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    Xishuangbanna in Southwest China - a fantasized place and the lived experience of the place

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    “Xishuangbanna is a magic and beautiful place.” Whenever there is an introduction of the place, it almost always starts with the sentence. Xishuangbanna, where Dai ethnic group lives, locates at the Southwest borderland of China. Dai people is one of the 55 minority nationalities in China with unique culture. The popular images of Xishuangbannan in the media are the Dai golden Buddhist temples shining through the trees of the tropic forest, Dai bamboo houses on stilts by the river; and beautiful Dai girls with their colourful dresses in the Spreading Water Festival. In China’s reform era, hundreds and thousands of people have been drawn to Xishuangbanna because of those popular representations. To both domestic and international tourists, this place is full of myth and fantasy; just as the 1982 Chinese film “The Peacock Princess” depicted. To Chinese domestic tourists, Xishuangbanna is also another version of “Shi Wai Tao Yuan – A Peach-Blossom Land outside This World”, a utopia. The term was used for the poetic imagery depicted in Tao Hua Yuan Ji by the famous Chinese poet Tao Yuanming in the Jin Dynasty (265-420). With the tourist industry developing rapidly in China, it is not surprise that ‘Shi Wai Tao Yuan’ has been identified as a real place in Guilin, Guangxi province. The advertisement for the place boasts ‘a charming rural location, folk customs and fascinating minority buildings and architecture’. Somehow, Xishuangbanna is a ‘Shi Wai Tao Yuan’ but a different one; because it lives in the myth and fantasy of a different culture, as the film ‘The Peacock Princess’ shows. This study will investigate the connection between exoticized Chinese literary representations of Xishuangbanna and the material transformations of the place since the 1990s when the tourist industry developed in the region. One of the most popular tourist sites in Xishuangbanna is Dai Ethnic Park. It is consisted of five natural villages and their one-thousand year old Buddhist Temple. Different from a typical theme park, Dai Ethnic Park is still the villagers’ home and living space. Villagers, who used to be farmers, are increasingly giving up the farming and working in the tourist industry as contract workers. Under the tourists’ gaze and spectacle, villagers in the park organise the local performance for tourists, make the Dai handicraft for sell and cook the Dai food for visitors who live in their houses. Yet at the same time in the same space, they are also carrying on with their own life. This study will explore the tensions between nostalgia for a fantasized place and the lived experience of that place, and probably even more importantly, how this place has also been shaped by the culture favoured and produced by the local people

    Assessing personal attributes in the group rehearsal

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    This is a study of the marks that were awarded for students’ personal attributes, used as peer assessment criteria, in their band rehearsals. Successive cohorts of first-year undergraduate students, from 2001 to 2009, were involved in the research comprising of 191 students and 84 bands. Data analysis focused on the strength of marking agreement and the variances between self- and peer-assessments. Personal attribute assessments that exhibited the greatest strength of marking agreement arose from when criteria were formulated together by bands, especially those attributes to which the group,as a whole, aspired; to a lesser extent, personal weakness criteria formulated by bands for each member. High flyers and female students underestimated themselves in their self-assessments,compared with those awarded by the band, especially when using criteria arising from their personal weaknesses; weaker students over-estimated themselves. In considering such misjudgements, this study raises questions about band members’ self-efficacy belief. Keywords: popular music rehearsals; peer assessment; personal attributes; selfefficacy; group wor

    The UK WTC9/11 Evacuation Study: An Overview of the Methodologies Employed and some Preliminary Analysis

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    This paper briefly describes the methodologies employed in the collection and storage of first-hand accounts of evacuation experiences derived from face-to-face interviews with evacuees from the World Trade Center (WTC) Twin Towers complex on 11 September 2001 and the development of the High-rise Evacuation Evaluation Database (HEED). The main focus of the paper is to present a preliminary analysis of data derived from the evacuation of the North Tower

    Quick response codes and libraries

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    Purpose: This article explains the nature of QR (Quick response) codes and their possible applications in libraries. Design/methodology/approach: Existing uses; applications and functionality of QR codes are looked, before turning to the limited existing use of QR codes in libraries. The Author then suggests many different ways QR codes could be used in our libraries. Findings: Most of our users are likely to be able to use QR codes if they install a free reader onto their camera 'phones or other mobile device. An already high and further increasing number of people own suitable devices. There are many ways QR codes can be used, with the most exciting applications relying on the use of the internet from mobile devices. The main restrictions on their take up is likely to be increasing awareness of QR codes and carefully marketing services based on QR codes to our users. Originality/value: Outside Japan few libraries have implemented services based on QR codes. This article is the first of it's kind aimed at libraries and it shows how we can use them to take advantage of the mobile devices in many of our users' pockets

    What's on the Telly?

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    The article explores pornographisation and processes of normalisation of pornography in mainstream Finnish television. The focus is on the broadcasting policies and practices of television-internet companies in relation to pornography and pornographisatio

    An enhanced approach to surround sound decoder design

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    This paper highlights several key improvements that can be made to current surround sound decoder design techniques. The work focuses on the use of heuristic methods to derive surround sound decoder parameters for irregular loudspeaker layouts. A comparison is made between decoder parameters derived from the new improved algorithm and parameters published by others. The results show that the new parameters derived using this algorithm are superior to other parameters and the new range removal technique introduced in this paper warrants further investigation

    An innovative volume based video feature extraction technique

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    Based on the video frames, a spatial-temporal volume data structure represents more flexible processing methods than traditional 2D sequential images approach in computer vision. This paper describes the data structure of the spatial-temporal volume and the feature volume coming from the original video data. A compressed volume structure called a feature video is presented showing how a feature volume can be build based on the sequential frames. The existent 3D volume processing methods such as slice processing, 3D filters and CFD methods are also introduced in this paper. As a practical application, human gait analysis based on volume slice processing is described. This includes the video capture, volume organized and the slice feature extraction. The result of experimental data shows the different features between different behaviors of gait

    A Short Note on a Major Acquisition

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