School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Research Publications

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    Speckle and Conservation
    Miles, E ; Roberts, A ; Tse, N ; Sloggett, R (International Seminars, 2008)
    The aim of this research is to demonstrate the usefulness of speckle, a trait of an expanded laser beam, for the non-destructive testing of artwork in both the imaging of subsurface structure and the quantitative detection of physical movement of canvas. Laser Speckle Contrast Method (LSCI) is a useful method for the viewing of subsurface layers and movement. By investigating the statistical properties of dynamic speckle it is possible to reveal drawings that are hidden beneath scattering layers such as the primary layer of paint or adhered paper. This is achieved by taking a series of speckle images captured in a short time frame and applying one of a number of post processing algorithms. We explore the limitations of this method when applied to various paper samples that have a sketch executed in various media beneath the top layer. The ability to resolve gray scale images was examined as well as looking at the dependence of the contrast of the revealed drawings to the temperature of the surface. Current work is being done on using LSCI to reveal indentations in artwork caused by the application process. The successful use of Electronic Speckle Pattern Interferometry (ESPI) both in the laboratory and in-situ for the detection of in-plane movement of painted canvas due to humidity fluctuations and the out-of-plane movement of paint as it dries has also been demonstrated. Canvas paintings can be very susceptible to movement due to changes of the environment. ESPI is a non-destructive technique yielding sensitive results that can detect displacement on a surface of less than the wavelength of the illuminating coherent light source. While ESPI has been successfully applied to the in-situ study of painted frescoes, previous studies have employed tensile testers as a support for painted canvas. We have shown a portable version of ESPI to be of use in tropical environment in the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore with original artworks where variations in humidity occur and the samples have not undergone special preparation before analysis, revealing significant directional movements. Furthermore, a simple variation in the direction of beams paths permits the characterisation of out-of-plane movement, specifically as the height of paint shrinks due to the drying process. We have used ESPI to view the drying process of alkyd resin paints over the time period of 24 hours.
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    Respect: Engendering participatory relationships in conservation education
    SLOGGETT, R (Canadian Association for Conservation, 2009)
    In 2004, the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation (The University of Melbourne) established a new subject, Respect, as part of a new Masters by Coursework in Cultural Materials Conservation. In this subject, guest lecturers who have extraordinary or senior cultural expertise and knowledge introduce students to the political and societal aspects of cultural materials conservation. They lead students through the complexity of issues relating to context, disruption, authenticity, legal standing, development, reinvention, identity, and minority status. In Respect, students are asked to think about conservation as a practice that could benefit from incorporating intellectual positions and emotional skills that have been developed by other cultures, or marginalized communities within our own culture, to support the preservation of their cultural material or cultural identity. In order to do this, Respect seeks to indicate to students the political nature of cultural material conservation decision-making. The subject also asks students to consider who the partners in cultural materials conservation are, and whether conservators and those with the responsibility and interest in cultural preservation have the skills to enter into successful participatory partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders.
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    Chinese health biotech and the billion-patient market
    Frew, SE ; Sammut, SM ; Shore, AF ; Ramjist, JK ; Al-Bader, S ; Rezaie, R ; Daar, AS ; Singer, PA (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2008-01)
    UNLABELLED: Chinese government support and 'sea turtles' are spurring the sector, but investors lack exits. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The online version of this article (doi:10.1038/nbt0108-37) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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    Science and society -: Genomic medicine and developing countries:: creating a room of their own
    Seguin, B ; Hardy, B-J ; Singer, PA ; Daar, AS (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2008-06)
    The notion that developing countries must wait for the developed world to make advances in science and technology that they later import at great cost is being challenged. We have previously argued that developing countries can harness human genetic variation to benefit their populations and economies. Based on our empirical studies of large-scale population genotyping projects in Mexico, India and Thailand, we describe how these resources are being adopted to improve public health and create knowledge-based economies. A significant additional benefit is building the capacity for scientific research and internalizing advances in technology, whatever their source.
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    The three main monotheistic religions and gm food technology: an overview of perspectives
    Omobowale, EB ; Singer, PA ; Daar, AS (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2009)
    BACKGROUND: Public acceptance of genetically modified crops is partly rooted in religious views. However, the views of different religions and their potential influence on consumers' decisions have not been systematically examined and summarized in a brief overview. We review the positions of the Judaism, Islam and Christianity - the three major monotheistic religions to which more than 55% of humanity adheres to - on the controversies aroused by GM technology. DISCUSSION: The article establishes that there is no overarching consensus within the three religions. Overall, however, it appears that mainstream theology in all three religions increasingly tends towards acceptance of GM technology per se, on performing GM research, and on consumption of GM foods. These more liberal approaches, however, are predicated on there being rigorous scientific, ethical and regulatory scrutiny of research and development of such products, and that these products are properly labeled. SUMMARY: We conclude that there are several other interests competing with the influence exerted on consumers by religion. These include the media, environmental activists, scientists and the food industry, all of which function as sources of information and shapers of perception for consumers.
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    Priority setting: what constitutes success? A conceptual framework for successful priority setting
    Sibbald, SL ; Singer, PA ; Upshur, R ; Martin, DK (BMC, 2009-03-05)
    BACKGROUND: The sustainability of healthcare systems worldwide is threatened by a growing demand for services and expensive innovative technologies. Decision makers struggle in this environment to set priorities appropriately, particularly because they lack consensus about which values should guide their decisions. One way to approach this problem is to determine what all relevant stakeholders understand successful priority setting to mean. The goal of this research was to develop a conceptual framework for successful priority setting. METHODS: Three separate empirical studies were completed using qualitative data collection methods (one-on-one interviews with healthcare decision makers from across Canada; focus groups with representation of patients, caregivers and policy makers; and Delphi study including scholars and decision makers from five countries). RESULTS: This paper synthesizes the findings from three studies into a framework of ten separate but interconnected elements germane to successful priority setting: stakeholder understanding, shifted priorities/reallocation of resources, decision making quality, stakeholder acceptance and satisfaction, positive externalities, stakeholder engagement, use of explicit process, information management, consideration of values and context, and revision or appeals mechanism. CONCLUSION: The ten elements specify both quantitative and qualitative dimensions of priority setting and relate to both process and outcome components. To our knowledge, this is the first framework that describes successful priority setting. The ten elements identified in this research provide guidance for decision makers and a common language to discuss priority setting success and work toward improving priority setting efforts.
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    Public engagement on global health challenges
    Cohen, ERM ; Masum, H ; Berndtson, K ; Saunders, V ; Hadfield, T ; Panjwani, D ; Persad, DL ; Minhas, GS ; Daar, AS ; Singh, JA ; Singer, PA (BMC, 2008-05-20)
    BACKGROUND: Experience with public engagement activities regarding the risks and benefits of science and technology (S&T) is growing, especially in the industrialized world. However, public engagement in the developing world regarding S&T risks and benefits to explore health issues has not been widely explored. METHODS: This paper gives an overview about public engagement and related concepts, with a particular focus on challenges and benefits in the developing world. We then describe an Internet-based platform, which seeks to both inform and engage youth and the broader public on global water issues and their health impacts. Finally, we outline a possible course for future action to scale up this and similar online public engagement platforms. RESULTS: The benefits of public engagement include creating an informed citizenry, generating new ideas from the public, increasing the chances of research being adopted, increasing public trust, and answering ethical research questions. Public engagement also fosters global communication, enables shared experiences and methodology, standardizes strategy, and generates global viewpoints. This is especially pertinent to the developing world, as it encourages previously marginalized populations to participate on a global stage. One of the core issues at stake in public engagement is global governance of science and technology. Also, beyond benefiting society at large, public engagement in science offers benefits to the scientific enterprise itself. CONCLUSION: Successful public engagement with developing world stakeholders will be a critical part of implementing new services and technologies. Interactive engagement platforms, such as the Internet, have the potential to unite people globally around relevant health issues.
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    Sex, gender, and health biotechnology: points to consider
    Singh, JA ; Bandewar, S ; Singer, PA (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2009)
    BACKGROUND: Reproductive technologies have been extensively debated in the literature. As well, feminist economists, environmentalists, and agriculturalists have generated substantial debate and literature on gender. However, the implications for women of health biotechnologies have received relatively less attention. Surprisingly, while gender based frameworks have been proposed in the context of public health policy, practice, health research, and epidemiological research, we could identify no systematic framework for gender analysis of health biotechnology in the developing world. DISCUSSION: We propose sex and gender considerations at five critical stages of health biotechnology research and development: priority setting; technology design; clinical trials; commercialization, and health services delivery. SUMMARY: Applying a systematic sex and gender framework to five key process stages of health biotechnology research and development could be a first step towards unlocking the opportunities of this promising science for women in the developing world.