KSQL: an open source streaming SQL engine for Apache Kafka

Topic:

KSQL is an open source streaming SQL engine for Apache Kafka. Come hear how KSQL makes it easy to get started with a wide-range of stream processing applications such as real-time ETL, sessionization, monitoring and alerting, or fraud detection. We’ll cover both how to get started with KSQL and some under-the-hood details of how it all works.

Speaker:

Nick Dearden, Confluent

Bio:

Nick is a technology and product leader at Confluent, where he enjoys leveraging many years of experience in the world of data and analytic systems to help design and explain the power of a streaming platform for every business. Prior to Confluent, he led the data platform group for a leading online real-estate seller and was chief architect for a cloud-based financial analytics platform. His early career stretches all the way back through multiple data warehouse and business intelligence adventures to the green-screen days of mainframe banking systems.

Logistics: The building is Metro accessible from the Tysons Corner stop on the Silver line. Paid garage parking at the building is available. Additionally, the building is a short walk from both Tysons Corner malls where there is plenty of free parking. You can head up to the 5th floor, and we will be meeting in the main lobby area.

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Storage Technology information, news and tips


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StorCentric buys flash storage pioneer Violin to fill gap

StorCentric’s storage portfolio added an NVMe-based midrange option to its Nexsan and Vexata lines with the acquisition of beleaguered all-flash array pioneer Violin Systems.

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IBM retools Spectrum Protect Plus for Red Hat OpenShift

IBM seeks to outdo Tanzu; Spectrum Protect for Red Hat OpenShift launches as new containers are spun into operation, and protects OpenShift Container Storage with snapshots.

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Video game hosting company uses Optane memory to cut costs

Intel’s Optane persistent memory modules enable a global online game hosting provider to expand memory and lower costs over DRAM with negligible performance difference.

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NetApp: See Spot run data management for Kubernetes

NetApp Spot optimizes containers for OnTap storage. The objective is to boost data management and protection as containers migrate between Kubernetes clusters.

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25 Simple Free SEO Tools to Instantly Improve Your Marketing in 2019

Whenever I dream up a home improvement project for my place, I end up working smartest and fastest when I have the right tools at my disposal. It’s amazing the difference a good tool can make – and the extra time it takes to get work done without a helpful tool.

Fast-forward to online marketing. How can you work smarter and faster with SEO?

It starts with having the right tools.

I’ve collected a big sampling of the best free SEO tools on the market—tools with a wide variety of uses and covering a number of common needs. These tools are fast, free, and easy-to-use. I hope you find one or two (or twenty) you can put to good use, today.

25 Simple and Free SEO Tools to Instantly Improve Your Marketing [Updated for 2019]

Check the speed and usability of your site on multiple devices

Enter a URL, and this tool will test the loading time and performance for desktop and for mobile, plus identify opportunities to improve (and pat you on the back for what you’re doing well). The mobile results also come with a user experience score, grading areas like tap targets and font sizes.

Google PageSpeed Insights

Alternatives: Pingdom, WebPageTest, and GTmetrix

See how your local business looks online

Moz crunches data from more than 10 different sources—including Google, Yelp, and Facebook—to score your brick-and-mortar business on how it looks online. Results come complete with actionable fixes for inconsistent or incomplete listings.

Moz Local Listing

Hundreds of keyword ideas based on a single keyword

Enter a keyword, and the Keyword Tool provides a huge handful of long-tail keyword opportunities and common questions asked.

Keyword Tool

Alternative: Answer the Public, Ubersuggest

Complete web stats and search insights

In addition to tracking pretty much every bit of traffic you could imagine on your website, Analytics also surfaces many keyword insights as to which terms people use to land on your pages.

You can get this data either under Acquisition > Search Console > Queries or Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords.

Google Analytics

Alternative: Matomo, Open Web Analytics, and Clicky

Constant website analysis, alerts, and error reports

These webmaster tools help give you a taste of what the two top search engines think of your site. It’s helpful to see any bugs, alerts, and indexing issues.

Pro tip: Each of these two tools requires a bit of installation on your site. If you’ve got a WordPress website, you can add the webmaster code automatically through a plugin like Jetpack or Yoast.

Google Search Console

Comprehensive link analysis

The free version of Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker shows the top 100 backlinks to any website or URL, along with the total number of backlinks and referring domains (links from unique sites), Domain Rating (DR), and URL Rating (UR) where applicable.

Pro tip: Paste in a competitors website to find instant link opportunities.

Ahrefs Backlink Checker

Complete overview of your website, pages, and links

The free version of Link Explorer gives you a quick look a full range of link analysis, including a look at the most impactful links coming your way and your most linked-to pages.

Moz's Link Explorer

Know what people search for

Enter a keyword or group of keywords into the tool, and Google will return all sorts of helpful stats to guide your keyword strategy: monthly search volume, competition, and even suggested terms you might not have considered.

Google Keyword Planner

Discover auto-fill opportunities

Searching Google.com in an incognito window will bring up that all-familiar list of autofill options, many of which can help guide your keyword research. The incognito ensures that any customized search data Google stores when you’re signed in gets left out. Incognito may also be helpful to see where you truly rank on a results page for a certain term.

Google in an Incognito Window

See the relative search popularity of topics

Google Trends shows the popular search terms over time, which is useful for uncovering seasonal variations in search popularity amongst other things. Compare multiple terms to see the relative popularity.

Google Trends

Instant SEO metrics for web pages and Google searches

See how much traffic the current web page gets each month, how many keywords it ranks for, how many backlinks it has, and more. Also shows the search volume, CPC and difficulty of every keyword searched in Google

Ahrefs' SEO Toolbar

Alternative: MozBar

Get a full on-page analysis of your website

SEO Web Page Analyzer performs a comprehensive on-page analysis to uncovers issues like as missing image alt tags, heading structure errors, and page bloat.

Web Page Analyzer

Alternatives: HubSpot Website Grader, SEO Analyzer

Preview how your web pages will look in Google’s search results

See how your meta title and description will appear in the search results before you even publish your web page. Works for desktop and mobile. Check for truncation issues and fix them instantly.

SERP Simulator

Customize how your web pages appear in the search results

Create custom code so that your reviews, events, organizations, and people are displayed the way you want in Google’s search results. Once you’ve created your schema code, copy and paste into your website.

Here’s an example of Schema in action:

Schema

View site stats for any domain

Use this tool to estimate how much traffic a website gets. See a breakdown of traffic sources, locations, and more. A helpful tool for competitor research.

SimilarWeb

See your ranking position for up to five keywords

Enter any website or web page and up to five keywords to see where you rank for each of them. Check your competitors’ rankings too.

SERP Robot

Build a sitemap

Simply enter your site’s URL and some optional parameters, and XML Sitemaps will create a sitemap that you can upload to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. Free up to 500 pages.

XML Sitemaps

See your website the way a search engine sees it

Enter your site, and this tool will strip out everything but the guts, revealing your website the way search spiders see it. This particular view can be helpful to see the hierarchy you’ve given particular elements (maybe without realizing it!).

Browseo

Audit your website for on-page and technical SEO issues

Site Checkup runs through a fast audit of your site, checking for proper tags and surfacing any errors that might come up.

SEO Site Checkup

Suggestions for search engine optimizing your blog posts

Enter the main keyword for your blog post and Yoast SEO will suggest how to tweak your blog post to optimize it for search engines.

Yoast SEO

Instantly find broken links on any web page

LinkMiner is a simple Chrome extension that checks the HTTP status of all links on the current web page. All broken (404) links are highlighted red. A useful tool for discovering broken link building opportunities.

Link Miner

Create a link for customers to review your business on Google

Customer reviews are important for local SEO purposes. This tool allows you to create a shareable link for customers to review your business on Google.

Google Business Review Link Generator

Check for duplicate content

Enter a URL for a blog post or website, and Copyscape can tell you where else that content exists online. You might find results that you’ll need to follow-up with to help get your SEO in order.

Copyscape

Easily generate an all-important robots.txt for your site

Robots.txt files let the web robots know what to do with a website’s pages. When a page is disallowed in robots.txt, that’s instructions telling the robots to completely skip over those web pages. There are some exceptions in which case a robots.txt might be ignored, most notably malware robots that are looking for security issues.

Robots.txt Generator

Structured data helps to provide context to the information on your page. This tool from Google uses live data to validate the structured data for any web page, or you can copy/paste code to test it.

Structured Data Testing Tool

Further resources

Putting together a list of free SEO tools can be a daunting task. There are hundreds out there! I aimed to grab the ones that we’ve found valuable here at Buffer and the ones you can use via the web within minutes to get some amazing insights.

If you’re interested in even more tools—like, hundreds!—here are a few places to start:

Which SEO tools are your favorite? Do you prefer web tools like these or browser plugins and spreadsheets?

I’d love to hear any tips you’re willing to share in the comments!

Image credits: Startup Stock Photos

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Just AI Launched Open-Source Kotlin-Based Conversational Framework

InfoQ Homepage News Just AI Launched Open-Source Kotlin-Based Conversational Framework

Discover QCon Plus by InfoQ: A Virtual Conference for Senior Software Engineers and Architects (Nov 4-18)

Just AI Conversational Framework (JAICF) provides a Kotlin-based DSL to enable the creation of conversational user interfaces. JAICF works with popular voice and text conversation platforms as well as different NLU engines.

JAICF is not a competitor to the likes of Google, Amazon, Slack, etc. Rather, it aims to provide a tool to create conversations running on any of those platforms. In particular, JAICF is built on top of native libraries interfacing to the major conversation channels, including Amazon Alexa, Google Actions, Slack, Facebook Messenger, and more. Similarly, JAICF is agnostic when it comes to which NLU engine you wish to use, e.g. DialogFlow or Rasa.

Just AI is also maker of the Just AI Conversational Platform (JAICP), which aims to be a complete platform to design, train, and deploy conversation-driven chatbots. JAICF is integrated with JAICP, but JAICF can be used with any other platform providing a way to persist the conversation state of each user, Just AI says.

InfoQ has taken the chance to speak to Just AI’s Solution Owner, Vitaliy Gorbachev to learn more.

InfoQ: What is the rationale behind JAICF? What are the main scenarios and use-cases it addresses?

Vitaliy Gorbachev: JAICF offers limitless capabilities in building natural language interfaces. And because you can formulate any of your desires or intents into natural language, that means it’s applicable in all kinds of scenarios and use-cases. Any device or app can be made smart by adding a custom-built voice interface/assistant. There are an endless number of scenarios: you can embed a voice assistant in an application or any device (mainly Android-based), build a skill or action for any virtual assistant, create a voice game. The main thing is the idea, and JAICF will easily allow users to do this.

InfoQ: JAICF provides a dialog-oriented DSL which you implemented in Kotlin. What was your experience using this language and how did it contribute to making JAICF possible?

Gorbachev: Kotlin is a perfect programming language for conversational software because it brings a context-oriented programming paradigm which makes it great when it comes to systems where context is crucial. Kotlin’s expressive syntax allows creating a reliable and maintainable code that is easy to troubleshoot. Besides, static typing makes complex enterprise-level solutions error-free.

Another argument for the Kotlin-based framework is that Android is the top operating system for smart devices, and since sooner or later most mobile apps would have voice control, we decided to choose Kotlin, a language widely used by Android developers.

InfoQ: Being Kotlin-based, JAICF is naturally compatible with Android. What about iOS support?

Gorbachev: JAICF is first and foremost a server-side DSL. It can be seamlessly integrated into Android, that’s true; it even offers the opportunity to build a fully offline voice assistant using Google platform speech synthesis and recognition (aka TTS and ASR) and regexp as NLU. It does so by integration with our other Java/Kotlin library — open-source Aimybox, that provides all the tools needed to create your voice assistant on-device: connectors with different Dialog API providers (Including JAICF), ASR/TTS providers, voice trigger solutions, as well as UI kit and demo app. The good news is Aimybox is ported to iOS, and that means that you can connect JAICF skill with a dialog API connector with some tweaks.

Just AI’s JAICF is available on JetBrains or can be forked on GitHub.

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The R Project for Statistical Computing

Getting Started

R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It compiles and runs on a wide variety of UNIX platforms, Windows and MacOS. To download R, please choose your preferred CRAN mirror.

If you have questions about R like how to download and install the software, or what the license terms are, please read our answers to frequently asked questions before you send an email.

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© The R Foundation. For queries about this web site, please contact ; for queries about R itself, please consult the Getting Help section.

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Processing.org

Donate

Please support the Processing Foundation. We need your help!

To see more of what people are doing with Processing, check out these sites:
» CreativeApplications.Net
» OpenProcessing
» For Your Processing
» Processing Subreddit
» Vimeo
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To contribute to Processing development, please visit Processing on GitHub to read instructions for downloading the code, building from the source, reporting and tracking bugs, and creating libraries and tools.

Partners

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Contact

foundation@processing.org

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Ubersuggest’s Free Keyword Tool, Generate More Suggestions

Backlinks are one of the most critical parts to Google’s algorithm.

But there is an issue. It’s hard to build them.

Now with Ubersuggest, you can see the exact content in your space that people are linking to. You then approach each of these sites and ask them to link to you.

This is all you need to come up with an action plan for improving your link profile and understand which links will have the most impact on your rankings.

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Open Source ERP and CRM


Odoo

No more painful integrations.

If you have individual software solutions that work, but don’t talk to each other, you are probably entering things more than once and missing a comprehensive overview of what’s going on.

Between the Odoo apps and the tens of thousands of Community apps, there is something to help address all of your business needs in a single, cost-effective and modular solution: no more work to get different technology cooperating.  

Odoo apps are perfectly integrated with each other, allowing you to fully automate your business processes and reap the savings and benefits.

5Million users
grow their business with Odoo

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Open AccessArticle

Drive-By-Wire Development Process Based on ROS for an Autonomous Electric Vehicle

Sensors 2020, 20(21), 6121; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20216121 (registering DOI) – 27 Oct 2020

Abstract

This paper presents the development process of a robust and ROS-based Drive-By-Wire system designed for an autonomous electric vehicle from scratch over an open source chassis. A revision of the vehicle characteristics and the different modules of our navigation architecture is carried out […] Read more.

This paper presents the development process of a robust and ROS-based Drive-By-Wire system designed for an autonomous electric vehicle from scratch over an open source chassis. A revision of the vehicle characteristics and the different modules of our navigation architecture is carried out to put in context our Drive-by-Wire system. The system is composed of a Steer-By-Wire module and a Throttle-By-Wire module that allow driving the vehicle by using some commands of lineal speed and curvature, which are sent through a local network from the control unit of the vehicle. Additionally, a Manual/Automatic switching system has been implemented, which allows the driver to activate the autonomous driving and safely taking control of the vehicle at any time. Finally, some validation tests were performed for our Drive-By-Wire system, as a part of our whole autonomous navigation architecture, showing the good working of our proposal. The results prove that the Drive-By-Wire system has the behaviour and necessary requirements to automate an electric vehicle. In addition, after 812 h of testing, it was proven that it is a robust Drive-By-Wire system, with high reliability. The developed system is the basis for the validation and implementation of new autonomous navigation techniques developed within the group in a real vehicle. Full article

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Road Vehicles of the Future)

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Open AccessArticle

Developing IoT Sensing System for Construction-Induced Vibration Monitoring and Impact Assessment

Sensors 2020, 20(21), 6120; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20216120 (registering DOI) – 27 Oct 2020

Abstract

Construction activities often generate intensive ground-borne vibrations that may adversely affect structure safety, human comfort, and equipment functionality. Vibration monitoring systems are commonly deployed to assess the vibration impact on the surrounding environment during the construction period. However, traditional vibration monitoring systems are […] Read more.

Construction activities often generate intensive ground-borne vibrations that may adversely affect structure safety, human comfort, and equipment functionality. Vibration monitoring systems are commonly deployed to assess the vibration impact on the surrounding environment during the construction period. However, traditional vibration monitoring systems are associated with limitations such as expensive devices, difficult installation, complex operation, etc. Few of these monitoring systems have integrated functions such as in situ data processing and remote data transmission and access. By leveraging the recent advances in information technology, an Internet of Things (IoT) sensing system has been developed to provide a promising alternative to the traditional vibration monitoring system. A microcomputer (Raspberry Pi) and a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) accelerometer are adopted to minimize the system cost and size. A USB internet dongle is used to provide 4G communication with cloud. Time synchronization and different operation modes have been designed to achieve energy efficiency. The whole system is powered by a rechargeable solar battery, which completely avoids cabling work on construction sites. Various alarm functions, MySQL database for measurement data storage, and webpage-based user interface are built on a public cloud platform. The architecture of the IoT vibration sensing system and its working mechanism are introduced in detail. The performance of the developed IoT vibration sensing system has been successfully validated by a series of tests in the laboratory and on a selected construction site. Full article

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Sensors for Civil Infrastructure Condition Assessment)

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Open AccessArticle

MRI Radiomic Features to Predict IDH1 Mutation Status in Gliomas: A Machine Learning Approach using Gradient Tree Boosting

Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(21), 8004; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21218004 (registering DOI) – 27 Oct 2020

Abstract

Patients with gliomas, isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) mutation status have been studied as a prognostic indicator. Recent advances in machine learning (ML) have demonstrated promise in utilizing radiomic features to study disease processes in the brain. We investigate whether ML analysis […] Read more.

Patients with gliomas, isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) mutation status have been studied as a prognostic indicator. Recent advances in machine learning (ML) have demonstrated promise in utilizing radiomic features to study disease processes in the brain. We investigate whether ML analysis of multiparametric radiomic features from preoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can predict IDH1 mutation status in patients with glioma. This retrospective study included patients with glioma with known IDH1 status and preoperative MRI. Radiomic features were extracted from Fluid-Attenuated Inversion Recovery (FLAIR) and Diffused Weighted Imaging (DWI). The dataset was split into training, validation, and testing sets by stratified sampling. Synthetic Minority Oversampling Technique (SMOTE) was applied to the training sets. eXtreme Gradient Boosting (XGBoost) classifiers were trained, and the hyperparameters were tuned. Receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC), accuracy, and f1-scores were collected. A total of 100 patients (age: 55 ± 15, M/F 60/40); with IDH1 mutant (n = 22) and IDH1 wildtype (n = 78) were included. The best performance was seen with a DWI-trained XGBoost model, which achieved ROC with Area Under the Curve (AUC) of 0.97, accuracy of 0.90, and f1-score of 0.75 on the test set. The FLAIR-trained XGBoost model achieved ROC with AUC of 0.95, accuracy of 0.90, f1-score of 0.75 on the test set. A model that was trained on combined FLAIR-DWI radiomic features did not provide incremental accuracy. The results show that a XGBoost classifier using multiparametric radiomic features derived from preoperative MRI can predict IDH1 mutation status with > 90% accuracy. Full article

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular and Cellular Hallmarks of Malignant Brain Tumors)

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Open AccessReview

The Innate Immune Signalling Pathways: Turning RIG-I Sensor Activation Against Cancer

Cancers 2020, 12(11), 3158; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12113158 (registering DOI) – 27 Oct 2020

Abstract

Over the last 15 years, the ability to harness a patient’s own immune system has led to significant progress in cancer therapy. For instance, immunotherapeutic strategies, including checkpoint inhibitors or adoptive cell therapy using chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T), are specifically aimed at […] Read more.

Over the last 15 years, the ability to harness a patient’s own immune system has led to significant progress in cancer therapy. For instance, immunotherapeutic strategies, including checkpoint inhibitors or adoptive cell therapy using chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T), are specifically aimed at enhancing adaptive anti-tumour immunity. Several research groups demonstrated that adaptive anti-tumour immunity is highly sustained by innate immune responses. Host innate immunity provides the first line of defence and mediates recognition of danger signals through pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), such as cytosolic sensors of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) signals. The retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) is a cytosolic RNA helicase, which detects viral double-strand RNA and, once activated, triggers signalling pathways, converging on the production of type I interferons, proinflammatory cytokines, and programmed cell death. Approaches aimed at activating RIG-I within cancers are being explored as novel therapeutic treatments to generate an inflammatory tumour microenvironment and to facilitate cytotoxic T-cell cross-priming and infiltration. Here, we provide an overview of studies regarding the role of RIG-I signalling in the tumour microenvironment, and the most recent preclinical studies that employ RIG-I agonists. Lastly, we present a selection of clinical trials designed to prove the antitumour role of RIG I and that may result in improved therapeutic outcomes for cancer patients. Full article

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Targeting Innate Immunity Cells in Cancer)

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Open AccessArticle

Effect of the Morphology and Electrical Property of Metal-Deposited ZnO Nanostructures on CO Gas Sensitivity

Nanomaterials 2020, 10(11), 2124; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10112124 (registering DOI) – 27 Oct 2020

Abstract

The development of a highly sensitive gas sensor for toxic gases is an important issue in that it can reduce the damage caused by unexpected gas leaks. In this regard, in order to make the sensor accurate and highly responsive, we have investigated […] Read more.

The development of a highly sensitive gas sensor for toxic gases is an important issue in that it can reduce the damage caused by unexpected gas leaks. In this regard, in order to make the sensor accurate and highly responsive, we have investigated which morphology is effective to improve the sensitivity and how the deposited nanoparticle affects the sensitivity by controlling the morphology of semiconductor oxides—either nanorod or nanoplate—and depositing metal nanoparticles on the semiconductor surface. In this study, we compared the CO gas sensitivity for sensors with different morphology (rod and plate) of ZnO nanostructure with metal nanoparticles (gold and copper) photodeposited and investigated the correlation between the gas sensitivity and some factors such as the morphology of ZnO and the properties of the deposited metal. Among the samples, Au/ZnO nanorod showed the best response (~86%) to the exposure of 100 ppm CO gas at 200 °C. The result showed that the electrical properties due to the deposition of metal species also have a strong influence on the sensor properties such as sensor response, working temperature, the response and recovery time, etc., together with the morphology of ZnO. Full article

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructured Gas Sensors Synthesis and Applications)

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Open AccessArticle

Presence of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat Artisanal Chilean Foods

Microorganisms 2020, 8(11), 1669; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8111669 (registering DOI) – 27 Oct 2020

Abstract

Ready-to-eat (RTE) artisanal foods are very popular, but they can be contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes. The aim was to determine the presence of L. monocytogenes in artisanal RTE foods and evaluate its food safety risk. We analyzed 400 RTE artisanal food samples […] Read more.

Ready-to-eat (RTE) artisanal foods are very popular, but they can be contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes. The aim was to determine the presence of L. monocytogenes in artisanal RTE foods and evaluate its food safety risk. We analyzed 400 RTE artisanal food samples requiring minimal (fresh products manufactured by a primary producer) or moderate processing (culinary products for sale from the home, restaurants such as small cafés, or on the street). Listeria monocytogenes was isolated according to the ISO 11290-1:2017 standard, detected with VIDAS equipment, and identified by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). A small subset (n = 8) of the strains were further characterized for evaluation. The antibiotic resistance profile was determined by the CLSI methodology, and the virulence genes hlyA, prfA, and inlA were detected by PCR. Genotyping was performed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Listeria monocytogenes was detected in 7.5% of RTE artisanal foods. On the basis of food type, positivity in minimally processed artisanal foods was 11.6%, significantly different from moderately processed foods with 6.2% positivity (p > 0.05). All the L. monocytogenes strains (n = 8) amplified the three virulence genes, while six strains exhibited premature stop codons (PMSC) in the inlA gene; two strains were resistant to ampicillin and one strain was resistant to sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim. Seven strains were 1/2a serotype and one was a 4b strain. The sampled RTE artisanal foods did not meet the microbiological criteria for L. monocytogenes according to the Chilean Food Sanitary Regulations. The presence of virulence factors and antibiotic-resistant strains make the consumption of RTE artisanal foods a risk for the hypersensitive population that consumes them. Full article

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Artisanal Foods: Challenges for Microbiological Control and Safety)

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Optimizing Costs to Collect Local Infauna through Grabs: Effect of Sampling Size and Replication

Diversity 2020, 12(11), 410; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12110410 (registering DOI) – 27 Oct 2020

Abstract

Most ecological studies require a cost-effective collection of multi-species samples. A literature review unravelled that (1) large-sized grabs to collect infauna have been used at greater depths, despite no consistent relationship between grab size and replication across studies; and (2) the total number […] Read more.

Most ecological studies require a cost-effective collection of multi-species samples. A literature review unravelled that (1) large-sized grabs to collect infauna have been used at greater depths, despite no consistent relationship between grab size and replication across studies; and (2) the total number of taxa and individuals is largely determined by the replication. Then, infauna from a sedimentary (sandy) seabed at Gran Canaria Island was collected through van Veen grabs of three sizes: 0.018, 0.042 and 0.087 m2 to optimize, on a simple cost-benefit basis, sample size and replication. Specifically, (1) the degree of representativeness in the composition of assemblages, and (2) accuracy of three univariate metrics (species richness, total infaunal abundances and the Shannon-Wiener index), was compared according to replication. Then, by considering mean times (a surrogate of costs) to process a sample by each grab, (3) their cost-efficiency was estimated. Representativeness increased with grab size. Irrespective of the grab size, accuracy of univariate metrics considerably increased when n > 10 replicates. Costs associated with the 0.087 m2 grab were consistently lower than costs by the other grabs. In conclusion, because of high representativeness and low cost, a 6.87 L grab appears to be the optimal sample size to assess infauna at our local site. Full article

(This article belongs to the Section Marine Diversity)

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Open AccessArticle

Raptor Feeding Characterization and Dynamic System Simulation Applied to Airport Falconry

Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8920; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218920 (registering DOI) – 27 Oct 2020

Abstract

Airport falconry is a highly effective technique for reducing wildlife strikes on aircraft, which cause great economic losses. As an example, nowadays, wildlife strikes on aircrafts in the air transport industry are estimated to cost between USD 187 and 937 million in the […] Read more.

Airport falconry is a highly effective technique for reducing wildlife strikes on aircraft, which cause great economic losses. As an example, nowadays, wildlife strikes on aircrafts in the air transport industry are estimated to cost between USD 187 and 937 million in the US and USD 1.2 billion worldwide every year. Moreover, the life-threatening danger that wildlife strikes pose to passengers has prompted security stakeholders to develop countermeasures to prevent wildlife impacts near airport transit zones. The experience acquired from international countermeasure analysis reveals that falconry is the most effective technique to create sustainable wildlife exclusion areas. However, its application in airport environments continues to be regarded as an art rather than a technique; falconers modulate raptors’ behavior by using a trial-and-error system of controlling their hunger to stimulate the need for prey. This paper focuses on a case study where such a decision-making process was designed as a dynamic system applied to feeding planning for raptors that can be used to set an efficient baseline to optimize raptor responses without damaging existing wildlife. The results were validated by comparing the outputs of the model and the falconer’s trial-and-error system, which revealed that the proposed model was 58.15% more precise. Full article

(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Management)

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Open AccessReview

Cyclic Peptide-Based Biologics Regulating HGF-MET

Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(21), 7977; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21217977 (registering DOI) – 27 Oct 2020

Abstract

Using a random non-standard peptide integrated discovery system, we obtained cyclic peptides that bind to hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) or mesenchymal-epithelial transition factor. (MET) HGF-inhibitory peptide-8 (HiP-8) selectively bound to two-chain active HGF, but not to single-chain precursor HGF. HGF showed a dynamic […] Read more.

Using a random non-standard peptide integrated discovery system, we obtained cyclic peptides that bind to hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) or mesenchymal-epithelial transition factor. (MET) HGF-inhibitory peptide-8 (HiP-8) selectively bound to two-chain active HGF, but not to single-chain precursor HGF. HGF showed a dynamic change in its molecular shape in atomic force microscopy, but HiP-8 inhibited dynamic change in the molecular shape into a static status. The inhibition of the molecular dynamics of HGF by HiP-8 was associated with the loss of the ability to bind MET. HiP-8 could selectively detect active HGF in cancer tissues, and active HGF probed by HiP-8 showed co-localization with activated MET. Using HiP-8, cancer tissues with active HGF could be detected by positron emission tomography. HiP-8 seems to be applicable for the diagnosis and treatment of cancers. In contrast, based on the receptor dimerization as an essential process for activation, the cross-linking of the cyclic peptides that bind to the extracellular region of MET successfully generated an artificial ligand to MET. The synthetic MET agonists activated MET and exhibited biological activities which were indistinguishable from the effects of HGF. MET agonists composed of cyclic peptides can be manufactured by chemical synthesis but not recombinant protein expression, and thus are expected to be new biologics that are applicable to therapeutics and regenerative medicine. Full article

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF), II)

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Open AccessArticle

Optical Axons for Electro-Optical Neural Networks

Sensors 2020, 20(21), 6119; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20216119 (registering DOI) – 27 Oct 2020

Abstract

Recently, neuromorphic sensors, which convert analogue signals to spiking frequencies, have ‎been reported for neurorobotics. In bio-inspired systems these sensors are connected to the main neural unit to perform ‎post-processing of the sensor data. The performance of spiking neural networks has been ‎improved […] Read more.

Recently, neuromorphic sensors, which convert analogue signals to spiking frequencies, have ‎been reported for neurorobotics. In bio-inspired systems these sensors are connected to the main neural unit to perform ‎post-processing of the sensor data. The performance of spiking neural networks has been ‎improved using optical synapses, which offer parallel communications between the distanced ‎neural areas but are sensitive to the intensity variations of the optical signal. For systems with ‎several neuromorphic sensors, which are connected optically to the main unit, the use of ‎optical synapses is not an advantage. To address this, in this paper we propose and ‎experimentally verify optical axons with synapses activated optically using digital signals. The ‎synaptic weights are encoded by the energy of the stimuli, which are then optically transmitted ‎independently. We show that the optical intensity fluctuations and link’s misalignment result ‎in delay in activation of the synapses. For the proposed optical axon, we have demonstrated line of ‎sight transmission over a maximum link length of 190 cm with a delay of 8 μs. Furthermore, we ‎show the axon delay as a function of the illuminance using a fitted model for which the root mean square error (RMS) ‎similarity is 0.95. Full article

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Sensors for Remotely Operated Robots)

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Open AccessArticle

The Status of Soil Microbiome as Affected by the Application of Phosphorus Biofertilizer: Fertilizer Enriched with Beneficial Bacterial Strains

Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(21), 8003; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21218003 (registering DOI) – 27 Oct 2020

Abstract

Regarding the unfavourable changes in agroecosystems resulting from the excessive application of mineral fertilizers, biopreparations containing live microorganisms are gaining increasing attention. We assumed that the application of phosphorus mineral fertilizer enriched with strains of beneficial microorganisms contribute to favourable changes in enzymatic […] Read more.

Regarding the unfavourable changes in agroecosystems resulting from the excessive application of mineral fertilizers, biopreparations containing live microorganisms are gaining increasing attention. We assumed that the application of phosphorus mineral fertilizer enriched with strains of beneficial microorganisms contribute to favourable changes in enzymatic activity and in the genetic and functional diversity of microbial populations inhabiting degraded soils. Therefore, in field experiments conditions, the effects of phosphorus fertilizer enriched with bacterial strains on the status of soil microbiome in two chemically degraded soil types (Brunic Arenosol – BA and Abruptic Luvisol – AL) were investigated. The field experiments included treatments with an optimal dose of phosphorus fertilizer (without microorganisms – FC), optimal dose of phosphorus fertilizer enriched with microorganisms including Paenibacillus polymyxa strain CHT114AB, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens strain AF75BB and Bacillus sp. strain CZP4/4 (FA100) and a dose of phosphorus fertilizer reduced by 40% and enriched with the above-mentioned bacteria (FA60). The analyzes performed included: the determination of the activity of the soil enzymes (protease, urease, acid phosphomonoesterase, β-glucosidase), the assessment of the functional diversity of microorganisms with the application of BIOLOGTM plates and the characterization of the genetic diversity of bacteria, archaea and fungi with multiplex terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism and next generation sequencing. The obtained results indicated that the application of phosphorus fertilizer enriched with microorganisms improved enzymatic activity, and the genetic and functional diversity of the soil microbial communities, however these effects were dependent on the soil type. Full article

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analysing Bacterial Infection, Microbiome Characterics and Small Molecules in Diagnostics: Emerging Options)

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Open AccessArticle

Rüdlingerite, Mn2+2V5+As5+O7·2H2O, a New Species Isostructural with Fianelite

Minerals 2020, 10(11), 960; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10110960 (registering DOI) – 27 Oct 2020

Abstract

The new mineral species rüdlingerite, ideally Mn2+2V5+As5+O7·2H2O, occurs in the Fianel mine, in Val Ferrera, Grisons, Switzerland, a small Alpine metamorphic Mn deposit. It is associated with ansermetite and Fe oxyhydroxide in […] Read more.

The new mineral species rüdlingerite, ideally Mn2+2V5+As5+O7·2H2O, occurs in the Fianel mine, in Val Ferrera, Grisons, Switzerland, a small Alpine metamorphic Mn deposit. It is associated with ansermetite and Fe oxyhydroxide in thin fractures in Triassic dolomitic marbles. Rüdlingerite was also found in specimens recovered from the dump of the Valletta mine, Canosio, Cuneo, Piedmont, Italy, where it occurs together with massive braccoite and several other As- and V-rich phases in richly mineralized veins crossing the quartz-hematite ore. The new mineral displays at both localities yellow to orange, flattened elongated prismatic, euhedral crystals measuring up to 300 μm in length. Electron-microprobe analysis of rüdlingerite from Fianel gave (in wt%): MnO 36.84, FeO 0.06, As2O5, 25.32, V2O5 28.05, SiO2 0.13, H2Ocalc 9.51, total 99.91. On the basis of 9 O anions per formula unit, the chemical formula of rüdlingerite is Mn1.97(V5+1.17 As0.83Si0.01)Σ2.01O7·2H2O. The main diffraction lines are [dobs in Å (Iobs) hkl]: 3.048 (100) 022, 5.34 (80) 120, 2.730 (60) 231, 2.206 (60) 16-1, 7.28 (50) 020, 2.344 (50) 250, 6.88 (40) 110, and 2.452 (40) 320. Study of the crystal structure showcases a monoclinic unit cell, space group P21/n, with a = 7.8289(2) Å, b = 14.5673(4) Å, c = 6.7011(2) Å, β = 93.773(2)°, V = 762.58(4) Å3, Z = 4. The crystal structure has been solved and refined to R1 = 0.041 on the basis of 3784 reflections with Fo > 4σ(F). It shows Mn2+ hosted in chains of octahedra that are subparallel to [-101] and bound together by pairs of tetrahedra hosted by V5+ and As5+, building up a framework. Additional linkage is provided by hydrogen-bonding through H2O coordinating Mn2+ at the octahedra. One tetrahedrally coordinated site is dominated by V5+, T(1)(V0.88As0.12), corresponding to an observed site scattering of 24.20 electrons per site (eps), whereas the second site is strongly dominated by As5+, T(2)(As0.74V0.26), with, accordingly, a higher observed site scattering of 30.40 eps. The new mineral has been approved by the IMA-CNMNC and named for Gottfried Rüdlinger (born 1919), a pioneer in the 1960–1980s, in the search and study of the small minerals from the Alpine manganese mineral deposits of Grisons. Full article

(This article belongs to the collection New Minerals)

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Open AccessArticle

Eco-Friendly Water-Based Nanolubricants for Industrial-Scale Hot Steel Rolling

Lubricants 2020, 8(11), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/lubricants8110096 (registering DOI) – 27 Oct 2020

Abstract

Eco-friendly and low-cost water-based nanolubricants containing rutile TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs) were developed for accelerating their applications in industrial-scale hot steel rolling. The lubrication performance of developed nanolubricants was evaluated in a 2-high Hille 100 experimental rolling mill at a rolling temperature of […] Read more.

Eco-friendly and low-cost water-based nanolubricants containing rutile TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs) were developed for accelerating their applications in industrial-scale hot steel rolling. The lubrication performance of developed nanolubricants was evaluated in a 2-high Hille 100 experimental rolling mill at a rolling temperature of 850 °C in comparison to that of pure water. The results indicate that the use of nanolubricant enables one to decrease the rolling force, reduce the surface roughness and the oxide scale thickness, and enhance the surface hardness. In particular, the nanolubricant consisting of 4 wt % TiO2, 10 wt % glycerol, 0.2 wt % sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate (SDBS) and 1 wt % Snailcool exhibits the best lubrication performance by lowering the rolling force, surface roughness and oxide scale thickness by up to 8.1%, 53.7% and 50%, respectively. The surface hardness is increased by 4.4%. The corresponding lubrication mechanisms are attributed to its superior wettability and thermal conductivity associated with the synergistic effect of rolling, mending and laminae forming that are contributed by TiO2 NPs. Full article

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Green Eco-friendly Lubricants)

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Open AccessArticle

Improvement of Stable Restorer Lines for Blast Resistance through Functional Marker in Rice (Oryza sativa L.)

Genes 2020, 11(11), 1266; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11111266 (registering DOI) – 27 Oct 2020

Abstract

Two popular stable restorer lines, CB 87 R and CB 174 R, were improved for blast resistance through marker-assisted back-cross breeding (MABB). The hybrid rice development program in South India extensively depends on these two restorer lines. However, these restorer lines are highly […] Read more.

Two popular stable restorer lines, CB 87 R and CB 174 R, were improved for blast resistance through marker-assisted back-cross breeding (MABB). The hybrid rice development program in South India extensively depends on these two restorer lines. However, these restorer lines are highly susceptible to blast disease. To improve the restorer lines for resistance against blasts, we introgressed the broad-spectrum dominant gene Pi54 into these elite restorer lines through two independent crosses. Foreground selection for Pi54 was done by using gene-specific functional marker, Pi54 MAS, at each back-cross generation. Back-crossing was continued until BC3 and background analysis with seventy polymorphic SSRs covering all the twelve chromosomes to recover the maximum recurrent parent genome was done. At BC3F2, closely linked gene-specific/SSR markers, DRRM-RF3-10, DRCG-RF4-8, and RM 6100, were used for the identification of fertility restoration genes, Rf3 and Rf4, along with target gene (Pi54), respectively, in the segregating population. Subsequently, at BC3F3, plants, homozygous for the Pi54 and fertility restorer genes (Rf3 and Rf4), were evaluated for blast disease resistance under uniform blast nursery (UBN) and pollen fertility status. Stringent phenotypic selection resulted in the identification of nine near-isogenic lines in CB 87 R × B 95 and thirteen in CB 174 R × B 95 as the promising restorer lines possessing blast disease resistance along with restoration ability. The improved lines also showed significant improvement in agronomic traits compared to the recurrent parents. The improved restorer lines developed through the present study are now being utilized in our hybrid development program. Full article

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Improvement of Cereals and Grain Legumes)

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Open AccessArticle

A Portable System for Remote Rehabilitation Following a Total Knee Replacement: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Clinical Study

Sensors 2020, 20(21), 6118; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20216118 (registering DOI) – 27 Oct 2020

Abstract

Rehabilitation has been shown to improve functional outcomes following total knee replacement (TKR). However, its delivery and associated costs are highly variable. The authors have developed and previously validated the accuracy of a remote (wearable) rehabilitation monitoring platform (interACTION). The present […] Read more.

Rehabilitation has been shown to improve functional outcomes following total knee replacement (TKR). However, its delivery and associated costs are highly variable. The authors have developed and previously validated the accuracy of a remote (wearable) rehabilitation monitoring platform (interACTION). The present study’s objective was to assess the feasibility of utilizing interACTION for the remote management of rehabilitation after TKR and to determine a preliminary estimate of the effects of the interACTION system on the value of rehabilitation. Specifically, we tested post-operative outpatient rehabilitation supplemented with interACTION (n = 13) by comparing it to a standard post-operative outpatient rehabilitation program (n = 12) using a randomized design. Attrition rates were relatively low and not significantly different between groups, indicating that participants found both interventions acceptable. A small (not statistically significant) decrease in the number of physical therapy visits was observed in the interACTION Group, therefore no significant difference in total cost could be observed. All patients and physical therapists in the interACTION Group indicated that they would use the system again in the future. Therefore, the next steps are to address the concerns identified in this pilot study and to expand the platform to include behavioral change strategies prior to conducting a full-scale randomized controlled trial. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02646761 “interACTION: A Portable Joint Function Monitoring and Training System for Remote Rehabilitation Following TKA” January 6, 2016. Full article

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and Application of Human Movement Sensors)

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Open AccessArticle

The Influence of Vegetation Succession on Bearing Capacity of Forest Roads Made of Unbound Aggregates

Forests 2020, 11(11), 1137; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11111137 (registering DOI) – 27 Oct 2020

Abstract

The aim of the research was to verify a common opinion concerning a positive influence of plants on the bearing capacity and durability of forest roads made of unbound aggregates. The surface bearing capacity is defined as the ability to transfer traffic loads […] Read more.

The aim of the research was to verify a common opinion concerning a positive influence of plants on the bearing capacity and durability of forest roads made of unbound aggregates. The surface bearing capacity is defined as the ability to transfer traffic loads without any excessive deformations which would hinder regular use of the surface and shorten its durability. It is a significant functional feature of any road. The article analyzed the influence of road surface plant succession on its bearing parameters. The research was conducted on sections of experimental road constructed using macadam technology and reinforced partly with a biaxial geogrid. Measurements were taken with a lightweight Zorn ZFG 3000 GPS type deflectometer with a 300 mm pressure plate radius and 10 kg drop weight which allowed to measure dynamic deformation modulus (Evd) and s/v parameter regarded as an indicator of compaction accuracy of the studied layer. Evd values and s/v parameters, which were obtained by measuring the road pavement covered in vegetation and after having it mechanically removed (mowed), were submitted to the analysis; next, they were compared with the results of an analysis done on areas naturally deprived of the plant cover and located in the immediate vicinity of the measuring points. The conducted research has indicated unfavorable influence of vegetation succession on the bearing parameters of the analyzed sections. The greatest drop in the mean Evd value was 39%, and s/v parameter deteriorated as much as 9%. Hence, a regular mowing of the road surface (including the maneuvering, storage and passing areas) should be taken as standard and mandatory procedures of forest road maintenance. Full article

(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)

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Open AccessEditorial

Editorial “The Impacts of Climate Change on Atmospheric Circulations”

Atmosphere 2020, 11(11), 1163; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11111163 (registering DOI) – 27 Oct 2020

Abstract

Understanding the atmospheric general circulation is, in a way, analogous to cleaning a large home […] Full article

(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of Climate Change on Atmospheric Circulations)

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Open AccessArticle

Natural Fibre as Reinforcement for Vintage Wood

Materials 2020, 13(21), 4799; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13214799 (registering DOI) – 27 Oct 2020

Abstract

In recent years, we have seen the construction of numerous good-looking buildings, each of which is perfectly safe, resistant to weather conditions, durable and economically efficient. Apart from their use in the structures of new buildings, natural fibres are even more important in […] Read more.

In recent years, we have seen the construction of numerous good-looking buildings, each of which is perfectly safe, resistant to weather conditions, durable and economically efficient. Apart from their use in the structures of new buildings, natural fibres are even more important in the field of restoring historical heritage. The article presents experimental testing of old wooden beams made of the European larch Larix decidua Mill. with natural defects (knots, natural grain, deviations, cracks and voids) on a technical scale, reinforced with natural fibre. The tests were carried out to examine the response of heterogeneous wooden beams during bending with reinforced basalt fibres (BFRP). The wooden beams were cut out from the ceiling of an old building from 1860. The tests of reinforced wooden beams were intended to determine the increase in bearing capacity and rigidity after providing natural reinforcement. The tests allowed for determining the deflection, the distribution of deformations and images of failure for non-reinforced and reinforced beams. The performed tests have shown the effectiveness of the application of basalt fibres (BFRP) to the improvement of structural properties of existing beams, thus allowing an increase in flexural strength. It can be concluded that reinforcements using BFRP materials can be applied both to strengthening the existing structures with deteriorated mechanical properties, as well as to reduce the dimensions of a structure. Experimental tests have proven that, in the case of beams reinforced with natural basalt (BFRP), their rigidity increases by ca. 15.17% compared to the reference beams. Full article

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