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2022 ◽  
Vol 18 (1) ◽  
pp. 1-26
Georgios Fragkos ◽  
Cyrus Minwalla ◽  
Eirini Eleni Tsiropoulou ◽  
Jim Plusquellic

Electronic cash ( e-Cash ) is a digital alternative to physical currency such as coins and bank notes. Suitably constructed, e-Cash has the ability to offer an anonymous offline experience much akin to cash, and in direct contrast to traditional forms of payment such as credit and debit cards. Implementing security and privacy within e-Cash, i.e., preserving user anonymity while preventing counterfeiting, fraud, and double spending, is a non-trivial challenge. In this article, we propose major improvements to an e-Cash protocol, termed PUF-Cash, based on physical unclonable functions ( PUFs ). PUF-Cash was created as an offline-first, secure e-Cash scheme that preserved user anonymity in payments. In addition, PUF-Cash supports remote payments; an improvement over traditional currency. In this work, a novel multi-trusted-third-party exchange scheme is introduced, which is responsible for “blinding” Alice’s e-Cash tokens; a feature at the heart of preserving her anonymity. The exchange operations are governed by machine learning techniques which are uniquely applied to optimize user privacy, while remaining resistant to identity-revealing attacks by adversaries and trusted authorities. Federation of the single trusted third party into multiple entities distributes the workload, thereby improving performance and resiliency within the e-Cash system architecture. Experimental results indicate that improvements to PUF-Cash enhance user privacy and scalability.

2021 ◽  
pp. 1-27
Jimmy Chia-Shin Hsu

Abstract In this article, I bring the constitutional jurisprudence of major East Asian courts into reconstructive dialogue with that of the United States, South Africa, and several former Soviet-bloc countries, on per se review of capital punishment. This fills in a gap in the literature, which has failed to reflect new developments in Asia. Besides analysing various review approaches, I extrapolate recurrent analytical issues and reconstruct dialogues among these court decisions. Moreover, I place the analysis in historical perspective by periodising the jurisprudential trajectory of the right to life. The contextualised reconstructive dialogues offer multilayered understanding of my central analytical argument: for any court that may conduct per se review of capital punishment in the future, the highly influential South African Makwanyane case does not settle the lesson. The transnational debate has been kept open by the Korean Constitutional Court's decisions, as well as retrospectively by the US cases of Furman and Gregg. This argument has two major points. First, the crucial part of the reasoning in Makwanyane, namely that capital punishment cannot be proven to pass the necessity test under the proportionality review, is analytically inconclusive. The Korean Constitutional Court's decision offers a direct contrast to this point. Second, the exercise of proportionality review of the Makwanyane Court does not attest to the neutrality and objectivity of proportionality review. Rather, what is really dispositive of the outcome are certain value choices inhering in per se review of capital punishment.

2021 ◽  
pp. 088626052110426
Kai Li Chung ◽  
Lorraine Sheridan

Research in stalking perceptions has shown certain relational biases, in which people tend to view ex-partner stalkers to be less dangerous than stranger or acquaintance stalkers. These findings are in direct contrast to those of real-life cases whereby ex-partner stalkers pose a greater threat. In addition, although stalking is recognized as a global social problem, most studies have been based on samples drawn from Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic countries. The current study examined whether the prior relationship between the stalking perpetrator and target influences people’s perceptions of stalking and whether cross-national differences exist between participants based in Malaysia (where there is currently no law that criminalizes stalking) and England (where stalking has been outlawed since 1997). In a 3 × 2 between-subjects design, 294 Malaysian participants and 170 English participants were presented with a vignette describing a stalking scenario in which the perpetrator was depicted as a stranger, acquaintance, or ex-partner. Participants judged the extent to which the perpetrator’s behavior constitutes stalking; necessitates police intervention; would cause the victim alarm or personal distress; would cause the victim to fear the use of violence; and can be attributed to encouragement on the part of the victim. Results showed that typical relational biases existed in both samples, but Malaysian participants were less likely than their English counterparts to label any harassing scenario as serious. Perceptions of victim responsibility were found to mediate the effect of prior relationship and nationality on participants’ perceptions. The findings point to the urgency of better cross-cultural understanding of harassment behavior as well as legislations against stalking.

2021 ◽  
Milena Stefanova ◽  
Margherita Pillan ◽  
Alberto Gallace

Abstract The practice of treating phobias with Virtual Reality-based therapies is a well-established field. Understanding the level of realism required by the therapy to be most effective is an essential matter of study. This research aims to explore the effects of visual realism on the emotional response in subjects with social phobia when exposed to VR-based applications. Social phobias are triggered by the presence of other people, which translated into virtual environments, refers to avatars. Our hypothesis is that patients with social phobia experience different emotional response to humanlike avatars compared to people without social phobia. To try the hypothesis, a prototype-based survey is conducted. Three types of avatars are implemented with different levels of human likeness: low, medium, and high. The analysis of the collected data suggests that for people with social phobias the anxiety is lowest for avatars with high levels of human likeness. This result is in direct contrast with the uncanny valley effect theory. The research explores how we should design virtual environments to make them more effective in the treatment of phobias. Moreover, the research produces new knowledge about the perception of humanlike avatars in virtual reality.

2021 ◽  
pp. 1-3
Joe Varghese ◽  
Monica Peter ◽  
Mohan S. Kamath

Oogenesis in mammalian females, including humans, is arrested prior to birth. Females, therefore, are born with a limited number of primary oocytes. This is in direct contrast to males in whom spermatogenesis continues during the entire lifespan following puberty. Here, we discuss possible evolutionary advantages that this confers and contrast this with age-related decline in oocyte quality that results in diminished fertility with advancing maternal age. We believe that a better understanding of these processes would be helpful in developing strategies to preserve fertility as maternal age increases, especially in the context of the current demographic shift with more and more women seeking fertility treatment at advanced age.

2021 ◽  
Vol 13 (2) ◽  
pp. 91-95
Mohd Salami Ibrahim ◽  
Muhamad Saiful Bahri Yusof ◽  
Ahmad Fuad Abdul Rahim

Formative assessments are commonly being mixed up with summative assessments which provide feedback. The ambiguity leads to a loss of distinction between the two. This blending is in direct contrast to the best practice of education, which advocates clarity of formative and summative function as a precursor to a quality assessment. In this commentary, we emphasise the non-credit bearing as the discriminatory feature, which illuminates the formative purpose of an assessment. We begin by revisiting the history from the time of the founding scholars who conceptualised formative and summative ideas. Subsequently, we compare it with the contemporary practice of assessment. Then we elucidate the philosophical underpinning of formative assessment and how the future of education relies on education, which move away from a pure exam-oriented focus of the curriculum. Finally, we relate the revolutionary concept of formative assessment with personalised education as the key curriculum design of tomorrow’s education.

2021 ◽  
Vol 2021 (3) ◽  
pp. 4652-4659
J. Vettermann ◽  
S. Sauerzapf ◽  
A. Naumann ◽  
M. Beitelschmidt ◽  

Thermal effects are the most dominant source for displacements in machine tools and thus work-piece inaccuracies during the manufacturing process. A promising strategy to meet the ever-increasing accuracy requirements is the use of predictive models for, e.g., parameter and design op-timizations or online correction of the thermally induced error at the tool center point (TCP) in the pro-duction process. However, these techniques require fast but precise simulations. The need for high model accuracy is in direct contrast to the desired real-time capabilities. Model order reduction (MOR) is an attractive tool to overcome this problem. A modeling toolchain, which is tailored for the effective construction of fast and accurate models is proposed and demonstrated, emphasizing the involved MOR step.

2021 ◽  
pp. 72-94
Gwynne Mapes

This chapter, which focuses on 83 “throwback Thursday” (#tbt) posts from the @nytfood account, departs slightly from the discourse of elite authenticity. Instead, Mapes identifies three orders of elitist stancetaking which collectively paint the decades-old food trends pictured in the #tbt posts as derisible and inferior—in direct contrast with “progress”-oriented notions of sustainability or simplicity in contemporary food discourse. While much of this work is institutionally produced, @nytfood Instagram followers are also complicit in elitist stance acts. In their various comments, participants demonstrate how putatively inclusive, democratic digital platforms can be spaces of/for social hierarchy, and how the elitist performances of #tbt produce privileged standards of good taste and fashionable eating.

2021 ◽  
Vol 9 (4) ◽  
pp. 522-528
M.E. Hanachor ◽  
E. N. Wordu

Asset based community development (ABCD) is a shift and direct contrast to the conversional need-based community development (NBD). It focuses on community asset as useful tool to stir up the development of a community. It is concerned with what is available in the community that could be used to development as against dependence on outsiders or expert for development. The different types of asset in communities were enumerated. The benefits and criticisms against the approach were also highlighted. A model to guide the application of the approach was designed. The paper is of the view that every development intervention in the nation should have its root on asset-based development approach.

2021 ◽  
Maria Chara Karypidou ◽  
Eleni Katragkou ◽  
Stefan Pieter Sobolowski

Abstract. The region of southern Africa (SAF) is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and is projected to experience severe precipitation shortages in the coming decades. Ensuring that our modelling tools are fit for the purpose of assessing these changes is critical. In this work we compare a range of satellite products along with gauge-based datasets. Additionally, we investigate the behaviour of regional climate simulations from the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) – Africa domain, along with simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) and Phase 6 (CMIP6). We identify considerable variability in the standard deviation of precipitation between satellite products that merge with rain gauges and satellite products that do not, during the rainy season (Oct–Mar), indicating high observational uncertainty for specific regions over SAF. Good agreement both in spatial pattern and the strength of the calculated trends is found between satellite and gauge-based products, however. Both CORDEX-Africa and CMIP5 ensembles underestimate the observed trends during the analysis period. The CMIP6 ensemble displayed persistent drying trends, in direct contrast to the observations. The regional ensemble exhibited improved performance compared to its forcing (CMIP5), when the annual cycle and the extreme precipitation indices were examined, confirming the added value of the higher resolution regional climate simulations. The CMIP6 ensemble displayed a similar behaviour to CMIP5, however reducing slightly the ensemble spread. However, we show that reproduction of some key SAF phenomena, like the Angolan Low (which exerts a strong influence on regional precipitation), still poses a challenge for the global and regional models. This is likely a result of the complex climatic process that take place. Improvements in observational networks (both in-situ and satellite), as well as continued advancements in high-resolution modelling will be critical, in order to develop a robust assessment of climate change for southern Africa.

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