1,023 research outputs found

    Mediating boundaries between knowledge and knowing: ICT and R4D praxis

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    Research for development (R4D) praxis (theory-informed practical action) can be underpinned by the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) which, it is claimed, provide opportunities for knowledge working and sharing. Such a framing implicitly or explicitly constructs a boundary around knowledge as reified, or commodified – or at least able to be stabilized for a period of time (first order knowledge). In contrast ‘third-generation knowledge’ emphasizes the social nature of learning and knowledge-making; this reframes knowledge as a negotiated social practice, thus constructing a different system boundary. This paper offers critical reflections on the use of a wiki as a data repository and mediating technical platform as part of innovating in R4D praxis. A sustainable social learning process was sought that fostered an emergent community of practice among biophysical and social researchers acting for the first time as R4D co-researchers. Over time the technologically mediated element of the learning system was judged to have failed. This inquiry asks: How can learning system design cultivate learning opportunities and respond to learning challenges in an online environment to support R4D practice? Confining critical reflection to the online learning experience alone ignores the wider context in which knowledge work took place; therefore the institutional setting is also considered

    Craniodental Morphology and Systematics of a New Family of Hystricognathous Rodents (Gaudeamuridae) from the Late Eocene and Early Oligocene of Egypt

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    BACKGROUND: Gaudeamus is an enigmatic hystricognathous rodent that was, until recently, known solely from fragmentary material from early Oligocene sites in Egypt, Oman, and Libya. Gaudeamus' molars are similar to those of the extant cane rat Thryonomys, and multiple authorities have aligned Gaudeamus with Thryonomys to the exclusion of other living and extinct African hystricognaths; recent phylogenetic analyses have, however, also suggested affinities with South American caviomorphs or Old World porcupines (Hystricidae). METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we describe the oldest known remains of Gaudeamus, including largely complete but crushed crania and complete upper and lower dentitions. Unlike younger Gaudeamus species, the primitive species described here have relatively complex occlusal patterns, and retain a number of plesiomorphic features. Unconstrained parsimony analysis nests Gaudeamus and Hystrix within the South American caviomorph radiation, implying what we consider to be an implausible back-dispersal across the Atlantic Ocean to account for Gaudeamus' presence in the late Eocene of Africa. An analysis that was constrained to recover the biogeographically more plausible hypothesis of caviomorph monophyly does not place Gaudeamus as a stem caviomorph, but rather as a sister taxon of hystricids. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We place Gaudeamus species in a new family, Gaudeamuridae, and consider it likely that the group originated, diversified, and then went extinct over a geologically brief period of time during the latest Eocene and early Oligocene in Afro-Arabia. Gaudeamurids are the only known crown hystricognaths from Afro-Arabia that are likely to be aligned with non-phiomorph members of that clade, and as such provide additional support for an Afro-Arabian origin of advanced stem and basal crown members of Hystricognathi

    Cumulate causes for the low contents of sulfide-loving elements in the continental crust

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    Despite the economic importance of chalcophile (sulfide-loving) and siderophile (metal-loving) elements (CSEs), it is unclear how they become enriched or depleted in the continental crust, compared with the oceanic crust. This is due in part to our limited understanding of the partitioning behaviour of the CSEs. Here I compile compositional data for mid-ocean ridge basalts and subduction-related volcanic rocks. I show that the mantle-derived melts that contribute to oceanic and continental crust formation rarely avoid sulfide saturation during cooling in the crust and, on average, subduction-zone magmas fractionate sulfide at the base of the continental crust prior to ascent. Differentiation of mantle-derived melts enriches lower crustal sulfide- and silicate-bearing cumulates in some CSEs compared with the upper crust. This storage predisposes the cumulate-hosted compatible CSEs (such as Cu and Au) to be recycled back into the mantle during subduction and delamination, resulting in their low contents in the bulk continental crust and potentially contributing to the scarcity of ore deposits in the upper continental crust. By contrast, differentiation causes the upper oceanic and continental crust to become enriched in incompatible CSEs (such as W) compared with the lower oceanic and continental crust. Consequently, incompatible CSEs are predisposed to become enriched in subduction-zone magmas that contribute to continental crust formation and are less susceptible to removal from the continental crust via delamination compared with the compatible CSEs

    A review of critical project management techniques to enhance construction SMEs project performance

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    Abstract: Performance is linked with implementation of project management techniques. Literature suggests that problems such as inefficiency, poor budgetary issues, improper planning, scheduling and control in projects execution are associated with inadequate implementation of the essential techniques for meeting project deliverables. These shortcomings are prevalent among Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the developing countries including South Africa. Hence, the primary objective of this paper is to review the critical project management techniques for the improvement of construction project performance especially among SMEs in South Africa. The study is based on previous literature on construction SMEs project performance as well as project management techniques implementation. The literature review centered on both international and South African context. The study revealed that critical path method, work breakdown structure, and earned value management analysis were the most occurring project management techniques from the sampled literature. Findings from this study are envisaged to be beneficial to construction stakeholders in developing relevant project management techniques to improve the performance of SMEs

    Is a persistent global bias necessary for the establishment of planar cell polarity?

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    Planar cell polarity (PCP)–the coordinated polarisation of a whole field of cells within the plane of a tissue–relies on the interaction of three modules: a global module that couples individual cellular polarity to the tissue axis, a local module that aligns the axis of polarisation of neighbouring cells, and a readout module that directs the correct outgrowth of PCP-regulated structures such as hairs and bristles. While much is known about the molecular components that are required for PCP, the functional details of–and interactions between–the modules remain unclear. In this work, we perform a mathematical and computational analysis of two previously proposed computational models of the local module (Amonlirdviman et al., Science, 307, 2005; Le Garrec et al., Dev. Dyn., 235, 2006). Both models can reproduce wild-type and mutant phenotypes of PCP observed in the Drosophila wing under the assumption that a tissue-wide polarity cue from the global module persists throughout the development of PCP. We demonstrate that both models can also generate tissue-level PCP when provided with only a transient initial polarity cue. However, in these models such transient cues are not sufficient to ensure robustness of the resulting cellular polarisation

    Personal values and involvement in problem behaviors among Bahamian early adolescents: a cross-sectional study

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Few studies, particularly in developing countries, have explored the relationship between adolescents and parental values with adolescent problem behaviors. The objectives of the study are to (1) describe adolescents' personal values, their problem behaviors, and the relationships thereof according to gender and (2) examine the relationship between parental values, adolescent values, and adolescents' problem behaviors among sixth-grade students and one of their parents.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>The data used in these analyses were from the baseline assessment of a school-based HIV risk reduction intervention being conducted and evaluated among sixth grade students and one of their parents across 9 elementary schools in The Bahamas. Personal values were measured by the Portrait Values Questionnaire (PVQ). Seven reported problem behaviors were queried from the students, which included physical fight with a friend, drank alcohol, beer, or wine, smoked a cigarette, pushed or carried any drugs, carried a gun, knife, screwdriver or cutlass to use as a weapon, had sex and used marijuana or other illicit drugs over the past 6 months. Multilevel modeling for binary data was performed to estimate the associations between adolescent and parental values and adolescent problem behaviors.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Among 785 students, 47% of the students reported at least one problem behavior. More boys (54%) reported having one or more problem behaviors than girls (41%, p < 0.01). Boys compared to girls expressed a higher level of self-enhancement (means score: 36.5 vs. 35.1; p = 0.03), while girls expressed a higher level of self-transcendence (42.3 vs. 40.7; p = 0.03). The results of multilevel modeling indicates that boys with a higher level of self-enhancement and girls with a higher level of openness to change and a lower level of conservation were more likely to report engagement in problem behaviors. Only two parental values (self-transcendence and conservation) were low or modestly correlated with youth' values (openness to change and self-enhancement). Parental-reported values documented limited association on adolescents' reported values and behaviors.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>In designing interventions for reducing adolescents' problem behaviors, it may be important to understand the values associated with specific problem behaviors. Further exploration regarding lack of association between adolescent and parental values and problem behaviors is needed.</p

    Integrated, multidisciplinary care for hand eczema: design of a randomized controlled trial and cost-effectiveness study

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    Background: The individual and societal burden of hand eczema is high. Literature indicates that moderate to severe hand eczema is a disease with a poor prognosis. Many patients are hampered in their daily activities, including work. High costs are related to high medical consumption, productivity loss and sick leave. Usual care is suboptimal, due to a lack of optimal instruction and coordination of care, and communication with the general practitioner/occupational physician and people involved at the workplace. Therefore, an integrated, multidisciplinary intervention involving a dermatologist, a care manager, a specialized nurse and a clinical occupational physician was developed. This paper describes the design of a study to investigate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of integrated care for hand eczema by a multidisciplinary team, coordinated by a care manager, consisting of instruction on avoiding relevant contact factors, both in the occupational and in the private environment, optimal skin care and treatment, compared to usual, dermatologist-led care. Methods: The study is a multicentre, randomized, controlled trial with an economic evaluation alongside. The study population consists of patients with chronic, moderate to severe hand eczema, who visit an outpatient clinic of one of the participating 5 (three university and two general) hospitals. Integrated, multidisciplinary care, coordinated by a care manager, including allergo-dermatological evaluation by a dermatologist, occupational intervention by a clinical occupational physician, and counselling by a specialized nurse on optimizing topical treatment and skin care will be compared with usual care by a dermatologist. The primary outcome measure is the cumulative difference in reduction of the clinical severity score HECSI between the groups. Secondary outcome measures are the patient's global assessment, specific quality of life with regard to the hands, generic quality of life, sick leave and patient satisfaction. An economic evaluation will be conducted alongside the RCT. Direct and indirect costs will be measured. Outcome measures will be assessed at baseline and after 4, 12, 26 and 52 weeks. All statistical analyses will be performed on the intention-to-treat principle. In addition, per protocol analyses will be carried out. Discussion: To improve societal participation of patients with moderate to severe hand eczema, an integrated care intervention was developed involving both person-related and environmental factors. Such integrated care is expected to improve the patients' clinical signs, quality of life and to reduce sick leave and medical costs. Results will become available in 2011

    Electrophysiological Correlates of Strategic Monitoring in Event-Based and Time-Based Prospective Memory

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    Prospective memory (PM) is the ability to remember to accomplish an action when a particular event occurs (i.e., event-based PM), or at a specific time (i.e., time-based PM) while performing an ongoing activity. Strategic Monitoring is one of the basic cognitive functions supporting PM tasks, and involves two mechanisms: a retrieval mode, which consists of maintaining active the intention in memory; and target checking, engaged for verifying the presence of the PM cue in the environment. The present study is aimed at providing the first evidence of event-related potentials (ERPs) associated with time-based PM, and at examining differences and commonalities in the ERPs related to Strategic Monitoring mechanisms between event- and time-based PM tasks
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