26,934 research outputs found

    Serving to secure "Global Korea": Gender, mobility, and flight attendant labor migrants

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    This dissertation is an ethnography of mobility and modernity in contemporary South Korea (the Republic of Korea) following neoliberal restructuring precipitated by the Asian Financial Crisis (1997). It focuses on how comparative “service,” “security,” and “safety” fashioned “Global Korea”: an ongoing state-sponsored project aimed at promoting the economic, political, and cultural maturation of South Korea from a once notoriously inhospitable, “backward” country (hujin’guk) to a now welcoming, “advanced country” (sŏnjin’guk). Through physical embodiments of the culturally-specific idiom of “superior” service (sŏbisŭ), I argue that aspiring, current, and former Korean flight attendants have driven the production and maintenance of this national project. More broadly, as a driver of this national project, this occupation has emerged out of the country’s own aspirational flights from an earlier history of authoritarian rule, labor violence, and xenophobia. Against the backdrop of the Korean state’s aggressive neoliberal restructuring, globalization efforts, and current “Hell Chosun” (Helchosŏn) economy, a group of largely academically and/or class disadvantaged young women have been able secure individualized modes of pleasure, self-fulfillment, and class advancement via what I deem “service mobilities.” Service mobilities refers to the participation of mostly women in a traditionally devalued but growing sector of the global labor market, the “pink collar” economy centered around “feminine” care labor. Korean female flight attendants share labor skills resembling those of other foreign labor migrants (chiefly from the “Global South”), who perform care work deemed less desirable. Yet, Korean female flight attendants elude the stigmatizing, classed, and racialized category of “labor migrant.” Moreover, within the context of South Korea’s unique history of rapid modernization, the flight attendant occupation also commands considerable social prestige. Based on ethnographic and archival research on aspiring, current, and former Korean flight attendants, this dissertation asks how these unique care laborers negotiate a metaphorical and literal series of sustained border crossings and inspections between Korean flight attendants’ contingent status as lowly care-laboring migrants, on the one hand, and ostensibly glamorous, globetrotting elites, on the other. This study contends the following: first, the flight attendant occupation in South Korea represents new politics of pleasure and pain in contemporary East Asia. Second, Korean female flight attendants’ enactments of soft, sanitized, and glamorous (hwaryŏhada) service help to purify South Korea’s less savory past. In so doing, Korean flight attendants reconstitute the historical role of female laborers as burden bearers and caretakers of the Korean state.U of I OnlyAuthor submitted a 2-year U of I restriction extension request

    Towards Autonomous Selective Harvesting: A Review of Robot Perception, Robot Design, Motion Planning and Control

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    This paper provides an overview of the current state-of-the-art in selective harvesting robots (SHRs) and their potential for addressing the challenges of global food production. SHRs have the potential to increase productivity, reduce labour costs, and minimise food waste by selectively harvesting only ripe fruits and vegetables. The paper discusses the main components of SHRs, including perception, grasping, cutting, motion planning, and control. It also highlights the challenges in developing SHR technologies, particularly in the areas of robot design, motion planning and control. The paper also discusses the potential benefits of integrating AI and soft robots and data-driven methods to enhance the performance and robustness of SHR systems. Finally, the paper identifies several open research questions in the field and highlights the need for further research and development efforts to advance SHR technologies to meet the challenges of global food production. Overall, this paper provides a starting point for researchers and practitioners interested in developing SHRs and highlights the need for more research in this field.Comment: Preprint: to be appeared in Journal of Field Robotic

    An exploration of the language within Ofsted reports and their influence on primary school performance in mathematics: a mixed methods critical discourse analysis

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    This thesis contributes to the understanding of the language of Ofsted reports, their similarity to one another and associations between different terms used within ‘areas for improvement’ sections and subsequent outcomes for pupils. The research responds to concerns from serving headteachers that Ofsted reports are overly similar, do not capture the unique story of their school, and are unhelpful for improvement. In seeking to answer ‘how similar are Ofsted reports’ the study uses two tools, a plagiarism detection software (Turnitin) and a discourse analysis tool (NVivo) to identify trends within and across a large corpus of reports. The approach is based on critical discourse analysis (Van Dijk, 2009; Fairclough, 1989) but shaped in the form of practitioner enquiry seeking power in the form of impact on pupils and practitioners, rather than a more traditional, sociological application of the method. The research found that in 2017, primary school section 5 Ofsted reports had more than half of their content exactly duplicated within other primary school inspection reports published that same year. Discourse analysis showed the quality assurance process overrode variables such as inspector designation, gender, or team size, leading to three distinct patterns of duplication: block duplication, self-referencing, and template writing. The most unique part of a report was found to be the ‘area for improvement’ section, which was tracked to externally verified outcomes for pupils using terms linked to ‘mathematics’. Those required to improve mathematics in their areas for improvement improved progress and attainment in mathematics significantly more than national rates. These findings indicate that there was a positive correlation between the inspection reporting process and a beneficial impact on pupil outcomes in mathematics, and that the significant similarity of one report to another had no bearing on the usefulness of the report for school improvement purposes within this corpus

    The Viability and Potential Consequences of IoT-Based Ransomware

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    With the increased threat of ransomware and the substantial growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) market, there is significant motivation for attackers to carry out IoT-based ransomware campaigns. In this thesis, the viability of such malware is tested. As part of this work, various techniques that could be used by ransomware developers to attack commercial IoT devices were explored. First, methods that attackers could use to communicate with the victim were examined, such that a ransom note was able to be reliably sent to a victim. Next, the viability of using "bricking" as a method of ransom was evaluated, such that devices could be remotely disabled unless the victim makes a payment to the attacker. Research was then performed to ascertain whether it was possible to remotely gain persistence on IoT devices, which would improve the efficacy of existing ransomware methods, and provide opportunities for more advanced ransomware to be created. Finally, after successfully identifying a number of persistence techniques, the viability of privacy-invasion based ransomware was analysed. For each assessed technique, proofs of concept were developed. A range of devices -- with various intended purposes, such as routers, cameras and phones -- were used to test the viability of these proofs of concept. To test communication hijacking, devices' "channels of communication" -- such as web services and embedded screens -- were identified, then hijacked to display custom ransom notes. During the analysis of bricking-based ransomware, a working proof of concept was created, which was then able to remotely brick five IoT devices. After analysing the storage design of an assortment of IoT devices, six different persistence techniques were identified, which were then successfully tested on four devices, such that malicious filesystem modifications would be retained after the device was rebooted. When researching privacy-invasion based ransomware, several methods were created to extract information from data sources that can be commonly found on IoT devices, such as nearby WiFi signals, images from cameras, or audio from microphones. These were successfully implemented in a test environment such that ransomable data could be extracted, processed, and stored for later use to blackmail the victim. Overall, IoT-based ransomware has not only been shown to be viable but also highly damaging to both IoT devices and their users. While the use of IoT-ransomware is still very uncommon "in the wild", the techniques demonstrated within this work highlight an urgent need to improve the security of IoT devices to avoid the risk of IoT-based ransomware causing havoc in our society. Finally, during the development of these proofs of concept, a number of potential countermeasures were identified, which can be used to limit the effectiveness of the attacking techniques discovered in this PhD research

    Multi-modal Facial Affective Analysis based on Masked Autoencoder

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    Human affective behavior analysis focuses on analyzing human expressions or other behaviors to enhance the understanding of human psychology. The CVPR 2023 Competition on Affective Behavior Analysis in-the-wild (ABAW) is dedicated to providing high-quality and large-scale Aff-wild2 for the recognition of commonly used emotion representations, such as Action Units (AU), basic expression categories(EXPR), and Valence-Arousal (VA). The competition is committed to making significant strides in improving the accuracy and practicality of affective analysis research in real-world scenarios. In this paper, we introduce our submission to the CVPR 2023: ABAW5. Our approach involves several key components. First, we utilize the visual information from a Masked Autoencoder(MAE) model that has been pre-trained on a large-scale face image dataset in a self-supervised manner. Next, we finetune the MAE encoder on the image frames from the Aff-wild2 for AU, EXPR and VA tasks, which can be regarded as a static and uni-modal training. Additionally, we leverage the multi-modal and temporal information from the videos and implement a transformer-based framework to fuse the multi-modal features. Our approach achieves impressive results in the ABAW5 competition, with an average F1 score of 55.49\% and 41.21\% in the AU and EXPR tracks, respectively, and an average CCC of 0.6372 in the VA track. Our approach ranks first in the EXPR and AU tracks, and second in the VA track. Extensive quantitative experiments and ablation studies demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed method

    Interval Type-2 Beta Fuzzy Near Sets Approach to Content-Based Image Retrieval

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    In computer-based search systems, similarity plays a key role in replicating the human search process. Indeed, the human search process underlies many natural abilities such as image recovery, language comprehension, decision making, or pattern recognition. The search for images consists of establishing a correspondence between the available image and that sought by the user, by measuring the similarity between the images. Image search by content is generaly based on the similarity of the visual characteristics of the images. The distance function used to evaluate the similarity between images depends notonly on the criteria of the search but also on the representation of the characteristics of the image. This is the main idea of a content-based image retrieval (CBIR) system. In this article, first, we constructed type-2 beta fuzzy membership of descriptor vectors to help manage inaccuracy and uncertainty of characteristics extracted the feature of images. Subsequently, the retrieved images are ranked according to the novel similarity measure, noted type-2 fuzzy nearness measure (IT2FNM). By analogy to Type-2 Fuzzy Logic and motivated by near sets theory, we advanced a new fuzzy similarity measure (FSM) noted interval type-2 fuzzy nearness measure (IT-2 FNM). Then, we proposed three new IT-2 FSMs and we have provided mathematical justification to demonstrate that the proposed FSMs satisfy proximity properties (i.e. reflexivity, transitivity, symmetry, and overlapping). Experimental results generated using three image databases showing consistent and significant results

    Learning disentangled speech representations

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    A variety of informational factors are contained within the speech signal and a single short recording of speech reveals much more than the spoken words. The best method to extract and represent informational factors from the speech signal ultimately depends on which informational factors are desired and how they will be used. In addition, sometimes methods will capture more than one informational factor at the same time such as speaker identity, spoken content, and speaker prosody. The goal of this dissertation is to explore different ways to deconstruct the speech signal into abstract representations that can be learned and later reused in various speech technology tasks. This task of deconstructing, also known as disentanglement, is a form of distributed representation learning. As a general approach to disentanglement, there are some guiding principles that elaborate what a learned representation should contain as well as how it should function. In particular, learned representations should contain all of the requisite information in a more compact manner, be interpretable, remove nuisance factors of irrelevant information, be useful in downstream tasks, and independent of the task at hand. The learned representations should also be able to answer counter-factual questions. In some cases, learned speech representations can be re-assembled in different ways according to the requirements of downstream applications. For example, in a voice conversion task, the speech content is retained while the speaker identity is changed. And in a content-privacy task, some targeted content may be concealed without affecting how surrounding words sound. While there is no single-best method to disentangle all types of factors, some end-to-end approaches demonstrate a promising degree of generalization to diverse speech tasks. This thesis explores a variety of use-cases for disentangled representations including phone recognition, speaker diarization, linguistic code-switching, voice conversion, and content-based privacy masking. Speech representations can also be utilised for automatically assessing the quality and authenticity of speech, such as automatic MOS ratings or detecting deep fakes. The meaning of the term "disentanglement" is not well defined in previous work, and it has acquired several meanings depending on the domain (e.g. image vs. speech). Sometimes the term "disentanglement" is used interchangeably with the term "factorization". This thesis proposes that disentanglement of speech is distinct, and offers a viewpoint of disentanglement that can be considered both theoretically and practically

    QSAR based virtual screening derived identification of a novel hit as a SARS CoV-229E 3CLpro Inhibitor: GA-MLR QSAR modeling supported by molecular Docking, molecular dynamics simulation and MMGBSA calculation approaches

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    Congruous coronavirus drug targets and analogous lead molecules must be identified as quickly as possible to produce antiviral therapeutics against human coronavirus (HCoV SARS 3CLpro) infections. In the present communication, we bear recognized a HIT candidate for HCoV SARS 3CLpro inhibition. Four Parametric GA-MLR primarily based QSAR model (R2:0.84, R2adj:0.82, Q2loo: 0.78) was once promoted using a dataset over 37 structurally diverse molecules along QSAR based virtual screening (QSAR-VS), molecular docking (MD) then molecular dynamic simulation (MDS) analysis and MMGBSA calculations. The QSAR-based virtual screening was utilized to find novel lead molecules from an in-house database of 100 molecules. The QSAR-vS successfully offered a hit molecule with an improved PEC50 value from 5.88 to 6.08. The benzene ring, phenyl ring, amide oxygen and nitrogen, and other important pharmacophoric sites are revealed via MD and MDS studies. Ile164, Pro188, Leu190, Thr25, His41, Asn46, Thr47, Ser49, Asn189, Gln191, Thr47, and Asn141 are among the key amino acid residues in the S1 and S2 pocket. A stable complex of a lead molecule with the HCoV SARS 3CLpro was discovered using MDS. MM-GBSA calculations resulted from MD simulation results well supported with the binding energies calculated from the docking results. The results of this study can be exploited to develop a novel antiviral target, such as an HCoV SARS 3CLpro Inhibitor

    Effects of forest degradation on Amazonian ferns in a land‐bridge island system as revealed by non‐specialist inventories

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    Tropical forests have been rapidly deforested and degradation worldwide has outpaced biodiversity field sampling. No study to date has assessed the effects of insular habitats induced by hydroelectric dams on Amazonian understory plants. Fern community responses to anthropogenic effects on tropical forest islands can be revealed at a faster pace by using simple and cheap, yet informative, protocols that could be applied by non-specialists. This study seeks to both understand the drivers of fern and lycophytes assemblages on forest islands and investigate the relative costs and effectiveness of a simplified sampling protocol that can be applied by non-specialists. Fern species were sampled by a non-specialist who photographed all ferns and lycophytes within seventeen 0.25-ha plots on 10 forest islands at the lake of Balbina Hydroelectric dam, central Amazonia. Sampling was carried out opportunistically during a field expedition planned to conduct tree inventories. As predictors, we used locally measured or GIS-derived descriptors of plot and landscape conditions. We used multivariate and linear models to further assess the influence of predictors on patterns of species richness and composition of ferns assemblages. A total of 286 photographed individual ferns or lycophytes represented at least 23 species and 14 genera. The average number of taxa per plot was 6.1 in the islands and 14.3 in the mainland. The species pool found on islands was a nested subset of the mainland fern community. Species richness was positively related to island size and negatively related to isolation and fire severity. Area, isolation and fire severity also significantly explained variation in community composition. The relative cost of the picture-based fern protocol applied was very modest (only 4% of the total expedition budget), even compared to the typically low cost of alternative field campaigns. We conclude that fern community structure in this forest archipelago was primarily driven by island size, isolation and fire disturbance. Moreover, we show that a simple sampling protocol carried out by a non-specialist can lead to inexpensive and highly reliable ecological data. This opens an avenue for crowdsourcing ecological fern data collections using a citizen science approach

    Post-Millennial Queer Sensibility: Collaborative Authorship as Disidentification in Queer Intertextual Commodities

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    This dissertation is examining LGBTQ+ audiences and creatives collaborating in the creation of new media texts like web shows, podcasts, and video games. The study focuses on three main objects or media texts: Carmilla (web series), Welcome to Night Vale (podcast), and Undertale (video game). These texts are transmedia objects or intertextual commodities. I argue that by using queer gestures of collaborative authorship that reaches out to the audience for canonical contribution create an emerging queer production culture that disidentifies with capitalism even as it negotiates capitalistic structures. The post-millennial queer sensibility is a constellation of aesthetics, self-representation, alternative financing, and interactivity that prioritizes community, trust, and authenticity using new technologies for co-creation. Within my study, there are four key tactics or queer gestures being explored: remediation, radical ambiguity and multi-forms as queer aesthetics, audience self-representation, alternative financing like micropatronage & licensed fan-made merchandise, and interactivity as performance. The goal of this project is to better understand the changing conceptions of authorship/ownership, canon/fanon (official text/fan created extensions), and community/capitalism in queer subcultures as an indicator of the potential change in more mainstream cultural attitudes. The project takes into consideration a variety of intersecting identities including gender, race, class, and of course sexual orientation in its analysis. By examining the legal discourse around collaborative authorship, the real-life production practices, and audience-creator interactions and attitudes, this study provides insight into how media creatives work with audiences to co-create self-representative media, the motivations, and rewards for creative, audiences, and owners. This study aims to contribute towards a fuller understanding of queer production cultures and audience reception of these media texts, of which there is relatively little academic information. Specifically, the study mines for insights into the changing attitudes towards authorship, ownership, and collaboration within queer indie media projects, especially as these objects are relying on the self-representation of both audiences and creatives in the formation of the text
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