about 53.1% of the reasons determining the readiness to adopt and use an electronic voting system in Ghana. The implications of this research finding on elections in Ghana are discussed.

Keywords: Credible elections, democracy, Election Management Body (EMB), electronic voting, Ghana, Technology Acceptance Model (TAM).

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3 Spatial Variation of WRF Model Rainfall Prediction over Uganda

Authors: Isaac Mugume, Charles Basalirwa, Daniel Waiswa, Triphonia Ngailo

Abstract:

Rainfall is a major climatic parameter affecting many sectors such as health, agriculture and water resources. Its quantitative prediction remains a challenge to weather forecasters although numerical weather prediction models are increasingly being used for rainfall prediction. The performance of six convective parameterization schemes, namely the Kain-Fritsch scheme, the Betts-Miller-Janjic scheme, the Grell-Deveny scheme, the Grell-3D scheme, the Grell-Fretas scheme, the New Tiedke scheme of the weather research and forecast (WRF) model regarding quantitative rainfall prediction over Uganda is investigated using the root mean square error for the March-May (MAM) 2013 season. The MAM 2013 seasonal rainfall amount ranged from 200 mm to 900 mm over Uganda with northern region receiving comparatively lower rainfall amount (200–500 mm); western Uganda (270–550 mm); eastern Uganda (400–900 mm) and the lake Victoria basin (400–650 mm). A spatial variation in simulated rainfall amount by different convective parameterization schemes was noted with the Kain-Fritsch scheme over estimating the rainfall amount over northern Uganda (300–750 mm) but also presented comparable rainfall amounts over the eastern Uganda (400–900 mm). The Betts-Miller-Janjic, the Grell-Deveny, and the Grell-3D underestimated the rainfall amount over most parts of the country especially the eastern region (300–600 mm). The Grell-Fretas captured rainfall amount over the northern region (250–450 mm) but also underestimated rainfall over the lake Victoria Basin (150–300 mm) while the New Tiedke generally underestimated rainfall amount over many areas of Uganda. For deterministic rainfall prediction, the Grell-Fretas is recommended for rainfall prediction over northern Uganda while the Kain-Fritsch scheme is recommended over eastern region.

Keywords: Convective parameterization schemes, March-May 2013 rainfall season, spatial variation of parameterization schemes over Uganda, WRF model.

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2 Overview of E-government Adoption and Implementation in Ghana

Authors: Isaac Kofi Mensah

Abstract:

E-government has been adopted and used by many governments/countries around the world including Ghana to provide citizens and businesses with more accurate, real-time, and high quality services and information. The objective of this paper is to present an overview of the Government of Ghana’s (GoG) adoption and implement of e-government and its usage by the Ministries, Departments and its agencies (MDAs) as well as other public sector institutions to deliver efficient public service to the general public i.e. citizens, business etc. Government implementation of e-government focused on facilitating effective delivery of government service to the public and ultimately to provide efficient government-wide electronic means of sharing information and knowledge through a network infrastructure developed to connect all major towns and cities, Ministries, Departments and Agencies and other public sector organizations in Ghana. One aim for the Government of Ghana use of ICT in public administration is to improve productivity in government administration and service by facilitating exchange of information to enable better interaction and coordination of work among MDAs, citizens and private businesses. The study was prepared using secondary sources of data from government policy documents, national and international published reports, journal articles, and web sources. This study indicates that through the e-government initiative, currently citizens and businesses can access and pay for services such as renewal of driving license, business registration, payment of taxes, acquisition of marriage and birth certificates as well as application for passport through the GoG electronic service (eservice) and electronic payment (epay) portal. Further, this study shows that there is enormous commitment from GoG to adopt and implement e-government as a tool not only to transform the business of government but also to bring efficiency in public services delivered by the MDAs. To ascertain this, a further study need to be carried out to determine if the use of e-government has brought about the anticipated improvements and efficiency in service delivery of MDAs and other state institutions in Ghana.

Keywords: Electronic government, electronic services, electronic payment, MDAs.

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1 Sediment Transport Monitoring in the Port of Veracruz Expansion Project

Authors: Francisco Liaño-Carrera, José Isaac Ramírez-Macías, David Salas-Monreal, Mayra Lorena Riveron-Enzastiga, Marcos Rangel-Avalos, Adriana Andrea Roldán-Ubando

Abstract:

The construction of most coastal infrastructure developments around the world are usually made considering wave height, current velocities and river discharges; however, little effort has been paid to surveying sediment transport during dredging or the modification to currents outside the ports or marinas during and after the construction. This study shows a complete survey during the construction of one of the largest ports of the Gulf of Mexico. An anchored Acoustic Doppler Current Velocity profiler (ADCP), a towed ADCP and a combination of model outputs were used at the Veracruz port construction in order to describe the hourly sediment transport and current modifications in and out of the new port. Owing to the stability of the system the new port was construction inside Vergara Bay, a low wave energy system with a tidal range of up to 0.40 m. The results show a two-current system pattern within the bay. The north side of the bay has an anticyclonic gyre, while the southern part of the bay shows a cyclonic gyre. Sediment transport trajectories were made every hour using the anchored ADCP, a numerical model and the weekly data obtained from the towed ADCP within the entire bay. The sediment transport trajectories were carefully tracked since the bay is surrounded by coral reef structures which are sensitive to sedimentation rate and water turbidity. The survey shows that during dredging and rock input used to build the wave breaker sediments were locally added (< 2500 m2) and local currents disperse it in less than 4 h. While the river input located in the middle of the bay and the sewer system plant may add more than 10 times this amount during a rainy day or during the tourist season. Finally, the coastal line obtained seasonally with a drone suggests that the southern part of the bay has not been modified by the construction of the new port located in the northern part of the bay, owing to the two subsystem division of the bay.

Keywords: Acoustic Doppler current profiler, time series, port construction, construction around coral reefs, sediment transport monitoring.

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