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The Embeddedness of Community Cultural Institutions: Wall Art in Social Context

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 15:45:09 PDT

This paper draws on findings of a pilot study of wall art in two Philadelphia neighborhoods to examine how community art is embedded in the lives of individuals, families, and communities. During the summer of 1994, three SIAP research assistants--Laura Amrofel, Gina Abrevaya Dyer, and Alison Wolk--hung out in the neighborhoods around two wall murals (one in South Philadelphia, one in West Philadelphia), talked to residents, and observed the way the spaces around the murals were used. They found that the impact of the murals on their neighborhoods was connected to the demography and ecology of the community, but not in a simple way and rather more complex than suggested by current theories on arts and society. The team concluded that the effect of a particular mural was conditioned by the communities themselves--a phenomenon they described as "embeddedness."




A Model of Congruency, A Personal Coaching Philosophy

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 12:10:42 PDT

Consciousness gifted us a singular conundrum - One must think! Spectacularly, Nature receded from unconscious control, and let man be. The quest ever since has been that of reason and raison d'être!

Muse we shall just for an ephemeral moment: Of many myths and legacies of human thought, the Hellenic era is usually credited for rationality; Socrates, Plato and Aristotle formed the bedrock of suppositions that continued to pique the curiosity of Homo sapiens. Greeks, as a civilization, delivered us from superstition to observation, from unknown, we began to explore the known realms of the environment by experiments, drafted laws...created reality and its understanding(s). This was new to man. Thinking, and thinking about thinking.










An Independent Study, 360 Experience - Learning the Client's Way of Knowing

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 12:10:31 PDT

The vista of my story spans a few months.

A time which seems short by comparison to some tales one may read. This one is intensely personal while being centered on my client. It’s not so much that I facilitated change, as I learned about helping another human being who wanted to change. Somewhere in you and me, there is a deep instinctive desire to alter reality, especially if it’s a straitjacket or has many layers of restrictions, cramping our existence. It may be perceived as being ‘stuck’ and that we know happens slowly. Yes, over years, with an imperceptible hardening around the edges as you travel time, as you age, as you try to fit into an image of who you should be.




Brewer's Spent Grain to Xylitol & Polylactic Acid

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:22:06 PDT

With this project, the authors seek to present a desirable and novel process for converting brewers’ spent grain into two value-added products: the alternative sweetener, xylitol, and a biodegradable plastic, polylactic acid. This particular process is based in the Philadelphia Naval Yard, and uses the spent grain from surrounding breweries and microbreweries as its input. However, while the collection logistics and input quantity may change, the process is one that may be implemented anywhere, with varying degrees of success.

The process consists of collection, universal pretreatment, then a split to feed one of two continuous fermenters. A highly acidophilic strain of the yeast Candida tropicalis ferments xylose into xylitol, which is then purified and pelleted in a marketable state. Lactobacillus delbrueckii bacteria ferments glucose into lactic acid, which is then polymerized to form polylactic acid of the desired molecular weight. This polymer is then purified and processed for sale. This product profile is optimal, as it incorporates both of the major constituents of the grain – cellulose and hemicellulose.

Under the current market conditions, this process is expected to be financially desirable. We estimate a return on investment of 25.5%, with an internal rate of return of 30.95% and a net present value of $34.5M by 2032. However, if the price of polylactic acid were to rise, as market patterns suggest it may, this process could quickly become even more profitable. We therefore recommend pursuing the proposed process, and possibly expanding to other densely populated areas.




Activated Carbon-based Carbon Dioxide Adsorption Process

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:22:03 PDT

This process uses activated carbon to adsorb 65 tonnes of CO2 from a coal-fired power plant per day using activated carbon sorbents at 93% purity using a two-stage adsorption process that uses vacuum-swing adsorption. The flue gas first is pressurized and dehydrated using cooling and chilled water. The stream is then sent into a packed activated carbon column at 1.11 bar until CO2 saturation, upon which the column is depressurized to 0.5 bar and the CO2 is desorbed. The gas is then sent into a second adsorption stage at 1 bar until CO2 saturation, and desorbed at 0.52 bar. The resulting CO2-rich stream is then sold and transported by pipeline for enhanced oil recovery at $20/tonne CO2. The total cost of the process, per tonne CO2 captured, is $28.16, beating out previously done economic analyses of activated carbon-based CO2 capture processes.




Direct Route to Phenol from Benzene

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:19:07 PDT

Phenol production, expected to exceed 13MM metric tons in 2017, is a significant global industry with many flaws in its current manufacturing method. The Hock process essentially converts high value propylene to low value acetone. The proposed process design, detailed in this report, provides an alternative reaction pathway that utilizes a direct synthesis from benzene, as developed at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in New Delhi, India. The endorsed proposal is in accordance with US Patent 8,772,552 B2, that describes the production of phenol via vapor phase oxidation of benzene over a copper chromium oxide catalyst. Environmental protection and worker safety are paramount concerns due to the hazardous nature of phenol and benzene. The inclusion of a ventilation system with flare hoods keeps the concentration of hazardous materials within OSHA guidelines. The design uses air to oxidize benzene within four separate packed-bed reactors with inter-stage coolers. Downstream separation removes non-condensable species, recycles up to 98% of the unreacted benzene, and purifies phenol to design specifications. The plant’s capacity is 500MM lb/operating-year of phenol and will be located on the U.S. Gulf Coast as part of an industrial complex. The final product is 99.83% phenol by mass, and contains an aldehyde byproduct as the principal impurity. The design requires an initial investment of $83.6MM, yields a fifteen-year net present value (NPV) of $90M, and has an estimated investor’s rate of return (IRR) of 29.2%. The proposed project is forecasted to break-even in Q1 of 2025 immediately following the second year of maximum production capacity. The design is recommended based on project specifications and marketing team projections, though investors should exercise caution with regards to the effect of realistic market data on proposal sensitivities.




Low-Cost, Commercial Scale Production of Sofosbuvir

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:19:03 PDT

Recent advances in antiviral therapeutics have produced highly effective small molecule drugs to treat Hepatitis C, a deadly infection of the liver. Sofosbuvir, a hepatitis C drug developed by Gilead Sciences, is a breakthrough treatment due to its low side effects and high cure rate. However, the cost of treatment is extraordinarily high, priced at $84,000 per treatment in the US. In response to backlash regarding the cost barriers in developing countries, Gilead has reached licensing agreements with generic pharmaceutical companies to produce the drug for markets in low-income countries such as India, Kenya, and Cuba among others. The report describes a cost-effective, commercial scale process design for the production of sofosbuvir. The proposed production facility is designed to deliver 350,000 kg/year of the active pharmaceutical ingredient, enough to treat 10 million patients per year. The production will be completed over one hundred batches, requiring operation of 120 days/year. Assuming an 11-year period of operation, detailed economic analysis suggests that this is a profitable venture with an IRR of 67.7% and a NPV of $1.2 billion USD.




Food Waste to Bio-Products

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:18:57 PDT

The goal of this project was to design and evaluate a project for the collection and processing of food waste and spent oil in Philadelphia. The project was designed to handle 5% of the total commercial waste generated in Philadelphia. This amounted to approximately 9,700 tons/year of food waste and 73,000 gallons/year of spent oil. The process was designed to utilize a BIOFerm™ Dry Fermentation Digestion System. Following the digestion, the biogas produced is passed through a Caterpillar CG132-12 Generator Set, producing electricity to be sold back to the local grid. The digestate from the anaerobic digestion is used to produce compost, providing an additional revenue stream. In addition to handling the solid food waste, the project is designed to convert the collected spent oil into biodiesel using prepackaged processing units by Springboard Biodiesel. The facility is anticipated to annually produce 2,541 tons of biogas, 5,184,000 kWh of electricity, 14,756 tons of compost, and 59,616 gallons of biodiesel. A rigorous profitability analysis was conducted in order to project cash flows for fifteen years. The total capital investment of the plant is $5.6MM and the expected NPV of the project is -($682,000). The estimated IRR of the project is 12% and the 3-year ROI is 7%. Given the project’s negative NPV, our recommendation is to adopt such a process solely for environmentally beneficial waste management purposes. A key takeway is that in order for such a project to be profitable it would need to target more than just 5% of the total commercial food waste produced.




Optimization of Oleosin 30G Production for Echocardiography

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:18:52 PDT

Provided they are uniform in size, monodisperse microbubbles behave as contrast agents to enhance echocardiographic imaging. Compounds like Oleosin 30G with surfactant-like properties help stabilize microbubbles - thereby ensuring their uniform size. Designed herein is an industrial-scale plant to produce medical-grade Oleosin 30G with a process consisting of three steps: 1) upstream production via recombinant E. coli in an integrated batch bioprocessing model, 2) downstream purification, and 3) processing by microfluidic manifolds. Ultimately Oleosin 30G-coated microbubbles are manufactured, ready for injection within one month. Owing to its unique properties and cost-effective production, Oleosin 30G has the potential to outcompete current market leader Definity®. Altogether, overall yield of Oleosin 30G constitutes 7.39 kg/year to provide for 100% market saturation. Financial analysis indicates pursuing Oleosin 30G for echocardiography applications is very profitable with a 296% return on investment and holds potential for production expansion should the market demand increase.




Coffee to Biofuels

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:18:47 PDT

This project proposes a production plant that will utilize 9.58 million kg/year of spent coffee grounds in order to produce 1.03 million liters/year of coffee biofuel and 2.56 million kg/year of biomass pellets. This plant will be located in northern New Jersey, where the maximum amount of spent coffee grounds can be obtained every day from each of the five boroughs in New York City. Practically, trucks could obtain grounds from 875 Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts coffee shops, collected 3-4 times per week. Overall uptime is taken to be 90%. The biodiesel is formed by oil extraction, conversion to free fatty acids and glycerol in a fat splitter and esterification in a bubble reactor. The biomass pellets are formed by drying and pelletizing after removal from the extractor. Thorough sensitivity analyses were performed to determine plant feasibility based on gas prices, flow rate and a combination of both. Based on the current market value of gas and realistic expectations of coffee collection, total capital investment is $4,028,000 and a weighted average cost of capital of 15% is applied. The NPV of this project in 2017 is -$6.8 million. The IRR is negative and the third-year ROI is -22%. Therefore, given the current biodiesel market and coffee ground accessibility, pursuing this project is not recommended. However, when the biodiesel price is at its 90th percentile over the past 10 years and a capacity of five times as much coffee grounds per year is obtained, matching the total of Bio-Bean, the IRR is 17%, the NPV in 2017 is $0.9 million and third year ROI is 9.5%. If biodiesel price reaches $4 per gallon and the investing company has the ability to access coffee grounds from the equivalent of 4,375 coffee shops, this project may be feasible, just as long as the investing company does not have an alternative investment with a NPV higher than $0.9 million over the next 20 years.




Polyether Plant Design

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:18:42 PDT

In recent years, the global market for polyethers has seen rapid expansion due to the growth of the construction, automobile, and foam industries. Polyethers are principally sold to polyurethane plants to produce a wide range of flexible and rigid foams that are used in a wide range of applications from automotive upholstery to inks. Consequently, the process for manufacturing polyethers is extremely vital to the consumer goods market and for maintaining the quality of life to which many people have grown accustomed. In this report, a plant has been designed in the Asia-Pacific region to produce 100 million pounds of a 3,000 g/mol polyether polymer per year. The process consists of five main steps: reaction, initiation, addition of propylene oxide (PO), elongation of the growing polymer chain, purification of polyether, and stabilization of polyether.

The key features in this process design include a pre-reactor for activating our glycerin initiator, two reactor vessels in series for the polymerization, and a continuous gravity decanter catalyst removal system. Multiple safety features were also implemented, including vessel purging and pressurized reactors to avoid leaks and keep PO in the liquid phase. Ultimately, our design produces three batches per day of 101,000 lbs of polyether for 330 operating days. Finally, using a three-pass water wash with 90% catalyst removal in each pass, the final purity of our polyether with respect to potassium is 0.9 ppm. The profitability analysis for the current design estimates an NPV of $30,378,100 and an IRR of 53.40%. The return on investment is 51.01%. Sensitivity analyses to operating cost and profit showed that the plant is robust even amidst market fluctuations, and the project is a profitable endeavor.




An Efficient and Safe Cooking Stove for Las Delicias, El Salvador

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:18:37 PDT

The primary objective of this project was to design an efficient and safe cooking stove based on the resources available in El Salvador while ensuring it could be inexpensive to produce. The stove is a cuboid, 18"×18"×12" in dimension, and weighs 75 lbs. It has a top cover to cook on, and a unique three-chamber design: a chamber for combustion, a chamber to pump hot air into the combustion chamber with a bellows, and a third chamber to add insulation material. A ventilation tube connects the inner chamber with the exterior to safely vent flue gas to the outside. The stove is made out of stainless steel, and uses sand as an insulator. The product’s overall energy efficiency was calculated to be about 33%, and it requires approximately 19-20 minutes to boil 5 liters of water assuming a pot diameter of 14”. The estimated manufacturing cost of producing the first 200 stoves is $51.77 per unit, without including capital equipment costs. A unit can be priced at $65, which would give the manufacturer a 25% margin while maintaining competitiveness in the market against stoves such as Turbococina and Ecocina. The stove is estimated to cost a family $15 per month to operate, which corresponds to 50% in charcoal fuel savings compared to using an open flame. The stove can be manufactured using local labor and would take on average 6 to 7 hours to construct one unit.




On the Production of High-Purity Docosahexaenoic Acid from Heterotrophic Microalgae

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:18:28 PDT

Omega-3 fatty acids provide significant health benefits and are a popular nutritional supplement in the nutraceuticals industry. Omega-3 fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) have been reported to improve heart health and mental health. In addition, DHA consumption has been tied to improvements in infant cognitive development. Therefore, high-purity DHA is a desired ingredient in the production of infant formula. The omega-3 oils originating from fish tend to have carcinogenic risks in addition to a bad odor. In recent years, the industry trend has shifted to producing these omega-3 fatty acids via microalgae species– making it a profitable time to enter the DHA production market.

The proposed design is for a plant to cultivate the Schizochytrium cells in the upstream process, and then extract and purify the desired omega-3 fatty acid oils in the downstream process. The project proposal called for production of 881,800 lb DHA per year, but our plant has the capacity to produce 1,148,000 lb DHA per year at a competitive price of $362.90 per lb of DHA. Clinton, Iowa was chosen as the plant location due to its proximity to the Mississippi River and the Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) plant, allowing for direct access to water and waste disposal. Our process is estimated to have an IRR of 153.8% with a NPV of $775,600,000 and a ROI of 206.5%.

The process itself begins with fermentation of the microalgae cells, starting with lab-scale fermentors, increasing in size to seed fermentors, and finally scaling up to production fermentor size. Schizochytrium sp. is the strain of heterotrophic microalgae, chosen for its ability to accumulate lipids in high concentration, and its ability to produce DHA triglyceride in high selectivity with respect to other omega-3 fatty acids. Following fermentation, extraction operations are carried out with a hexane solvent and bead mill to extract the crude oils. The hexane is then evaporated and recycled back to the bead mill. The purification process of the crude oil involves saponification of the triglycerides into fatty acid salts. Acetic acid is then added to convert the salts into the final docosahexaenoic acid product. The saponification and protonation reactions take place in Scheibel columns. The final DHA product is 98% pure by mass, and will be sent to a pack out station to be packaged into pharmaceutical grade drums for customers.




Program Evaluation Policy, Practice, and the Use of Results

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 07:58:24 PDT

This scholarly commentary addresses the basic questions that underlie program evaluation policy and practice in education, as well as the conditions that must be met for the evaluation evidence to be used. The evaluation questions concern evidence on the nature and severity of problems, the programs deployed to address the issues, the programs’ relative effects and cost-effectiveness, and the accumulation of evidence. The basic conditions for the use of evidence include potential users’ awareness of the evidence, their understanding of it, as well as their capacity and incentives for its use. Examples are drawn from studies conducted in the United States and other countries, focusing on evaluation methods that address the questions above.




The Role of Student Attitudes and Beliefs About Mathematics and Science Learning in Academic Achievement: Evidence From TIMSS for Six Nations

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 07:58:13 PDT

In view of the prevalent belief among parents, educators, and policy makers that positive student attitudes and beliefs about mathematics learning are associated with higher academic achievement, Turner and Boe (1999) recently examined this association using data from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) for seventh- and eighth-grade students in the United States. In light of the substantial support found by Turner and Boe for such attitude-achievement relationships under statistically controlled conditions, the research reported here was designed to expand upon the prior study by quantifying the strength of these relationships in both mathematics and science and to extend the analysis to other nations. To examine cross-national similarities and differences in attitude-achievement relationships, Singapore, Korea, and Hong Kong (representing the Peoples' Republic of China 1) were selected from the East, and Switzer­land, Germany, and the United States were selected from the West.




Student Task Persistence in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study: A Major Source of Achievement Differences at the National, Classroom, and Student Levels

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 07:58:04 PDT

Since the release of results from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) in 1996, scholars have recognized that the central importance of TIMSS lies in its contribution to a better understanding of factors that are responsible for cross-national differences in average student achievement. Among many such factors may be differences in student ability and motivation to perform the task of completing the TIMSS achievement tests in math and science. In fact, national differences in math and science achievement scores may be determined more by differences in student test-taking ability and motivation than by . differences in student knowledge of math and science content. This possibility is explored in the research reported here.




Predictors of National Differences in Mathematics and Science Achievement: Data From TIMSS for Eighth Grade Students

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 07:57:53 PDT

There is widespread belief that national economic productivity is related to student performance in mathematics and science. With the advent in the 1960s of international surveys of student achievement in math and science, cross-national comparisons have become possible and nations have aspired to become "world class" in this respect. A major national policy issue in the U.S. and elsewhere is to identify and implement actions to attain and maintain a high level of student achievement in math and science in international comparisons.

The math and science project reported here was designed to capitalize on the potential for cross-national research with the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). TIMSS demonstrated that there are wide differences among nations in average student knowledge of math and science at several grade levels. Accordingly, a major research problem is to explain the sources of these national differences; that is, to identify the national-level variables that are the strongest predictors of national differences in average achievement scores. This problem was investigated to generate new research-based knowledge relevant to policy making about math and science education.




The Ecological Fallacy in Comparative and International Education Research: Discovering More From TIMSS Through Multilevel Modeling

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 07:57:41 PDT

The ecological fallacy is the assumption that empirical relationships observed at the group level generalize to individuals within the groups, and vice versa, without empirical evidence supporting this assumption. When international data are analyzed, relationships can be uncovered not only at the student or school-levels, but also at the national-level. And the factors that explain differences between nations do not necessarily provide any information about the relationships between schools or students within those nations, or vice versa. Using data from TIMSS, several examples illustrating this point are presented, and the implications for comparative education research are discussed.




Is the United States Winning or Losing the International Horse Race in Academic Achievement? Neither—It is Running With Other Western G7 Nations

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 07:57:30 PDT

It is widely believed and lamented that students from the US perform poorly in international comparisons of academic achievement. Such perceptions have led to grave concerns about the future economic competitiveness of the US internationally. These concerns have been based on a generation of older international surveys on mathematics and science achievement. Fortunately, a recent generation of high quality international achievement surveys has been completed since 1990 on a wider array of subjects—reading, mathematics, science, and civics. Accordingly, the purpose of this report is to assemble and organize the results of all major international achievement surveys re-ported since 1990 in order to determine how well US students have performed in comparison with their peers from 21 other industrialized nations. Upon aggregating the standing of US achievement scores across subject matters and grade levels, the results indicated that US students score somewhat higher than their peers in other industrialized nations, with only 24% of national scores being significantly higher than the US and 35% being significantly lower. Therefore, US students generally perform above average in international comparisons instead of poorly. The exception was mathematics, a subject in which US students score somewhat below average. It was also found that US students performed above aver-age at the elementary grade level, and average at the middle and secondary levels. More detailed comparisons of achievement scores were made with the major economic competitors of the US—the G7 nations. At the middle and secondary grade levels (the levels at which the US is least competitive), US scores are comparable to those of other Western G7 nations in reading, mathematics, and science, and considerably higher in civics. Scores of Japanese students in reading are comparable to Western G7 nations and the US, but much higher in mathematics and science. With respect to academic achievement, the US is quite comparable to other major Western nations, whereas the Western G7 nations consistently trail Japan in mathematics and science. Because of the well-known achievement gap in the US between White and minority students, scores were further analyzed by race/ethnicity (White, Black, and Hispanic). US achievement scores for the majority White students were consistently greater than those of the other five Western G7 nations, even though these nations were pre-dominantly White. By comparison, the scores for US Black and Hispanic students were very low and well below other scores. This is compelling evidence that the low scores of two minority groups were major factors in reducing the comparative standing of the US in international achievement surveys. That is, if these minority students per-formed at the level of US White students, the US would lead all G7 nations (including Japan) in reading and would lead Western G7 nations in mathematics and science, while still trailing Japan in mathematics. We conclude that US students have generally performed above average in comparisons with industrialized nations instead of poorly as widely perceived. The misconception of poor US performance may be due to several reasons—inadequate information, unreasonable expectations that the US should be first-in-the-world, biased report-ing, and/or misleading comparisons of the US (a large multi-state nation) with small and homogeneous nations such as Finland and Ireland. In this respect, we compared TIMSS-linked science scores of 40 US sta[...]



Arts Resources for Children and Youth in Philadelphia

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 13:33:54 PDT

This report, commissioned in 1995 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, presents the findings of a study of arts and cultural resources for children and youth in Philadelphia. The purpose of the project was to examine access to and opportunities in the arts for young people and to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the citywide system of resources.

The project used two perspectives to assess resources. First, the research team developed a quantitative data base of existing nonprofit youth arts providers and arts in the public schools. This was combined with US census data to examine the geography and socio-economic context of existing services. Second, the team conducted over 40 interviews with providers in cultural organizations and city agencies to understand the relationships among different elements of the network of children’s arts resources.




Age and Arts Participation: A Case Against Demographic Destiny

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 10:10:08 PDT

The findings from this study suggest that age and cohort are not destiny. The ability of established or emerging arts groups to attract participants will have less to do with the age distribution of the population than with their ability to connect to the creative aspirations of their potential audiences.




The Coevolution of Technology Firms and Founders

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 11:26:03 PDT

Prior research cannot explain the surprising fact that some technology firms attain spectacular growth with seemingly inexperienced founders at the helm. Informed by a cognitivist perspective, prior research in entrepreneurship explores founders' epistemology, such as knowledge and skills, and investigates their interaction with firms to explain their influence on firm growth. This framing misses the reciprocal influence between firm growth and founder development. In contrast, informed by a sociocultural perspective, my research investigates the founder’s ontology and the mutual constitution of the founder and the firm. My research draws on practice theory and uses habitus as a sensitizing concept. I build a theory that explains how the dispositional toolkit of a founder evolves with, and contributes to, firm growth. Based on three in-depth case studies of technology companies, I show how technology firms and their founders coevolved. These firms influenced the development of their founders when they used founders as resources in different aspects of business and placed them in changing relationships with others. In turn, tech founders influenced the growth trajectory of their firms when they performed day-to-day practices of business. My grounded theory suggests that founders and firms coevolve in a mutually constitutive relationship. Firm growth changes the conditions under which business practices occur. The founder develops by becoming the resource the changing contexts demand. Furthermore, a growing firm deposits new dispositions in the founder. In practice, situational cues activate a specific disposition, regulating how the founder improvises. The founder’s improvisation in turn influences firm growth. My study advances entrepreneurship research, accounting for structural influences as well as human agency, thus contributing to a previously missing understanding of the coevolution of founders and firms. My study also contributes to practice by producing insights into founder development and firm growth that are relevant for entrepreneurs, board members, and educators.