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Challenges, Volume 8, Issue 2 (December 2017)

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Open AccessCommunication Life Cycle Assessment of a Virtual Reality Device
Challenges 2017, 8(2), 15; doi:10.3390/challe8020015
Received: 25 May 2017 / Revised: 4 July 2017 / Accepted: 6 July 2017 / Published: 8 July 2017
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Abstract
Virtual reality (VR) is one of the strongest trends for future communication systems. Considering the amounts of VR devices expected to be produced in the coming years, it is relevant to estimate their potential environmental impacts under certain conditions. For the first time,
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Virtual reality (VR) is one of the strongest trends for future communication systems. Considering the amounts of VR devices expected to be produced in the coming years, it is relevant to estimate their potential environmental impacts under certain conditions. For the first time, screening life cycle assessment (LCA) single score results are presented for a contemporary VR headset. The weighted results are dependent much on the source of the gold and the electric power used in production. Theoretically, using recycled gold for the VR subparts would be very beneficial seen from an environmental damage cost standpoint. Using low environmental impact electric power in the final assembly of the VR headset, in the final assembly of integrated circuits, and in the preceding wafer processing would also be worthwhile. Distribution of the final product is more pronounced than for other consumer electronics. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication Unaffiliated Researchers: A Preliminary Study
Challenges 2017, 8(2), 20; doi:10.3390/challe8020020
Received: 23 May 2017 / Revised: 13 August 2017 / Accepted: 14 August 2017 / Published: 17 August 2017
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Abstract
This paper aims to explore the apparently rising trend of unaffiliated researchers. It does so by analyzing a set of scholarly publications where the authors state “independent researcher” in place of their affiliation. Some of the characteristics of this set are explained along
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This paper aims to explore the apparently rising trend of unaffiliated researchers. It does so by analyzing a set of scholarly publications where the authors state “independent researcher” in place of their affiliation. Some of the characteristics of this set are explained along with directions on how to expand research on this topic. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Precision of a Streamlined Life Cycle Assessment Approach Used in Eco-Rating of Mobile Phones
Challenges 2017, 8(2), 21; doi:10.3390/challe8020021
Received: 15 June 2017 / Revised: 14 August 2017 / Accepted: 15 August 2017 / Published: 17 August 2017
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Abstract
There is a lack of prescribed databases and approaches in place for performing comparable Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) of smartphones and other electronic devices in a coherent manner. Hence there is a need within certain eco-rating initiatives for simplified, yet still precise enough,
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There is a lack of prescribed databases and approaches in place for performing comparable Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) of smartphones and other electronic devices in a coherent manner. Hence there is a need within certain eco-rating initiatives for simplified, yet still precise enough, approaches that are expert independent. Here, five independently published Full LCAs (FLCA) of smartphones—and a metal content declaration of a tablet—are analyzed and compared with the simplified LCA method (Open Eco Rating LCA, OLCA) used by the open eco rating (OER) sustainability assessment. OLCA is described in detail. The comparisons use the same characterization factors that are used for climate change and abiotic resource depletion (ARD) midpoint impact categories. The tablet is only analyzed for the ARD indicator (ARDI). The results show that the difference between the FLCAs and the OLCA is up to 20% for the Global Warming Potential indicator (GWPI). The difference is explained by significantly different emission intensities used in FLCAs and OLCA, especially for integrated circuit and screen production. The life cycle use of metals relevant for ARDI is identified in one of the FLCAs of mobile phones, and used in OLCA and compared with the corresponding FLCA ARDI score. The total FLCA ARDI score is 67% (2.0 vs. 1.2 grams Sb—eq.) and 32% (4.98 vs. 3.76 grams Sb—eq.) higher than OLCA ARDI for the mobile phone and the tablet, respectively. The reason is that OLCA only captures a few of the most relevant metals (gold, silver, tin, indium, and tantalum) for the ARDI. However, cobalt—and to some degree copper and lithium—are significant gaps in the OLCA. The conclusion is that OLCA is an efficient and fair approach for LCAs that are focused on the GWPI of smartphones as the divergence to FLCA can easily be explained. However, the circular footprint formulae, renewable electricity options, and ARD characterization indices for cobalt, copper and lithium should be added to OLCA for further precision. The next step is to compare the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) FLCA method with OLCA for GWPI and ARDI evaluations of new smartphones. Moreover, the effect of adding more midpoint or single score indicators could be tested in OLCA. Full article
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Open AccessBook Review Embryogenesis Explained. By Natalie K. Gordon and Richard Gordon. World Scientific: Hackensack, NJ, USA, 2016; 784 pp.; SGD 281; ISBN: 978-981-4350-48-8
Challenges 2017, 8(2), 16; doi:10.3390/challe8020016
Received: 7 July 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 7 July 2017 / Published: 10 July 2017
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Open AccessShort Note Globalization, Inequality, Say’s Law, and Fiscal Globalism
Challenges 2017, 8(2), 17; doi:10.3390/challe8020017
Received: 30 May 2017 / Revised: 20 June 2017 / Accepted: 7 July 2017 / Published: 10 July 2017
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Abstract
This is a brief note maintaining that financial globalization has been faster than the integration of the remaining sectors of the world economy, thus encouraging wealth inequality, under-production, and under-consumption in line with Say’s Law. Financial investment has become more profitable than real
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This is a brief note maintaining that financial globalization has been faster than the integration of the remaining sectors of the world economy, thus encouraging wealth inequality, under-production, and under-consumption in line with Say’s Law. Financial investment has become more profitable than real investment, discouraging production ventures, and weakening labor’s relative income position and purchasing power. Moreover, this article works out a model of international government indirect tax competition as a policy means against increasing inequality. The mentality under which this tax policy paradigm is put forward is that the competition of nation states in a fiscal globalism fashion crystallizes the optimal level of centralization under globalism; optimal, that is, from the viewpoint of safeguarding against the manipulation of world markets by financiers. Full article
Open AccessPerspective The Lack of Alignment among Environmental Research Infrastructures May Impede Scientific Opportunities
Challenges 2017, 8(2), 18; doi:10.3390/challe8020018
Received: 5 June 2017 / Revised: 6 July 2017 / Accepted: 13 July 2017 / Published: 18 July 2017
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Abstract
Faced with growing stakeholder attention to climate change-related societal impacts, Environmental Research Infrastructures (ERIs) find it difficult to engage beyond their initial user base, which calls for an overarching governance scheme and transnational synergies. Forced by the enormity of tackling climate change, ERIs
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Faced with growing stakeholder attention to climate change-related societal impacts, Environmental Research Infrastructures (ERIs) find it difficult to engage beyond their initial user base, which calls for an overarching governance scheme and transnational synergies. Forced by the enormity of tackling climate change, ERIs are indeed broaching collaborative venues, based on the assumption that no given institution can carry out this agenda alone. While strategic, this requires that ERIs address the complexities and barriers towards aligning multiple organizations, national resources and programmatic cultures, including science. Full article
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Open AccessCommentary Down to Earth: Planetary Health and Biophilosophy in the Symbiocene Epoch
Challenges 2017, 8(2), 19; doi:10.3390/challe8020019
Received: 2 August 2017 / Revised: 12 August 2017 / Accepted: 12 August 2017 / Published: 15 August 2017
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Abstract
Advances in science have illuminated the role of the “ecological theatre”—the total living environment—in human health. In a rapidly changing epoch known as the anthropocene, microbiome science is identifying functional connections between all life, both seen and unseen. Rather than an easily identifiable
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Advances in science have illuminated the role of the “ecological theatre”—the total living environment—in human health. In a rapidly changing epoch known as the anthropocene, microbiome science is identifying functional connections between all life, both seen and unseen. Rather than an easily identifiable era appearing in rock strata, the anthropocene is more of a diagnostic syndrome, a set of signs and symptoms including climate change, gross biodiversity losses, environmental degradation, and an epidemic of non-communicable diseases. The syndrome is intertwined with politics, economics, public policies (or lack thereof), social values, and a global push of calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods and beverages. The healing of anthropocene syndrome is the grand challenge of humanity. Expanding on the “Mars Can Wait” argument of Geoffrey Goodman, et al., we focus on the urgency with which health promotion must be prioritized here on Earth. We revive Jonas Salk’s biophilosophy: a call to action for collaboration between biologists, humanists, and scholars of all stripes. From this perspective, lines of distinction between personal, public, and planetary health are removed. We also describe the symbiocene: the possibility of a new epoch in which mutualism will be considered imperative. If society asks the right questions, a transition to the symbiocene is possible; the “stratigraphical” mark of the new epoch will be found in a repudiation of authoritarianism, and the promotion of empathy, cultural competency, emotional intelligence, and commitment to optimism, tolerance, and the facilitation of the WHO definition of health, i.e., the fulfillment of human potential. Full article
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Open AccessCommentary The Challenge of the ‘Art and Science’ of Health Promotion
Challenges 2017, 8(2), 22; doi:10.3390/challe8020022
Received: 6 August 2017 / Revised: 16 August 2017 / Accepted: 18 August 2017 / Published: 20 August 2017
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Abstract
Health promotion has a key role to play in preventing disease and promoting healthy lifestyles. Health promotion work is part science and part art. The science emerges from research and theory and the art emerges from our professional intuition and experience. The goal
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Health promotion has a key role to play in preventing disease and promoting healthy lifestyles. Health promotion work is part science and part art. The science emerges from research and theory and the art emerges from our professional intuition and experience. The goal is to apply the science to achieve the best health promotion outcomes. However, an application of the theory, models and even the evidence, does not guarantee a desired outcome. To achieve this is an art and something that is often missing in practice. An understanding of how best to apply the ‘art and science’ of health promotion requires an appreciation that it is not only about being scientifically right but also about being real. The challenge for health promoters is to understand how they can use their judgement to best apply the available science to deliver successful approaches. Full article
Open AccessCommentary A Tourism Financial Conditions Index for Tourism Finance
Challenges 2017, 8(2), 23; doi:10.3390/challe8020023
Received: 2 August 2017 / Revised: 28 August 2017 / Accepted: 31 August 2017 / Published: 7 September 2017
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Abstract
The paper uses monthly data on tourism related factors from April 2005–June 2016 for Taiwan that applies factor analysis and Chang’s (2015) novel approach for constructing a tourism financial indicator, namely the Tourism Financial Conditions Index (TFCI). The TFCI is an adaptation and
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The paper uses monthly data on tourism related factors from April 2005–June 2016 for Taiwan that applies factor analysis and Chang’s (2015) novel approach for constructing a tourism financial indicator, namely the Tourism Financial Conditions Index (TFCI). The TFCI is an adaptation and extension of the widely-used Monetary Conditions Index (MCI) and Financial Conditions Index (FCI) to tourism stock data. However, the method of calculation of the TFCI is different from existing methods of constructing the MCI and FCI in that the weights are estimated empirically. The empirical findings show that TFCI is statistically significant using the estimated conditional mean of the tourism stock index returns (RTS). Granger Causality tests show that TFCI shows strong feedback on RTS. An interesting insight is that the empirical results show a significant negative correlation between F1_visitors (Foreign Visitor Arrivals) and RTS, implying that tourism authorities might promote travel by the “rich”, and not only on inbound visitor growth. The use of market returns on the tourism stock sub-index as the sole indicator of the tourism sector, as compared with the general activity of economic variables on tourism stocks, is shown to provide an exaggerated and excessively volatile explanation of tourism financial conditions. Full article
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Open AccessCommentary Astrofood, Priorities and Pandemics: Reflections of an Ultra-Processed Breakfast Program and Contemporary Dysbiotic Drift
Challenges 2017, 8(2), 24; doi:10.3390/challe8020024
Received: 22 August 2017 / Revised: 4 September 2017 / Accepted: 6 September 2017 / Published: 7 September 2017
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Abstract
Recognizing the importance of nutrition as part of the grand challenges faced by humanity—the current epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), sustainability and maintenance of Planetary Health—the United Nations (UN) has declared 2016–2025 the Decade of Nutrition. Research continues to underscore the extent to
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Recognizing the importance of nutrition as part of the grand challenges faced by humanity—the current epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), sustainability and maintenance of Planetary Health—the United Nations (UN) has declared 2016–2025 the Decade of Nutrition. Research continues to underscore the extent to which ultra-processed foods dominate the contemporary nutritional landscape. Moreover, the dual role played by food technology and marketing in the expansion of ultra-processed foods is under increased scrutiny. As public health experts and clinicians contend with a crisis of NCDs, attempting to untangle a knotted assortment of interrelated strands of causation, an examination of the early origins of highly-marketed ultra-processed foods can provide valuable lessons. Here, we illuminate a little-known piece of history in the annals of ultra-processed nutritional science and childhood welfare. Astrofood was a commercially-marketed, collaborative government-industry effort that brought soy protein-enriched Twinkies as a nutritive breakfast cake to disadvantaged children; its concept and delivery demonstrated an unwillingness to deal with root-cause challenges. Although its official tenure was only about 7 years, we argue that Astrofood and its total food engineering still resonate throughout the global ultra-processed nutritional landscape. New scientific advances in nutritional psychiatry and the microbiome are on a collision course with the profits, marketing and intellectual dishonesty of the ultra-processed food industry. Solutions to the grand challenges of the Decade of Nutrition may be found in lessons from Astrofood. They provide clues to undoing the tangled knots which otherwise maintain an untenable status quo. Full article
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