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Defining an Enhanced Feature Subset to Assess the True Biometric Performance of Speaker Verification Systems

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 16:29

The speaker verification system industry requires increased standardization in testing processes and evaluation methodology, specifically those that select the best combination of feature vectors (or enhanced feature subset) to use as input for analysis in these systems. There are numerous methods currently used to “benchmark” these offerings, which translates to a marketplace of solutions that cannot be compared against each other on equal terms. Organizations like NIST have also failed to standardize these evaluation methodologies, which is necessary to create an environment that fosters reliable performance metrics. These inconsistencies indicate that the current research is flawed and unreliable. This dissertation will demonstrate a reusable methodology to identify the best subset of feature information to isolate in the measurement of the actual biometric performance of a speaker verification system with the expressed intent of standardizing the manner that testing is conducted. ^

Categories: Books

Traumatic Dissociation: An Exploration

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 16:29

Psychological research highlights the importance of the dissociative process to the post-traumatic reactions and associated sequelae. This study explores and describes the manifestations of the dissociative process through clinical presentations and analyses of the character development of literary heroes. Specifically, this study explores three phases of the dissociative process: peritraumatic dissociation or the alterations of consciousness occurring during traumatic experience, structural dissociation of the personality subsequent to traumatic exposure, and the maintenance of such forms of dissociation. This study provides a theoretical framework toward understanding trauma cases, informing case conceptualization and clinical practice. Although this study was limited by its qualitative and descriptive modality and by its focus on psychodynamic processes, this exploration can provide the basis for future empirical research in this area and more nuanced psychotherapeutic interventions. ^

Categories: Books

Internalized Homonegativity and Relationship Quality in Same-Sex Romantic Couples: A Test of Mental Health Mechanisms and Gender as a Moderator

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 16:29

Prior research has consistently found greater internalized homonegativity to be associated with lower relationship quality for individuals in same-sex relationships. Yet, few studies have examined different dimensions of relationship quality, what mechanisms explain the association between internalized homonegativity and relationship quality, or whether the association varies for women versus men. This study sought to build upon past research to better understand the associations between internalized homonegativity and specific aspects of relationship quality in lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals in same-sex relationships, while considering the potential mediating roles of symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as the potential moderating role of gender. Using data from an online survey, I conducted analyses with a sample of 97 men and 84 women who were living in the U.S., at least 18 years old, and in a same-sex relationship for at least 3 months. Regression analyses revealed that controlling for length of relationship, self and partner concealment of sexual orientation, age, gender, and partner sexual identity, internalized homonegativity was associated with greater symptoms of depression and anxiety, but not directly with dimensions of relationship quality. However, bootstrap mediation analyses revealed an indirect association of internalized homonegativity with lower relationship satisfaction through greater depressive symptoms. Gender was also an important moderator. Gender moderated the associations of internalized homonegativity with both depressive and anxiety symptoms, with those associations being significant for men but not women. Further, the indirect association of internalized homonegativity with relationship satisfaction through depressive symptoms was significant for men only. Results suggest a number of viable directions for future research to continue to understand the role of internalized homonegativity in same-sex relationships, mechanisms involved, and differences by gender. A better understanding of these dynamics can inform clinical practice and ultimately lead to improved individual and relational functioning in LGB individuals.^

Categories: Books

The Assessment of Cognitive Inefficiency and its Psychiatric Correlates in a Child Sample

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 16:29

Cognitive efficiency is a construct that refers to one's ability to proficiently process novel information, allowing the individual to devote more cognitive resources to higher order processes, including reasoning and problem solving. The present study sought to explore the utility of the construct of cognitive inefficiency within a child psychiatric sample. The study examined the discrepancies between individuals' GAI, which represents their reasoning abilities, and CPI, a measure of their proficiency in processing cognitive information, on the WISC-IV and differences in individuals' performance across the CAS simultaneous and successive (labeled Processing) scales and the attention and planning scales (labeled Efficiency) which focus more specifically on cognitive efficiency. In addition, the relationship between cognitive efficiency and parent ratings of internalizing symptoms, externalizing symptoms, and symptoms of reality distortion was assessed using the Personality Inventory for Children - 2 (PIC-2) scales, in order to gain a better understanding of the utility of these measures within the psychiatric population. The sample was composed of 249 children (167 males, 82 females) between the ages of 6 and 12 (M = 10.05, SD = 1.91) who had been hospitalized on an inpatient psychiatric unit. A series of bivariate correlations were conducted to understand the relationship between WISC-IV and CAS factors and inefficiency scores, and parent ratings across the four symptom groups. In addition, regressions were carried out to determine the extent to which the GAI and CPI on the WISC, and Processing and Efficiency scores on the CAS predicted parent ratings of psychopathology.^ Results revealed that the overall efficiency scores of the WISC-IV and CAS shared 18% of the variance. This demonstrates that while the two measures are related and share some variability, overall, they are not entirely assessing the same construct. However, despite the relatively small shared variance, both measures seem to operate in the same way and demonstrate similar psychiatric correlates. With regard to the cognitive patterns associated with different psychiatric symptoms, the results varied across the symptom categories. The findings that examined the relationship between cognitive domains and parent ratings of depression demonstrated that there were no statistically significant relationships between WISC-IV and CAS factors or inefficiency scores and parent ratings of internalizing symptoms on the PIC-2. The analyses examining the relationship between cognitive variables and parent ratings of psychosis reveal that more general impairments in overall cognitive ability, rather than specific weaknesses in cognitive efficiency, predict higher parent ratings of symptoms of reality distortion. The results reveal that across the WISC-IV and CAS variables, children's reasoning abilities as assessed by the WISC-IV GAI, most strongly predict parent ratings of externalizing psychopathology. Limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are also discussed.^

Categories: Books

Sustainable Promotion in Hospitality

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 15:41

With the ever-increasing need to reduce our carbon foot print, the necessity to innovate for a more sustainable future has become the responsibility of both individuals and corporations. Sustainable development, which is development that “meets our needs today, without compromising the ability meet the needs of future generations” was first brought to light at the Earth Summit in 1987 (Bärlund, n.d.). With the growing numbers of travelers world wide, the hospitality industry was aware that environmental changes and pollution could potentially paralyze their industry and they became among the first to adopt more sustainable practices in their hotels and restaurants. However, only some hospitality companies have decided to focus on promoting their active efforts to be more sustainable.

Therefore, by analyzing industry leaders’ and travelers’ attitudes toward sustainability development and sustainable promotion, this study identified the relationship between the hospitality businesses’ various stakeholders’ perception of sustainability and the significance of sustainable promotion. By incorporating sustainable practices in a corporation, stakeholders such as investors, owners, and employees will value the company higher. Similarly, the study shows how sustainable practices allow for the local community to be more accepting of the company operating in their community and guests view these efforts as a positive attribute, which will attract repeat business if the hospitality corporation is able to remain at a competitive price in the market.

Categories: Books

Incorporating NY Land Banks into the Delinquent Property Tax Enforcement Processes

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 09:27

This article argues that New York municipalities should integrate land banks into the tax enforcement process to break the unhealthy cycle perpetuated by real estate and lien speculators. By transferring all tax liens and foreclosed properties to local land banks, municipalities can generate an important funding source that will help cover land banks' operations while simultaneously maximizing land banks' ability to reinvest lien proceeds and equity into redeveloping or demolishing properties with little or no value. If New York municipalities use their Land Bank Act powers fully, local and regional land bank efforts can become a vital tools for planning and implementing community revitalization programs.

Categories: Books

The Damage from Mega-Sporting Events in Brazil

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 09:24

Over the past several years, Brazil’s federal government and the city and state governments of Rio de Janeiro have invested tens of billions of dollars to develop the transportation, stadium, tourist, communications and security infrastructure required to host the 2007 Pan American Games, 2014 World Cup, and 2016 Summer Olympics. As Brazil seeks to use these mega- sporting events to assert itself as a major economic player on the word stage, its strategy demonstrates how hosting mega-events serves to attract regional and global capital, and to reinforce unequal power structures at the expense of the public treasury, environmental quality and social equity.

Categories: Books

Republican Realignment: Building a Majority Coalition for Future Electoral Success

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 11:31

Since the election of President George H. W. Bush, Republican presidential candidates have had difficulty winning popular elections. Republican candidates lost five of the next six popular elections to their Democratic opponents. This paper investigates why. It outlines the growing demographic shift in electoral politics which is detrimental for future Republican success. The growing dissonance between non-white, non-male voters and the Republican Party hinders the Party’s success when its message does not resonate with a majority of voters.

Utilizing realignment theory as first espoused by political scientist V. O. Key, this paper analyzes nine essential battleground states and the growing demographic shifts within them to show that Republican policies, as enumerated in The Growth and Opportunity Project, do not resonate to a larger audience. Using a 15% increase in Republican votes from the 2012 election as a baseline, this paper provides suggestions for Republican strategists to allocate funds to certain get-out-the-vote campaigns in certain states.

The results of this study confirm the hypothesis set forth. Latino voters are an essential demographic which can help win Florida with a “compassionate conservative” Republican candidate. African-American voters are much more difficult to court for the Republican Party; however, a sound strategy in two adjacent states with low socio-economic upward mobility – North Carolina and Virginia – can motivate African-Americans to the polls to help win those states. Independent voters can help win small swing states with relatively little ethnic diversity. Finally, single female voters will be crucial in states in which conservative governors have had success such as Ohio and North Carolina.

Categories: Books

Who chooses my future?The Role of Personality and Acculturation in First and Later Generation Immigrant College Students’ Career Decision Making

Thu, 07/16/2015 - 11:31

Career choice is often reflected by a student’s choice of major. Personality, vocational interests, and cultural influences are also significant factors in the process of choosing a major. For Latino students, maintaining cultural norms is an important part of career choice, although the influence of cultural norms tends to decrease from first to later generations. The current study examined the influences of acculturation and personality (introversion/extraversion) among 57 Latino/Hispanics students: first-generation immigrant students, those who migrated to the US during childhood/adolescence, and later generation students. We hypothesized that later-generation students are more likely to major in business and social sciences, while first-generation students would be more likely to major in STEM. We found that 75% of first-generation students were business majors; while only 24.49% of later-generation students’ were business majors. Among both groups personality appears to be is more closely related to choice of major than acculturation.

Categories: Books

Media Literacy and Girl Empowerment: The Midriff, Lolita and the Pseudo Empowered

Thu, 07/16/2015 - 11:11

This thesis explores the cooptation of authentic girl power by mainstream media designed to sell normative sexuality, consumption practices and a pseudo empowered self. It explores the sexualization of girls in the media and girls’ educational and community engagement with media in the context of empowerment. From an expansive feminist and girls’ studies foundation this project seeks to emphasize the importance of media literacy for girls and aims to address the gap in feminist scholarship on media literacy and educational programming for girls’ empowerment. The thesis examines and connects women’s studies literatures, Rosalind Gills’ Midriff Theory and Gigi Durham’s notion of the Lolita Effect, to ultimately contribute to the feminist legacy of blending theory with practice; the synthesized findings of this project offer a developed curriculum for girl-centered organizations on media literacy and empowerment.

Categories: Books

An International SOS (Save Our Sharks): How the International Legal Framework Should Be Used to Save Our Sharks

Wed, 07/15/2015 - 14:06

The purpose of this Article is to shed light on the plight on sharks in international and domestic waters. An estimated 100 million sharks are killed every year. The cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning is responsible for a large portion of those killings. Shark fins are the most valuable part of the shark, because they are used as the key ingredient – and namesake – in an Asian delicacy known as “shark fin soup.” This Article opens with background information on the dire situation sharks are facing in our oceans, and how the depletion of these top predators from the oceans has a drastic effect on the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem. Next, the Article examines on approaches to curb shark finning taken by the United States, European Union, and China and Hong Kong. Then the Article moves to a focus on the international legal framework for protecting sharks, specifically focusing on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This Article concludes with an analysis of how the current legal framework is insufficient to provide the necessary protection for sharks and examines what more can be done.

Categories: Books

The Case of Beatriz: An Outcry to Amend El Salvador’s Abortion Ban

Wed, 07/15/2015 - 14:06

This Note examines the evolution of El Salvador’s existing penal code, specifically focusing on the abortion legislation. Further, it examines the significance of The Case of Beatriz and it suggests reform for El Salvador’s government to include exceptions in their penal code, similar to exceptions available in the United States, to provide women with access to safe abortions in extreme circumstances. Part II will illustrate the struggle that women face in El Salvador. Part III will briefly explore the historical background of the current Penal Code, exclusively the abortion ban. Part IV will also discuss women’s rights violated by the abortion ban, at both national and international levels. Part V will focus on The Case of Beatriz, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights resolution, and their particular significance in this controversy. Finally, Part VI will introduce a suggestive method of reform to the existing abortion ban in El Salvador by briefly delving into the United States’ idea of a justifiable abortion.

Categories: Books

Fleeing Cuba: A Comparative Piece Focused on Toro and the Options Victims of Domestic Violence Have in Seeking Citizenship in the United States and Canada

Wed, 07/15/2015 - 14:06

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit decided a case on February 4, 2013 that has undoubted international implications. Toro v. Sec’y dealt with the language of the Cuban Refugee Adjustment Act of 1966 (CAA) and the provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

This article focuses on how and why the court reached its decision. It analyzes the conflict between the “plain language” of the CAA and its statutory construction to rebut the court’s assertion that the VAWA self-petition was irrelevant in this case, and ultimately, offer an alternative analysis to this case.

This article also explores Canadian immigration law and demonstrates the difference in that nation’s law, as applied to domestic violence survivors, from Unites States immigration law. Finally, this article discusses how this precedent will affect the future of immigration law and its effect on natives of other countries.

Categories: Books

A Dire Need for Legislative Reform

Wed, 07/15/2015 - 14:06

In Section I of this note, I will lay out the several reasons why 18 U.S.C. § 1651 needs reform. I will provide background information on modern day piracy, including its economic impact, and will then break down varying definitions of piracy and their applications in recent cases. I will explore the split in U.S. case law caused by the application of the UNCLOS definition of piracy in Dire, and will identify the quandaries that result from the UNCLOS definition. In Section II, I will address two specific problems stemming from § 1651 that came to light as a result of Dire: first, the inherent vagueness of §1651, which led to the differing interpretations and thus to the split in U.S. case law; and second, the mandatory life sentence conveyed by § 1651. To address these problems, in Section III, I will briefly provide a description of two possible solutions: judicial intervention and legislative reform. In understanding the need to embrace customary international law, and to progressively expand the law beyond the reach of current international norms, I will conclude that while the Fourth Circuit was correct to use a dynamic interpretation when defining piracy in Dire, a legislative amendment to § 1651 is the best means of addressing the aforementioned concerns.

Categories: Books

Balancing National Public Policy and Free Trade

Wed, 07/15/2015 - 14:06

In the wake of the impasse between the World Trade Organization (WTO) and India regarding the ratification of the Protocol to the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) that concluded during the Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia on December of 2013, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo admitted that while the WTO succeeds in resolving trade disputes and monitoring trade practices, it “has failed to deliver new multilateral results since its creation.” This systemic failure in the trade negotiations pillar of the WTO is evident to all of its 160 Members. It is evident from thirteen years of stalled negotiations under the Doha Round; the inability of the WTO to encourage agreements between developing and developed countries on the Doha Development Agenda; the contemporaneous proliferation of around 585 regional trade agreements (RTAs) which, at best, have not facilitated any apparent global agreement under the Doha Round; and (more recently) India’s demand for permanent changes to WTO rules to avoid sanctioning developing countries’ food security policies. While many WTO Members have publicly criticized India for unfairly holding the TFA hostage, other powerful Green Room members at the WTO have maintained silence over India’s concerns on food security other than to affirm the devastating consequences of failing to ratify the TFA. These members maintain this silence even in light of economic and policy grounds that may well publicly demonstrate the critical importance to India that its continued participation in global trade under multilateral trading rules would have in ensuring cheaper access to food for India’s population and, ultimately, higher wages for India’s poorest.

Categories: Books

The Investigation Procedures of the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services and the Rights of the United Nations Staff Member: An Analysis of the United Nations Judicial Tribunals’ Judgments on Disciplinary Cases in the United Nations

Wed, 07/15/2015 - 14:06

An employee of an international organization misappropriates over one million dollars from a United Nations Peace-Keeping Mission’s designated for procurement of supplies. As a staff member of an international organization, he or she has functional immunity and cannot be investigated by the local jurisdiction or by authorities in his home country. Is this the “perfect crime”? Taking into consideration that these misappropriated funds are contributions from Member States of the United Nations, is there any recourse to investigate the facts of the incident to determine culpability?

International organizations have a legal obligation to ensure compliance with internal regulations, rules and policies. This includes the breach of employment obligations in the UN. Investigations internal to the United Nations are unique. The United Nations has partners in all parts of the globe: the investigators may be located in New York, the incident may have occurred in Africa, and the witnesses may be on a new assignment in Asia. In addition to geographic separation, United Nations’ investigations may have to contend with a range of different languages, dialects, cultures, customs and ethnic issues. These are all factors that affect an investigator’s capability to investigate allegations of staff misconduct or irregular procurement procedures in the United Nations.

The United Nations has become aware that internal investigations must be conducted carefully taking into consideration the staff member’s due process rights. If an investigation does not observe the standards of good investigative practices in the investigation process, the Organization may be held financially liable through the newly established U.N. internal administration of justice. As a result, the United Nations has recognized the need to develop a properly planned and carefully conducted internal investigation.

Categories: Books

A Theorization on Equity: Tracing Causal Responsibility for Missing Iraqi Antiquities and Piercing Official Immunity

Wed, 07/15/2015 - 14:06

Three weeks after the U.S.-led attack on Iraq, looters descended on the artifacts in the Iraq National Museum. Over ten thousand pieces were assumed destroyed or stolen, and the Coalition Provisional Authority estimated the losses at $12 billion. The gravity of the privation led the Security Council to include language in Resolution 1483 to restrict countries from trading in Iraq’s pillaged antiquities, and the U.S. Congress passed the Emergency Protection of Iraqi Cultural Antiquities Act of 2004 to enforce the measures. Several thousand pieces were recovered, but thousands remain missing. In March 2013, Hussein ash-Shamri, the head of the Iraqi Interior Ministry’s Economic Crimes Department, announced that Iraq opened 39 cases against countries to investigate circumstances surrounding the missing archaeological treasures to procure their return.

This article tenders a suppositional analysis of culpability for the pilferage of the artifacts. Culpability standards are first assessed by using Part II’s précis of the substantive international law that safeguards antiquities. Part III provides a factual chronology of the looting to address the responsibility of Iraqis who engaged in looting after law and order collapsed and the obligations of invading/occupying military forces during the stages of jus ad bellum and jus post bellum. The Iraqi government presumably would prefer an equitable remedy that facilitates the return of missing artifacts if the items are located and identified; this would implicate any state that failed to halt black market trades. However, if items are certified as missing and cannot be located within a reasonable period of time or were destroyed during the looting, should there be a right to recover damages against actors who transgressed substantive law and impelled the sequence of events into motion that led to losses? Considering this prospect, Part IV offers a conjectural analysis of liability. It is hypothetical because the Iraqi government may have divided political will (which might necessitate a qui tam-like public interest action), it is novel to pierce the veil of official immunity in the context posed, the analysis extrapolates offenses that have previously eliminated official immunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity in a tort-like derivative civil action, and the inquiry entails pitting factual analyses against heuristics and the presumption that collateral losses can be absolved if ends justifies the means.

Categories: Books

Festschrift for Michelle Simon

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 14:21

While Interim Provost, one of the outstanding ideas Michelle came to me with was to establish the Pace Community Law Practice. The practice would have a dual mission, to employ and continue to build the skills of a select group of graduates and to provide quality, affordable legal services to individuals in need. In view of the employment situation overall and specifically as it affected those new to the profession of law, I thought this was a great idea. I quickly gave my endorsement to move forward. This has become a respectable operation and one that has great merit for all involved. In my opinion, it is one of the major highlights of Michelle’s leadership as dean.

Categories: Books

Festschrift for Dean Simon

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 14:21

We write together about our dear friend Michelle Simon because of her enormous contribution to our professional and personal lives. Working with someone who becomes more than a colleague, but a friend as well, is a special gift. Michelle not only paved our path, she became a trail blazer in legal education. The professional trajectory of Michelle Simon speaks volumes to her talent, tenacity, and consensus building skills.

Categories: Books

A Triumphant Day in Pace Law School’s History: Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s November 12, 2012 Visit to Our Campus

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 14:21

“Read through and then we can discuss. Don’t forward to anyone,” stated a March 2012 e-mail from Dean Emeritus Michelle Simon to me. The e-mail’s subject line was unremarkable – “FW: Your Pace Visit” – but its actual subject was anything but: Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor had officially agreed to visit Pace Law School. It was time for intensive planning to begin. The fruition of that planning – Justice Sotomayor’s full-day visit to our campus on November 12, 2012, the first-ever visit of a Supreme Court Justice to Pace Law School – was a wonderful highlight of Michelle’s deanship.

Categories: Books