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A Community Based Assessment: An Analysis of Community Based Tourism in Kalache and Hulgol, India
This study incorporated a community based assessment with a focus on community based tourism in Kalache and Hulgol, India. Kalache and Hulgol are two agrarian based communities located in the environmentally significant region of the Western Ghats. Each of these communities has considered community based tourism as a means to reduce urban youth outmigration, to diversify economic resources, and to encourage the empowerment of women. The primary goals of this study were to understand the community issues and objectives, to determine the level of support for tourism development, to determine participant attitudes toward tourism, and to determine the obstacles to tourism development. The findings of this project address the complexity of operating in the tourism industry, the impacts of tourism, and the use of community based tourism models in support of sustainable tourism.
Sustainable Ecofriendly Insulation Foams for Disaster Relief Housing
Natural disasters are affecting a significant number of people around the world. Sheltering is the first step in post-disaster activities towards the normalization of the affected people's lives. Temporary housing is being used in these cases until the construction of permanent houses are done. Disposal of temporary housing after use is leading to a significant environmental impact because most of them are filled with thermally insulative polymer foams that do not degrade in a short period. To reduce these problems this work proposes to use foams made with compostable thermoplastic polylactic acid (PLA) and degradable kenaf core as filler materials; these foams are made using CO2 as blowing agent for insulation purposes. Foams with PLA and 5%, 10% and 15% kenaf core were tested. Different properties and their relations were examined using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermal conductivity, mechanical properties, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), x-ray μ-computed tomography (μ-CT) and building energy simulations were done using Energy Plus by NREL. The results show that mechanical properties are reduced with the introduction of kenaf core reinforcement while thermal conductivity display a noticeable improvement.
Automated GUI Tests Generation for Android Apps Using Q-learning
Mobile applications are growing in popularity and pose new problems in the area of software testing. In particular, mobile applications heavily depend upon user interactions and a dynamically changing environment of system events. In this thesis, we focus on user-driven events and use Q-learning, a reinforcement machine learning algorithm, to generate tests for Android applications under test (AUT). We implement a framework that automates the generation of GUI test cases by using our Q-learning approach and compare it to a uniform random (UR) implementation. A novel feature of our approach is that we generate user-driven event sequences through the GUI, without the source code or the model of the AUT. Hence, considerable amount of cost and time are saved by avoiding the need for model generation for generating the tests. Our results show that the systematic path exploration used by Q-learning results in higher average code coverage in comparison to the uniform random approach.
Probabilistic Analysis of Contracting Ebola Virus Using Contextual Intelligence
The outbreak of the Ebola virus was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Due to the complex nature of the outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had created interim guidance for monitoring people potentially exposed to Ebola and for evaluating their intended travel and restricting the movements of carriers when needed. Tools to evaluate the risk of individuals and groups of individuals contracting the disease could mitigate the growing anxiety and fear. The goal is to understand and analyze the nature of risk an individual would face when he/she comes in contact with a carrier. This thesis presents a tool that makes use of contextual data intelligence to predict the risk factor of individuals who come in contact with the carrier.
The Relationship between Judicial Independence and Ethnic Conflict
The relationship between judicial independence and the levels of ethnic conflicts in developing countries has remained a significant research area due to increased cases of the conflicts with lack of judicial independence in the countries. Judicial independence is seen as an essential element of democracy in that an independent judiciary can act as an arbiter between different groups and institutions. The main aim of this study was to examine the relationship between judicial independence and ethnic conflicts empirically. Greater judicial independence should be associated with less ethnic conflict, because an independent court can serve as an arbiter for disputants, and thus lessen the likelihood of conflict. The study involved 128 developing countries over a 30-year period from 1981 to 2010 using secondary data sources and employing statistical methods to test the relationship between judicial independence and the levels of ethnic conflicts. Findings indicate that judicial independence has a statistically significant negative association with the levels of ethnic conflict. Therefore, this study recommends that the governments of developing countries should promote judicial independence as part of solutions for ethnic conflicts .
Case Studies to Learn Human Mapping Strategies in a Variety of Coarse-Grained Reconfigurable Architectures
Computer hardware and algorithm design have seen significant progress over the years. It is also seen that there are several domains in which humans are more efficient than computers. For example in image recognition, image tagging, natural language understanding and processing, humans often find complicated algorithms quite easy to grasp. This thesis presents the different case studies to learn human mapping strategy to solve the mapping problem in the area of coarse-grained reconfigurable architectures (CGRAs). To achieve optimum level performance and consume less energy in CGRAs, place and route problem has always been a major concern. Making use of human characteristics can be helpful in problems as such, through pattern recognition and experience. Therefore to conduct the case studies a computer mapping game called UNTANGLED was analyzed as a medium to convey insights of human mapping strategies in a variety of architectures. The purpose of this research was to learn from humans so that we can come up with better algorithms to outperform the existing algorithms. We observed how human strategies vary as we present them with different architectures, different architectures with constraints, different visualization as well as how the quality of solution changes with experience. In this work all the case studies obtained from exploiting human strategies provide useful feedback that can improve upon existing algorithms. These insights can be adapted to find the best architectural solution for a particular domain and for future research directions for mapping onto mesh-and- stripe based CGRAs.
The Relation of Sport Involvement and Gender to Fitness, Self-Efficacy, and Self-Concept in Middle School Students
In the current study, the relation of the frequency of sport participation and gender to CRF, muscular strength and flexibility, body composition, physical activity self-efficacy, and physical self-concept in a sample of 629 sixth graders were examined. Because both physical activity and sport participation have been related to similar outcomes, activity through physical education was controlled by including only 6th graders who were part of a required school class. MANCOVA analyses demonstrated that sport involvement was significantly related to improvements in physical fitness (i.e., CRF and muscular strength), physical activity self-efficacy, and physical self-concept (CRF and muscular strength). The interaction between sport involvement and gender was not significant, suggesting these relationships existed equally for the boys and girls.
Emerging Adults Delay Mental Illness Treatment: Another Manifestation of Experiential Avoidance?
Emerging adulthood is a term coined to recognize 18 to 25 year-olds who engage in self-exploration while not yet fully identifying as adults. Many emerging adult college students experience stress, anxiety, and depression. Although many colleges provide affordable and available mental health resources for students, many students who need help appear to not utilize these services. Gaining greater understanding of underlying processes that influence psychological treatment-seeking behavior is imperative. The current study sought to explore the role experiential avoidance (EA) plays as a treatment-seeking barrier in the context of emerging adulthood. Undergraduate students completed online measures of emerging adulthood dimensions, psychological symptoms, EA, self-stigma of, perceived public stigma of, intentions to, and attitudes and beliefs towards seeking treatment, treatment seeking behavior, and a demographics questionnaire. Binomial hierarchical logistic regressions and correlational analyses examined the relationship of EA and treatment-seeking behaviors, accounting for known barriers and emerging adult characteristics. After controlling for demographic variables, results indicated that EA was significantly positively correlated with self-stigma (r = .187), p < .001), perceived public stigma (r = .178, p < .001), intentions (r - .207, p < .001), psychological symptoms (r = .713, p < .001), and attitudes and beliefs (r = .009, p = .003). These and other findings are discussed further, along with the study limitations and implications, as well as possible future directions for work in this area.
Assessing Rainfall Interception by Urban Tree Canopies in Denton, Texas
Rainfall interception is one mechanism by which tree canopies can reduce surface runoff in urban areas. The objectives of this research were to: 1) quantify rainfall interception by urban tree canopies, and 2) determine the influence of vegetation and microenvironmental factors on rainfall interception rates. In the city of Denton, Texas, 30 mature post oak (Quercus stellata) and blackjack oak (Quercus marilandica) trees were selected for study. Trees were assigned to one of three categories: clusters of trees on greenspace (CG), isolated trees on greenspace (IG), and isolated trees surrounded by pavement (IP). Throughfall (the volume of water that travels through the canopy and reaches the soil surface) collectors were placed beneath these trees and rainfall collectors were placed in nearby open areas. Throughfall and rainfall were collected daily from 19 March to 4 July. Interception was calculated as the difference between throughfall and gross rainfall. Over the study period, there were 27 days with measurable rainfall; daily rainfall ranged from 1-51 mm. Over the sampling period, rainfall interception for individual trees ranged from -10% to 49%, indicating high spatial variability in interception. Percent interception was highest for the CG treatment (22.7 ± 3.8 SE), intermediate for IG (27.4 ± 2.3 SE), and lowest for IP (9.1 ± 4.9 SE). Factors like wind exposure, wind-driven rain and overall tree health may help explain this variability. This research will contribute to our knowledge of hydrological fluxes in urban areas and the role of urban green infrastructure in stormwater runoff mitigation.
The Persuasive Power of Ridicule: A Critical Rhetorical Analysis of Gender and Humor in U.S. Sitcoms
The serious investigation of humor's function in society is an emerging area of research in critical humor studies, a "negative" subsect of the extensive and "positive" research that assumes humor's goodness. Using Michael Billig's theory of ridicule as a framework, this study explored how humor operated to discipline characters who broke social norms or allowed characters to rebel against those norms. Layering this with gender performative theory, the study also investigated how different male and female characters used ridicule and were subject to it themselves. After examining ridicule in The Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, and The Odd Couple using a critical rhetorical analysis, the findings revealed that disciplinary ridicule was used more overtly throughout all three programs, while potentially rebellious ridicule emerged in only a few scenes. In addition, men were overwhelmingly the subjects of disciplinary ridicule, although women found themselves as subjects throughout all three programs as well. The discursive ridiculing of non-normative bodies constructed and maintained social norms about gender and sexuality, thereby uninviting these bodies from participating in society.
Comparing Media Usage of Binary and Non-Binary Transgender Individuals when Discovering and Describing Gender Identity
This study was conducted through in-depth interviews to examine potential differences between binary-aligned transgender individuals and non-binary individuals in regards to media usage when learning about, articulating, and explaining their gender identity. Results showed numerous differences between transgender people with binary-aligned and non-binary gender identifications in regards to social media preferences and differences in perceived media importance and effects. Additional information was found in regards to the age at which gender identity is articulated and the importance of individuality in comparison to one's gender identity.
Exploring Simscape™ Modeling for Piezoelectric Sensor Based Energy Harvester
This work presents an investigation of a piezoelectric sensor based energy harvesting system, which collects energy from the surrounding environment. Increasing costs and scarcity of fossil fuels is a great concern today for supplying power to electronic devices. Furthermore, generating electricity by ordinary methods is a complicated process. Disposal of chemical batteries and cables is polluting the nature every day. Due to these reasons, research on energy harvesting from renewable resources has become mandatory in order to achieve improved methods and strategies of generating and storing electricity. Many low power devices being used in everyday life can be powered by harvesting energy from natural energy resources. Power overhead and power energy efficiency is of prime concern in electronic circuits. In this work, an energy harvester is modeled and simulated in Simscape™ for the functional analysis and comparison of achieved outcomes with previous work. Results demonstrate that the harvester produces power in the 0 μW to 100 μW range, which is an adequate amount to provide supply to low power devices. Power efficiency calculations also demonstrate that the implemented harvester is capable of generating and storing power for low power pervasive applications.
Reconstructing Identity through Urban Community Agriculture: How Refugees Confront Displacement, Food Insecurity, and Othering through Community Farming
Ethnic and religious conflict, and the deepening of capitalism have led to global diaspora at unprecedented levels. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that as of 2015, 1 in every 122 persons worldwide were either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. The U.S. currently admits the largest number of refugees worldwide. However, policies fail to reflect the multitude of elements that constitute successful resettlement. Moreover, many refugees come from farming backgrounds and are forced to migrate to a landless urban environment, where their skill sets may not be utilized and farm land is not available. I argue that existing resettlement processes are embedded in logics and practices that alienate humans from nature and from each other through competition, isolation, and placeless environments. Through an exploration in concepts of urban agriculture, place-making, identity, and otherness, and illuminating the experiences of resettled refugees involved in a community gardening project in Fort Worth, Texas, show how the urban refugee garden provides the individual a space to narrate an identity, and to resist industrial agriculture and labor outside their industry. Exploring best practices in resettlement should be a priority to governments, politicians, and communities involved in the process and highlight the reasons to advocate these types of resettlement alternatives.
Development of an Outcome Measure for Use in Psychology Training Clinics
The ability to monitor client change in psychotherapy over time is vital to quality assurance in service delivery as well as the continuing improvement of psychotherapy research. Unfortunately, there is not currently a comprehensive, affordable, and easily utilized outcome measure for psychotherapy specifically normed and standardized for use in psychology training clinics. The current study took the first steps in creating such an outcome measure. Following development of an item bank, factor analysis and item-response theory analyses were applied to data gathered from a stratified sample of university (n = 101) and community (n = 261) participants. The factor structure did not support a phase model conceptualization, but did reveal a structure consistent with the theoretical framework of the research domain criteria (RDoC). Suggestions for next steps in the measure development process are provided and implications discussed.
Design, Modeling, and Experiment of a Piezoelectric Pressure Sensor based on a Thickness-Shear Mode Crystal Resonator
This thesis presents the design, modeling, and experiment of a novel pressure sensor using a dual-mode AT-cut quartz crystal resonator with beat frequency analysis based temperature compensation technique. The proposed sensor can measure pressure and temperature simultaneously by a single AT-cut quartz resonator. Apart from AT-cut quartz crystal, a newly developed Langasite (LGS) crystal resonator is also considered in the proposed pressure sensor design, since LGS can operate in a higher temperature environment than AT-cut quartz crystal. The pressure sensor is designed using CAD (computer aided design) software and CAE software - COMSOL Multiphysics. Finite element analysis (FEA) of the pressure sensor is performed to analyze the stress- strain of the sensor's mechanical structure. A 3D printing prototype of the sensor is fabricated and the proposed sensing principle is verified using a force-frequency analysis apparatus. Next to the 3D printing model verification, the pressure sensor with stainless steel housing has been fabricated with inbuilt crystal oscillator circuit. The oscillator circuit is used to excite the piezo crystal resonator at its fundamental vibrational mode and give the frequency as an output signal. Based on the FEA and experimental results, it has been concluded that the maximum pressure that the sensor can measure is 45 (psi). The pressure test results performed on the stainless steel product shows a highly linear relationship between the input (pressure) and the output (frequency).
Recidivism among Determinately Sentenced Juvenile Homicide Offenders in Texas
Juvenile homicide offenders pose a significant risk to society considering the severity of the crime, yet this population of delinquents receives little attention in terms of recidivism research. This study examined the recidivism outcomes of a group of 256 determinately sentenced homicide offenders in Texas. Each of these juveniles had be confined to and subsequently release from the Texas Youth Commission, and were followed for three years following release. The aim of this research study was to distinguish recidivists from non-recidivists across demographic, delinquent history, and risk factor measures. These same measures were then used to predict recidivism among the entire sample. Overall, the measures of race, gender, and previous delinquent adjudications emerged significant. First, Black youth were significantly more likely to recidivate than both Hispanic and White youth. Additionally, recidivism among males was significantly greater than non-recidivism among males. In contrast, there were fewer females in recidivist group than the non-recidivist group. Finally, youth with a greater number of previous delinquent adjudications were significantly more likely to recidivate, and the risk of recidivism increased as the number of previous adjudications increased. These findings are consistent with previous literature and indicate that these factors are prevalent in analyzing the recidivist behavior of determinately sentenced juvenile homicide offenders.
Sexual Identity and Social Anxiety in Emerging Adulthood
Elevated social anxiety (SA) is linked to issues with emotional distress, substance use, and social anxiety disorder (SAD). Notwithstanding concerns of how sexuality has been defined in the extant literature, emerging evidence suggests that the prevalence of SA and related challenges may be disproportionately present among sexual minorities, including lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals (LGBs). This trend may be especially relevant within the developmental context of emerging adulthood, an important period for development of sexual identity, and a time when individuals are already predisposed to heightened feelings of SA. The present study examined the relationship between sexual orientation (measured using sexual identity, sexual attraction, and past romantic and sexual behavior) and social anxiety (related to social interaction and social performance) among emerging adults. minority sexual identities [Welch's F(5,48.08) = 5.56, p = .002, ηp2 = .02.], same-sex attraction [Welch's F(4,108.06) = 11.27, p < .001, ηp2 = .04], and same-sex romantic [Welch's F(5,85.91) = 6.88, p < .001, ηp2 = .03] and sexual experiences[F(5,61.95) = 8.88, p < .001, ηp2 = .04], particularly among those who indicated attraction to multiple sexes. Findings support research that indicates that sexual minority adults experience higher levels of SA than majority (i.e., heterosexual, opposite-sex oriented) adults, and that assessment of sexuality may reflect number of sexual minorities identified. Future directions including intersections of race/ethnicity and gender are discussed.
Application of High Entropy Alloys in Stent Implants
High entropy alloys (HEAs) are alloys with five or more principal elements. Due to these distinct concept of alloying, the HEA exhibits unique and superior properties. The outstanding properties of HEA includes higher strength/hardness, superior wear resistance, high temperature stability, higher fatigue life, good corrosion and oxidation resistance. Such characteristics of HEA has been significant interest leading to researches on these emerging field. Even though many works are done to understand the characteristic of these HEAs, very few works are made on how the HEAs can be applied for commercial uses. This work discusses the application of High entropy alloys in biomedical applications. The coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States kills more than 350,000 persons/year and it costs $108.9 billion for the nation each year in spite of significant advancements in medical care and public awareness. A cardiovascular disease affects heart or blood vessels (arteries, veins and capillaries) or both by blocking the blood flow. As a surgical interventions, stent implants are deployed to cure or ameliorate the disease. However, the high failure rate of stents has lead researchers to give special attention towards analyzing stent structure, materials and characteristics. Many works related to alternate material and/or design are carried out in recent time. This paper discusses the feasibility of CoCrFeNiMn and Al0.1CoCrFeNi HEAs in stent implant application. This work is based on the speculation that CoCrFeNiMn and Al0.1CoCrFeNi HEAs are biocompatible material. These HEAs are characterized to determine the microstructure and mechanical properties. Computational modeling and analysis were carried out on stent implant by applying CoCrFeNiMn and Al0.1CoCrFeNi HEAs as material to understand the structural behavior.
The Impact of Causative Genes on Neuropsychological Functioning in Familial Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease: A Meta-Analysis
Mutations of three genes encoding amyloid precursor protein (APP), presenilin-1 (PSEN1), and presenilin-2 (PSEN2) have been shown to reliably result in familial early-onset Alzheimer's disease (FAD); a rare, but catastrophic, subtype of Alzheimer's disease (AD) marked by symptom emergence before age 65 as well as accelerated cognitive deterioration. The current study represents the first known meta-analysis on the association of APP, PSEN1 or PSEN2 on neurocognitive variables. A total of 278 FAD mutation-carriers (FAD-MC) and 284 cognitively healthy non-mutation-carriers (NC) across 10 independent investigations meeting inclusion criteria were chosen for the current meta-analysis (random effects design). Findings revealed an overarching trend of poorer performance by FAD-MC individuals compared to NC individuals across the majority of cognitive domains identified. Significant differences in effect sizes suggested FAD-MC individuals exhibited worse performance on measures of attention, explicit memory, fluency, primary memory, verbal, and visuospatial functioning. Findings indicative of differential sensitivity to cognitive domain impairments across FAD-MC and NC groups inform neuropsychological descriptions of individuals in preclinical phases of FAD.
Reinforcing Variability Produces Stereotypic Behavior
Behaving in novel ways is essential to the development of the types of complex performances described by the term creativity, problem solving, and perseverance. Some research suggests that response variability is an operant and a critical component of novel behavior. However, other account of novel behavior may be more parsimonious. Topographical variability has rarely been examined, nor has operant variability with organisms with baselines featuring stereotypic responding. This study examined the effects of a variability-specifying contingency on the cumulative novel responses of undergraduate students. Using the PORTL apparatus, participants interacted with a ball with a single hand. When the variability-specifying contingency was in effect, novel topographies were reinforced. When a reinforce every response condition was implemented, the participants did not emit any novel responses. When variability-specifying contingencies were in effect, novel responses were rarely followed by subsequent novel responses. They were mostly followed by repeated emission of the same topography, or by other previously emitted topographies. Novel responding did not persist long, although the variability-specifying contingency remained in effect and the potential for novel responding was great. The variability-specifying contingency often resulted in stereotypic response chains. Each of these findings call into the question the assertion that variability is an operant and suggests other possible explanations for the observed novelty.
Improving Staff Tutoring in a Special Education Class Through Active Listening Skills
According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2015, Texas special education programs were rated among the lowest in the nation. School districts in the state have a substantial need for effective and efficient staff training. In this study, researchers implemented TAPS: A Talk Aloud Problem Solving Approach Packet to teach active listener qualities to staff members in a life skills special education classroom. A multiple baseline across staff members was used to evaluate the effects of the TAPS training on the presence and absence of the staff members' active listener qualities during a pre-test, a post-test, and probes. The staff members that underwent TAPS training acquired all of the active listener qualities as a function of the TAPS training, and the effects of the training maintained during probe sessions. Additionally, TAPS training appeared to improve staff members' scores on the Whimbey Analytical Skills Inventory (WASI) Test and anecdotally improved the quality of staff and student tutoring interactions. Several areas of potential research and improvement are discussed.
The Effects of Defensiveness and Social Desirability on the Reporting of Personality Traits
Psychological assessment relies on accurate and forthright reporting to determine valid clinical presentations. However, it has long been recognized that examinees may be motivated to present a "better picture" through Positive Impression Management (PIM). Within the PIM domain, two distinct motivations (i.e., defensiveness and social desirability) emerge that have not been clearly differentiated in empirical literature. This thesis addressed the research gap for detecting PIM distortion of personality pathology, utilizing the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5). In this investigation, 106 psychiatric inpatients were recruited from the adult Co-Occurring Disorders and Trauma Programs at University Behavioral Health. Using a mixed within- and between-subjects design, participants engaged in simulation via scenarios to be considered for a highly valued rehabilitation program (defensiveness) or employment (social desirability). As expected, inpatients showed elevated levels of problematic personality traits when reporting genuinely, but suppressed them under PIM conditions. These findings highlight that the PID-5, like all multiscale inventories, is highly vulnerable to intentional PIM distortion. Interestingly, respondents in the social desirability condition generally engaged in more total denial than those in the defensiveness condition. Empirically- and theoretically-based validity scales were developed to identify simulators and differentiate between conditions. Besides PIM, higher levels of experienced stigma were associated with more personality pathology, particularly the domain of Detachment. In addition, ancillary analyses showed strong convergence of the PID-5 with its hierarchical trait model to the DSM-IV categorical model. Continued research to detect PIM distortion, and more importantly to differentiate between PIM motivations, is essential for accurate clinical assessment of personality disorder traits and effective treatment planning.
"Don't Frack with Denton"
Don't Frack With Denton chronicles the ground-breaking movement to ban hydraulic fracturing in the city of Denton, Texas by combining observational location shooting with extensive sit-down interviews and carefully negotiated subject-filmmaker relationships to create a safe and comfortable space for thoughtful reflection and criticism of a complex social movement who's activities span several years and many individuals. The result is a long-form documentary that is unapologetically in solidarity with this movement's goals while simultaneously maintaining enough editorial independence and critical distance to allow the activists themselves to honestly evaluate their decision-making, tactics and interpersonal relationships in ways that will provide insight and instruction to similar movements around the country and the world.
"Off Main Street": Stories
"Off Main Street" is a collection of short stories concerned, primarily, with the expression of womanhood in the American Midwest.
The Effects of Air Pollution on the Intestinal Microbiota: A Novel Approach to Assess How Gut Microbe Interactions with the Environment Affect Human Health
This thesis investigates how air pollution, both natural and anthropogenic, affects changes in the proximal small intestine and ileum microbiota profile, as well as intestinal barrier integrity, histological changes, and inflammation. APO-E KO mice on a high fat diet were randomly selected to be exposed by whole body inhalation to either wood smoke (WS) or mixed vehicular exhaust (MVE), with filtered air (FA) acting as the control. Intestinal integrity and histology were assessed by observing expression of well- known structural components tight junction proteins (TJPs), matrix metallopeptidase-9 (MMP-9), and gel-forming mucin (MUC2), as well known inflammatory related factors: TNF-α, IL-1β, and toll-like receptor (TLR)-4. Bacterial profiling was done using DNA analysis of microbiota within the ileum, utilizing 16S metagenomics sequencing (Illumina miSeq) technique. Overall results of this experiment suggest that air pollution, both anthropogenic and natural, cause a breach in the intestinal barrier with an increase in inflammatory factors and a decrease in beneficial bacteria. This evidence suggests the possibility of air pollution being a potential causative agent of intestinal disease as well as a possible contributing mechanism for induction of systemic inflammation.
Practical Evaluation of a Software Defined Cellular Network
This thesis proposes a design of a rapidly deployable cellular network prototype that provides voice and data communications and it is interoperable with legacy devices and the existing network infrastructure. The prototype is based on software defined radio and makes use of IEEE 802.11 unlicensed wireless radio frequency (RF) band for backhaul link and an open source GSM implementation software. The prototype is also evaluated in environments where there is limited control of the radio frequency landscape, and using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) performance metrics to measure the quality of service. It is observed that in environments where the IEEE 802.11 band is not heavily utilized, a large number of calls are supported with good quality of service. However, when this band is heavily utilized only a few calls can be supported as the quality of service rapidly degrades with increasing number of calls, which is due to interference. It is concluded that in order to achieve tolerable voice quality, unused licensed spectrum is needed for backhaul communication between base stations.
Emergency Fire Response in Ghana: The Case of Fire Stations in Kumasi
Comprehensive emergency management and response is crucial for disaster prevention and health emergencies. However, in African countries with an abundance of natural disasters and a rising surge in cardiovascular and obstetric emergencies, little research exists on emergency response. This study examines the fire emergency response in Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), Ghana's second largest city. We use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools including location -allocation modeling to evaluate the existing system of fire facilities, identify gaps in service, and suggest locations for new fire stations to maximize population coverage. Our results show that fire stations within KMA are poorly distributed and large portions of the metropolis are underserved, a situation that is partly responsible for the huge losses of lives and property during fire outbreaks.
A Feminist Rereading of Selected Works by Carlos Morton
Carlos Morton is a prominent Chicano playwright that has contributed greatly to Chicano theatre, creatively and academically, since in 1970s. This thesis offers a feminist analysis of the gender representation in three of his works: Lilith (1977), La Malinche (1984), and Dreaming on a Sunday in the Alameda (1992). The female characters in these three plays possess a unique agency that allows them to challenge oppressive patriarchal standards imposed on their gender identity. The second chapter explores Morton's Lilith, a play based on a Jewish creation myth. In the play, Lilith possesses agency of her gender identity and forms a bond with Eve to fight the patriarchal gender norms used to restrict women in Chicano culture. La Malinche is an adaptation of Eurpides's Medea set in post-Conquest New Spain. Chapter three focuses on the agency displayed by La Malinche through her indigenous roots to fight for her own form of motherhood and freedom from patriarchy. The final play analyzed in this thesis is Dreaming on a Sunday in the Alameda, a dream-like play that is based on Diego Rivera's mural by the same name. Several female characters in the play demonstrate agency through their androgynous sexual identities as they unite to resist male character's sexualized perceptions and expectations of females within Mexican and Chicano culture.
Academic Stress in Student-Athletes
Academic stress and the causes of such stress are subjects that are found in very few studies concerning student-athletes. Therefore, the purpose of this quantitative study is to determine how the following variables relate to academic stress and perceived stress either through correlations or differences--demographics, academic classification, major or field of study, athletic scholarship status, and season of sport (in- season/ out of season). An online questionnaire containing a Perceived Stress Scale and a Perception of Academic Stress scale were distributed to 151 student-athlete participants at a university in the southwest United States. The results indicated that biological sex has a significant relationship to perceived stress. No other variables were found significant to perceived stress or academic stress.
Development of von Willebrand Factor Zebrafish Mutant Using CRISPR/Cas9 Mediated Genome Editing
von Willebrand factor (VWF) protein acts in the intrinsic coagulation pathway by stabilizing FVIII from proteolytic clearance and at the site of injury, by promoting the adhesion and aggregation of platelets to the exposed subendothelial wall. von Willebrand disease (VWD) results from quantitative and qualitative deficiencies in VWF protein. The variability expressivity in phenotype presentations is in partly caused by the action of modifier genes. Zebrafish has been used as hemostasis animal model. However, it has not been used to evaluate VWD. Here, we report the development of a heterozygote VWF mutant zebrafish using the genome editing CRISPR/Cas9 system to screen for modifier genes involved in VWD. We designed CRISPR oligonucleotides and inserted them into pT7-gRNa plasmid. We then prepared VWF gRNA along with the endonuclease Cas9 RNA from Cas9 plasmid. We injected these two RNAs into 1-4 cell-stage zebrafish embryos and induced a mutation in VWF exon 29 of the zebrafish with a mutagenesis rate of 16.6% (3/18 adult fish). Also, we observed a germline transmission with an efficiency rate of 5.5% (1/18 adult fish). We obtained a deletion in exon 29 which should result in truncated VWF protein.
A Study of Mobility Models based on Spatial Node Distribution and Area Coverage
Mobile wireless sensor networks are not widely implemented in the real world, even after years of research carried out in this field. One reason is the lack of understanding of the impact that mobility has on network performance. The simulation and emulation of mobile wireless sensor networks is necessary before they are deployed for the real-world applications. This thesis presents a simulation-based study of different mobility models. The total area coverage that depends on the pattern of node movements is observed through simulations. The spatial distribution of node locations is also studied. Various synthetic mobility models available are explored based on their theoretical descriptions. ‘BonnMotion' is used as the network simulator for investigating different mobility scenarios. The results obtained after simulations are imported to MATLAB and the analysis of node movements is done through various plots and inferences from the data. The comparison of mobility models is also discussed based on their spatial node distribution in the simulated scenarios.
Determining Whether and When People Participate in the Events They Tweet About
This work describes an approach to determine whether people participate in the events they tweet about. Specifically, we determine whether people are participants in events with respect to the tweet timestamp. We target all events expressed by verbs in tweets, including past, present and events that may occur in future. We define event participant as people directly involved in an event regardless of whether they are the agent, recipient or play another role. We present an annotation effort, guidelines and quality analysis with 1,096 event mentions. We discuss the label distributions and event behavior in the annotated corpus. We also explain several features used and a standard supervised machine learning approach to automatically determine if and when the author is a participant of the event in the tweet. We discuss trends in the results obtained and devise important conclusions.
EEG Signal Analysis in Decision Making
Decision making can be a complicated process involving perception of the present situation, past experience and knowledge necessary to foresee a better future. This cognitive process is one of the essential human ability that is required from everyday walk of life to making major life choices. Although it may seem ambiguous to translate such a primitive process into quantifiable science, the goal of this thesis is to break it down to signal processing and quantifying the thought process with prominence of EEG signal power variance. This paper will discuss the cognitive science, the signal processing of brain signals and how brain activity can be quantifiable through data analysis. An experiment is analyzed in this thesis to provide evidence that theta frequency band activity is associated with stress and stress is negatively correlated with concentration and problem solving, therefore hindering decision making skill. From the results of the experiment, it is seen that theta is negatively correlated to delta and beta frequency band activity, thus establishing the fact that stress affects internal focus while carrying out a task.
Design of a Machine Condition Monitoring System with Bluetooth Low Energy
This thesis discusses the design considerations for a machine conditioning sensor utilizing Bluetooth low energy (BLE).
A Comparative Evaluation of Matrix Training Arrangements
A common goal of instructional techniques is to teach skills effectively and efficiently. Matrix training techniques are both effective and efficient as they allow for the emergence of untrained responding to novel stimulus arrangements, a phenomenon known as recombinative generalization. However, it is unclear which type of matrix arrangement best promotes recombinative generalization. The current study compared two common matrix training approaches, an overlapping (OV) design and a non-overlapping (NOV) design, with respect to arranging relations targeted for training. We conducted a replication evaluation of a Wilshire and Toussaint study, and taught two typically-developing preschoolers compound object-action labels in Spanish and used either an OV or NOV matrix training design. Results from both studies demonstrated the participant trained with an OV design produced recombinative generalization and participants trained with a NOV design produced significantly low levels of emergence or none at all. These results suggest that an OV matrix design facilitates recombinative generalization more effectively than a NOV design. Implications for instructional arrangements are discussed.
Bodies of Evidence: A Qualitative Analysis of the Lived Experiences of Female Central American and Mexican Asylum Seekers in Dallas
This work addresses the experiences of female asylum seekers from Central and Mexico currently living in Dallas, TX. The main purpose is to analyze how these women engage in the gendered processes of both migrating to and accessing legal resources and protection within the United States. As the women move through male-dominated spaces in their home country, the borderlands, and the asylum court they must challenge the patriarchal institutions that attempt to silence their narratives and criminalize their bodies. Their physical wounds become evidence in the courtroom, while outside of the courtroom their movements are monitored and tracked through multiple mechanisms of state control: ankle monitors, detention centers, ICE check-ins. They face intersectional discrimination as they are targeted as both women and immigrants. However, these female asylum seekers are not victims. They constantly display agency as they represent themselves in court, find solace in their faith, and form community with each other.
Investigation on the Effects of Indoor Temperature Modulations on Building Energy Usage and Human Thermal Comfort
Energy efficiency in the operation of buildings is becoming increasingly important with a growing emphasis on sustainability and reducing environmental impacts of irresponsible energy usage. Improvements have been made both on the technology side of energy efficiency and on the human behavior side. However, when changing human behavior, it is critical to find energy conservation measures that will maintain comfort for occupants. This paper analyzes how this can be done by implementing a modulating temperature schedule based on the concept of alliesthesia, which states that pleasure is observed in transient states. EnergyPlus simulations were used to show that in cooling applications, this type of scheduling can produce significant energy savings. However, energy savings are not predicted for the same type of scheduling for heating applications. Thermal comfort was examined with a cooling experiment and a separate heating experiment, each lasting 45 minutes and taking place during the corresponding season. The experiments showed that modulating temperatures can cause occupants to experience more pleasure than if the temperature remained constant in a cooled space, whereas modulating temperatures had a negative impact on comfort relative to the constant temperature in the heated space. This presents evidence for an ideal opportunity for cooling applications by implementing modulating temperature schedules: an increase in thermal pleasure accompanied by a decrease in cooling energy.
Improving the Gameplay Experience and Guiding Bottom Players in an Interactive Mapping Game
In game based learning, motivating the players to learn by providing them a desirable gameplay experience is extremely important. However, it's not an easy task considering the quality of today's commercial non-educational games. Throughout the gameplay, the player should neither get overwhelmed nor under-challenged. The best way to do so is to monitor the player's actions in the game because these actions can tell the reason behind the player's performance. They can also tell about the player's lacking competencies or knowledge. Based on this information, in-game educational interventions in the form of hints can be provided to the player. The success of such games depends on their interactivity, motivational outlook and thus player retention. UNTANGLED is an online mapping game based on crowd-sourcing, developed by Reconfigurable Computing Lab, UNT for the mapping problem of CGRAs. It is also an educational game for teaching the concepts of reconfigurable computing. This thesis performs qualitative comparative analysis on gameplays of low performing players of UNTANGLED. And the implications of this analysis are used to provide recommendations for improving the gameplay experience for these players by guiding them. The recommendations include strategies to reach a high score and a compact solution, hints in the form of preset patterns and a clustering based approach.
"That Every Christian May Be Suited": Isaac Watts's Hymns in the Writings of Early Mohegan Writers, Samson Occom and Joseph Johnson
This thesis considers how Samson Occom and Joseph Johnson, Mohegan writers in Early America, used the hymns of English hymnodist, Isaac Watts. Each chapter traces how either Samson Occom or Joseph Johnson's adapted Isaac Watts's hymns for Native communities and how these texts are sites of affective sovereignty.
Investigation of a Novel Vapor Chamber for Efficient Heat Spreading and Removal for Power Electronics in Electric Vehicles
This work investigated a novel vapor chamber for efficient heat spreading and heat removal. A vapor chamber acting as a heat spreader enables for more uniform temperature distribution along the surface of the device being cooled. First, a vapor chamber was studied and compared with the traditional copper heat spreader. The thickness of vapor chamber was kept 1.35 mm which was considered to be ultra-thin vapor chamber. Then, a new geometrical model having graphite foam in vapor space was proposed where the graphite foam material was incorporated in vapor space as square cubes. The effects of incorporating graphite foam in vapor space were compared to the vapor chamber without the embedded graphite foam to investigate the heat transfer performance improvements of vapor chamber by the high thermal conductivity graphite foam. Finally, the effects of various vapor chamber thicknesses were studied through numerical simulations. It was found that thinner vapor chamber (1.35 mm thickness) had better heat transfer performance than thicker vapor chamber (5 mm thickness) because of the extreme high effective thermal conductivities of ultra-thin vapor chamber. Furthermore, the effect of graphite foam on thermal performance improvement was very minor for ultra-thin vapor chamber, but significant for thick vapor chamber. The GF could help reduce the junction temperature by 15-30% in the 5-mm thick vapor chamber. Use of GF embedded vapor chamber could achieve 250-400 Watt per Centimeter square local heat removal for power electronics. The application of this is not only limited to electronic devices but actuator and avionics cooling in aircrafts, thermal management of electronics in directed energy weapon systems, battery thermal management for electric and hybrid vehicles, smart phones cooling, thus covering a wide gamut of heat flux applications.
The Geography of Maternal Health Indicators in Ghana
Ghana is identified among the developing countries with high maternal mortality ratio in Africa. This study unpacked the Demographic and Health Survey data by examining the maternal health indicators at the district level using GIS methods. Understanding the geographic patterns of antenatal care, place of delivery, and skilled birth attendants at the small scale will help to formulate and plan for location-specific health interventions that can improve maternal health care behavior among Ghanaian women. Districts with high rates and low rates were identified. Place of residence, Gini-Coefficient, wealth status, internet access, and religious affiliation were used to explore the underlying factors associated with the observed patterns. Economic inequality was positively associated with increased use of maternal health care services. The ongoing free maternal health policy serves as a cushion effect for the economic inequality among the districts in the Northern areas. Home delivery is common among the rural districts and is more prominent mostly in the western part of Northern Region and southwest of Upper West. Educating women about the free maternal health policy remains the most viable strategy for positive maternal health outcomes and in reducing MMR in Ghana.
Transformative Learning and Teacher Beliefs: A Comparative Study of International Teacher Experiences
This project aims to explore the beliefs of international teachers regarding the students with whom they work, and the change in those beliefs over time. Participant observation, interviews, and questionnaires were used as tools of collection to address the following research questions: How did teachers' beliefs about students change over time? What variables were significantly associated with the rate of change in teacher beliefs about students? What types of challenges did teaches face while living and working in Thailand? Over the course of four months, I shadowed twenty-two U.S. teachers in thirteen different locations throughout Thailand. Participants were enrolled in an international teaching program in Thailand that provided a cultural orientation and teacher training. Participants were then assigned to teaching jobs throughout the country. Qualitative and quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS and NVivo software. This project contributes to the scholarship of teaching and learning, and anthropological and education research dedicated to exploring teachers' beliefs about students. Results of the study provide vital information about what variables or experiences may influence a critical analysis of beliefs among teachers working with students who they perceive as different from themselves. Due to some of the parallels between this study population and that of teachers in public schools within the United States, findings may also be applicable to preservice teacher training contexts that consider ways to help teachers critically reflect on their beliefs and worldviews in preparation for working with students whom they may perceive as different from themselves.
Teach Healthier: An mHealth Case Study for Piloting Pre-K Health Curriculum
This rapid ethnographic study explored how a 'mobile health education' app might impact preschool teachers and students, interact with organizational protocols and policies, and align with the preschool culture. The researcher evaluated the app's early Pre-K content and user experience. With a systems thinking approach, this study revealed the lived-experiences and processes in preschools around Austin, Texas. The outcomes of this study guided the client with more human-centered approaches to researching and designing their apps and services.
Adrenergic and Cholinergic Regulation of Cardiovascular Function in Embryonic Neotropic Cormorants (Phalacrocorax basilianus)
Investigations of cholinergic and adrenergic tone on heart rate (fH) and mean arterial pressure (Pm) during embryonic development have been conducted on numerous avian species. While these investigations have documented that adrenergic tone, a continuous stimulation, on fH and Pm is vital to embryonic development in the birds studied to date, development of cholinergic tone on fH has been shown to vary even within species. Further, past studies have been bias to focus primarily on precocial species while altricial species remain poorly understood in this context. The goal of this investigation was to investigate the role of cholinergic and adrenergic tone on fH and Pm of an altricial species, the neotropic cormorant (P. brasilianus) to address this bias. The embryonic neotropic cormorant possesses B-and-a adrenergic tone on fH and Pm at 70% and 90% incubation while cholinergic tone on fH occurs at 90% incubation. This pattern of control is similar to that previously reported for several species of precocial birds suggesting the development of tonic cardiovascular regulation may be conserved across avian taxa.
A Study on the System Reliability of Cold-Formed Steel Roof Trusses
This thesis presents a research project aimed at advancing the treatment of cold-formed steel (CFS) structural reliability in roof trusses. Structural design today relies almost exclusively on component-level design, so structural safety is assured by limiting the probability of failure of individual components. Reliability of the entire system is typically not assessed, so in a worst-case scenario the system reliability may be less than the component reliability, or in a best-case scenario the system reliability may be much greater than the component reliability. A roof truss itself, is a subsystem with several possible failure modes that are being studied in this test program. These trusses are constructed of CFS members that nest with one another at the truss nodes and are connected by drilling fasteners through the mated surfaces, as well as having steel sheathing fastened to the top chords for lateral bracing. Presented in this paper is a series of full-scale static tests on single cold-formed steel roof trusses with a unique experimental setup. The test specimens were carefully monitored to address multiple failure modes: buckling of the top chord, buckling of the truss webs, and any connection failures. This research includes the experimental results, the computed system reliability of the trusses as well as their relationship between the components reliability.
A Cognitive Radio Application through Opportunistic Spectrum Access
In wireless communication systems, one of the most important resources being focused on all the researchers is spectrum. A cognitive radio (CR) system is one of the efficient ways to access the radio spectrum opportunistically, and efficiently use the available underutilized licensed spectrum. Spectrum utilization can be significantly enhanced by developing more applications with adopting CR technology. CR systems are implemented using a radio technology called software-defined radios (SDR). SDR provides a flexible and cost-effective solution to fulfil the requirements of end users. We can see a lot of innovations in Internet of Things (IoT) and increasing number of smart devices. Hence, a CR system application involving an IoT device is studied in this thesis. Opportunistic spectrum access involves two tasks of CR system: spectrum sensing and dynamic spectrum access. The functioning of the CR system is rest upon the spectrum sensing. There are different spectrum sensing techniques used to detect the spectrum holes and a few of them are discussed here in this thesis. The simplest and easiest to implement energy detection spectrum sensing technique is used here to implement the CR system. Dynamic spectrum access involves different models and strategies to access the spectrum. Amongst the available models, an interweave model is more challenging and is used in this thesis. Interweave model needs effective spectrum sensing before accessing the spectrum opportunistically. The system designed and simulated in this thesis is capable of transmitting an output from an IoT device using USRP and GNU radio through accessing the radio spectrum opportunistically.
The Struggling Dance: The Latino Journalist Experience Covering Hispanic and Latino Communities in Dallas
This qualitative study addresses how the Dallas Morning News and Al Día reporters and editors determine what type of news related to the Dallas Latino and Hispanic communities gets covered. It also looks into how and why each newspaper tackles the coverage of these communities. Through a systematic analysis of 8 in-depth interviews and a 6-month ethnography, the findings of this study suggest that Latino and Hispanic journalists in Dallas feel the Latino and Hispanic communities are regarded as the "other." This study suggests the newsroom's hegemony and its news production routines influence the way Latino and Hispanic communities are covered in Dallas, and the way Latino and Hispanic reporters and editors who primarily cover these communities are treated. Though the newsrooms have made an effort to diversity its staff, reporters and editors claim they still have a long way to go before the staff accurately represents the large Hispanic and Latino population in the city.
Third World Decolonization: The Pan Africanist Movement in the Age of Nasserism
In the mid-twentieth century Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser, along with President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana rose to international prominence as leaders and visionaries who were able to achieve political independence in their respective home countries while attempting to shape a destiny for Africa that did not involve Western imperialism. For Nasser's part, he first secured independence for Egypt, then turned his attention to the Middle East, but soon became as active in the politics of Sub Saharan Africa, also known as black Africa, as he was in the Arab world. This thesis explores Nasser's forays into Sub Saharan Africa during the period of decolonization on the continent and how his aspirations for Africa were equally a part of his political agenda that came to be known as Nasserism. Considering Nasser was the leader of the Third bloc, Egypt's fate was tied to Africa just as much as it was to the Middle East. Beyond the aspects of Nasser's involvement in Africa, this work also explores the active role Africans played in their quest for independence from European colonizers. Many African leaders during this time were as prominent and as shrewd as Nasser and were committed to establishing an anti-imperialist continent while developing modern African states based on the principles of Pan Africanism. While this occurred, new countries began to enter Africa and it became up to the African heads of state to determine how much involvement they wanted from these outsiders and at what cost. As these many dynamics played out in Africa, Pan Africanism was simultaneously occurring in the United States that linked black America's fate with Africa in movements that emphasized black nationalism and Third World political ideology.
Design of a Lower Extremity Exoskeleton to Increase Knee ROM during Valgus Bracing for Osteoarthritic Gait
Knee osteoarthritis (KOA) is the primary cause of chronic immobility in populations over the age of 65. It is a joint degenerative disease in which the articular cartilage in the knee joint wears down over time, leading to symptoms of pain, instability, joint stiffness, and misalignment of the lower extremities. Without intervention, these symptoms gradually worsen over time, decreasing the overall knee range of motion (ROM) and ability to walk. Current clinical interventions include offloading braces, which mechanically realign the lower extremities to alleviate the pain experienced in the medial compartment of the knee joint. Though these braces have proven effective in pain management, studies have shown a significant decrease in knee ROM while using the brace. Concurrently, development of active exoskeletons for rehabilitative gait has increased within recent years in efforts to provide patients with a more effective intervention for dealing with KOA. Though some developed exoskeletons are promising in their efficacy of fostering gait therapy, these devices are heavy, tethered, difficult to control, unavailable to patients, or costly due to the number of complicated components used to manufacture the device. However, the idea that an active component can improve gait therapy for patients motivates this study. This study proposes the design of an adjustable lower extremity exoskeleton which features a single linear actuator adapted onto a commercially available offloading brace. This design hopes to provide patients with pain alleviation from the brace, while also actively driving the knee through flexion and extension. The design and execution of this exoskeleton was accomplished by 3D computer simulation, 3D CAD modeling, and rapid prototyping techniques. The exoskeleton features 3D printed, ABS plastic struts and supports to achieve successful adaptation of the linear actuator to the brace and an electromechanical system with a rechargeable operating capacity of 7 hours. Design validation was ...
Urban Hydraulic Rhizome: Water, Space, and the City in 20th Century North Texas
During the modern era, the urbanization of water has been facilitated by various privileged discourses, which valorize major engineering interventions for the sake of continued urban growth. This research examines discourse surrounding the 2-th Century proposal and construction of a reservoir near the then-tiny farming community of Grapevine, Texas, for the benefit of urban interests. I argue that urban interests produced Grapevine space as nothing more than a container for city water, by rendering meaningless any conception of space that was not directly articulated with urban economic networks. Modern discourse collapsed Denton Creek space from a watershed and landscape into a dimensionless node in the urban space of flows. In return, rural inhabitants were encouraged to progress and to modernize their own spaces: to become urban. Whereas urban discourse entails an implicit spatial imaginary of networks, I deploy the conceptual framework of settler colonialism to show that a core-periphery relationship remains relevant, and is not reducible to a network spatial ontology.