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See detailThe use of the Vadose Zone Experimental Setup as an innovative in situ characterization method for the vadose zone: a case study at an industrial contaminated site in Belgium
Fernandez de Vera, Natalia ULg; Beaujean, Jean ULg; Jamin, Pierre ULg et al

Conference (2015, September)

The development of protection and remediation plans for contaminated soil and groundwater require a detailed understanding of the transport of pollutants in the subsurface. However, such understanding is ... [more ▼]

The development of protection and remediation plans for contaminated soil and groundwater require a detailed understanding of the transport of pollutants in the subsurface. However, such understanding is affected by the lack of spatial and temporal coverage provided by the current in situ characterization technologies. A new system has been developed in order to overcome such limitations. The vadose zone experimental setup is a new development combining cross-hole geophysics and the Vadose Zone Monitoring System (VMS). In cross-hole geophysics, an injection of an electrical current using electrodes installed in vertical boreholes is triggered. From measured potential differences, spatial patterns related with subsurface heterogeneities, water content and solute concentrations are inferred. The VMS allows continuous measurements of water content at different depths of the vadose zone, as well as water sampling. The system is formed by a flexible sleeve containing monitoring units along its depth which is installed in a slanted borehole. The system was installed at a former industrial site in Belgium, where soil and groundwater are contaminated with BTEX, PAH, and heavy metals. Two VMS were installed in two slanted boreholes on site, together with four vertical boreholes containing electrodes for geophysical measurements. The site was initially monitored under natural recharge conditions. Water content sensors located along the VMS registered fast wetting and draining reactions to rainfall events followed by the activation of water transport through fractures. Results from soil water samples show continuous evolution of water chemistry with depth, due to disequilibrium between infiltrated water and the hydrochemical conditions in the unsaturated zone. Subsequently, a saline tracer was injected in the surface. The transport of the tracer in the subsurface was monitored via cross-hole and surface geophysics. Results from imaging reflect the evolution of a plume through vertical and lateral transport and dilution. [less ▲]

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See detailNudge and the Law: A European Perspective
Sibony, Anne-Lise ULg; Alemanno, Alberto

Book published by Hart Publishing (2015)

Behavioural sciences provide a better understanding of human decision-making. Increasingly, governments around the world are keen to rely on these insights for reshaping public interventions in a wide ... [more ▼]

Behavioural sciences provide a better understanding of human decision-making. Increasingly, governments around the world are keen to rely on these insights for reshaping public interventions in a wide range of policy areas such as energy, health, financial services and data protection. When policy-making meets behavioural sciences, effective, low- cost and choice preserving regulations can emerge in the form of default rules, smart disclosure and simplification requirements. While behaviourally-informed regulation has a huge potential, it also attracts legitimacy and practicability concerns. Nudge and the Law explores the legal implications of the emergent phenomenon of behavioural regulation by focusing on the challenges and opportunities it may offer to EU policy-making and beyond [less ▲]

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See detailSimple Median-Based Method for Stationary Background Generation Using Background Subtraction Algorithms
Laugraud, Benjamin ULg; Pierard, Sébastien ULg; Braham, Marc ULg et al

in New Trends in Image Analysis and Processing - ICIAP 2015 Workshops (2015, September)

The estimation of the background image from a video sequence is necessary in some applications. Computing the median for each pixel over time is effective, but it fails when the background is visible for ... [more ▼]

The estimation of the background image from a video sequence is necessary in some applications. Computing the median for each pixel over time is effective, but it fails when the background is visible for less than half of the time. In this paper, we propose a new method leveraging the segmentation performed by a background subtraction algorithm, which reduces the set of color candidates, for each pixel, before the median is applied. Our method is simple and fully generic as any background subtraction algorithm can be used. While recent background subtraction algorithms are excellent in detecting moving objects, our experiments show that the frame difference algorithm is a technique that compare advantageously to more advanced ones. Finally, we present the background images obtained on the SBI dataset, which appear to be almost perfect. The source code of our method can be downloaded at http://www.ulg.ac.be/telecom/research/sbg . [less ▲]

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See detailDermatophytosis, Trends in Epidemiolgy and Diagnostic Approach
HAYETTE, Marie-Pierre ULg; SACHELI, Rosalie ULg

in Current Fungal Infections report (2015), 9(3), 164-179

Dermatophytes are among the common fungal agents implicated in superficial skin infections. The anthropophilic dermatophyte Trichophyton rubrum is still the most frequent causative agent worldwide but the ... [more ▼]

Dermatophytes are among the common fungal agents implicated in superficial skin infections. The anthropophilic dermatophyte Trichophyton rubrum is still the most frequent causative agent worldwide but the prevalence of several species of dermatophytes varies through different areas around the world. This review summarizes the current status of dermatophytes infection in Europe, Africa, Asia and America and gives an overview of the molecular biology laboratory methods currently available for the diagnosis of dermatomycoses. [less ▲]

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See detailCoupled modeling of Excavation Damaged Zone in Boom clay: Strain localization in rock and distribution of contact pressure on the gallery’s lining
Salehnia, Fatemeh ULg; Collin, Frédéric ULg; Li, Xiang Ling et al

in Computers and Geotechnics (2015), 69

Around galleries excavated at depth in geological media, the creation of a damaged zone with significant irreversible deformation is generally unavoidable. In the case of a geological disposal system for ... [more ▼]

Around galleries excavated at depth in geological media, the creation of a damaged zone with significant irreversible deformation is generally unavoidable. In the case of a geological disposal system for high-level radioactive waste, the resulting change in the host rock properties in this damaged zone may potentially be important with respect to the long-term evolution and the performance of that system. In this context, predicting the extent of the so-called Excavation Damaged Zone (EDZ) and, possibly, the fractures' network topology remains a challenge. This study is aimed to simulate numerically the extension of this zone at the large scale's excavation, around the Connecting gallery (HADES URL, Mol, Belgium), in Boom clay host rock through analyzing the evolution of strain localization in shear bands mode. To realistically model the involved phenomena, the concrete lining is considered on the gallery wall highlighting its impacts on the evolution of convergence and EDZ around the gallery. The focus of the current paper is made on analyzing the coupled hydro-mechanical behavior of Boom clay host rock during and after the gallery excavation with respect to the evolution of localized shear bands around the gallery. This study is accompanied by the analysis of the contact mechanism on the interface between the clay massive and the lining. The obtained results reveal some interesting features regarding the contact phenomenon relatively to the evolution pattern of shear bands within the clay around the gallery. To assess the reliability of the proposed approach, a discussion on some in-situ observations during the gallery's construction is also performed based on which a good agreement is found between the in-situ evidence and simulated results. [less ▲]

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See detailA perfect estimation of a background image does not lead to a perfect background subtraction: analysis of the upper bound on the performance
Pierard, Sébastien ULg; Van Droogenbroeck, Marc ULg

in International Conference on Image Analysis and Processing (ICIAP) (2015, September)

The quest for the “best” background subtraction technique is ongoing. Despite that a considerable effort has been undertaken to develop flexible and efficient methods, some elementary questions are still ... [more ▼]

The quest for the “best” background subtraction technique is ongoing. Despite that a considerable effort has been undertaken to develop flexible and efficient methods, some elementary questions are still unanswered. One of them is the existence of an intrinsic upper bound to the performance. In fact, data are affected by noise, and therefore it is illusory to believe that it is possible to achieve a perfect segmentation. This paper aims at exploring some intrinsic limitations of the principle of background subtraction. The purpose consists in studying the impact of several limiting factors separately. One of our conclusions is that even if an algorithm would be able to calculate a perfect background image, it is not sufficient to achieve a perfect segmentation with background subtraction, due to other intrinsic limitations. [less ▲]

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See detailRetrieval of ammonia from ground-based FTIR solar spectra
Dammers, Enrico; Vigouroux, C; Palm, M et al

in Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics Discussions (2015), 15

We present a retrieval method for ammonia (NH3) total columns from ground-based Fourier Transform InfraRed (FTIR) observations. Observations from Bremen (53.10° N, 8.85° E), Lauder (45.04° S, 169.68° E ... [more ▼]

We present a retrieval method for ammonia (NH3) total columns from ground-based Fourier Transform InfraRed (FTIR) observations. Observations from Bremen (53.10° N, 8.85° E), Lauder (45.04° S, 169.68° E), Reunion (20.9° S, 55.50° E) and Jungfraujoch (46.55° N, 7.98° E) were used to illustrate the capabilities of the method. NH3 mean total columns ranging three orders of magnitude were obtained with higher values at Bremen (mean of 13.47 × 1015 molecules cm-2) to the lower values at Jungfraujoch (mean of 0.18 × 1015 molecules cm-2). In conditions with high surface concentrations of ammonia, as in Bremen, it is possible to retrieve information on the vertical gradient as two layers can be discriminated. The retrieval there is most sensitive to ammonia in the planetary boundary layer, where the trace gas concentration is highest. For conditions with low concentrations only the total column can be retrieved. Combining the systematic and random errors we have a mean total error of 26 % for all spectra measured at Bremen (Number of spectra (N) = 554), 30 % for all spectra from Lauder (N =2412), 25 % for spectra from Reunion (N =1262) and 34 % for spectra measured at Jungfraujoch (N =2702). The error is dominated by the systematic uncertainties in the spectroscopy parameters. Station specific seasonal cycles were found to be consistent with known seasonal cycles of the dominant ammonia sources in the station surroundings. The developed retrieval methodology from FTIR-instruments provides a new way to obtain highly time-resolved measurements of ammonia burdens. FTIR-NH3 observations will be useful for understanding the dynamics of ammonia concentrations in the atmosphere and for satellite and model validation. It will also provide additional information to constrain the global ammonia budget. [less ▲]

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See detailA shared repository of hieroglyphic signs: The Thot sign-list
Polis, Stéphane ULg; Rosmorduc, Serge

Conference (2015, August 27)

The principles to be taken into consideration for building a hieroglyphic sign list have been discussed for quite some time (Schenkel 1977), and recently received renewed and additional attention (Meeks ... [more ▼]

The principles to be taken into consideration for building a hieroglyphic sign list have been discussed for quite some time (Schenkel 1977), and recently received renewed and additional attention (Meeks 2013, Polis & Rosmorduc 2013). The catalogs of hieroglyphic signs (e.g. Buurman et al. 1988, Grimal et al. 1993), however, did not implement these principles, since their goal was rather to allow for the encoding and rendering (either on paper or on screen) of as many hieroglyphs as possible. As a result, hieroglyphic text editors (Gozzoli 2013) will usually do the trick when one aims at displaying hieroglyphic texts, but in its current state, the Manuel de Codage makes the creation of annotated corpora that include hieroglyphs problematic (Nederhof 2013). In this paper, we do not focus on issues pertaining to the relative positioning of hieroglyphs (Nederhof 2002), but on another — more essential — problem, namely the hieroglyphic sign-list itself. Existing sign-lists suffer from the fact that they are (1) unstructured, (2) unreferenced, and (3) non-described. Based on our experience with respect to the encoding of hieroglyphic spellings in the Ramses corpus (Polis et al. 2013; Polis & Winand 2013), we present a beta version of the Thot sign-list, which has the following features (see the discussion in Polis & Rosmorduc 2013): 1. The sign-list is structured: each hieroglyph of the sign-list belongs to one of the three following categories: grapheme, class and shape (from the more abstract to the more concrete, see also Meeks 2013). 2. Signs are referenced: each sign is accompanied by at least one reference to a publication in which the hieroglyph is used in context. For this purpose, the unpublished lists of hieroglyphic signs compiled by Hornung and Schenkel have been instrumental. We are much grateful to both of them for sharing this material with us and allowing us to use it in this context. 3. Signs are described at two levels: a. The functions that each hieroglyph can fulfill (Polis & Rosmorduc in press), with illustrative examples for each function. b. The salient iconic features of each hieroglyph, based on a controlled vocabulary. Practically, the Thot sign-list is a Wiki, i.e., a web application that allows collaborative modification of its content and structure. Thanks to the Semantic Mediawiki extension, one can create links between any signs sharing a given property. The goal is obviously to allow any Egyptologist to enrich the structured sign-list Thot with new signs, references and descriptions. [less ▲]

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See detailGeophysical Investigation of the Pb-Zn deposit of Lontzen-Popplsberg, Belgium
Evrard, Maxime ULg

Conference (2015, August 26)

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See detailEtude de la biodégradation anaérobie des feuilles de Mangifera indica (manguier) et de Manihot utilissima (manioc)
Mambanzulua Ngoma, Philippe ULg

Doctoral thesis (2015)

The population growth of these last two decades leaded to an increase of waste in the City Province of Kinshasa (VPK), capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Deprived by an effective management ... [more ▼]

The population growth of these last two decades leaded to an increase of waste in the City Province of Kinshasa (VPK), capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Deprived by an effective management system, the VPK produces essentially vegetal wastes that are constituted for the greater part of dead leaves. These wastes bother and pollute the environment. On another point of view, the Kinshasa households meet enormous difficulties for soil fertilization and to collect wood for energy. Its overexploitation of the wood entails the deterioration of the ecosystems and the public health. Therefore in order to contribute to the reduction of all these difficulties simultaneously, the aim of this thesis was to investigate the methanization of these wastes since this technique is relatively simple, fast and non expensive. So, the methanation was performed at 30°C on the leaves of Mangifera indica (MU, mango) and of Manihot utilissima (MI, cassava) that are the most accessible of the VPK. The biochemical methane potentials of the MU and MI leaves demonstrated that the MU leaves were favorable to the methanation due to their low content in bioactive substance (secondary metabolites) and their low C/N ratio. In addition, their digestates would be an effective fertilizing. By contrast, the MI leaves were unfavorable to the methanation since the methanogenesis was inhibited, probably because of their composition rich in carbon and secondary metabolites (lignine, polyphenols, saponines and anthraquinones). However, these metabolites would be beneficial for the methanation in lower contents than 0.3 g/l in the culture medium. The anaerobic co-digestion improved the daily methane yields of these two leaves. The biogas produced with this process would represent about 28 % of the wooden annual domestic consumption and its digestate would cover annually the all agricultural and forest degraded areas. So, the domestic methanation or on site or near the site of waste generation would be favored to avoid the cost of their transport and their industrial treatment. A promising pilot essay has been achieved. [less ▲]

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See detailNegative Relative Clauses in Late Egyptian. A Functional Perspective
Sojic, Nathalie ULg

Poster (2015, August 26)

The poster contains a functional taxonomy of the negative relative clauses in Late Egyptian

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See detail"Reden und Rufe": are they kingly patterns?
Motte, Aurore ULg

Poster (2015, August 26)

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See detailSpecial seminar "Quaternary Prevention (P4) or First do not harm "
Jamoulle, Marc ULg; Widmer, Daniel; Wagner, Hamilton et al

Conference (2015, August 23)

Quaternary prevention (P4), an answer of family doctors facing overmedicalization aims to protect the patient or population against the dangers of medicine. Harmful effects can appear with preventive ... [more ▼]

Quaternary prevention (P4), an answer of family doctors facing overmedicalization aims to protect the patient or population against the dangers of medicine. Harmful effects can appear with preventive activities (example: prostate cancer screening by PSA) such as by therapeutic interventions (example: disruptive medicine). P4 promoted by the Wonca (World Organization of Family Doctors) is practiced in different ways around the world. The seminar should present examples of teaching and application of P4 in different countries. 6 short talks (total 45 min) will be followed by an open roundtable about the philosophical aspects of P4, where the audience can participate. Asking the question: « is acting always justified in medicine? », P4 opens our thinking to a philosophy of action. Questioning the best way to reduce uncertainty, P4 is rooted in a philosophy of knowledge. How to decide action or abstention? How to appreciate the danger of both? How to accompany a patient without harmful effects (primum non nocere)? More about P4 on www.ph3c.org/p4. [less ▲]

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See detailSeeing Central African forests through their largest trees
Bastin, Jean-François ULg; Barbier, Nicolas; Réjou-Méchain, Maxime et al

in Scientific Reports (2015)

Large tropical trees and a few dominant species were recently identified as the main structuring elements of tropical forests. However, such result did not translate yet into quantitative approaches which ... [more ▼]

Large tropical trees and a few dominant species were recently identified as the main structuring elements of tropical forests. However, such result did not translate yet into quantitative approaches which are essential to understand, predict and monitor forest functions and composition over large, often poorly accessible territories. Here we show that the above-ground biomass (AGB) of the whole forest can be predicted from a few large trees and that the relationship is proved strikingly stable in 175 1-ha plots investigated across 8 sites spanning Central Africa. We designed a generic model predicting AGB with an error of 14% when based on only 5% of the stems, which points to universality in forest structural properties. For the first time in Africa, we identified some dominant species that disproportionally contribute to forest AGB with 1.5% of recorded species accounting for over 50% of the stock of AGB. Consequently, focusing on large trees and dominant species provides precise information on the whole forest stand. This offers new perspectives for understanding the functioning of tropical forests and opens new doors for the development of innovative monitoring strategies. [less ▲]

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See detailRecent changes in north-west Greenland climate documented by NEEM shallow ice core data and simulations, and implications for past-temperature reconstructions
Masson-Delmotte, V.; Steen-Larsen, H.; Ortega, P. et al

in Cryosphere (The) (2015), 9

Combined records of snow accumulation rate, δ18O and deuterium excess were produced from several shallow ice cores and snow pits at NEEM (North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling), covering the period from ... [more ▼]

Combined records of snow accumulation rate, δ18O and deuterium excess were produced from several shallow ice cores and snow pits at NEEM (North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling), covering the period from 1724 to 2007. They are used to investigate recent climate variability and characterise the isotope–temperature relationship. We find that NEEM records are only weakly affected by inter-annual changes in the North Atlantic Oscillation. Decadal δ18O and accumulation variability is related to North Atlantic sea surface temperature and is enhanced at the beginning of the 19th century. No long-term trend is observed in the accumulation record. By contrast, NEEM δ18O shows multidecadal increasing trends in the late 19th century and since the 1980s. The strongest annual positive δ18O values are recorded at NEEM in 1928 and 2010, while maximum accumulation occurs in 1933. The last decade is the most enriched in δ18O (warmest), while the 11-year periods with the strongest depletion (coldest) are depicted at NEEM in 1815–1825 and 1836–1846, which are also the driest 11-year periods. The NEEM accumulation and δ18O records are strongly correlated with outputs from atmospheric models, nudged to atmospheric reanalyses. Best performance is observed for ERA reanalyses. Gridded temperature reconstructions, instrumental data and model outputs at NEEM are used to estimate the multidecadal accumulation–temperature and δ18O–temperature relationships for the strong warming period in 1979–2007. The accumulation sensitivity to temperature is estimated at 11 ± 2 % °C−1 and the δ18O–temperature slope at 1.1 ± 0.2 ‰ °C−1, about twice as large as previously used to estimate last interglacial temperature change from the bottom part of the NEEM deep ice core. [less ▲]

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See detailDepression in Women and in Men: Differences on Behavioral Avoidance and on Behavioral Activation
Wagener, Aurélie ULg; Baeyens, Céline; Blairy, Sylvie ULg

Poster (2015, August 06)

Depression is a well-known disorder characterized by e.g. sadness, loss of interest and pleasure, feelings of guilt or worthlessness. Depression is also characterized by a decrease of the level of ... [more ▼]

Depression is a well-known disorder characterized by e.g. sadness, loss of interest and pleasure, feelings of guilt or worthlessness. Depression is also characterized by a decrease of the level of engagement in activities also conceptualized as behavioral avoidance. Indeed, depressed patients less and less engage themselves in pleasurable activities (e.g. they spend more and more time in their bed, see their friends more rarely). Reciprocally, this decrease of the level of engagement in activities reinforces and maintains depressive symptoms. This relationship between depression and a low level of engagement in activities is well-established in the scientific literature but no study has, until now, discussed the reasons of this decrease of engagement in activities. According to theoretical models of depression (Beck, 2008; Lewinsohn, 1985; Watkins, 2009), five sets of psychological processes (PP) are involved in depressive symptomatology: negative repetitive thoughts, maladaptive emotion regulation strategies, low environmental rewards, negative self-image and inhibition. We hypothesize that these PP could be considered as explaining factors of the behavioral avoidance. Furthermore, we hypothesize that other PP could be considered as explaining factors of the behavioral activation (adaptive emotion regulation strategies, high environmental rewards, positive self-image, approach and high self-clarity). Then, our aim is to assess the links between behavioral avoidance as well as activation and the PP mentioned above. In order to reach this objective, we developed a model of these links based on the psychological model of mental ill-health of Kinderman (2005, 2013). According to this model, biological, social and circumstantial factors lead to mental disorders through their conjoint effects on psychological processes. Furthermore, because depression is different in women and in men, we assessed the adequacy of our model according to the sex. Clinical and community adults completed an online survey assessing the psychological processes mentioned above, avoidance and activation. Since several questionnaires were used to assess each PP, factorial scores were computed for each one. Preliminary analyses (confirmatory factor analyses) were realized with a sample of 393 women and 139 men. The results revealed differences between men and women. For women, on the one hand, low levels of environmental rewards, maladaptive emotion regulation strategies and negative repetitive thoughts are linked to behavioral avoidance, and on the other hand, high levels of environmental rewards and positive self-image are linked to behavioral activation. For men, on the one hand, negative self-image, maladaptive emotion regulation strategies and low environmental rewards are linked to behavioral avoidance, and, on the other hand, high levels of environmental rewards and positive self-image are linked to behavioral activation. The final results will be presented during the convention, as data-collection is on-going and will end in May 2015. Clinical implications of these results will also be discussed such as the relevance of working on the levels of environmental rewards. [less ▲]

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See detailJouer avec les mots, pourquoi et comment ?
Rigo, Michel ULg

Scientific conference (2015, August 04)

A l'instar de Raymond Queneau et ses cent mille milliards de poèmes, cet exposé a pour but de compter et de construire des mots aux propriétés parfois surprenantes. Les premiers résultats en combinatoire ... [more ▼]

A l'instar de Raymond Queneau et ses cent mille milliards de poèmes, cet exposé a pour but de compter et de construire des mots aux propriétés parfois surprenantes. Les premiers résultats en combinatoire des mots remontent au début du siècle précédent, avec les travaux du mathématicien norvégien Axel Thue. Cette branche des mathématiques étudie la structure et les arrangements apparaissant au sein de suites finies, ou infinies, de symboles appartenant à un ensemble fini. Donnons un exemple rudimentaire. Un carré est la juxtaposition de deux répétitions d'un mot, ainsi "coco" ou "bonbon" sont des carrés. On dira alors qu'un mot comme "taratata" contient un carré. Il est aisé de vérifier que, si on dispose uniquement de deux symboles "a" et "b", alors tout mot de longueur au moins 4 contient un des carrés "aa", "bb", "abab" ou encore "baba". On dira donc que, sur deux symboles, les carrés sont inévitables. Cette observation pose des questions intéressantes et simples à formuler : Avec trois symboles, peut-on construire un mot arbitrairement long ne contenant pas de carré ? Si on se limite à deux symboles, peut-on construire un mot arbitrairement long sans cube, i.e., évitant la juxtaposition de trois répétitions d'un même mot ? En fonction de la taille de l'alphabet, quels motifs doivent nécessairement apparaître et quels sont ceux qui sont évitables ? Que se passe-t-il si on autorise certaines permutations ? etc. Dans cet exposé, on passera en revue quelques constructions simples de mots finis ou infinis : mot de Thue-Morse, mot de Fibonacci, mots Sturmiens. Nous montrerons aussi que les applications sont nombreuses : arithmétique, transcendance en théorie des nombres, informatique mathématique et théorie des automates, pavages du plan, dynamique symbolique et codage de rotations, infographie, géométrie discrète et représentation de segment de droites à l'écran, bio-informatique, ... [less ▲]

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