Objectives: In recent years, the Faculty of Dentistry of the University of Hong Kong have extended the implementation of 3D electronic models (e-models) into problem-based learning (PBL) of the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) curriculum, aiming at mutual enhancement of PBL teaching quality and the students’ skills in using e-models. This study focuses on the effectiveness of e-models serving as a tool to enhance the students’ skills and competences in PBL. Methods: The questionnaire surveys are conducted to measure 50 fourth-year BDS students’ attitude change between beginning and end of blended PBL tutorials. The response rate of this survey is 100%. Results: The results of this study show the students’ agreement on enhancement of their learning experience after e-model implementation and their expectation to have more blended PBL courses in the future. The potential of e-models in cultivating students’ self-learning skills reduces their dependence on others, while improving their communication skills to argue about pros and cons of different treatment options. The students’ independent thinking ability and problem solving skills are promoted by e-model implementation, resulting in better decision making in treatment planning. Conclusion: It is important for future dental education curriculum planning to cope with the students’ needs, and offer support in the form of software, hardware and facilitators’ assistance for better e-model implementation.
The present study considers the effect of variation of different geotechnical random variables in the design of stone column-foundation systems for assessing the bearing capacity and consolidation settlement of highly compressible soil. The soil and stone column properties, spacing, diameter and arrangement of stone columns are considered as the random variables. Probability of failure (Pf) is computed for a target degree of consolidation and a target safe load by Monte Carlo Simulation (MCS). The study shows that the variation in coefficient of radial consolidation (cr) and cohesion of soil (cs) are two most important factors influencing Pf. If the coefficient of variation (COV) of cr exceeds 20%, Pf exceeds 0.001, which is unsafe following the guidelines of US Army Corps of Engineers. The bearing capacity also exceeds its safe value for COV of cs > 30%. It is also observed that as the spacing between the stone column increases, the probability of reaching a target degree of consolidation decreases. Accordingly, design guidelines, considering both consolidation and bearing capacity of improved ground, are proposed for different spacing and diameter of stone columns and geotechnical random variables.
In this modern age, most people in developed and developing countries are affected by mental illness. There are many mental illnesses, and their differing symptoms impact peoples’ lives in different ways. These illnesses affect the way people think and feel, as well as how they behave with others. Mental illness results from compound interactions between the mind, body, and environment. New technologies and sciences make the world a better place. These technologies are becoming smarter and are being developed every day to help make daily life easier However, people suffer from mental illness in every part of the world. The philosophy propounded by the Buddha, Buddhism, teaches that all life is connected, from the microcosm to macrocosm. In the 2,500 years that elapsed since the death of the Buddha, his disciples have spread his teachings and developed sophisticated psycho-therapeutic methodologies. We can find many examples in Buddhist texts and in the modern age where Buddhist philosophy modern science could not solve. The Noble Eightfold Path, which is one of the main philosophies of Buddhism; it eradicates hatred and ill will and cultivates good deeds, kindness, and compassion. Buddhism, as a practice of dialectic conversation and mindfulness training, is full of rich therapeutic tools that the mental health community has adopted to help people. Similarly, Buddhist meditation is very necessary; it purifies thoughts and avoids unnecessary thinking. This research aims to study different causes of mental illness; analyzes the different approaches to eradicate mental illness problems and provides conclusions and recommendations present solutions through Buddhism in this modern age.
The evolution of the pyrolysis of sewage sludge in a fixed and a fluidized bed was analyzed using a novel measuring technique. This original measuring technique consists of installing the whole reactor over a precision scale, capable of measuring the mass of the complete reactor with enough precision to detect the mass released by the sewage sludge sample during its pyrolysis. The inert conditions required for the pyrolysis process were obtained supplying the bed with a nitrogen flowrate, and the bed temperature was adjusted to either 500 ºC or 600 ºC using a group of three electric resistors. The sewage sludge sample was supplied through the top of the bed in a batch of 10 g. The measurement of the mass released by the sewage sludge sample was employed to determine the evolution of the reaction rate during the pyrolysis, the total amount of volatile matter released, and the pyrolysis time. The pyrolysis tests of sewage sludge in the fluidized bed were conducted using two different bed materials of the same size but different densities: silica sand and sepiolite particles. The higher density of silica sand particles induces a flotsam behavior for the sewage sludge particles which move close to the bed surface. In contrast, the lower density of sepiolite produces a neutrally-buoyant behavior for the sewage sludge particles, which shows a proper circulation throughout the whole bed in this case. The analysis of the evolution of the pyrolysis process in both fluidized beds show that the pyrolysis is faster when buoyancy effects are negligible, i.e. in the bed conformed by sepiolite particles. Moreover, sepiolite was found to show an absorbent capability for the volatile matter released during the pyrolysis of sewage sludge.
The estimation of accumulated radiation doses in people professionally exposed to ionizing radiation was performed using methods of biological (chromosomal aberrations frequency in lymphocytes) and physical (radionuclides analysis in urine, whole-body radiation meter, individual thermoluminescent dosimeters) dosimetry. A group of 84 "A" category employees after their work in the territory of former Semipalatinsk test site (Kazakhstan) was investigated. The dose rate in some funnels exceeds 40 μSv/h. After radionuclides determination in urine using radiochemical and WBC methods, it was shown that the total effective dose of personnel internal exposure did not exceed 0.2 mSv/year, while an acceptable dose limit for staff is 20 mSv/year. The range of external radiation doses measured with individual thermo-luminescent dosimeters was 0.3-1.406 µSv. The cytogenetic examination showed that chromosomal aberrations frequency in staff was 4.27±0.22%, which is significantly higher than at the people from non-polluting settlement Tausugur (0.87±0.1%) (р ≤ 0.01) and citizens of Almaty (1.6±0.12%) (р≤ 0.01). Chromosomal type aberrations accounted for 2.32±0.16%, 0.27±0.06% of which were dicentrics and centric rings. The cytogenetic analysis of different types group radiosensitivity among «professionals» (age, sex, ethnic group, epidemiological data) revealed no significant differences between the compared values. Using various techniques by frequency of dicentrics and centric rings, the average cumulative radiation dose for group was calculated, and that was 0.084-0.143 Gy. To perform comparative individual dosimetry using physical and biological methods of dose assessment, calibration curves (including own ones) and regression equations based on general frequency of chromosomal aberrations obtained after irradiation of blood samples by gamma-radiation with the dose rate of 0,1 Gy/min were used. Herewith, on the assumption of individual variation of chromosomal aberrations frequency (1–10%), the accumulated dose of radiation varied 0-0.3 Gy. The main problem in the interpretation of individual dosimetry results is reduced to different reaction of the objects to irradiation - radiosensitivity, which dictates the need of quantitative definition of this individual reaction and its consideration in the calculation of the received radiation dose. The entire examined contingent was assigned to a group based on the received dose and detected cytogenetic aberrations. Radiosensitive individuals, at the lowest received dose in a year, showed the highest frequency of chromosomal aberrations (5.72%). In opposite, radioresistant individuals showed the lowest frequency of chromosomal aberrations (2.8%). The cohort correlation according to the criterion of radio-sensitivity in our research was distributed as follows: radio-sensitive (26.2%) — medium radio-sensitivity (57.1%), radioresistant (16.7%). Herewith, the dispersion for radioresistant individuals is 2.3; for the group with medium radio-sensitivity — 3.3; and for radio-sensitive group — 9. These data indicate the highest variation of characteristic (reactions to radiation effect) in the group of radio-sensitive individuals. People with medium radio-sensitivity show significant long-term correlation (0.66; n=48, β ≥ 0.999) between the values of doses defined according to the results of cytogenetic analysis and dose of external radiation obtained with the help of thermoluminescent dosimeters. Mathematical models based on the type of violation of the radiation dose according to the professionals radiosensitivity level were offered.
This study focuses on the sheltering response in the Middle East, specifically through reviewing two Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, involving Zaatari and Azraq. Zaatari camp involved the rapid deployment of tents and shelters over a very short period of time and Azraq was purpose built and pre-planned over a longer period. At present, both camps collectively host more than 133,000 occupants. Field visits were taken to both camps and the main issues and problems in the sheltering response were highlighted through focus group discussions with camp occupants and inspection of shelter habitats. This provided both subjective and objective research data sources. While every case has its own significance and deployment to meet humanitarian needs, there are some common requirements irrespective of geographical region. The results suggest that there is a gap in the suitability of the required habitat needs and what has been provided. It is recommended that the global international response and support could be improved in relation to the habitat form, construction type, layout, function and critically the cultural aspects. Services, health and hygiene are key elements to the shelter habitat provision. The study also identified the amendments to shelters undertaken by the beneficiaries providing insight into their key main requirements. The outcomes from this study could provide an important learning opportunity to develop improved habitat response for future shelters.
Among the different cancer treatments that are currently used, hyperthermia has a promising potential due to the multiple benefits that are obtained by this technique. In general terms, hyperthermia is a method that takes advantage of the sensitivity of cancer cells to heat, in order to damage or destroy them. Within the different ways of supplying heat to cancer cells and achieve their destruction or damage, the use of magnetic nanoparticles has attracted attention due to the capability of these particles to generate heat under the influence of an external magnetic field. In addition, these nanoparticles have a high surface area and sizes similar or even lower than biological entities, which allow their approaching and interaction with a specific region of interest. The most used magnetic nanoparticles for hyperthermia treatment are those based on iron oxides, mainly magnetite and maghemite, due to their biocompatibility, good magnetic properties and chemical stability. However, in order to fulfill more efficiently the requirements that demand the treatment of magnetic hyperthermia, there have been investigations using ferrites that incorporate different metallic ions, such as Mg, Mn, Co, Ca, Ni, Cu, Li, Gd, etc., in their structure. This paper reports the synthesis of nanosized MgxMn1-xFe2O4 (x = 0.3 and 0.4) ferrites by sol-gel method and their evaluation in terms of heating capability and in vitro hemolysis to determine the potential use of these nanoparticles as thermoseeds for the treatment of cancer by magnetic hyperthermia. It was possible to obtain ferrites with nanometric sizes, a single crystalline phase with an inverse spinel structure and a behavior near to that of superparamagnetic materials. Additionally, at concentrations of 10 mg of magnetic material per mL of water, it was possible to reach a temperature of approximately 45°C, which is within the range of temperatures used for the treatment of hyperthermia. The results of the in vitro hemolysis assay showed that, at the concentrations tested, these nanoparticles are non-hemolytic, as their percentage of hemolysis is close to zero. Therefore, these materials can be used as thermoseeds for the treatment of cancer by magnetic hyperthermia.
The role and relative importance of intrinsic and extrinsic factors in the development of complex diseases such as cancer still remains a controversial issue. Determining the amount of variation explained by these factors needs experimental data and statistical models. These models are nevertheless based on the occurrence and accumulation of random mutational events during stem cell division, thus rendering cancer development a stochastic outcome. We demonstrate that not only individual genome sequencing is uninformative in determining cancer risk, but also assigning a unique genome sequence to any given individual (healthy or affected) is not meaningful. Current whole-genome sequencing approaches are therefore unlikely to realize the promise of personalized medicine. In conclusion, since genome sequence differs from cell to cell and changes over time, it seems that determining the risk factor of complex diseases based on genome sequence is somewhat unrealistic, and therefore, the resulting data are likely to be inherently uninformative.
In a dynamic market of Information Technology (IT) Service and with high quality demands and high performance requirements in decreasing costs, it is imperative that IT companies invest organizational effort in order to increase the effectiveness of their Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) processes through the improvement of ITSM project management and through solid support to the strategic decision-making process of IT directors. In this article, the author presents an analysis of common issues of IT companies around the world, with strategic needs of information unmet that provoke their ITSM processes and projects management that do not achieve the effectiveness and efficiency expected of their results. In response to the issues raised, the author proposes a framework consisting of an innovative theoretical framework model of ITSM management and a technological solution aligned to the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) good practices guidance and ISO/IEC 20000-1 requirements. The article describes a research that proves the proposed framework is able to integrate, manage and coordinate in a holistic way, measurable and auditable, all ITSM processes and projects of IT organization and utilize the effectiveness assessment achieved for their strategic decision-making process increasing the process maturity level and improving the capacity of an efficient management.
Water contains dissolved oxygen that a fish needs to breathe. It is important to increase the amounts of separation of dissolved oxygen from water for diverse applications using the separation system. In this paper, a separation system of dissolved gases from water concurrently variable mixed with the exhalations using a compressor is proposed. This system takes use of exhalations to increase the amounts of separation of dissolved oxygen from water. A compressor with variable off-time and on-time is used to control the exhalations mixed with inlet water. Exhalations contain some portion of carbon dioxide, oxygen, and nitrogen. Separation of dissolved gases containing dissolved oxygen is enhanced by using exhalations. The amounts of separation and the compositions of carbon dioxide and oxygen are measured. Higher amounts of separation can make the size of the separation device smaller, and then, application areas are diversified.
Magnetic spinel ferrites are materials that possess size, magnetic properties and heating ability adequate for their potential use in biomedical applications. The Mn0.5Ga0.5Fe2O4 magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) were synthesized by sol-gel method using citric acid as chelating agent of metallic precursors. The synthesized samples were identified by X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) as an inverse spinel structure with no secondary phases. Saturation magnetization (Ms) of crystalline powders was 45.9 emu/g, which was higher than those corresponding to GaFe2O4 (14.2 emu/g) and MnFe2O4 (40.2 emu/g) synthesized under similar conditions, while the coercivity field (Hc) was 27.9 Oe. The average particle size was 18 ± 7 nm. The heating ability of the MNPs was enough to increase the surrounding temperature up to 43.5 °C in 7 min when a quantity of 4.5 mg of MNPs per mL of liquid medium was tested. Cytotoxic effect (hemolysis assay) of MNPs was determined and the results showed hemolytic values below 1% in all tested cases. According to the results obtained, these synthesized nanoparticles can be potentially used as thermoseeds for hyperthermia therapy.
Architecture, as an art and science of designing, has always been the medium to create environments that fulfill their users’ needs. It could create an inclusive environment that would not isolate any individual regardless of his /her disabilities. It could help, hopefully, in setting the strategies that provide a supportive, educational environment that would allow the inclusion of students with autism. Architects could help in the battle against this neuro-developmental disorder by providing the accommodating environment, at home and at school, in order to prevent institutionalizing these children. Through a theoretical approach and a review of literature, this study will explore and analyze best practices in autism-friendly, supportive, teaching environments. Additionally, it would provide the range of measures, and set the strategies to deal with the students with autism sensory peculiarities, and that, in order to allow them to concentrate in the school environment, and be able to succeed, and to be integrated as an important addition to society and the social mainstream. Architects should take into consideration the general guidelines for an autism-friendly built environment, and apply them to specific buildings systems. And that, as certain design elements have great effect on children’s behavior, by appropriating architecture to provide inclusive accommodating environments, the basis for equalization of opportunities is set allowing these individuals a better, normal, non-institutional life, as the discussion presented in this study would reveal.
This paper focuses on the design of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) about Content Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and more specifically about how teachers can use CLIL as an educational approach incorporating technology in their teaching as well. All the four weeks of the MOOC will be presented and a step-by-step analysis of each lesson will be offered. Additionally, the paper includes detailed lesson plans about CLIL lessons with proposed CLIL activities and games in which technology plays a central part. The MOOC is structured based on certain criteria, in order to ensure success, as well as a positive experience that the learners need to have after completing this MOOC. It addresses to all language teachers who would like to implement CLIL into their teaching. In other words, it presents the methodology that needs to be followed so as to successfully carry out a CLIL lesson and achieve the learning objectives set at the beginning of the course. Firstly, in this paper, it is very important to give the definitions of MOOCs and LMOOCs, as well as to explore the difference between a structure-based MOOC (xMOOC) and a connectivist MOOC (cMOOC) and present the criteria of a successful MOOC. Moreover, the notion of CLIL will be explored, as it is necessary to fully understand this concept before moving on to the design of the MOOC. Onwards, the four weeks of the MOOC will be introduced as well as lesson plans will be presented: The type of the activities, the aims of each activity and the methodology that teachers have to follow. Emphasis will be placed on the role of technology in foreign language learning and on the ways in which we can involve technology in teaching a foreign language. Final remarks will be made and a summary of the main points will be offered at the end.
A side weir is a hydraulic structure set into the side of a channel. This structure is used for water level control in channels, to divert flow from a main channel into a side channel when the water level in the main channel exceeds a specific limit and as storm overflows from urban sewerage system. Computation of water surface over the side weirs is essential to determine the flow rate of the side weir. Analytical solutions for water surface profile along rectangular side weir are available only for the special cases of rectangular and trapezoidal channels considering constant specific energy. In this paper, a rectangular side weir located in a combined (trapezoidal with exponential) channel was considered. Expanding binominal series of integer and fraction powers and the using of reduction formula of cosine function integrals, a general analytical formula was obtained for water surface profile along a side weir in a combined (trapezoidal with exponential) channel. Since triangular, rectangular, trapezoidal and parabolic cross-sections are special cases of the combined cross section, the derived formula, is applicable to triangular, rectangular, trapezoidal cross-sections as analytical solution and semi-analytical solution to parabolic cross-section with maximum relative error smaller than 0.76%. The proposed solution should be a useful engineering tool for the evaluation and design of side weirs in open channel.
Additive manufacturing (AM) is increasingly crucial in biomedical and aerospace industries. As a recently developed AM technique, selective laser melting (SLM) has become a commercial method for various manufacturing processes. However, the molten pool configuration during SLM of metal powders is a decisive issue for the product quality. It is very important to investigate the heat transfer characteristics during the laser heating process. In this work, the finite element method (FEM) software ANSYS® (work bench module 16.0) was used to predict the unsteady temperature distribution for resolving molten pool dimensions with consideration of temperature-dependent thermal physical properties of TiAl6V4 at different laser powers and scanning speeds. The simulated results of the temperature distributions illustrated that the ratio of laser power to scanning speed can greatly influence the size of molten pool of titanium alloy powder for SLM development.
Emotional development is developed between the parents and their child. Behavioural development is also developed between the parents and their child. Social Development is how parents can help their special needs child to adapt to society and to face challenges. In promoting a lifelong learning mindset, enhancing skill sets and readiness to face challenges, parents would be able to counter balance these challenges during their care giving process and better manage their expectations through understanding the hierarchy of needs modality towards a positive attitude, and in turn, improve their quality of life and participation in society. This paper aims to demonstrate how the hierarchy of needs can be applied in various situations of caregiving for parents with a special needs child.
The paper intends to highlight the significance of Digital Manufacturing (DM) strategy in support and achievement of business strategy and goals of any manufacturing organization. Towards this end, DM initiatives have been given a process perspective, while not undermining its technological significance, with a view to link its benefits directly with fulfilment of customer needs and expectations in a responsive and cost-effective manner. A digital process model has been proposed to categorize digitally enabled organizational processes with a view to create synergistic groups, which adopt and use digital tools having similar characteristics and functionalities. This will throw future opportunities for researchers and developers to create a unified technology environment for integration and orchestration of processes. Secondly, an effort has been made to apply “what” and “how” features of Quality Function Deployment (QFD) framework to establish the relationship between customers’ needs – both for external and internal customers, and the features of various digital processes, which support for the achievement of these customer expectations. The paper finally concludes that in the present highly competitive environment, business organizations cannot thrive to sustain unless they understand the significance of digital strategy and integrate it with their business strategy with a clearly defined implementation roadmap. A process-oriented approach to DM strategy will help business executives and leaders to appreciate its value propositions and its direct link to organization’s competitiveness.
Present investigation is performed to evaluate the effects of foliar application of salicylic acid, glycine betaine, ascorbic acid, nano-silica, and nano-titanium dioxide on sunflower. Results showed that the first two principal components were sufficient to create a two-dimensional treatment by trait biplot, and such biplot accounted percentages of 49% and 19%, respectively of the interaction between traits and treatments. The vertex treatments of polygon were ascorbic acid, glycine betaine, nano-TiO2, and control indicated that high performance in some important traits consists of number of days to seed maturity, number of seeds per head, number heads per single plant, hundred seed weight, seed length, seed yield performance, and oil content. Treatments suitable for obtaining the high seed yield were identified in the vector-view function of biplot and displayed nano-silica and nano titanium dioxide as the best treatments suitable for obtaining of high seed yield.
Hard seeds will not grow and can cause mold in sprouting process. Thus, the hard seeds need to be separated from the normal seeds. Near infrared hyperspectral imaging in a range of 900 to 1700 nm was implemented to develop a model by partial least squares discriminant analysis to discriminate the hard seeds from the normal seeds. The orientation of the seeds was also studied to compare the performance of the models. The model based on hilum-up orientation achieved the best result giving the coefficient of determination of 0.98, and root mean square error of prediction of 0.07 with classification accuracy was equal to 100%.
This study explores the relationship between the level of functionality and cognitive impairment in older adult women from the south-east of Mexico. It is a descriptive, cross-sectional study; performed with 172 participants in total who attended a health institute and live in Merida, Yucatan Mexico. After a non-probabilistic sampling, Barthel and Pfeiffer scales were applied. The results show statistically significant correlation between the cognitive impairment (Pfeiffer) and the levels of independence and function (Barthel) (r =0.489; p =0.001). Both determine a dependence level so they need either a little or a lot of help. Society needs that the older woman be healthy and that the professionals of mental health develop activities to prevent and rehabilitate because cognitive impairment and function are directly related with the quality of life.
Digital systems are in the Cognitive wave of the eTransformations and are now extensively aimed at meeting the individuals’ demands, both those of customers requiring services and those of service providers. It is also apparent that successful future systems will not just simply open doors to the traditional owners/users to offer and receive services such as Uber, for example, does today, but will in the future require more customized and cognitively enabled infrastructures that will be responsive to the system user’s needs. To be able to identify what is required for such systems this research reviews the historical and the current effects of the eTransformation process by studying: 1. eTransitions of company websites and mobile applications, 2. Emergence of new shared economy business models such as Uber, and 3. New requirements for demand driven, cognitive systems capable of learning and just-in-time decision-making. Based on the analysis, this study proposes a Cognitive eTransformation Framework capable of guiding implementations of new responsive and user aware systems.
In Wireless Sensor Network (WSN), the sensor containing motes (nodes) incorporate batteries that can lament at some extent. To upgrade the energy utilization, clustering is one of the prototypical approaches for split sensor motes into a number of clusters where one mote (also called as node) proceeds as a Cluster Head (CH). CH selection is one of the optimization techniques for enlarging stability and network lifespan. Deterministic Stable Election Protocol (DSEP) is an effectual clustering protocol that makes use of three kinds of nodes with dissimilar residual energy for CH election. Fuzzy Logic technology is used to expand energy level of DSEP protocol by using fuzzy inference system. This paper presents protocol DSEP using Fuzzy Logic (DSEP-FL) CH by taking into account four linguistic variables such as energy, concentration, centrality and distance to base station. Simulation results show that our proposed method gives more effective results in term of a lifespan of network and stability as compared to the performance of other clustering protocols.
Friction stir welding is the new-fangled and cutting-edge technique in welding applications; it is widely used in the fields of transportation, aerospace, defense, etc. For thriving significant welding joints and properties of friction stir welded components, it is essential to carry out this advanced process in a prescribed systematic procedure. At this moment, Underwater Friction Stir Welding (UFSW) Process is the field of interest to do research work. In the continuous assessment, the study of UFSW process is to comprehend problems occurred in the past and the structure through which the mechanical properties of the welded joints can be value-added and contributes to conclude results an acceptable and resourceful joint. A meticulous criticism is given on how to modify the experimental setup from NFSW to UFSW. It can discern the influence of tool materials, feeds, spindle angle, load, rotational speeds and mechanical properties. By expending the DEFORM-3D simulation software, the achieved outcomes are validated.
Visually impaired people, in their daily lives, face struggles and spatial barriers because the built environment is often designed with an extreme focus on the visual element, causing what is called architectural visual bias or ocularcentrism. The aim of the study is to holistically understand the world of the visually impaired as an attempt to extract the qualities of space that accommodate their needs, and to show the importance of multi-sensory, holistic designs for the blind. Within the framework of existential phenomenology, common themes are reached through "intersubjectivity": experience descriptions by blind people and blind architects, observation of how blind children learn to perceive their surrounding environment, and a personal lived blind-folded experience are analyzed. The extracted themes show how visually impaired people filter out and prioritize tactile (active, passive and dynamic touch), acoustic and olfactory spatial qualities respectively, and how this happened during the personal lived blind folded experience. The themes clarify that haptic and aural inclusive designs are essential to create environments suitable for the visually impaired to empower them towards an independent, safe and efficient life.
Water is the most important and valuable resource not only for human life but also for all living things on the planet. The water supply utilities should fulfill the water requirement quantitatively and qualitatively. Drinking water systems are exposed to both natural (hurricanes and flood) and manmade hazards (risks) that are common in Palestine. Non-Revenue Water (NRW) is a manmade risk which remains a major concern in Palestine, as the NRW levels are estimated to be at a high level. In this research, Hebron city water distribution network was taken as a case study to estimate and audit the NRW levels. The research also investigated the state of the existing water distribution system in the study area by investigating the water losses and obtained more information on NRW prevention and management practices. Data and information have been collected from the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) and Hebron Municipality (HM) archive. In addition to that, a questionnaire has been designed and administered by the researcher in order to collect the necessary data for water auditing. The questionnaire also assessed the views of stakeholder in PWA and HM (staff) on the current status of the NRW in the Hebron water distribution system. The important result obtained by this research shows that NRW in Hebron city was high and in excess of 30%. The main factors that contribute to NRW were the inaccuracies in billing volumes, unauthorized consumption, and the method of estimating consumptions through faulty meters. Policy for NRW reduction is available in Palestine; however, it is clear that the number of qualified staff available to carry out the activities related to leak detection is low, and that there is a lack of appropriate technologies to reduce water losses and undertake sufficient system maintenance, which needs to be improved to enhance the performance of the network and decrease the level of NRW losses.
The aim of paper is to analyze business models of bancassurance in Italy for life business. The life insurance business is very developed in the Italian market and banks branches have 80% of the market share. Given its maturity, the life insurance market needs to consolidate its organizational form to allow for the development of non-life business, which nowadays collects few premiums but represents a great opportunity to enlarge the market share of bancassurance using its strength in the distribution channel while the market share of independent agents is decreasing. Starting with the main business model of bancassurance for life business, this paper will analyze the performances of life companies in the Italian market by balance sheet indicators and by main discriminant variables of business models. The study will observe trends from 2013 to 2015 for the Italian market by exploiting a database managed by Associazione Nazionale delle Imprese di Assicurazione (ANIA). The applied approach is based on a bottom-up analysis starting with variables and indicators to define business models’ classification. The statistical classification algorithm proposed by Ward is employed to design business models’ profiles. Results from the analysis will be a representation of the main business models built by their profile related to indicators. In that way, an unsupervised analysis is developed that has the limit of its judgmental dimension based on research opinion, but it is possible to obtain a design of effective business models.