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Stories from immigrant workers in the Valley of the Sun: status, wage theft, recourse, and resilience

Description

Wage theft is a national epidemic that only recently became the focus of increasing research, critical public questioning, and activism. Given the socio- political climate in Maricopa County, Arizona and the heightened national attention on the state, this study answers

Wage theft is a national epidemic that only recently became the focus of increasing research, critical public questioning, and activism. Given the socio- political climate in Maricopa County, Arizona and the heightened national attention on the state, this study answers important questions about the work experiences of immigrant workers in the region. Through an analysis of interviews with 14 low-wage Mexican workers from a local worker rights center, I explore workers' access to traditional recourse, the effects of wage theft on workers and families, and the survival strategies they utilize to mitigate the effects of sudden income loss. By providing an historical overview of immigration and employment law, I show how a dehumanized and racialized labor force has been structurally maintained and exploited. Furthermore, I describe the implications of two simultaneous cultures on the state of labor: the culture of fear among immigrants to assert their rights and utilize recourse, and the culture of criminality and impunity among employers who face virtually no sanctions when they are non-compliant with labor law. The results indicate that unless the rights of immigrant workers are equally enforced and recourse is made equally accessible, not only will the standards for pay and working conditions continue to collapse, but the health of Latino communities will also deteriorate. I assert that in addition to structural change, a shift in national public discourse and ideology is critical to substantive socio-political transformation.

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2011

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Tricks of the shade: heat-related coping strategies of urban homeless persons in Phoenix, Arizona

Description

This research is about urban homeless people's vulnerability to extreme temperatures and the related socio-spatial dynamics. Specifically, this research investigates heat related coping strategies homeless people use and how the urban environment setting impacts those coping strategies. Semi-structured

This research is about urban homeless people's vulnerability to extreme temperatures and the related socio-spatial dynamics. Specifically, this research investigates heat related coping strategies homeless people use and how the urban environment setting impacts those coping strategies. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with homeless people in Phoenix, Arizona during the summer of 2010. The findings demonstrate that homeless people have a variety of coping strategies and the urban environment setting unjustly impacts those strategies. The results suggest a need for further studies that focus spatial environmental effects on homeless people and other vulnerable populations.

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2011

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Like water for justice: a critical analysis of the United Nations and the inadequate recognition of environmental refugees

Description

As global warming increases, sea levels continue to rise and world populations continue to grow; the Earth is nearing its tipping point. Human action, such as deforestation, mining, and industrialization, has had a profound effect on environments destroying wetlands, and

As global warming increases, sea levels continue to rise and world populations continue to grow; the Earth is nearing its tipping point. Human action, such as deforestation, mining, and industrialization, has had a profound effect on environments destroying wetlands, and the natural infrastructure needed to absorb rainfall and maintain vegetation. Due to extreme changes in climate and temperature, people all over the world are increasingly affected by natural disaster. Unable to sustain their livelihoods, these individuals, become environmental refugees and are forced to flee their land and homes to obtain security in another region or country. Currently, there are approximately 25 million environmental refugees worldwide. Despite the soaring numbers, environmental refugees are not legally recognized or protected by the United Nations, and thus do not receive the same rights or assistance as a traditional refugee. This thesis analyzes definitions and interpretations of Environmental Refugees (ERs) through the frameworks of environmental justice and human rights law and identifies possible avenues of discourse available. Furthermore, this thesis examines the current United Nations definition of refugee and identifies the pros and cons to expanding the current definition to include those affected by natural disaster. Through the case study of New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA), it is demonstrated how ERs are not only an issue facing developing countries, but also exist within developed nations. Hurricane Katrina in NOLA is an ethnographic example that demonstrates how during a time of natural disaster, a variety of past and present structural factors may contribute to the violation of human rights. This thesis then concludes with a discussion of possible categorizations of ERs and the concrete benefits of each category, and how lessons from NOLA can and should be applied to other ER situations in order to avoid human rights violations.

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2010

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Operationalizing neighborhood resiliency: a grass-roots approach

Description

This research addresses the ability for neighborhoods to assess resiliency as it applies to their respective local areas. Two demographically and economically contrasting neighborhoods in Glendale, Arizona were studied to understand what residents' value and how those values link to

This research addresses the ability for neighborhoods to assess resiliency as it applies to their respective local areas. Two demographically and economically contrasting neighborhoods in Glendale, Arizona were studied to understand what residents' value and how those values link to key principles of resiliency. Through this exploratory research, a community-focused process was created to use these values in order to link them to key principles of resiliency and potential measureable indicators. A literature review was conducted to first assess definitions and key principles of resiliency. Second, it explored cases of neighborhoods or communities that faced a pressure or disaster and responded resiliently based on these general principles. Each case study demonstrated that resiliency at the neighborhood level was important to its ability to survive its respective pressure and emerge stronger. The Heart of Glendale and Thunderbird Palms were the two neighborhoods chosen to test the ability to operationalize neighborhood resiliency in the form of indicators. First, an in-depth interview was conducted with a neighborhood expert to understand each area's strengths and weaknesses and get a context for the neighborhood and how it has developed. Second, a visioning session was conducted with each neighborhood consisting of seven participants to discuss its values and how they relate to key principles of resiliency. The values were analyzed and used to shape locally relevant indicators. The results of this study found that the process of identifying participants' values and linking them to key principles of resiliency is a viable methodology for measuring neighborhood resiliency. It also found that indicators and values differed between the Heart of Glendale, a more economically vulnerable yet ethnically diverse area, than Thunderbird Palms, a more racially homogenous, middle income neighborhood. The Heart of Glendale valued the development of social capital more than Thunderbird Palms which placed a higher value on the condition of the built environment as a vehicle for stimulating vibrancy and resiliency in the neighborhood. However, both neighborhoods highly valued public education and providing opportunities for children to be future leaders in their local communities.

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2011

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A bilingual, bicultural interpreter and researcher navigates blurry boundaries and intersectionality

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A researcher reflects using a close reading of interview transcripts and description to share what happened while participating in multiple roles in a larger ethnographic study of the acculturation process of deaf students in kindergarten classrooms in three countries. The

A researcher reflects using a close reading of interview transcripts and description to share what happened while participating in multiple roles in a larger ethnographic study of the acculturation process of deaf students in kindergarten classrooms in three countries. The course of this paper will focus on three instances that took place in Japan and America. The analysis of these examples will bring to light the concept of taking on multiple roles, including graduate research assistant, interpreter, cultural mediator, and sociolinguistic consultant within a research project serving to uncover challenging personal and professional dilemmas and crossing boundaries; the dual roles, interpreter and researcher being the primary focus. This analysis results in a brief look at a thought provoking, yet evolving task of the researcher/interpreter. Maintaining multiple roles in the study the researcher is able to potentially identify and contribute "hidden" knowledge that may have been overlooked by other members of the research team. Balancing these different roles become key implications when interpreting practice, ethical boundaries, and participant research at times the lines of separation are blurred.

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2011

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Quantifying the matrix of domination

Description

This paper is seeking to use exploratory factor analysis to construct a numeric representation of Hill Collin's matrix of domination. According to Hill Collins, the Current American matrix of domination, or the interlocking systems of oppression, includes race, gender, class,

This paper is seeking to use exploratory factor analysis to construct a numeric representation of Hill Collin's matrix of domination. According to Hill Collins, the Current American matrix of domination, or the interlocking systems of oppression, includes race, gender, class, sexual orientation, religion, immigration status, disability, and age. The study uses exploratory factor analysis to construct a matrix of domination scale. The study launched an on-line survey (n=448) that was circulated through the social network Facebook to collect data. Factor analysis revealed that the constructed matrix of domination represents an accurate description of the current social hierarchy in the United States. Also, the constructed matrix of domination was an accurate predictor of the probability of experiencing domestic abuse according to the current available statistics.

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2011

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Chip level implementation techniques for radiation hardened microprocessors

Description

Microprocessors are the processing heart of any digital system and are central to all the technological advancements of the age including space exploration and monitoring. The demands of space exploration require a special class of microprocessors called radiation hardened microprocessors

Microprocessors are the processing heart of any digital system and are central to all the technological advancements of the age including space exploration and monitoring. The demands of space exploration require a special class of microprocessors called radiation hardened microprocessors which are less susceptible to radiation present outside the earth's atmosphere, in other words their functioning is not disrupted even in presence of disruptive radiation. The presence of these particles forces the designers to come up with design techniques at circuit and chip levels to alleviate the errors which can be encountered in the functioning of microprocessors. Microprocessor evolution has been very rapid in terms of performance but the same cannot be said about its rad-hard counterpart. With the total data processing capability overall increasing rapidly, the clear lack of performance of the processors manifests as a bottleneck in any processing system. To design high performance rad-hard microprocessors designers have to overcome difficult design problems at various design stages i.e. Architecture, Synthesis, Floorplanning, Optimization, routing and analysis all the while maintaining circuit radiation hardness. The reference design `HERMES' is targeted at 90nm IBM G process and is expected to reach 500Mhz which is twice as fast any processor currently available. Chapter 1 talks about the mechanisms of radiation effects which cause upsets and degradation to the functioning of digital circuits. Chapter 2 gives a brief description of the components which are used in the design and are part of the consistent efforts at ASUVLSI lab culminating in this chip level implementation of the design. Chapter 3 explains the basic digital design ASIC flow and the changes made to it leading to a rad-hard specific ASIC flow used in implementing this chip. Chapter 4 talks about the triple mode redundant (TMR) specific flow which is used in the block implementation, delineating the challenges faced and the solutions proposed to make the flow work. Chapter 5 explains the challenges faced and solutions arrived at while using the top-level flow described in chapter 3. Chapter 6 puts together the results and analyzes the design in terms of basic integrated circuit design constraints.

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2013

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Community-based development: scaling up the correct use of misoprostol at home births in Afghanistan

Description

Globally, more than 350 000 women die annually from complications during pregnancy and childbirth (UNFPA, 2011). Nearly 99% of these, according to World Health Organization (WHO) trends (2010) occur in the developing world outside of a hospital setting with limited

Globally, more than 350 000 women die annually from complications during pregnancy and childbirth (UNFPA, 2011). Nearly 99% of these, according to World Health Organization (WHO) trends (2010) occur in the developing world outside of a hospital setting with limited resources including emergency care (WHO, 2012; UNFPA, 2011). The most prevalent cause of death is postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), accounting for 25% of deaths according to WHO statistics (2012). Conditions in Afghanistan are reflective of the scope and magnitude of the problem. In Afghanistan, maternal mortality is thought to be among the highest in the world. The Afghan Mortality Survey (AMS) data implies that one Afghan woman dies about every 2 hours from pregnancy-related causes (AMS, 2010). Lack of empowerment, education and access to health care resources increase a woman's risk of dying during pregnancy (AMS, 2010). This project aims to investigate the prospects of scaling-up the correct use of misoprostol, a prostaglandin E1 analogue, to treat PPH in developing countries where skilled assistance and resources are scant. As there has been little published on the lessons learned from programs already in place, this study is experience-driven, based on the knowledge of industry experts. This study employs a concurrent triangulation approach to synthesize quantitative data obtained from previous studies with qualitative information gathered through the testimonies of key personnel who participated in pilot programs involving misoprostol. There are many obstacles to scaling-up training initiatives in Afghanistan and other low-resource areas. The analysis concludes that the most crucial factors for scaling-up community-based programs include: more studies analyzing lessons learns from community driven approaches; stronger partnerships with community health care workers; overcoming barriers like association with abortion, misuse and product issues; and a heightened global and community awareness of the severity of PPH without treatment. These results have implications for those who actively work in Afghanistan to promote maternal health and other countries that may use Afghanistan's work as a blueprint for reducing maternal mortality through community-based approaches. Keywords: Afghanistan, community-based interventions, community-driven, maternal mortality, MDG5, misoprostol, postpartum hemorrhage, reproduction, scale-up

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2013

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The true value placed on creativity: is the fear of risk a factor?

Description

There is a popular notion that creativity is highly valued in our culture. However, those "in the trenches," people in creative endeavors that actually produce the acts of creativity, say this is not so. There is a negative correlation between

There is a popular notion that creativity is highly valued in our culture. However, those "in the trenches," people in creative endeavors that actually produce the acts of creativity, say this is not so. There is a negative correlation between the value stated and the true value placed on creativity by our contemporary culture. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate that correlation as well as a possible contributing factor to this negative correlation--the fear of risk involved in enacting and accepting creativity. The methods used in this study were literature review and interview. An extensive literature review was done, as much has been written on creativity. The review was done in four parts: 1) the difficulty in defining creativity; 2) fear and the fear of creativity; 3) solutions - ways to be, express, and accept creativity; and 4) the plethora of articles written about creativity. Six one-on-one interviews were conducted with creative individuals from a variety of commercial creative endeavors. Creatives in commercial fields were chosen specifically because of their ability to influence the culture. The results of this study showed that the hypothesis, that there is a negative correlation between the value stated and the true value placed on creativity, is true. The fear of risk involved in enacting and accepting creativity as a factor in this dichotomy was also shown to be true.

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2013

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Model-based design, simulation and automatic code generation for embedded systems and robotic applications

Description

As the complexity of robotic systems and applications grows rapidly, development of high-performance, easy to use, and fully integrated development environments for those systems is inevitable. Model-Based Design (MBD) of dynamic systems using engineering software such as Simulink® from MathWorks®,

As the complexity of robotic systems and applications grows rapidly, development of high-performance, easy to use, and fully integrated development environments for those systems is inevitable. Model-Based Design (MBD) of dynamic systems using engineering software such as Simulink® from MathWorks®, SciCos from Metalau team and SystemModeler® from Wolfram® is quite popular nowadays. They provide tools for modeling, simulation, verification and in some cases automatic code generation for desktop applications, embedded systems and robots. For real-world implementation of models on the actual hardware, those models should be converted into compilable machine code either manually or automatically. Due to the complexity of robotic systems, manual code translation from model to code is not a feasible optimal solution so we need to move towards automated code generation for such systems. MathWorks® offers code generation facilities called Coder® products for this purpose. However in order to fully exploit the power of model-based design and code generation tools for robotic applications, we need to enhance those software systems by adding and modifying toolboxes, files and other artifacts as well as developing guidelines and procedures. In this thesis, an effort has been made to propose a guideline as well as a Simulink® library, StateFlow® interface API and a C/C++ interface API to complete this toolchain for NAO humanoid robots. Thus the model of the hierarchical control architecture can be easily and properly converted to code and built for implementation.

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2013