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Open AccessArticle
Islamophobia, “Clash of Civilizations”, and Forging a Post-Cold War Order!
Religions 2018, 9(9), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9090282 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Islamophobia, as a problem, is often argued to be a rational choice by the stereotypical media coverage of Islam and Muslims, even though it points to the symptom rather than the root cause. Islamophobia reemerges in public discourses and part of state policies
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Islamophobia, as a problem, is often argued to be a rational choice by the stereotypical media coverage of Islam and Muslims, even though it points to the symptom rather than the root cause. Islamophobia reemerges in public discourses and part of state policies in the post-Cold War period and builds upon latent Islamophobia that is sustained in the long history of Orientalist and stereotypical representation of Arabs, Muslims, and Islam itself. The book What is Islamophobia? Racism, Social Movements and the State, edited by Narzanin Massoumi, Tom Mills, and David Miller offers a unique contribution to how best to define and locate the problem of demonizing Islam and Muslims in the contemporary period. The three scholars provide a more critical and structural approach to the subject by offering what they call the “five pillars of Islamophobia”, which are the following: (1) the institutions and machinery of the state; (2) the far-right, incorporating the counter-jihad movement; (3) the neoconservative movement; (4) the transnational Zionist movement; and (5) the assorted liberal groupings including the pro-war left and the new atheist movement. The UK-based research group correctly situates Islamophobia within existing power structures and examines the forces that consciously produce anti-Muslim discourses, the Islamophobia industry, within a broad political agenda rather than the singular focus on the media. Islamophobia emerges from the “Clash of Civilizations” ideological warriors and not merely as a problem of media stereotyping, representation, and over-emphasis on the Muslim subject. In this article, I maintain that Islamophobia is an ideological construct that emerges in the post-Cold War era with the intent to rally the Western world and the American society at a moment of perceived fragmentation after the collapse of the Soviet Union in a vastly and rapidly changing world system. Islamophobia, or the threat of Islam, is the ingredient, as postulated in Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” thesis that is needed to affirm the Western self-identify after the end of the Cold War and a lack of a singular threat or purpose through which to define, unify, and claim the future for the West. Thus, Islamophobia is the post-Cold War ideology to bring about a renewed purpose and crafting of the Western and American self. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Cement Kiln By-Pass Dust: An Effective Alkaline Activator for Pozzolanic Materials
Materials 2018, 11(9), 1770; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11091770 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Cement kiln by-pass dust (CKD) is a fine-grained by-product of Portland clinker manufacturing. Its chemical composition is not suitable for returning back into feedstock and, therefore, it has to be discharged. Such an increasing waste production contributes to the high environmental impact of
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Cement kiln by-pass dust (CKD) is a fine-grained by-product of Portland clinker manufacturing. Its chemical composition is not suitable for returning back into feedstock and, therefore, it has to be discharged. Such an increasing waste production contributes to the high environmental impact of the cement industry. A possible solution for the ecological processing of CKD is its incorporation into alkali-activated blast furnace slag binders. Thanks to high alkaline content, CKD serves as an effective accelerator for latent hydraulic substances which positively affect their mechanical properties. It was found out that CKD in combination with sodium carbonate creates sodium hydroxide in situ which together with sodium water glass content increases the dissolution of blast furnace slag particles and subsequently binder phase formation resulting in better flexural and compressive strength development compared to the sample without it. At the same time, the addition of CKD compensates the autogenous shrinkage of alkali-activated materials reducing the risk of material cracking. On the other hand, this type of inorganic admixture accelerates the hydration process causing rapid loss of workability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
AMPK Activation Reduces Hepatic Lipid Content by Increasing Fat Oxidation In Vivo
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(9), 2826; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19092826 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The energy sensor AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a key player in the control of energy metabolism. AMPK regulates hepatic lipid metabolism through the phosphorylation of its well-recognized downstream target acetyl CoA carboxylase (ACC). Although AMPK activation is proposed to lower hepatic triglyceride
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The energy sensor AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a key player in the control of energy metabolism. AMPK regulates hepatic lipid metabolism through the phosphorylation of its well-recognized downstream target acetyl CoA carboxylase (ACC). Although AMPK activation is proposed to lower hepatic triglyceride (TG) content via the inhibition of ACC to cause inhibition of de novo lipogenesis and stimulation of fatty acid oxidation (FAO), its contribution to the inhibition of FAO in vivo has been recently questioned. We generated a mouse model of AMPK activation specifically in the liver, achieved by expression of a constitutively active AMPK using adenoviral delivery. Indirect calorimetry studies revealed that liver-specific AMPK activation is sufficient to induce a reduction in the respiratory exchange ratio and an increase in FAO rates in vivo. This led to a more rapid metabolic switch from carbohydrate to lipid oxidation during the transition from fed to fasting. Finally, mice with chronic AMPK activation in the liver display high fat oxidation capacity evidenced by increased [C14]-palmitate oxidation and ketone body production leading to reduced hepatic TG content and body adiposity. Our findings suggest a role for hepatic AMPK in the remodeling of lipid metabolism between the liver and adipose tissue. Full article
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Open AccessExtended Abstract
Automation of the Data Acquisition System for Self-Quantification Devices
Proceedings 2018, 2(18), 1184; https://doi.org/10.3390/proceedings2181184 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In this paper we describe an environment that enables the interaction and data-fetching through a computer system from the Xiaomi Mi Band 2, a very popular and inexpensive Bluetooth Low Energy Fitness device, thus making it suitable for health-care long-term projects in which
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In this paper we describe an environment that enables the interaction and data-fetching through a computer system from the Xiaomi Mi Band 2, a very popular and inexpensive Bluetooth Low Energy Fitness device, thus making it suitable for health-care long-term projects in which continuously gathering sleep and activity data is required. The environment is composed by a communication server running a custom library, exposed through both a shell command prompt and a RESTful API so it can be used by any other system connected to this server. The library is capable of connecting to an arbitrary number of devices at a time, bypassing many restrictions of the manufacturer’s proprietary application and not depending on an outgoing network connection to synchronize data between the system and the devices. In this paper we cover not only the process to enable communication with the target device from computers but also the architectural aspects of the developed system. We also provide brief information about the prototypes developed to test the system on a real ongoing geriatric study. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Removal of Aromatic Chlorinated Pesticides from Aqueous Solution Using β-Cyclodextrin Polymers Decorated with Fe3O4 Nanoparticles
Polymers 2018, 10(9), 1038; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10091038 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This article describes the sorption properties of cyclodextrin polymers (nanosponges; NS) with the pesticides 4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid (4-CPA) and 2,3,4,6-tetrachlorophenol (TCF), including an evaluation of its efficiency and a comparison with other materials, such as granulated activated carbon (GAC). NS-pesticide complexes were characterized by
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This article describes the sorption properties of cyclodextrin polymers (nanosponges; NS) with the pesticides 4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid (4-CPA) and 2,3,4,6-tetrachlorophenol (TCF), including an evaluation of its efficiency and a comparison with other materials, such as granulated activated carbon (GAC). NS-pesticide complexes were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD), proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR), UV–VIS, and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). This confirms the interactions of the guests with nanosponges and shows that the polymers have favorable sorption capacities for chlorinated aromatic guests. Our studies also show that the inclusion complex is predominantly favored for NS/CPA rather than those formed between TCF and NS due to the size of the adsorbate and steric effects. Sorption studies carried with repeated cycles demonstrate that NS polymers could be an improved technology for pollutant removal from aquatic environments, as they are very efficient and reusable materials. Our experiments and characterization by SEM, EDS, UV–VIS, and magnetization saturation (VSM) also show that NS is an optimal substrate for the deposition of magnetite nanoparticles, thus improving the usefulness and properties of the polymer, as the nanosponges could be retrieved from aqueous solution with a neodymium magnet without losing its efficiency as a pesticide sorbent. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Self-Assembly DBS Nanofibrils on Solution-Blown Nanofibers as Hierarchical Ion-Conducting Pathway for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells
Polymers 2018, 10(9), 1037; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10091037 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In this work, we reported a novel proton exchange membrane (PEM) with an ion-conducting pathway. The hierarchical nanofiber structure was prepared via in situ self-assembling 1,3:2,4-dibenzylidene-d-sorbitol (DBS) supramolecular fibrils on solution-blown, sulfonated poly (ether sulfone) (SPES) nanofiber, after which the composite PEM was
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In this work, we reported a novel proton exchange membrane (PEM) with an ion-conducting pathway. The hierarchical nanofiber structure was prepared via in situ self-assembling 1,3:2,4-dibenzylidene-d-sorbitol (DBS) supramolecular fibrils on solution-blown, sulfonated poly (ether sulfone) (SPES) nanofiber, after which the composite PEM was prepared by incorporating hierarchical nanofiber into the chitosan polymer matrix. Then, the effects of incorporating the hierarchical nanofiber structure on the thermal stability, water uptake, dimensional stability, proton conductivity, and methanol permeability of the composite membranes were investigated. The results show that incorporation of hierarchical nanofiber improves the water uptake, proton conductivity, and methanol permeability of the membranes. Furthermore, the composite membrane with 50% hierarchical nanofibers exhibited the highest proton conductivity of 0.115 S cm−1 (80 °C), which was 69.12% higher than the values of pure chitosan membrane. The self-assembly allows us to generate hierarchical nanofiber among the interfiber voids, and this structure can provide potential benefits for the preparation of high-performance PEMs. Full article
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Graphical abstract

Open AccessExtended Abstract
Nonparametric Mean Estimation for Big-but-Biased Data
Proceedings 2018, 2(18), 1167; https://doi.org/10.3390/proceedings2181167 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Some authors have recently warned about the risks of the sentence with enough data, the numbers speak for themselves. The problem of nonparametric statistical inference in big data under the presence of sampling bias is considered in this work. The mean estimation
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Some authors have recently warned about the risks of the sentence with enough data, the numbers speak for themselves. The problem of nonparametric statistical inference in big data under the presence of sampling bias is considered in this work. The mean estimation problem is studied in this setup, in a nonparametric framework, when the biasing weight function is unknown (realistic). The problem of ignoring the weight function is remedied by having a small SRS of the real population. This problem is related to nonparametric density estimation. The asymptotic expression for the MSE of the estimator proposed is considered. Some simulations illustrate the performance of the nonparametric method proposed in this work. Full article

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