Monthly Archives: December 2013

How safe are your online memories?

How many of your cherished memories, and even important work documents, only exist online? Taken together, photo and video sharing sites, blogging and microblogging sites, as well as social media, have formed an online space that has changed the way people share information. But how much of the work we do, or the memories we […] … learn more→

Alcohol giants pour into social media’s digital drinking spaces

“Booze pages” on Facebook that have as many as 10m “likes” have been blamed for promoting excessive drinking through giveaways and posts that suggest things like drinking early in the morning. Alcohol companies have certainly spotted the potential of social media to market their wares to a younger audience. The growth of social media, especially […] … learn more→

Terminator seeds will not usher in an agricultural judgement day

In the polarised and fractious debate over the use of genetic modification in agriculture, few issues have raised hackles as much as the proposed use of genetic use restriction techniques (GURT), more commonly known as “terminator technology” or – to its many opponents – “suicide seeds”. The idea behind GURTs is to produce seed or […] … learn more→

Very selective defenses of free speech

This week John K. Wilson wrote about the Kansas Board of Regents new policy mandating institutional oversight of the blog posts, tweets, and other public digital communications of faculty and staff at Kansas colleges and universities. Because it is not restricted to communications made with institutional resources, this policy goes well beyond violating of academic […] … learn more→

Help solve Santa’s logistics troubles with a little maths

In just one night, Santa has to visit millions of homes to deliver presents. If he could travel at the speed of light, the task would be simple. However, Einstein’s formula, E=MC², tells us that anything with mass cannot travel faster than the speed of light. And as we all know, Santa has mass. That’s […] … learn more→

A Christmas carol of vitamin D deficiency

A Christmas Carol is a classic tale describing the life of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and how it was transformed after his encounter with the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Truly a joyous and heart-warming story. There is a dark side to this tale though, and that is the plight of the poor […] … learn more→

Improve your job potential by playing games

Want to be better at your job? Some studies show that playing games is the key in improving some job skills. One study in 2012 reported improvement in spatial manipulation that is useful for navigators and architects, after only two weeks of participants playing a maze game. Brain teasers such as crossword puzzles and Sudoku […] … learn more→

Chile’s sea change in Higher Education

Michelle Bachelet, who won Chile’s presidency in a landslide on Sunday, has vowed to overhaul her country’s economic model to deal with endemic inequality. And she plans to start by providing free higher education for all. It’s a radical departure from the current system, in which the government accounts for just 15 percent of the […] … learn more→

As sea ice shrinks, Arctic shipping options expand

On October 7, 2013, the Nordic Orion bulk carrier ship completed its journey from Vancouver, Canada, to Pori, Finland, having traveled northward around Alaska and through the Northwest Passage. It was the first large commercial freighter ever to make the voyage through these typically ice-covered Arctic waters. Avoiding the longer journey, through the Panama Canal, […] … learn more→