Latest Articles

Open AccessReview
Historical Perspectives and Guidelines for Botulinum Neurotoxin Subtype Nomenclature
Toxins 2017, 9(1), 38; doi:10.3390/toxins9010038 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Botulinum neurotoxins are diverse proteins. They are currently represented by at least seven serotypes and more than 40 subtypes. New clostridial strains that produce novel neurotoxin variants are being identified with increasing frequency, which presents challenges when organizing the nomenclature surrounding these neurotoxins.
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Botulinum neurotoxins are diverse proteins. They are currently represented by at least seven serotypes and more than 40 subtypes. New clostridial strains that produce novel neurotoxin variants are being identified with increasing frequency, which presents challenges when organizing the nomenclature surrounding these neurotoxins. Worldwide, researchers are faced with the possibility that toxins having identical sequences may be given different designations or novel toxins having unique sequences may be given the same designations on publication. In order to minimize these problems, an ad hoc committee consisting of over 20 researchers in the field of botulinum neurotoxin research was convened to discuss the clarification of the issues involved in botulinum neurotoxin nomenclature. This publication presents a historical overview of the issues and provides guidelines for botulinum neurotoxin subtype nomenclature in the future. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Minimum Protection in DC Funding Pension Plans and Margrabe Options
Risks 2017, 5(1), 5; doi:10.3390/risks5010005 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The regulation on the Belgian occupational pension schemes has been recently changed. The new law allows for employers to choose between two different types of guarantees to offer to their affiliates. In this paper, we address the question arising naturally: which of the
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The regulation on the Belgian occupational pension schemes has been recently changed. The new law allows for employers to choose between two different types of guarantees to offer to their affiliates. In this paper, we address the question arising naturally: which of the two guarantees is the best one? In order to answer that question, we set up a stochastic model and use financial pricing tools to compare the methods. More specifically, we link the pension liabilities to a portfolio of financial assets and compute the price of exchange options through the Margrabe formula. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
State-Level Forestry Cost-Share Programs and Economic Impact of Increased Timber Outputs: A South Carolina Case Study
Resources 2017, 6(1), 4; doi:10.3390/resources6010004 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Management of family forests in the United States has been long-influenced by public policies and programs that encourage active management on these private lands, especially afforestation of idle lands and reforestation of cut-over lands. Financial incentive programs to encourage family forest reforestation date
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Management of family forests in the United States has been long-influenced by public policies and programs that encourage active management on these private lands, especially afforestation of idle lands and reforestation of cut-over lands. Financial incentive programs to encourage family forest reforestation date back to the 1940s, and in the beginning were funded by the federal government. Beginning in the early 1970s, state governments, especially those with strong forestry-based economies, saw a need to offer their own incentives, primarily cost-share programs to increase forest productivity. These programs are considered to be successful, but little research addresses the value and increased timber supply that result from the state investment. Here, we use historical data from the South Carolina Forest Renewal Program (FRP), one of the oldest and well-established state forestry cost-share programs, to determine the incremental timber outputs generated. Marginal analysis was used to produce financial comparison between regeneration options that include cost-share and those that do not. Annual funding for the FRP is currently $1,000,000 and in the long-run five dollars of economic impact is created for each dollar invested, and over a half million tons of additional wood is added to the annual timber supply. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Need for Accurate Geometric and Radiometric Corrections of Drone-Borne Hyperspectral Data for Mineral Exploration: MEPHySTo—A Toolbox for Pre-Processing Drone-Borne Hyperspectral Data
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(1), 88; doi:10.3390/rs9010088 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Drone-borne hyperspectral imaging is a new and promising technique for fast and precise acquisition, as well as delivery of high-resolution hyperspectral data to a large variety of end-users. Drones can overcome the scale gap between field and air-borne remote sensing, thus providing high-resolution
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Drone-borne hyperspectral imaging is a new and promising technique for fast and precise acquisition, as well as delivery of high-resolution hyperspectral data to a large variety of end-users. Drones can overcome the scale gap between field and air-borne remote sensing, thus providing high-resolution and multi-temporal data. They are easy to use, flexible and deliver data within cm-scale resolution. So far, however, drone-borne imagery has prominently and successfully been almost solely used in precision agriculture and photogrammetry. Drone technology currently mainly relies on structure-from-motion photogrammetry, aerial photography and agricultural monitoring. Recently, a few hyperspectral sensors became available for drones, but complex geometric and radiometric effects complicate their use for geology-related studies. Using two examples, we first show that precise corrections are required for any geological mapping. We then present a processing toolbox for frame-based hyperspectral imaging systems adapted for the complex correction of drone-borne hyperspectral imagery. The toolbox performs sensor- and platform-specific geometric distortion corrections. Furthermore, a topographic correction step is implemented to correct for rough terrain surfaces. We recommend the c-factor-algorithm for geological applications. To our knowledge, we demonstrate for the first time the applicability of the corrected dataset for lithological mapping and mineral exploration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Self-Calibrating Runoff and Streamflow Remote Sensing Model for Ungauged Basins Using Open-Access Earth Observation Data
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(1), 86; doi:10.3390/rs9010086 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Due to increasing pressures on water resources, there is a need to monitor regional water resource availability in a spatially and temporally explicit manner. However, for many parts of the world, there is insufficient data to quantify stream flow or ground water infiltration
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Due to increasing pressures on water resources, there is a need to monitor regional water resource availability in a spatially and temporally explicit manner. However, for many parts of the world, there is insufficient data to quantify stream flow or ground water infiltration rates. We present the results of a pixel-based water balance formulation to partition rainfall into evapotranspiration, surface water runoff and potential ground water infiltration. The method leverages remote sensing derived estimates of precipitation, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, Leaf Area Index, and a single F coefficient to distinguish between runoff and storage changes. The study produced significant correlations between the remote sensing method and field based measurements of river flow in two Vietnamese river basins. For the Ca basin, we found R2 values ranging from 0.88–0.97 and Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) values varying between 0.44–0.88. The R2 for the Red River varied between 0.87–0.93 and NSE values between 0.61 and 0.79. Based on these findings, we conclude that the method allows for a fast and cost-effective way to map water resource availability in basins with no gauges or monitoring infrastructure, without the need for application of sophisticated hydrological models or resource-intensive data. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Remote Sensing-Based Assessment of the 2005–2011 Bamboo Reproductive Event in the Arakan Mountain Range and Its Relation with Wildfires
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(1), 85; doi:10.3390/rs9010085 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Pulse ecological events have major impacts on regional and global biogeochemical cycles, potentially inducing a vast set of cascading ecological effects. This study analyzes the widespread reproductive event of bamboo (Melocanna baccifera) that occurred in the Arakan Mountains (Southeast Asia) from
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Pulse ecological events have major impacts on regional and global biogeochemical cycles, potentially inducing a vast set of cascading ecological effects. This study analyzes the widespread reproductive event of bamboo (Melocanna baccifera) that occurred in the Arakan Mountains (Southeast Asia) from 2005 to 2011, and investigates the possible relationship between massive fuel loading due to bamboo synchronous mortality over large areas and wildfire regime. Multiple remote sensing data products are used to map the areal extent of the bamboo-dominated forest. MODIS NDVI time series are then analyzed to detect the spatiotemporal patterns of the reproductive event. Finally, MODIS Active Fire and Burned Area Products are used to investigate the distribution and extension of wildfires before and after the reproductive event. Bamboo dominates about 62,000 km2 of forest in Arakan. Over 65% of the region shows evidence of synchronous bamboo flowering, fruiting, and mortality over large areas, with wave-like spatiotemporal dynamics. A significant change in the regime of wildfires is observed, with total burned area doubling in the bamboo-dominated forest area and reaching almost 16,000 km2. Wildfires also severely affect the remnant patches of the evergreen forest adjacent to the bamboo forest. These results demonstrate a clear interconnection between the 2005–2011 bamboo reproductive event and the wildfires spreading in the region, with potential relevant socio-economic and environmental impacts. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Japanese Buddhism, Relativization, and Glocalization
Religions 2017, 8(1), 12; doi:10.3390/rel8010012 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Within the field of study on Japanese religions, the issue of globalization tends to be associated with the missionary activities of some successful new religious movements, and there is a certain reluctance to approach analytically the dynamics of glocalization/hybridization and the power issues
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Within the field of study on Japanese religions, the issue of globalization tends to be associated with the missionary activities of some successful new religious movements, and there is a certain reluctance to approach analytically the dynamics of glocalization/hybridization and the power issues at stake. In this article, I address these and other related problems by taking my cue from the relativizing effects of globalization and a working definition of religion based on the concept of authority. To this aim, I focus on two case studies. The first concerns the ongoing greening of Japanese Buddhism. The second revolves around the adoption of meditational techniques by priests and lay practitioners in Hawaiian Shin Buddhism. My findings show that there are at least four factors underlying the glocalization of Japanese Buddhism, that is, global consciousness, resonance with the local tradition, decontextualization, and quest for power. Moreover, they indicate that it is possible to distinguish between two types of glocalization (glocalization and chauvinistic glocalization) and two configurations of glocalization (juxtaposition and integration). Full article
Open AccessArticle
Family Food Providers’ Perceptions of the Causes of Obesity and Effectiveness of Weight Control Strategies in Five Countries in the Asia Pacific Region: A Cross-Sectional Survey
Nutrients 2017, 9(1), 78; doi:10.3390/nu9010078 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The rise of the middle classes in developing countries and the associated epidemiological transition raises the importance of assessing this population group’s awareness of the causes of obesity and effective weight control strategies in order to develop effective health promotion strategies. The study
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The rise of the middle classes in developing countries and the associated epidemiological transition raises the importance of assessing this population group’s awareness of the causes of obesity and effective weight control strategies in order to develop effective health promotion strategies. The study aimed to examine the perceptions of the causes of obesity and weight control strategies held by middle class household food providers in Melbourne, Singapore, Shanghai, Indonesia and Vietnam. An online survey was conducted in late 2013, early 2014 among 3945 respondents. Information about body weight concerns, perceived causes of obesity, effectiveness of weight control methods, demographics, self-reported height and weight, and personal values was elicited. Confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) derived nine reliable factors which were used in structural equation modelling (SEM). Two thirds of respondents were trying to change their body weight, of them, 71% were trying to lose weight. The CFA and SEM showed that demographics, region of residence, personal values and perceptions of the causes of obesity (Unhealthy food behaviours, influences Beyond personal control and Environmental influences) had direct and indirect associations with three weight control methods factors, named: Healthy habits, Eat less, sit less, and Dieting. Middle class food providers in the study regions share public health views of obesity causation and personal weight control. These findings could inform public health and food policies, and the design of public health interventions and communications. Further research is required among lower socio economic status (SES) populations. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Lost Honor of Julius Deutsch: Jewish Difference, “Socialist Betrayal”, and Imperial Loyalty in the 1923 Deutsch-Reinl Trial
Religions 2017, 8(1), 13; doi:10.3390/rel8010013 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In 1922, Julius Deutsch, one of the leading Viennese Social Democrats, spent a weekend in the Strudengau in Upper Austria. In a local inn, he was insulted by a right-wing alpinist, who accused him of being a traitor to the Emperor. The man
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In 1922, Julius Deutsch, one of the leading Viennese Social Democrats, spent a weekend in the Strudengau in Upper Austria. In a local inn, he was insulted by a right-wing alpinist, who accused him of being a traitor to the Emperor. The man claimed that Deutsch, along with other “Jewish Revolutionaries”, played a part in overturning the old order and helping to “stab” the Empire’s army “in the back”. Deutsch brought his opponent to trial, in an attempt to present his actions both in the World War and as a State Secretary for Military Affairs in the new Austrian Republic in a better light. However, the provincial courts acquitted the defendant on appeal, following the anti-Semitic arguments of his defending lawyer. Like other trials in the interwar years, the lawsuit unfolded into a “court of injustice”, with contested concepts of “Jewish difference” being performed. In the courtroom, Deutsch, who left the Jewish religious community as a young man, was forced to engage with his Jewish family background. The article focuses on Deutsch’s retrospective narration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in his courtroom speech and the insights that can be gained about Jewish difference and the antagonistic political arena of the new nation-state of (Deutsch-)Österreich. Full article
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