Monthly Archives: June 2012

A European Britain or a British Europe?

Speaking in a debate on Europe, Professor Brendan Simms of the Department of Political and International Studies [Polis], said the union between England and Scotland and the subsequent creation of the United States which endorsed the Anglo-Scottish union should be a model for Europe. The Eurozone needs to take a leaf out of the Anglo-Scottish […] … learn more→

To stop grade inflation, just stop inflating grades

Grade inflation in higher education is a much-talked-about problem. Having been in academe for 13 years as an instructor and now as an administrator, I have heard nearly all my past and present colleagues, as well as many of the instructors who teach at my institution, complain about it. Most (dare I say all?) of […] … learn more→

What is ‘carbon pollution’ and why are we trying to stop it?

You’ll doubtless have heard Australia is introducing a “carbon tax” this Sunday to reduce “carbon pollution”. What is being controlled is not just any carbon but emissions of a specific gas, carbon dioxide. Carbon (element 6) is central to biology, a key element in fuels, and useful for making high-tech car parts and tennis racquets. […] … learn more→

Are you a piler or a filer?

Every month a plastic wrapped wad of paper, sometimes 300 sheets thick, used to land on my desk. This wad contained the ethics committee paperwork, usually around 20 applications and supporting documents, for me to review. This pile of paper drove me nuts. Not only was there so damn much of it, it was hard […] … learn more→

Communication scheme makes popular applications ‘gracefully mobile’

The Secure Shell, or SSH, is a popular program that lets computer users log onto remote machines. Software developers use it for large collaborative projects, students use it to work from university servers, customers of commercial cloud-computing services use it access their accounts, and system administrators use it to manage computers on their networks. First […] … learn more→

Looking for the elevator? There\’s an App for that

GPS has been a tremendously successful technology for positioning users in outdoor environments. But attaining GPS-like accuracy indoors has eluded telecommunication researchers for years. That is, until now, according to a Duke University researcher. In the last few years, several companies including Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm and Apple have focused on indoor localization. Research teams at […] … learn more→

How to avoid an asteroid impact (without calling in Bruce Willis)

How many times have you read a headline about our impending doom due to a “Deep Impact”-style annihilation? In a way it’s not surprising – we have an insatiable appetite for disaster stories, a hunger Hollywood is all too keen to feed. And, in many ways, an asteroid impact is the ultimate catastrophe. But yesterday […] … learn more→

Do you have a bedtime?

Are you getting enough sleep? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably no. Some researchers have suggested that sleep debt is so widespread many of us don’t even recognize that we’re chronically under-rested. Work schedules, extended commute times, technological distractions, childcare, eldercare, stress, and health issues are just a few of the many […] … learn more→

The impact of Title IX beyond women and sports

Many of us associate Title IX with equal access for women to sports. But the law, which was signed by President Nixon forty years ago this past Saturday, went much farther than that, prohibiting sex discrimination for all educational programs or activities that receive federal funding. Title IX has had a significant impact on the […] … learn more→

Many nations want to be educational hubs, but can they all succeed?

It is fashionable to be an educational hub these days. Countries are developing educational cities, villages, and zones designed to house prestigious foreign institutions, often seeming to rely on a Field of Dreams mentality: If you build it they will come. But if everyone builds such a city, will there be enough institutions and students […] … learn more→