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    Inhuman Music and the Monstrous-Feminine

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    In video games, female characters have traditionally been meant to be seen and not heard, mirroring the history of women under patriarchy. Those female characters who reject their secondary and primarily visual role often become monstrous, and like Barbara Creed argues, this monstrosity is itself profoundly gendered. This paper focuses on two such female characters whose monstrosity, and also revolt, are indisputably feminine, as well as musical. Both the 2007 classic Portal and the 2017 cult hit Doki Doki Literature Club! feature central antagonists who are sentient artificial female monsters who both start off as the players’ guides through their respective games, their roles similar to those of gendered digital assistants in everyday life. While GLaDOS is voiced throughout Portal, Monika remains silent until the final credits of DDLC!, but the comparison between the two is never as evident as when they sing. Both games end with songs performed by these antagonists, after they have technically been defeated. This paper draws on feminist literary and film theory, as well as musicology and ludomusicology, to deliver both a comparative analysis of the two songs, and a broader formulation of the sonic representation of the monstrous-feminine in video games

    Green Human Resource Management, Green Supply Chain Management and Regulation and Legislation and its Effects on Sustainable Development Goals in Jordan

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    Data Availability Statement: No new data were created or analyzed in this study. Data sharing is not applicable to this article.A preprint version of this article is available at: https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202312.1706/v1 - it has not been certified by peer review....This research received no external funding

    Educational research in the global north and south; reflections on the field and future directions

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    EditorialWe are delighted to have been appointed as the new Editorial Team for the British Educational Research Journal (BERJ). As we embark on this new challenge, we would like to reflect here on our aspirations and ambitions for the journal over the coming four years of our tenure

    Brexit-like rhetoric on immigration no longer works

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    BlogThe Government’s rhetoric on curbing immigration, and “stopping the small boats” in particular, has strong echoes of the Brexit campaign. As Matilde Rosina and Cristina Juverdeanu point out, the same themes, keywords, and even graphics are being used by the Government that were originally used by Brexit campaigners. The only difference is, this time the campaign doesn’t seem to be working

    Exploring how prisoners experience work: A discursive practice approach

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    This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University LondonStudies on prison work have long held the view that giving inmates the chance to work influences their lives and forms a critical component in their rehabilitation. Thus, the frequently touted benefits of prison work include but are not limited to, reducing idleness, financial benefits, skill acquisition, personal character reformation, desistance from crime, and cost reduction. The belief in the efficacy of prison work in providing these benefits has aided in hatching a copious body of practical and theoretical cottage industry of journal articles and books on prison work that extol its values and contributions to rehabilitation, subsequently stipulating suggestions for the working conditions of prisoners. In spite of the popularity of prison work in prisons across the globe, there is still not much empirical evidence about how the procurement of the work flows through the prisons and the ensuing possibilities associated with the process for inmates to comprehend and incorporate into their performance. Drawing on the contemporary turn to practice in social theory as a lens, and conceptualizing practices as the analytical starting point for theorizing work, this study provides a fresh empirical articulation on prison work and rehabilitation by demonstrating how prisoners engaged in working outside the prison walls come to understand work, their motivation to participate and engage in the work, and how the work they do may contribute to their rehabilitation. Developing the thesis’s contribution in the context of Ghanaian prisons, five prisons served as the empirical research sites. Adopting an interpretive approach and an exploratory qualitative research design, the main data for the inquiry were collected from 60 inmates, 20 prison officers, and 10 ex-offenders using semi-structured interviews and observations. Analysed through the reflective gaze of microstoria—the sharing of contemporaneous stories on prison life and work as recounted by prisoners—the thesis sheds light on the lived experiences of prisoners, emphasizing the discursive situated practices that come together to define work in the prisons, and how this work is organized. This was supplemented with publicly available data in the form of Ghana government prison policy documents, prison websites, and newspaper articles on prisons. The study presents three main findings. First, emphasizing how external labour work is organized in the prison, the study found that inmates who participate in external labour activities had to qualify by serving either one-third or one-fifth of their sentences as a precondition for prison work or hard labour respectively. Additionally, inmates had to have exhibited good behaviour as proscribed by the environment of the prison during the time served, as witnessed by other prisoners and officers alike. This highlights the forms of integration in the various climatic conditions in the prisons, which is indicative of the acceptable conduct required of participants who engage in external labour activities. Once an inmate passes this stage, they are seen as duly qualified and are called into a gang and assigned to an officer. Second, using the potlatch system as the analytical starting point, the study highlights property rights, rules of earning and holding positions, and reciprocal exchanges as played out in external labour activities. The active engagement of officers in sourcing jobs for inmates propels inmates to work assiduously in their quest to reciprocate the gifts and kindness that the officers have bestowed upon them. This account highlights the power relations embedded in external labour and is suggestive of the impact of the job sourcing process on the inmates’ perceptions regarding the nature of the jobs which are found in the informal sector and are characteristic of fragmented, flexible and 3D (Dirty, Demanding and Dangerous). While it is undeniable that the sourcing process creates fierce competition for status and prestige among the officers, it also provides several other significant junctions which contribute to the general welfare of inmates in the prisons. Third, the study found that the transgression transparency employed by the prison service, such as publishing the names of inmates who ‘misbehave’ at the gate, making the transgressions of the said inmates known to others, and suspending such inmates from taking part in external labour activities, means that transgressors are prompted to progressively engage in a coactive procedure that facilitates the development of mutually acceptable behaviour. Consequently, inmates are assisted to personally engage in acceptable behaviours espoused by the prisons, hence creating a personal narrative control of their own accord in an effort to enable behavioural change, leading to rehabilitation. Thus, personal narrative control helps inmates to take charge of their rehabilitation and prompts others who engage in or hope to engage in external labour to learn from them. Overall, the study demonstrates the relevance of external labour activities as a promising intervention that, although improperly implemented in the prisons, reinforces the need for a positive, holistic approach to the rehabilitation of inmates in prisons. Thus, external labour refocuses our attention from the dyadic prisoner–officer relationship to a more complex triad of the prisoner as a worker, the officers as middlemen and at times employers, and the state as the general overseer, shedding more light on the varying means by which inmates can be rehabilitated in prisons. A series of practical and policy implications are also suggested to help boost and improve external labour activities and support the rehabilitation of inmates in the Ghana Prisons Service. The study ends with a number of directions for future research

    A novel optimal allocation of STATCOM to enhance voltage stability in power networks

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    Crown Copyright © 2024 The Authors. Utilizing a static synchronous compensator (STATCOM) in the electrical power grid greatly improves the grid's voltage profile by enhancing voltage stability. This article proposes a novel approach based on Mixed Integer Distributed Ant Colony Optimization (MIDACO) to determine the optimal STATCOM installation in the electrical power grid. This approach has two control variables to optimize: the STATCOM size and location. This optimization aims to enhance voltage stability with minimum cost by minimizing two objectives: the voltage deviation index and the STATCOM cost. Also, this article presents a sensitivity analysis to show the stochastic nature of MIDACO and to explain the effect of MIDACO parameters on the optimization approach and the process of reaching the optimal solution. The proposed method has been evaluated on three standard test systems: IEEE 14-bus, IEEE 57-bus, and IEEE 118-bus. In addition, the MIDACO results are compared to those of the artificial bee colony algorithm, the genetic algorithm, and particle swarm optimization.This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors

    A plausibility database summarizing the level of evidence regarding the hazards induced by the exposome on children health

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    Supplementary data are available online at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S143846392300202X#appsec1 .Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Childhood diseases correspond to major public health issues. A large number of studies using different approaches provide evidence regarding effects of environmental exposures, encompassed in the exposome, on children's health. We aimed to summarize the overall level of evidence (LoE) from all streams of evidence regarding exposome effects on child health. For 88 selected chemical and urban factors, we retrieved the conclusions of agency reports or literature reviews published between 2015 and 2021 regarding effects on child health, including cardiovascular, metabolic, neurodevelopmental, respiratory and other health outcomes. Adapted versions of PRISMA flowchart and AMSTAR-2 tool were used to select and assess the quality of the systematic reviews retrieved from PubMed and SCOPUS databases. For each factor-outcome pair, conclusions in three streams of evidence (epidemiological, toxicological and mechanistic, the latter corresponding to in vitro and in silico approaches) were translated into stream-specific LoEs and then combined into an overall LoE ranging from “very unlikely” to “very likely”. The 88 environmental factors were implied in 611 factor-outcome pairs. Forty-four pairs (7%), corresponding to 16 factors, had a very likely overall LoE (≥80%); 127 pairs (21%), corresponding to 49 factors, had a likely or more overall LoE (≥60%). For 81 pairs (13%), no evidence was available in agency reports or published reviews, while for 275 pairs (45%), corresponding to 68 factors, the overall LoE was very unlikely (<20%). Exposure factors with the greatest number of associated health outcomes with a high overall LoE were HCB, PCBs, temperature (8 outcomes), PFOA (7 outcomes), PFOS, cotinine (6 outcomes), arsenic, lead (5 outcomes), bisphenols A and S, PFNA and PM2.5 (4 outcomes), DDT, DDE and DDD, PFHxA, PFDA, green space, UV radiation (3 outcomes). We developed an approach to extract and summarize the existing evidence about effects of environmental factors on health. The plausibility database built for children's health can be used to identify research gaps, conduct quantitative risk assessment studies. It could be expanded to consider a larger fraction of the exposome and other age groups and should be updated on a regular basis.The ATHLETE project was funded by The European Commission, through its Horizon 2020 Framework Program for Research and Innovation (grant agreement 874583). This work was also supported by HERA (Integrating Environment and Health Research: a Vision for the EU) Horizon 2020 project (grant agreement 825417). We acknowledge support from the grant CEX 2018-000806-S funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033, and support from the Generalitat de Catalunya through the CERCA Program

    M-FISH evaluation of chromosome aberrations to examine for historical exposure to ionising radiation due to participation at British nuclear test sites

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    All data that support the findings of this study are included within the article (and any supplementary files).Data availability statement: All data that support the findings of this study are included within the article (and any supplementary files) available online at: https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6498/ad1743 .Veterans of the British nuclear testing programme represent a population of ex-military personnel who had the potential to be exposed to ionising radiation through their participation at nuclear testing sites in the 1950s and 1960s. In the intervening years, members of this population have raised concerns about the status of their health and that of their descendants, as a consequence. Radiation dose estimates based on film badge measurements of external dose recorded at the time of the tests suggest any exposure to be limited for the majority of personnel, however, only ∼20% of personnel were monitored and no measurement for internalised exposure are on record. Here, to in-part address families concerns, we assay for chromosomal evidence of historical radiation exposure in a group of aged nuclear test (NT) veterans, using multiplex in situ hybridisation (M-FISH), for comparison with a matched group of veterans who were not present at NT sites. In total, we analysed 9379 and 7698 metaphase cells using M-FISH (24-colour karyotyping) from 48 NT and 38 control veteran samples, representing veteran servicemen from the army, Royal Airforce and Royal Navy. We observed stable and unstable simple- and complex-type chromosome aberrations in both NT and control veterans' samples, however find no significant difference in yield of any chromosome aberration type between the two cohorts. We do observe higher average frequencies of complex chromosome aberrations in a very small subset of veterans previously identified as having a higher potential for radiation exposure, which may be indicative of internalised contamination to long-lived radionuclides from radiation fallout. By utilising recently published whole genome sequence analysis data of a sub-set of the same family groups, we examined for but found no relationship between paternal chromosome aberration burden, germline mutation frequency and self-reported concerns of adverse health in family members, suggesting that the previously reported health issues by participants in this study are unlikely to be associated with historical radiation exposure. We did observe a small number of families, representing both control and NT cohorts, showing a relationship between paternal chromosome aberrations and germline mutation sub-types which should be explored in future studies. In conclusion, we find no cytogenetic evidence of historical radiation exposure in the cohort of nuclear veterans sampled here, offering reassurance that attendance at NTs sites by the veterans sampled here, was not associated with significant levels of exposure to radiation.Nuclear Community Charity Fund (NCCF) through funds received by The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust under the Aged Veterans Fund Grants AVF15A and AVF16. The funding organization had no role in the design and conduct of the study; in the collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; or in the preparation, review or approval of the manuscript

    Visual and Material Representations of Ageing, Space and Rhythms in Everyday Life

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    ......Economic and Social Research Council (RES-061-25-0459)

    Digital Technology, Work, Finance and Crises: Do We Now Live in Lash and Urry’s Capitalism of Mobilities or in Ernest Mandel’s Late Capitalism?

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    The single and combined work of Scott Lash and John Urry have become extremely significant in the social sciences in the UK and beyond. In particular, one of their principal ideas that dominant capitalist countries have made a transition to a «disorganized» and «mobile» era founded on digital networks, global flows of people, objects, images and texts, decentralized and flexible work practices, declining industrialized social classes, and a loss of power for the nation-state to regulate flows of finance, has influenced many researchers. Their work has even helped to establish of a new «mobilities» paradigm in the social sciences. Ernest Mandel has also explored the impact of digital technology on capitalist restructuring. Indeed, he claims that from 1945 onwards, a «late capitalist» wave emerged predicated on the rise of factors like automation, the service sector, and new class identities. Unlike Lash and Urry, however, Mandel applies Marxist theory to investigate these changes. The aim of this paper is to draw on Mandel’s ideas to examine critically the account put forward by Lash and Urry. Five areas in particular will be discussed: theoretical differences between Lash and Urry and Mandel; the transition between different phases in capitalism; the changing composition of social class; whether the workplace is now dominated by decentralized and flexible networks; and the relationship between finance, the state and digital technology.Resumen: Los trabajos individuales y combinados de Scott Lash y John Urry han adquirido una gran relevancia en las ciencias sociales del Reino Unido y de otros países. En particular, una de sus ideas principals y más influyente se fundamente en que los países capitalistas dominantes han realizado una transición hacia una era "desorganizada" y "móvil" basada en las redes digitales, flujos globales de personas, objetos, imágenes y textos, prácticas laborales descentralizadas y flexibles, declive de las clases sociales industrializadas y pérdida de poder del Estado-nación para regular los flujos financieros. Su trabajo, sin duda, ha contribuido a establecer un nuevo paradigma de "movilidades" en las ciencias sociales. También Ernest Mandel ha estudiado el impacto de la tecnología digital en la reestructuración capitalista. En efecto, afirma que a partir de 1945 surgió una oleada de "capitalismo tardío" basada en el auge de factores como la automatización, el sector servicios y las nuevas identidades de clase. Sin embargo, a diferencia de Lash y Urry, Mandel aplica la teoría marxista para investigar estos cambios. El objetivo de este artículo es basarse en las ideas de Mandel para examinar críticamente el relato presentado por Lash y Urry. Se discutirán cinco áreas en particular: las diferencias teóricas entre Lash y Urry y Mandel; la transición entre las diferentes fases del capitalismo; la composición cambiante de la clase social; si el lugar de trabajo está ahora dominado por redes descentralizadas y flexibles; y la relación entre las finanzas, el Estado y la tecnología digital

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