Monthly Archives: February 2012

The benefits of being in two minds

Are you the “lazy” or the “deliberate” thinker? Why can’t we have a hybrid? Something has been bugging me for quite a while – how difficult it is to strike a balance between thinking fast, albeit impulsively and intuitively, and the slower, more cautious and deliberated sort of thinking. Pause for a moment and observe […] … learn more→

Swimming through the blood stream

Someday, your doctor may turn to you and say, \”Take two surgeons and call me in the morning.\” If that day arrives, you may have electrical engineer Ada Poon to thank. This week, at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference, before an audience of her peers, Poon demonstrated a tiny, wirelessly powered, self-propelled medical device capable […] … learn more→

Unique languages, universal patterns

You don’t have to be a language maven to find the direct object in a basic English-language sentence. Just look next to the verb. Take a simple sentence: “I gave a book to Mary.” In this case the verb, “gave,” is quickly followed by “book,” the direct object. The sentence’s indirect object, “Mary,” lies farther […] … learn more→

Russian heat wave \’had both man made and natural causes\’

The heat wave that struck western Russia in summer 2010, causing 55,000 deaths, was caused by a combination of manmade and natural factors. However, the frequency of occurrence of such heat waves has increased by a factor of three over recent decades, new research suggests. A study, led by Oxford University scientists, reconciles apparently contradictory […] … learn more→

Clean energy prices (not the sky) falling in California

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) released a report this month on the costs of California’s progress in generating more electricity from renewable power, and there was good news. Prices of new contract bids submitted to utilities last year were about 30 percent lower than in 2009, according to the report, signaling a more competitive […] … learn more→

Superstar teachers

As leaders in government and business search for ways to strengthen the U.S. recovery, new research from faculty at Harvard and Columbia indicates that elementary school teachers have an impact on how much their students earn as adults and, by extension, on the nation’s economy. “If an elementary school student has an excellent teacher even […] … learn more→

Conservation clusters: making the case

Silicon Valley, Bangalore, Shanghai. At one time or another, each of these locations, among others, has become home to a successful ‘business cluster’ of industries. Although the term was coined as recently as 1990, clustering of businesses in the same geographical locality has taken place for centuries, driving productivity, innovation and expertise. A comparatively new […] … learn more→

Who owns the sun? Patent law and clean energy

There is a trade war brewing between the United States and China over intellectual property relating to clean technologies – particularly solar power. Steven Chu, a scientist, Nobel Laureate in Physics, and Secretary of the United States Department of Energy, commented: “When it comes to the clean energy race, America faces a simple choice: compete […] … learn more→

What CAM courses at universities should look like

While drizzling treacle on your porridge or spreading it on your toast, you might consider the time when the calorie-laden condiment was an antidote for poison. Of course, these days the crushed vipers that supposedly gave theriac or theriacle (as it was known) power are off the ingredient list, but treacle’s fall from favour illuminates […] … learn more→

Anatomy in a new dimension

Anatomy studies at Warwick Medical School have been given a technological boost as the University launches a world-first 3D anatomy learning resource in collaboration with its NHS Trust partner, University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW). Access to the collection of plastinated body parts is restricted due to the fragile nature of the specimens which have […] … learn more→