24,871 research outputs found

    Tool use induces complex and flexible plasticity of human body representations

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    Plasticity of body representation fundamentally underpins human tool use. Recent studies have demonstrated remarkably complex plasticity of body representation in humans, showing that such plasticity: (1) occurs flexibly across multiple time-scales, and (2) involves multiple body representations responding differently to tool use. Such findings reveal remarkable sophistication of body plasticity in humans, suggesting that Vaesen may overestimate the similarity of such mechanisms in humans and non-human primates

    Leading a Horse to Water: Writing Workshops for Engineering Graduate Students

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    A workshop series sponsored by the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) seeks to dispel the myth that engineers cannot be good writers

    Green buildings and design for adaptation: strategies for renovation of the built environment

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    The recent EU Directives 2010/31 and 2012/27 provide standards of nearly zero energy buildings for new constructions, aiming at a better quality of the built environment through the adoption of high-performance solutions. In the near future, cities are expected to be the main engine of development while bearing the impact of population growth: new challenges such as increasing energy efficiency, reducing maintenance costs of buildings and infrastructures, facing the effects of climate change and adjusting on-going and future impacts, require smart and sustainable approaches. To improve the capability of adaptation to dynamics of transformation, buildings and districts have to increase their resilience, assumed as ‚Äėthe capacity to adapt to changing conditions and to maintain or regain functionality and vitality in the face of stress or disturbance‚Äô (Wilson A., Building Resilience in Boston, Boston Society of Architects, 2013). This paper describes the research methodology, developed by the Department of Architecture, a research unit of Technology for Architecture, to perform the assessment of resilience of existing buildings, as well as the outcomes of its application within Bologna urban context. This methodology focuses on the design for adaptation of social housing buildings, aiming at predicting their expected main impacts (energy consumption, emissions, efficiency, urban quality and environmental sustainability) and at developing models for renovation

    Palermo as a postmodern carnival: forms of resistance in the cinema of Ciprì and Maresco

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    This thesis aims to assess the originality, the aesthetic value and the ethical stance of Daniele Cipr√¨ and Franco Maresco‚Äôs cinema through an examination of the representation of Palermo in their three feature-length films Lo zio di Brooklyn / The Uncle from Brooklyn (1995), Tot√≤ che visse due volte / Tot√≤ Who Lived Twice (1998) and Il ritorno di Cagliostro / The Return of Cagliostro (2003) and their works on video. The aim is to demonstrate how their cinema reflects a need to delve deeply into the most unsettling aspects of Sicilian society and acts as a form of resistance against dominant ideologies and sources of power. In addition to areas traditionally related to film studies, the thesis encompasses perspectives ranging from anthropology, ecocriticism, philosophy and psychoanalysis to cultural, social and urban studies. It examines Cipr√¨ and Maresco‚Äôs use of humour, drawing on Peter Sloterdijk‚Äôs studies on Kynicism, Luigi Pirandello‚Äôs concept of humour as ‚Äėthe art of the opposite‚Äô and the carnivalesque as discussed by Ella Shohat and Robert Stam in their application of Mikhail Bakhtin‚Äôs studies to cinema. Focusing on how representations of spatiality convey meanings and reflect the real city, Chapter 1, ‚ÄėCityscapes‚Äô, deals with how urban aspects of contemporary Palermo have inspired Cipr√¨ and Maresco‚Äôs vision of an enclosed archaic world of ruins and rubble, assessing the impact that the Second World War bombings and the remains of illegal buildings have had on Palermo and considering the phenomenon of the sprawling city. The investigation draws on Bakhtin‚Äôs notion of ‚Äėchronotope‚Äô with reference to studies on the road movie and fl√Ęnerie. Chapter 2, ‚ÄėBodies‚Äô, investigates the most characteristic aspects of Cipr√¨ and Maresco‚Äôs representation of the human body. It looks at the carnivalesque and the neo-baroque aspects of their cinema and examines how the conflictual relationships between sons and mothers in their all-male world leads to a constant need for sons to affirm their primacy as macho men. It also examines how their representation of masculinity is strongly identified with the feminine and concludes with a discussion on hunger and its association with death and the sacred. Chapter 3 deals with identity and the concept of the Other seen in relation to a type of Sicilianity claimed by Cipr√¨ and Maresco. It looks at how their representation of Palermo presents an autarchic world controlled by an all-powerful Mafia and a hybrid of Christianity and paganism coupled with an obsessive fear of the hereafter. Finally, it examines their use of mock-documentary, the influence of literary texts and the use of Italian subtitles for the Palermitan dialect spoken in their films, focusing on how dialect predominates relegating Italian to the language of the Other. The conclusion includes a review of the directors‚Äô poetics, focusing on what most characterises their vision of Palermo and evaluating the key findings that emerge from the thesis. It considers how their cinema fits into the context of contemporary art cinema and assesses their impact on Italian cinema, concluding with suggestions for further research

    Automatic imitation of biomechanically possible and impossible actions: effects of priming movements versus goals

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    Recent behavioral, neuroimaging, and neurophysiological research suggests a common representational code mediating the observation and execution of actions; yet, the nature of this representational code is not well understood. The authors address this question by investigating (a) whether this observation execution matching system (or mirror system) codes both the constituent movements of an action as well as its goal and (b) how such sensitivity is influenced by top-down effects of instructions. The authors tested the automatic imitation of observed finger actions while manipulating whether the movements were biomechanically possible or impossible, but holding the goal constant. When no mention was made of this difference (Experiment 1), comparable automatic imitation was elicited from possible and impossible actions, suggesting that the actions had been coded at the level of the goal. When attention was drawn to this difference (Experiment 2), however, only possible movements elicited automatic imitation. This sensitivity was specific to imitation, not affecting spatial stimulus‚Äďresponse compatibility (Experiment 3). These results suggest that automatic imitation is modulated by top-down influences, coding actions in terms of both movements and goals depending on the focus of attention

    Training Graduate Engineering Students in Ethics

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    The Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas embarked on providing ethics instruction to incoming graduate students in the form of a mandatory workshop. The College has a diverse graduate student population, including a sizable international component, who are enrolled in several M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs within four departments. Faculty felt that training in ethics was needed to better prepare incoming students for successful graduate studies and working professionally after graduation. Therefore, a standalone workshop was developed that covered four major topics: Research Ethics, Computer Coding Ethics, Publishing Ethics, and Intellectual Property. The last topic covered copyright law, patent law, and trade secrets. To develop this ethics workshop, some ethics instruction programs at U.S. engineering colleges were investigated

    Fast phonon dynamics of a nanomechanical oscillator due to cooperative effects

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    We investigate the coupled-system dynamics of two-level quantum dots placed on a vibrating nanomechanical resonator. The ensemble of quantum dots exhibits superradiance features which are transferred to the mechanical degrees of freedom representing fast quantum dynamics and enhanced phonon emission in a nanomechanical setup, resembling of the superradiance effect.Comment: 6 pages, 4 figure

    A fireworks model for Gamma-Ray Bursts

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    The energetics of the long duration GRB phenomenon is compared with models of a rotating Black Hole (BH) in a strong magnetic field generated by an accreting torus. A rough estimate of the energy extracted from a rotating BH with the Blandford-Znajek mechanism is obtained with a very simple assumption: an inelastic collision between the rotating BH and the torus. The GRB energy emission is attributed to an high magnetic field that breaks down the vacuum around the BH and gives origin to a e+- fireball. Its subsequent evolution is hypothesized, in analogy with the in-flight decay of an elementary particle, to evolve in two distinct phases. The first one occurs close to the engine and is responsible of energizing and collimating the shells. The second one consists of a radiation dominated expansion, which correspondingly accelerates the relativistic photon--particle fluid and ends at the transparency time. This mechanism simply predicts that the observed Lorentz factor is determined by the product of the Lorentz factor of the shell close to the engine and the Lorentz factor derived by the expansion. An anisotropy in the fireball propagation is thus naturally produced, whose degree depends on the bulk Lorentz factor at the end of the collimation phase.Comment: Accepted for publication in MNRA

    Constrained LQR for Low-Precision Data Representation

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    Performing computations with a low-bit number representation results in a faster implementation that uses less silicon, and hence allows an algorithm to be implemented in smaller and cheaper processors without loss of performance. We propose a novel formulation to efficiently exploit the low (or non-standard) precision number representation of some computer architectures when computing the solution to constrained LQR problems, such as those that arise in predictive control. The main idea is to include suitably-defined decision variables in the quadratic program, in addition to the states and the inputs, to allow for smaller roundoff errors in the solver. This enables one to trade off the number of bits used for data representation against speed and/or hardware resources, so that smaller numerical errors can be achieved for the same number of bits (same silicon area). Because of data dependencies, the algorithm complexity, in terms of computation time and hardware resources, does not necessarily increase despite the larger number of decision variables. Examples show that a 10-fold reduction in hardware resources is possible compared to using double precision floating point, without loss of closed-loop performance
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