Monthly Archives: January 2012

Student-developed filter in Honduras is cause for a party

It was a full-blown fiesta, complete with a mariachi band, platters of food and boisterous children. No westerner who takes clean, drinkable tap water for granted could possibly have guessed the reason for the party — the \”inauguration\” of a water filter designed by Cornell engineering students. The stacked rapid sand filter, developed by members […] … learn more→

For businesses, going green brings in greenbacks

Nearly a third of companies now say that the adoption of sustainable practices has added to their profitability, according to a new MIT study — and manufacturing firms are in the vanguard. Two-thirds of more than 2,800 companies surveyed by MIT Sloan Management Review say they have made sustainability a permanent agenda topic within their […] … learn more→

Climate change history reveals future threats

The historical record foreshadows a grim picture for a future threatened by even greater climate change according to a study from The Australian National University. Professor Tony McMichael from the ANU National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health looked at climate changes and their impacts over the last 6,000 to 7,000 years, as documented in […] … learn more→

Patterns in Timor-Leste voting: voter discipline and political outcomes

As the rhetoric heats up ahead of Timor-Leste’s official campaigning period for the forthcoming presidential elections, there is considerable interest in how the political process will unfold in 2012. There are a range of possibilities, but some possible outcomes do seem more likely than others. The big question is whether Timor-Leste voters are likely to […] … learn more→

New media driving Occupy movement

Lacking structured leadership, a single spokesperson and even a clear message, the Occupy movement has grown through the use of personal media and new technologies, sustained by participants’ own network of contacts and willingness to dive into the political fray, says a UCLA information studies professor who studies the different ways media and technology shape […] … learn more→

Cooling the urban heat island with more reflective roofs

Can a whiter roof make your home cooler? What about your whole city? The existing literature and theory suggests that increasing the albedo – or reflectiveness – of a building will reflect incoming sun light and associated heat, reducing the building’s cooling requirements and also reducing the “Urban Heat Island” effect. The City of Melbourne […] … learn more→

Banned Books Awareness: “Waterland”

Last week I reported that the Plymouth-Canton Schools in Michigan resolved a challenge to the book Beloved; but the same parents that objected to that title also have their torches aimed at another novel- Waterland, by Graham Swift. Matt Dame, along with his wife, Barb, complained that “Beloved” was inappropriate because of passages that deal […] … learn more→

With a little help from our ancient friends

Ancient humans may not have had the luxury of updating their Facebook status, but social networks were nevertheless an essential component of their lives, a new study suggests. The study’s findings describe elements of social network structures that may have been present early in human history, suggesting how our ancestors may have formed ties with […] … learn more→

The ethics of brain boosting

The idea of a simple, cheap and widely available device that could boost brain function sounds too good to be true. Yet promising results in the lab with emerging ‘brain stimulation’ techniques, though still very preliminary, have prompted Oxford neuroscientists to team up with leading ethicists at the University to consider the issues the new […] … learn more→