Latest Articles

Open AccessArticle
Quark Deconfinement in Rotating Neutron Stars
Universe 2017, 3(1), 5; doi:10.3390/universe3010005 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In this paper, we use a three flavor non-local Nambu–Jona-Lasinio (NJL) model, an improved effective model of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) at low energies, to investigate the existence of deconfined quarks in the cores of neutron stars. Particular emphasis is put on the possible
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In this paper, we use a three flavor non-local Nambu–Jona-Lasinio (NJL) model, an improved effective model of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) at low energies, to investigate the existence of deconfined quarks in the cores of neutron stars. Particular emphasis is put on the possible existence of quark matter in the cores of rotating neutron stars (pulsars). In contrast to non-rotating neutron stars, whose particle compositions do not change with time (are frozen in), the type and structure of the matter in the cores of rotating neutron stars depends on the spin frequencies of these stars, which opens up a possible new window on the nature of matter deep in the cores of neutron stars. Our study shows that, depending on mass and rotational frequency, up to around 8% of the mass of a massive neutron star may be in the mixed quark-hadron phase, if the phase transition is treated as a Gibbs transition. We also find that the gravitational mass at which quark deconfinement occurs in rotating neutron stars varies quadratically with spin frequency, which can be fitted by a simple formula. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Involvement of FvSet1 in Fumonisin B1 Biosynthesis, Vegetative Growth, Fungal Virulence, and Environmental Stress Responses in Fusarium verticillioides
Toxins 2017, 9(2), 43; doi:10.3390/toxins9020043 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Fusarium verticillioides (teleomorph, Gibberella moniliformis) is an important plant pathogen that causes seedling blight, stalk rot, and ear rot in maize (Zea mays). During infection, F. verticillioides produce fumonsins B1 (FB1) that pose a serious threat to human and animal
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Fusarium verticillioides (teleomorph, Gibberella moniliformis) is an important plant pathogen that causes seedling blight, stalk rot, and ear rot in maize (Zea mays). During infection, F. verticillioides produce fumonsins B1 (FB1) that pose a serious threat to human and animal health. Recent studies showed that Set1, a methyltransferase of H3K4, was responsible for toxin biosynthesis in filamentous fungi. However, to date, the regulation of FvSet1 on FB1 biosynthesis remains unclear. In the current study, we identified only one Set1 ortholog in F. verticillioides (FvSet1) and found that the deletion of FvSET1 led to various defects in fungal growth and pathogenicity. More interestingly, the FvSET1 deletion mutant (ΔFvSet1) showed a significant defect in FB1 biosynthesis and lower expression levels of FUM genes. FvSet1 was also found to play an important role in the responses of F. verticillioides to multiple environmental stresses via regulating the phosphorylation of FvMgv1 and FvHog1. Taken together, these results indicate that FvSet1 plays essential roles in the regulation of FB1 biosynthesis, fungal growth and virulence, as well as various stress responses in F. verticillioides.Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Socio-Ecological Approach to GIS Least-Cost Modelling for Regional Mining Infrastructure Planning: A Case Study from South-East Sulawesi, Indonesia
Resources 2017, 6(1), 7; doi:10.3390/resources6010007 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Regional planning approaches to mining infrastructure aim to reduce the conflict associated with mining operations and existing land uses, such as urban areas and biodiversity conservation, as well as the cumulative impacts that occur offsite. In this paper, we describe a method for
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Regional planning approaches to mining infrastructure aim to reduce the conflict associated with mining operations and existing land uses, such as urban areas and biodiversity conservation, as well as the cumulative impacts that occur offsite. In this paper, we describe a method for conducting Geographical Information System (GIS) least-cost path and least-cost corridor analysis for linear mining infrastructure, such as roads. Least-cost path analysis identifies the optimal pathways between two locations as a function of the cost of traveling through different land use/cover types. In a case study from South-East Sulawesi, Indonesia, we identify potential linear networks for road infrastructure connecting mines, smelters, and ports. The method used interview data from government officials to characterise their orientation (perceived importance and positive/negative attitude) toward the social and environmental factors associated with mining infrastructure. A cost-surface was constructed by integrating spatial layers representing the social and environmental factors to identify areas that should be avoided and areas that were compatible with linear infrastructure using the least-cost path analysis. We compared infrastructure scenario outputs from local and national government officials by the degree of spatial overlap and found broad spatial agreement for infrastructure corridors. We conclude by discussing this approach in relation to the wider social-ecological and mine planning literature and how quantitative approaches can reduce the conflict associated with infrastructure planning. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Urban Mines of Copper: Size and Potential for Recycling in the EU
Resources 2017, 6(1), 6; doi:10.3390/resources6010006 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Copper is among the most important metals by production volume and variety of applications, providing essential materials and goods for human wellbeing. Compared to other world regions, Europe has modest natural reserves of copper and is highly dependent on imports to meet the
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Copper is among the most important metals by production volume and variety of applications, providing essential materials and goods for human wellbeing. Compared to other world regions, Europe has modest natural reserves of copper and is highly dependent on imports to meet the domestic demand. Securing access to raw materials is of strategic relevance for Europe and the recycling of urban mines (also named “in-use stock”) is a significant mean to provide forms of secondary copper to the European industry. A dynamic material flow analysis model is applied to characterize the flows of copper in the European Union (EU-28) from 1960 to 2014 and to determine the accumulation of this metal in the in-use stock. A scrap balance approach is applied to reconcile the flow of secondary copper sent to domestic recycling estimated through the model and that reported by historic statistics. The results show that per capita in-use stock amounts at 160–200 kg/person, and that current end-of-life recycling rate is around 60%. The quantification of historic flows provides a measure of how the European copper cycle has changed over time and how it may evolve in the future: major hindrances to recycling are highlighted and perspectives for improving the current practices at end-of-life are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessCorrection
Correction: Wang, J., et al. Dynamic Mapping of Rice Growth Parameters Using HJ-1 CCD Time Series Data. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 931
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(2), 94; doi:10.3390/rs9020094 (registering DOI) -
Abstract The authors wish to make the following corrections to their paper [1].[...] Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Altimetric Range and Geophysical Corrections and Mean Sea Surface Models—Impacts on Sea Level Variability around the Indonesian Seas
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(2), 102; doi:10.3390/rs9020102 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The focus of this study is the assessment of the main range and geophysical corrections needed to derive accurate sea level time series from satellite altimetry in the Indonesia seas, the ultimate aim being the determination of sea level trend for this region.
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The focus of this study is the assessment of the main range and geophysical corrections needed to derive accurate sea level time series from satellite altimetry in the Indonesia seas, the ultimate aim being the determination of sea level trend for this region. Due to its island nature, this is an area of large complexity for altimetric studies, a true laboratory for coastal altimetry. For this reason, the selection of the best corrections for sea level anomaly estimation from satellite altimetry is of particular relevance in the Indonesian seas. The same happens with the mean sea surface adopted in the sea level anomaly computation due to the large gradients of the mean sea surface in this part of the ocean. This study has been performed using altimetric data from the three reference missions, TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1 and Jason-2, extracted from the Radar Altimeter Database System. Analyses of sea level anomaly variance differences, function of distance from the coast and at altimeter crossovers were used to assess the quality of the various corrections and mean sea surface models. The selected set of corrections and mean sea surface have been used to estimate the sea level anomaly time series. The rate of sea level rise for the Indonesian seas was found to be 4.2 ± 0.2 mm/year over the 23-year period (1993–2015). Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Convolutional Neural Network Approach for Assisting Avalanche Search and Rescue Operations with UAV Imagery
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(2), 100; doi:10.3390/rs9020100 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Following an avalanche, one of the factors that affect victims’ chance of survival is the speed with which they are located and dug out. Rescue teams use techniques like trained rescue dogs and electronic transceivers to locate victims. However, the resources and time
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Following an avalanche, one of the factors that affect victims’ chance of survival is the speed with which they are located and dug out. Rescue teams use techniques like trained rescue dogs and electronic transceivers to locate victims. However, the resources and time required to deploy rescue teams are major bottlenecks that decrease a victim’s chance of survival. Advances in the field of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have enabled the use of flying robots equipped with sensors like optical cameras to assess the damage caused by natural or manmade disasters and locate victims in the debris. In this paper, we propose assisting avalanche search and rescue (SAR) operations with UAVs fitted with vision cameras. The sequence of images of the avalanche debris captured by the UAV is processed with a pre-trained Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) to extract discriminative features. A trained linear Support Vector Machine (SVM) is integrated at the top of the CNN to detect objects of interest. Moreover, we introduce a pre-processing method to increase the detection rate and a post-processing method based on a Hidden Markov Model to improve the prediction performance of the classifier. Experimental results conducted on two different datasets at different levels of resolution show that the detection performance increases with an increase in resolution, while the computation time increases. Additionally, they also suggest that a significant decrease in processing time can be achieved thanks to the pre-processing step. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
New Interdisciplinary Spaces of Religions and Beliefs in Contemporary Thought and Practice: An Analysis
Religions 2017, 8(2), 16; doi:10.3390/rel8020016 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This article is rooted in the observation that the 21st century has witnessed a resurgent interest in and a new visibility of religions and beliefs across a range of arts, humanities and social science disciplines, some of which have always focused on religions
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This article is rooted in the observation that the 21st century has witnessed a resurgent interest in and a new visibility of religions and beliefs across a range of arts, humanities and social science disciplines, some of which have always focused on religions and beliefs, others are returning to it, while some have no previous tradition of doing so. The article reports on an analysis of these new spaces of interest in religions and beliefs, undertaken through semi-structured interviews with eighteen landmark figures in the study of religion internationally. Points of connection, disconnection and innovation are explored, and the concept of liminality is deployed to explore how understandings of religion, belief and the secular are in a process of being re-imagined within academic disciplines. By considering new thresholds and debates as they are emerging, the article concludes that there are opportunities to research and conceive of the role of religions and beliefs as an interdisciplinary exercise, which are yet to be addressed and which reflect the need to re-imagine how religions and beliefs are broadly conceived and how different disciplines engage with each other. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Protestant Search for ‘the Universal Christian Community’ between Decolonization and Communism †
Religions 2017, 8(2), 17; doi:10.3390/rel8020017 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This article investigates the history of American Protestant thought about peoples living beyond the North Atlantic West, in Asia in particular, from 1900 to the 1960s. It argues that Protestant thought about the Global South was marked by a tension between universalism and
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This article investigates the history of American Protestant thought about peoples living beyond the North Atlantic West, in Asia in particular, from 1900 to the 1960s. It argues that Protestant thought about the Global South was marked by a tension between universalism and particularism. Protestants believed that their religion was universal because its core insights about the world were meant for everyone. At the same time, Protestant intellectuals were attentive to the demands of their coreligionists abroad, who argued that decolonization should herald a greater appreciation for national differences. The article traces three distinct stages of Protestant attempts to resolve these tensions; support for imperialism in the early twentieth century, then for human rights at mid-century, and finally for pluralism in the 1960s. In doing so, it shows that the specter of the Soviet Union intensified the Protestant appreciation of national differences and ultimately led to the disavowal of Protestant universalism. Full article

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