The distributions of naturally occurring and anthropogenic radioactive materials were determined in surface sediments taken at 27 different locations along the bank of Negombo Lagoon in Sri Lanka. Hydrographic parameters of lagoon water and the grain size analyses of the sediment samples were also carried out for this study. The conductivity of the adjacent water was varied from 13.6 mS/cm to 55.4 mS/cm near to the southern end and the northern end of the lagoon, respectively, and equally salinity levels varied from 7.2 psu to 32.1 psu. The average pH in the water was 7.6 and average water temperature was 28.7 °C. The grain size analysis emphasized the mass fractions of the samples as sand (60.9%), fine sand (30.6%) and fine silt+clay (1.3%) in the sampling locations. The surface sediment samples of wet weight, 1 kg each from upper 5-10 cm layer, were oven dried at 105 °C for 24 hours to get a constant weight, homogenized and sieved through a 2 mm sieve (IAEA technical series no. 295). The radioactivity concentrations were determined using gamma spectrometry technique. Ultra Low Background Broad Energy High Purity Ge Detector, BEGe (Model BE5030, Canberra) was used for radioactivity measurement with Canberra Industries' Laboratory Source-less Calibration Software (LabSOCS) mathematical efficiency calibration approach and Geometry composer software. The mean activity concentration was found to be 24 ± 4, 67 ± 9, 181 ± 10, 59 ± 8, 3.5 ± 0.4 and 0.47 ± 0.08 Bq/kg for 238U, 232Th, 40K, 210Pb, 235U and 137Cs respectively. The mean absorbed dose rate in air, radium equivalent activity, external hazard index, annual gonadal dose equivalent and annual effective dose equivalent were 60.8 nGy/h, 137.3 Bq/kg, 0.4, 425.3 mSv/year and 74.6 mSv/year, respectively. The results of this study will provide baseline information on the natural and artificial radioactive isotopes and environmental pollution associated with information on radiological risk.
The global ascendancy of terrorist attacks on building infrastructure with economic and heritage significance has increased awareness of the possibility of terrorism in Canada. Many structures in Canada that are at risk of terrorist attacks include government buildings, built many years ago of historic stone masonry construction. Although many researchers are investigating ways to retrofit masonry stone buildings to mitigate the effect of blast loadings, lack of knowledge on the dynamic behavior of historic stone masonry structures under blast loads makes it difficult to ascertain the effectiveness of the retrofitting techniques. This paper presents a review of open-source literature for the experimental and numerical stone masonry structures under blast loads. This review yielded very little information of the response of the historic stone masonry structures under blast loads. Thus, a comprehensive study is needed to understand the blast load effects on historic stone masonry buildings. The out-of-plane response of historic masonry structures to blast loads is investigated by using single-degree-of-freedom analysis. This approach presents equations that can be used effectively in the analysis of historic masonry walls to out-of-plane blast loading.
This paper highlights the empirical results of analyzing the correlation between accounting information and systematic risk. This association is analyzed among financial ratios and systematic risk by considering the financial statement of 39 companies listed on the Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE) for five years (2014-2018). Financial ratios have been categorized into four groups and to describe the special features, as representative of accounting information we selected: Return on Asset (ROA), Debt Ratio (Total Debt to Total Asset), Current Ratio (current assets to current debt), Asset Turnover (Net sales to Total assets), and Total Assets. The hypotheses were tested through simple and multiple linear regression and T-student test. The findings illustrate that there is no significant relationship between accounting information and market risk. This indicates that in the selected sample, historical accounting information does not fully reflect the price of stocks.
In the context of the international spread of COVID-19, the Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (CSTB) has led a joint research with the French government authorities Hauts-de-Seine department, to analyse the risk in school spaces according to their configuration, ventilation system and spatial segmentation strategy. This paper describes the main results of this joint research. A multidisciplinary team involving experts in indoor air quality/ventilation, pedestrian movements and IT domains was established to develop a COVID risk analysis tool based on Building Information Model. The work started with specific analysis on two pilot schools in order to provide for the local administration specifications to minimize the spread of the virus. Different recommendations were published to optimize/validate the use of ventilation systems and the strategy of student occupancy and student flow segmentation within the building. This COVID expertise has been digitized in order to manage a quick risk analysis on the entire building that could be used by the public administration through an easy user interface implemented in a free BIM Management software. One of the most interesting results is to enable a dynamic comparison of different ventilation system scenarios and space occupation strategy inside the BIM model. This concurrent engineering approach provides users with the optimal solution according to both ventilation and pedestrian flow expertise.
This paper studies the optimal investment strategies for a plan member (PM) in a defined contribution (DC) pension scheme with transaction cost, taxes on invested funds and couple risky assets (stocks) under the Ornstein-Uhlenbeck (O-U) process. The PM’s portfolio is assumed to consist of a risk-free asset and two risky assets where the two risky assets are driven by the O-U process. The Legendre transformation and dual theory is use to transform the resultant optimal control problem which is a nonlinear partial differential equation (PDE) into linear PDE and the resultant linear PDE is then solved for the explicit solutions of the optimal investment strategies for PM exhibiting constant absolute risk aversion (CARA) using change of variable technique. Furthermore, theoretical analysis is used to study the influences of some sensitive parameters on the optimal investment strategies with observations that the optimal investment strategies for the two risky assets increase with increase in the dividend and decreases with increase in tax on the invested funds, risk averse coefficient, initial fund size and the transaction cost.
The growing usage of smart speakers raises many privacy and trust concerns compared to other technologies such as smart phones and computers. In this study, a proxy measure of trust is used to gauge users’ opinions on three different technologies based on an empirical study, and to understand which technology most people are most likely to trust. The collected data were analysed using the Kruskal-Wallis H test to determine the statistical differences between the users’ trust level of the three technologies: smart speaker, computer and smart phone. The findings of the study revealed that despite the wide acceptance, ease of use and reputation of smart speakers, people find it difficult to trust smart speakers with their sensitive information via the Direct Voice Input (DVI) and would prefer to use a keyboard or touchscreen offered by computers and smart phones. Findings from this study can inform future work on users’ trust in technology based on perceived ease of use, reputation, perceived credibility and risk of using technologies via DVI.
Labor market activity and paid employment should be a key factor in protecting individuals and families from falling into poverty and providing them with sufficient resources to meet the needs of their members. However, due to various processes in the labor market as well as the influence of individual factors and often insufficient social capital, there is a relatively large group of households that cannot eliminate paid employment and find themselves in a state of so-called working poverty. The aim of the research was to find out what strategies families use in managing poverty and meeting their needs and which of these strategies prevail in the Slovak population. A quantitative research strategy was chosen. The method of data collection was a structured interview focused on finding out the use of individual management strategies and also selected demographic indicators. The research sample consisted of members of families in which at least one member has a paid job. The condition for inclusion in the research was that the family's income did not exceed 60% of the national median equalized disposable income. The analysis of the results showed 5 basic areas to which management strategies are related - work, financial security, needs, social contacts and perception of the current situation. The prevailing strategies were strategies aimed at increasing and streamlining labor market activity and the planned and effective management of the family budget. Strategies that were rejected were mainly related to debt creation. The results make it possible to identify the preferred ways of managing poverty in individual areas of life, as well as the factors that influence this behavior. This information is important for working with families living in a state of working poverty and can help professionals develop positive ways of coping for families.
Bridges, as an essential part of road infrastructures, are affected by various deterioration mechanisms over time due to the changes in their performance. As changes in performance can have many negative impacts on society, it is essential to be able to evaluate and measure the performance of bridges throughout their life. This evaluation includes the development or the choice of the appropriate performance indicators, which, in turn, are measured based on the selection of appropriate models for the existing deterioration mechanism. The purpose of this article is a statistical study of indicators and deterioration mechanisms of bridges in order to discover further research capacities in bridges performance assessment. For this purpose, some of the most common indicators of bridge performance, including reliability, risk, vulnerability, robustness, and resilience, were selected. The researches performed on each index based on the desired deterioration mechanisms and hazards were comprehensively reviewed. In addition, the formulation of the indicators and their relationship with each other were studied. The research conducted on the mentioned indicators were classified from the point of view of deterministic or probabilistic method, the level of study (element level, object level, etc.), and the type of hazard and the deterioration mechanism of interest. For each of the indicators, a number of challenges and recommendations were presented according to the review of previous studies.
Application of health risk assessment methods is important in order to comprehend the risk of human exposure to heavy metals and other dangerous pollutants. Four soil samples were collected at distances of 10, 20, 30 m and the control 100 m away from the dump site at depths of 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 m. The collected soil samples were examined for Zn, Cu, Pb, Cd and Ni using standard methods. The health risks via the main pathways of human exposure to heavy metal were detected using relevant standard equations. Hazard quotient was calculated to determine non-carcinogenic health risk for each individual heavy metal. Life time cancer risk was calculated to determine the cumulative life cancer rating for each exposure pathway. The estimated health risk values for adults and children were generally lower than the reference dose. The calculated hazard quotient for the ingestion, inhalation and dermal contact pathways were less than unity. This means that there is no detrimental concern to the health on human exposure to heavy metals in contaminated soil. The life time cancer risk 5.4 × 10-2 was higher than the acceptable threshold value of 1 × 10-4 which is reflected to have significant health effects on human exposure to heavy metals in contaminated soil. Good hygienic practices are recommended to ease the potential risk to children and adult who are exposed to contaminated soils. Also, the local authorities should be made aware of such health risks for the purpose of planning the management strategy accordingly.
The article presents an ongoing work in research projects such as SCAN4RECO or ARCH, both funded by the European Commission under Horizon 2020 program. The former one concerns multimodal and multispectral scanning of Cultural Heritage assets for their digitization and conservation via spatiotemporal reconstruction and 3D printing, while the latter one aims to better preserve areas of cultural heritage from hazards and risks. It co-creates tools that would help pilot cities to save cultural heritage from the effects of climate change. It develops a disaster risk management framework for assessing and improving the resilience of historic areas to climate change and natural hazards. Tools and methodologies are designed for local authorities and practitioners, urban population, as well as national and international expert communities, aiding authorities in knowledge-aware decision making. In this article we focus on 3D modelling of object geometry using primarily photogrammetric methods to achieve very high model accuracy using consumer types of devices, attractive both to professions and hobbyists alike.
Substance use among pregnant women is a perennial problem in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. There are many influential elements related with substance use among women of childbearing-age. Factors associated with substance use during pregnancy were explored using qualitative research approach and bio-ecological theoretical framework was utilised to guide the study. Participants were selected using purposive sampling. Participants accessed from the Department of Social Development who met the inclusion criteria of the study were interviewed using semi structured interviews. Participants were referred for psychological intervention during the interview if deemed necessary. Braun and Clarke’s six phases of thematic analysis were used to analyse the data. The study adhered to ethical measures for the participants’ protection. Participants had been knowledgeable about the study earlier than the initiation of the interviews and the important points of their voluntary participation had been explained. The key findings from this study illustrate that social factors, individual area and romantic relationship are the major contributing factors to substance use among pregnant ladies in this sample. Recommendations arising from the study encompass that the stakeholders, rehabilitation centers, Department of Health and future researchers ought to act proactively against substance use all through pregnancy.
Maneuver decision-making plays a critical role in high-performance intelligent driving. This paper proposes a risk assessment-based decision-making network (RADMN) to address the problem of driving strategy for the commercial vehicle. RADMN integrates two networks, aiming at identifying the risk degree of collision and rollover and providing decisions to ensure the effectiveness and reliability of driving strategy. In the risk assessment module, risk degrees of the backward collision, forward collision and rollover are quantified for hazard recognition. In the decision module, a deep reinforcement learning based on multi-objective optimization (DRL-MOO) algorithm is designed, which comprehensively considers the risk degree and motion states of each traffic participant. To evaluate the performance of the proposed framework, Prescan/Simulink joint simulation was conducted in highway scenarios. Experimental results validate the effectiveness and reliability of the proposed RADMN. The output driving strategy can guarantee the safety and provide key technical support for the realization of autonomous driving of commercial vehicles.
The current applied asphalt technology for Kuwait roads pavement infrastructure is the hot mix asphalt (HMA) pavement, including both pen grade and polymer modified bitumen (PMBs), that is produced and compacted at high temperature levels ranging from 150 to 180 °C. There are no current specifications for warm and cold mix asphalts in Kuwait’s Ministry of Public Works (MPW) asphalt standard and specifications. The process of the conventional HMA is energy intensive and directly responsible for the emission of greenhouse gases and other environmental hazards into the atmosphere leading to significant environmental impacts and raising health risk to labors at site. Warm mix asphalt (WMA) technology, a sustainable alternative preferred in multiple countries, has many environmental advantages because it requires lower production temperatures than HMA by 20 to 40 °C. The reduction of temperatures achieved by WMA originates from multiple technologies including foaming and chemical or organic additives that aim to reduce bitumen and improve mix workability. This paper presents a literature review of WMA technologies and techniques followed by an experimental study aiming to compare the results of produced WMA samples, using a water containing additive (foaming process), at different compaction temperatures with the HMA control volumetric properties mix designed in accordance to the new MPW’s specifications and guidelines.
There is a real danger that both practitioners and researchers considering risks associated with megaprojects ignore or underestimate the impacts of cultural risk. The paper investigates the potential impacts of a failure to achieve cultural unity between the principal actors executing a megaproject. The principle relationships include the relationships between the principle Contractors and the project stakeholders or the project stakeholders and their principle advisors, Western Consultants. This study confirms that cultural dissonance between these parties can delay or disrupt the megaproject execution and examines why cultural issues should be prioritized as a significant risk factor in megaproject delivery. This paper addresses the practical impacts and potential mitigation measures, which may reduce cultural dissonance for a megaproject's delivery. This information is retrieved from on-going case studies in live infrastructure megaprojects in Europe and the Middle East's GCC states, from Western Consultants' perspective. The collaborating researchers each have at least 30 years of construction experience and are engaged in architecture, project management and contracts management, dealing with megaprojects in Europe or the GCC. After examining the cultural interfaces they have observed during the execution of megaprojects, they conclude that globally, culture significantly influences their efficient delivery. The study finds that cultural risk is ever-present, where different nationalities co-manage megaprojects and that cultural conflict poses a real threat to the timely delivery of megaprojects. The study indicates that the higher the cultural distance between the principal actors, the more pronounced the risk, with the risk of cultural dissonance more prominent in GCC megaprojects. The findings support a more culturally aware and cohesive team approach and recommend cross-cultural training to mitigate the effects of cultural disparity.
Drone technology has become a significant discourse in a nation’s national security, while this technology could constitute a danger to national security on the one hand, on the other hand, it is used in developed and developing countries for border security, and in some cases, for protection of security agents and migrants. In the case of Nigeria, drones are used by the military to monitor and tighten security around the borders. However, terrorist groups have devised a means to utilize the technology to their advantage. Therefore, the potential danger in the widespread proliferation of this technology has become a myriad of risks. The research on the effects of cross-border use of drones in Nigerian national security looks at the negative and positive consequences of using drone technology. The study employs the use of interviews and relevant documents to obtain data while the study applied the Just War theory to justify the reason why countries use force; it further buttresses the points with what the realist theory thinks about the use of force. In conclusion, the paper recommends that the Nigerian government through the National Assembly should pass a bill for the establishment of a law that will guide the use of armed and unarmed drones in Nigeria enforced by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority and the office of the National Security Adviser.
An option is defined as a financial contract that provides the holder the right but not the obligation to buy or sell a specified quantity of an underlying asset in the future at a fixed price (called a strike price) on or before the expiration date of the option. This paper examined two approaches for derivation of Partial Differential Equation (PDE) options price valuation formula for the Heston stochastic volatility model. We obtained various PDE option price valuation formulas using the riskless portfolio method and the application of Feynman-Kac theorem respectively. From the results obtained, we see that the two derived PDEs for Heston model are distinct and non-unique. This establishes the fact of incompleteness in the model for option price valuation.
Repairable items inventory system is a management tool used to incorporate all information concerning inventory levels and movements for repaired and new items. This paper presents development of an effective simulation model for managing the inventory of repairable items for a production system where production lines send their faulty items to a repair shop considering the stochastic failure behavior and repair times. The developed model imitates the process of handling the on-hand inventory of repaired items and the replenishment of the inventory of new items using Economic Order Quantity and Reorder Point ordering policy in a flexible and risk-free environment. We demonstrate the appropriateness and effectiveness of the proposed simulation model using an illustrative case problem. The developed simulation model can be used as a reliable tool for estimating a healthy on-hand inventory of new and repaired items, backordered items, and downtime due to unavailability of repaired items, and validating and examining Economic Order Quantity and Reorder Point ordering policy, which would further be compared with other ordering strategies as future work.
Background: An outbreak of gastroenteritis occurred in December 2019 after students of a Senior High School in Accra were served with kenkey and fish during their dinner. An investigation was conducted to characterize the affected people, the source of contamination, the etiologic food and agent. Methods: An epidemiological study was conducted with cases selected from the student population who were ill. Controls were selected from among students who also ate from the school canteen during dinner but were not ill. Food history of each case and control was taken to assess their exposure status. Epi Info 7 was used to analyze the data obtained from the outbreak. Attack rates and odds ratios were calculated to determine the risk of foodborne infection for each of the foods consumed by the population. The source of contamination of the foods was ascertained by conducting an environmental risk assessment at the school. Results: Data were obtained from 126 students, out of which 57 (45.2%) were cases and 69 (54.8%) were controls. The cases presented with symptoms such as diarrhea (85.96%), abdominal cramps (66.67%), vomiting (50.88%), headache (21.05%), fever (17.86%) and nausea (3.51%). The peak incubation period was 18 hours with a minimum and maximum incubation periods of 6 and 50 hours respectively. From the incubation period, duration of illness and the symptoms, non-typhoidal salmonellosis was suspected. Multivariate analysis indicated that the illness was associated with the consumption of the fried fish served, however this was statistically insignificant (AOR 3.1.00, P = 0.159). No stool, blood or food samples were available for organism isolation and confirmation of suspected etiologic agent. The environmental risk assessment indicated poor hand washing practices on the part of both the food handlers and students. Conclusion: The outbreak could probably be due to the consumption of the fried fish that might have been contaminated with Salmonella sp. as a result of poor hand washing practices in the school.
Medication dispensing system is a life-critical system whose failure may result in preventable adverse events leading to longer patient stays in hospitals or patient death. Automation has led to great improvements in life-critical systems as it increased safety, efficiency, and comfort. However, critical risks related to medical organization complexity and automated solutions integration can threaten drug dispensing security and performance. Knowledge about the system’s complexity aspects and human machine parameters to control for automated equipment’s security and performance will help operators to secure their automation process and to optimize their system’s reliability. In this context, this study aims to document the operator’s situation awareness about automation risks and parameters involved in automation security and performance. Our risk management approach has been deployed in the North Luxembourg hospital center’s pharmacy, which is equipped with automated drug dispensing systems since 2009. With more than 4 million euros of gains generated, North Luxembourg hospital center’s success story was enabled by the management commitment, pharmacy’s involvement in the implementation and improvement of the automation project, and the close collaboration between the pharmacy and Sinteco’s firm to implement the necessary innovation and organizational actions for automated solutions integration security and performance. An analysis of the actions implemented by the hospital and the parameters involved in automated equipment’s integration security and performance has been made. The parameters to control for automated equipment’s integration security and performance are human aspects (6.25%), technical aspects (50%), and human-machine interaction (43.75%). The implementation of an anthropocentric analysis system before automation would have prevented and optimized the control of risks related to automation.
The Mobile field hospital is critical in terms of managing emergencies in crisis. It is a sub-section of the main hospitals and the health sector, tasked with delivering responsive, immediate, and efficient medical services during a crisis. With the aim to prevent further crisis, the assessment of the cyber assets follows different methods, to distinguish its strengths and weaknesses, and in turn achieve cyber resiliency. The work focuses on assessments of cyber resilience in field hospitals with trends growing in both the field hospital and the health sector in general. This creates opportunities for the adverse attackers and the response improvement objectives for attaining cyber resilience, as the assessments allow users and stakeholders to know the level of risks with regards to its cyber assets. Thus, the purpose is to show the possible threat vectors which open up opportunities, with contrast to current trends in the assessment of the mobile field hospitals’ cyber assets.
In general, Covid-19 created many financial and non-financial damages to the economy and community. Level and severity of covid-19 as pandemic case varies over the region and due to different types of the projects. Covid-19 virus emerged as one of the most imperative risk management factors word-wide recently. Therefore, as part of portfolio management assessment, it is essential to evaluate severity of such risk on the project and program in portfolio management level to avoid any risky portfolio. Covid-19 appeared very effectively in South America, part of Europe and Middle East. Such pandemic infection affected the whole universe, due to lock down, interruption in supply chain management, health and safety requirements, transportations and commercial impacts. Therefore, this research proposes Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) to analyze and assess such pandemic case like Covid-19 and its impacts on the construction projects. The AHP technique uses four sub-criteria: Health and safety, commercial risk, completion risk and contractual risk to evaluate the project and program. The result will provide the decision makers with information which project has higher or lower risk in case of Covid-19 and pandemic scenario. Therefore, the decision makers can have most feasible solution based on effective weighted criteria for project selection within their portfolio to match with the organization’s strategies.
Predicting the risk of Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma (PA) in advance can benefit the quality of care and potentially reduce population mortality and morbidity. The aim of this study was to develop and prospectively validate a risk prediction model to identify patients at risk of new incident PA as early as 3 months before the onset of PA in a statewide, general population in Maine. The PA prediction model was developed using Deep Neural Networks, a deep learning algorithm, with a 2-year electronic-health-record (EHR) cohort. Prospective results showed that our model identified 54.35% of all inpatient episodes of PA, and 91.20% of all PA that required subsequent chemoradiotherapy, with a lead-time of up to 3 months and a true alert of 67.62%. The risk assessment tool has attained an improved discriminative ability. It can be immediately deployed to the health system to provide automatic early warnings to adults at risk of PA. It has potential to identify personalized risk factors to facilitate customized PA interventions.
A reliable, real-time, and non-invasive system that can identify patients at risk for hemodynamic instability is needed to aid clinicians in their efforts to anticipate patient deterioration and initiate early interventions. The purpose of this pilot study was to explore the clinical capabilities of a real-time analytic from a single lead of an electrocardiograph to correctly distinguish between rapid response team (RRT) activations due to hemodynamic (H-RRT) and non-hemodynamic (NH-RRT) causes, as well as predict H-RRT cases with actionable lead times. The study consisted of a single center, retrospective cohort of 21 patients with RRT activations from step-down and telemetry units. Through electronic health record review and blinded to the analytic’s output, each patient was categorized by clinicians into H-RRT and NH-RRT cases. The analytic output and the categorization were compared. The prediction lead time prior to the RRT call was calculated. The analytic correctly distinguished between H-RRT and NH-RRT cases with 100% accuracy, demonstrating 100% positive and negative predictive values, and 100% sensitivity and specificity. In H-RRT cases, the analytic detected hemodynamic deterioration with a median lead time of 9.5 hours prior to the RRT call (range 14 minutes to 52 hours). The study demonstrates that an electrocardiogram (ECG) based analytic has the potential for providing clinical decision and monitoring support for caregivers to identify at risk patients within a clinically relevant timeframe allowing for increased vigilance and early interventional support to reduce the chances of continued patient deterioration.