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    49195 research outputs found

    STEM policy and science education: Scientistic curriculum and sociopolitical silences

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    This essay responds to the contribution of Volny Fages and Virginia Albe, in this volume, to the field of research in science education, and places it in the context of the plethora of government and industry policy documents calling for more Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in schools and universities and the tension between these and students' declining interest in studying STEM subjects. It also draws attention to the parallels between the silences around sociopolitical issues in government policies and curriculum related to STEM, including nanoscience, and those found with respect to environmental education two decades ago, and relates these to the resurgence of a scientific rationalist approach to curriculum

    Innovation in the digital economy: the impact of high-speed broadband on innovating SMEs

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    Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been recognised as engines for innovation, which is critical for economic growth. Limited studies have examined the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on innovation in SMEs despite the critical importance of making sound ICT investment decisions to transform innovation in the digital economy. This paper examines how technological capabilities can be shaped to achieve organisational innovation outcomes. It uncovers important drivers including innovation orientation, applications that can enhance a firm’s capability to be flexible in its innovation endeavours which in turn can influence innovation impact though innovation process performance and service innovation quality

    Dual application of duckweed and azolla plants for wastewater treatment and renewable fuels and petrochemicals production

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    Shortages in fresh water supplies today affects more than 1 billion people worldwide. Phytoremediation strategies, based on the abilities of aquatic plants to recycle nutrients offer an attractive solution for the bioremediation of water pollution and represents one of the most globally researched issues. The subsequent application of the biomass from the remediation for the production of fuels and petrochemicals offers an ecologically friendly and cost-effective solution for water pollution problems and production of value-added products. Results: In this paper, the feasibility of the dual application of duckweed and azolla aquatic plants for wastewater treatment and production of renewable fuels and petrochemicals is explored. The differences in absorption rates of the key wastewater nutrients, ammonium and phosphorus by these aquatic macrophytes were used as the basis for optimization of the composition of wastewater effluents. Analysis of pyrolysis products showed that azolla and algae produce a similar range of bio-oils that contain a large spectrum of petrochemicals including straight-chain C10-C21 alkanes, which can be directly used as diesel fuel supplement, or a glycerin-free component of biodiesel. Pyrolysis of duckweed produces a different range of bio-oil components that can potentially be used for the production of "green" gasoline and diesel fuel using existing techniques, such as catalytic hydrodeoxygenation. Conclusions: Differences in absorption rates of the key wastewater nutrients, ammonium and phosphorus by different aquatic macrophytes can be used for optimization of composition of wastewater effluents. The generated data suggest that the composition of the petrochemicals can be modified in a targeted fashion, not only by using different species, but also by changing the source plants' metabolic profile, by exposing them to different abiotic or biotic stresses

    Survival and recolonisation following wildfire at Moyston West, Western Victoria. 2. Herpetofauna

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    Wildfire is a common occurrence in south-eastern Australia and affects fauna populations in various ways. In fragmented landscapes severe wildfire may lead to local extinction of some species; however, in other cases natural features such as cracks in the soil may provide refuges and the opportunity for some taxa to survive and recolonise surrounding areas. There is a lack of studies that provide both pre-wildfire and post-wildfire data on reptiles and amphibians especially at inland woodland sites. Data were collected to determine the presence and relative abundance of vertebrate fauna at a site near Moyston in Western Victoria on three occasions pre-wildfire and on seven occasions post-wildfire. Ten reptile and five amphibian species were recorded pre-wildfire, whilst 11 reptile and eight amphibian species were recorded post-wildfire. Bibron's Toadlet Pseudophryne bibronii, a species listed as threatened in Victoria, survived the wildfire in significant numbers in parts of the property severely burnt by wildfire. Several other species were recorded post-wildfire in sections of the property that were severely burnt. Numerous species appear to have survived the wildfire due to their ability to shelter underground, whilst others may have sheltered under large logs that were only partially burnt. Populations of other species may have survived due to a combination of breeding cycles, low metabolic rates and time of fire. At least one species of reptile may have recolonised the property from unburnt areas in neighbouring districts

    A review of the concept of autonomy in the context of the safety regulation of civil unmanned aircraft systems.

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    Civil aviation safety regulations and guidance mate- rial classify Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) as ei- ther Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) or Autonomous Aircraft Systems (AAS). This distinc- tion is based on the premise that the e ective safety risk management of UAS is dependent on the degree of autonomy of the system being operated. However, it is found that there is no consensus on the concept of autonomy, on how it can be measured, or on the na- ture of the relationship between Levels of Autonomy (LoA) and the safety-performance of UAS operations. An objective of this paper is to evaluate existing LoA assessment frameworks for application in avia- tion safety regulations for UAS. The results from a comprehensive review of existing concepts of auton- omy and frameworks for assessing LoA are presented. Six case study UAS were classi ed using the pub- lished LoA frameworks. The implied LoA of UAS for existing modes of operation (e.g., teleoperation, semi- autonomous) were also assessed using the published frameworks. It was found that the existing LoA assessment frameworks, when applied to the case study UAS, do not provide a consistent basis for distinguishing between the regulatory classes of RPAS and AAS. It was also found that the existing regulatory de ni- tion of an autonomous aircraft is too broad, covering UAS of signi cantly di erent levels of capability and system complexity. Within the context of aviation safety regulations, a new LoA assessment framework for UAS is required

    Developing an IS quality culture with ISO 9001: hopefully, a never ending story

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    We present an approach to develop IS Quality Culture, in the context of ISO 9001. The research design begins with semi-structured interviews with eight auditors, followed by action research. We confirmed that auditors recognize the importance of five distinct IS Quality dimensions: information/data, software, administrative, service, and infrastructure. However, the audit practice reveals the risk of considering IS as mere support, disregarding the cultural aspects of IS Quality. Our contribution addresses this gap by providing an audit checklist and an approach accessible to IS non-experts. An IS Quality Culture is vital in regulatory environments, and may raise the audit effectiveness and confidence in ISO 9001 as an improvement model. ISO 9001 diffusion and acceptance by more than one million companies worldwide creates an exceptional opportunity to continuously development of the IS Quality Culture. The obtained findings can also contribute to the discussion of the next ISO 9001 revision, expected to be published in 2016

    Bistatic LIDAR system for the characterisation of aviation-related pollutant column densities

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    In this paper we investigate an innovative application of Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology for aviation-related pollutant measurements. The proposed measurement technique is conceived for the high-resolution characterisation in space and time domains of aviation-related pollutant gases. The system performs Integral Path Differential Absorption (IPDA) measurement in a bistatic LIDAR measurement setup. The airborne component consists of a tuneable Near Infrared (NIR) laser emitter installed on an Unmanned Aircraft (UA) and the ground sub-system is composed by a target reference surface (calibrated for reflectance) and a differential transmittance measuring device based on a NIR Camera calibrated for radiance. The specific system implementation for Carbon Dioxide (CO2) measurement is discussed. A preliminary assessment of the error figures associated with the proposed system layout is performed

    The prediction of the complex characteristic acoustic impedance of porous materials

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    Modeling the complex characteristic acoustic impedance and complex wavenumber of porous materials allows the prediction of the complex specific acoustic impedance of a system consisting of porous absorbers and air cavities in front of a rigid surface. By using the transfer matrix method, the complex characteristic acoustic impedance and complex wavenumber of a porous material can be predicted by using the measured complex specific acoustic impedance of two different systems of the porous material and an air cavity, performed in a two-microphone impedance tube. Depending on the method, the material can be measured with either a rigidly terminated back plate at the back of the material, or a rigidly terminated air cavity at the back. This paper looks at why predictions using the single and double thickness method break down for thinner, less dense materials

    Flexible story generation with Norms and Preferences in computer role playing games

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    Interactive storytelling is a strength of table-top role playing games as they are facilitated by a game master (GM) who directs the narrative and devises game scenarios. One difficulty with the implementation is the large amount of time

    Statistical comparisons of non-deterministic IR systems using two dimensional variance

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    Retrieval systems with non-deterministic output are widely used in information retrieval. Common examples include sampling, approximation algorithms, or interactive user input. The effectiveness of such systems differs not just for different topics, but also for different instances of the system. The inherent variance presents a dilemma - What is the best way to measure the effectiveness of a non-deterministic IR system? Existing approaches to IR evaluation do not consider this problem, or the potential impact on statistical significance. In this paper, we explore how such variance can affect system comparisons, and propose an evaluation framework and methodologies capable of doing this comparison. Using the context of distributed information retrieval as a case study for our investigation, we show that the approaches provide a consistent and reliable methodology to compare the effectiveness of a non-deterministic system with a deterministic or another non-deterministic system. In addition, we present a statistical best-practice that can be used to safely show how a non-deterministic IR system has equivalent effectiveness to another IR system, and how to avoid the common pitfall of misusing a lack of significance as a proof that two systems have equivalent effectiveness

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