Friday, 19 August 2016

Rural and remote communities, technology and mental health recovery

an article by Oliver K. Burmeister (Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, Australia) and Edwina Marks (Barkly Regional Council, Tennant Creek, Australia) published in Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society Volume 14 Issue 2 (2016)

Abstract

Purpose
This study aims to explore how health informatics can underpin the successful delivery of recovery-orientated healthcare, in rural and remote regions, to achieve better mental health outcomes. Recovery is an extremely social process that involves being with others and reconnecting with the world.

Design/methodology/approach
An interpretivist study involving 27 clinicians and 13 clients sought to determine how future expenditure on ehealth could improve mental health treatment and service provision in the western Murray Darling Basin of New South Wales, Australia.

Findings
Through the use of targeted ehealth strategies, it is possible to increase both the accessibility of information and the quality of service provision. In small communities, the challenges of distance, access to healthcare and the ease of isolating oneself are best overcome through a combination of technology and communal social responsibility. Technology supplements but cannot completely replace face-to-face interaction in the mental health recovery process.

Originality/value
The recovery model provides a conceptual framework for health informatics in rural and remote regions that is socially responsible. Service providers can affect better recovery for clients through infrastructure that enables timely and responsive remote access whilst driving between appointments. This could include interactive referral services, telehealth access to specialist clinicians, GPS for locating clients in remote areas and mobile coverage for counselling sessions in “real time”. Thus, the technology not only provides better connections but also adds to the responsiveness (and success) of any treatment available.


Thursday, 18 August 2016

Legal limits on political campaigning by charities: drawing the line

an article by Debra Morris (University of Liverpool, UK) published in Voluntary Sector Review Volume 7 Number 1 (March 2016)

Abstract

The fear for charities of being on the wrong side of the law when it comes to campaigning has always been strong. Recent UK legislation on political campaigning has caused considerable consternation, bringing some difficult issues to the fore.

This paper reviews recent evidence on legislation, referring to previous regulatory experience to put new developments in a clear context of charity and electoral law. It highlights ambiguities and suggests how further regulatory guidance might help.

Sorry, I can’t find a link to the full article not even for payment



Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Inequality – ‘wicked problems’, labour market outcomes and the search for silver bullets

an article by Ewart Keep and Ken Mayhew (University of Oxford, UK) published in Oxford Review of Education Volume 40 Number 6 (November 2014)

Abstract

In recent years concerns about inequality have been growing in prominence within UK policy debates. The many causes of inequality of earnings and income are complex in their interactions and their tendency to reinforce one another. This makes inequality an intractable or ‘wicked’ policy problem, particularly within a contemporary context in which many of the established policy responses from previous eras are at best discussed in muted terms and more normally deemed to be unavailable.

This reflects the eclipse of ‘equality of outcome’ models and the concomitant rise of ‘equality of opportunity’ as the new policy mantra from Thatcher onwards. As traditional policy responses have withered, the role of education and training as a ‘silver bullet’ that can address a host of economic and social challenges has come to the fore. This article outlines policy makers’ beliefs that improving the educational attainment of students from lower socio-economic backgrounds can enable them to compete more effectively for elite jobs, and also that increasing the supply of educated employees can transform the level of demand for skills from employers.

These beliefs are then critiqued, with reference to occupational congestion, over-qualification and the evidence that skills supply does not always create its own demand. 

Yes, I know that this is old but still worth reading. Hazel


Sunday, 14 August 2016

Public expenditure, economic growth and poverty alleviation

an article by Ritwik Sasmal (Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany) and Joydeb Sasmal (Department of Economics with Rural Development, Vidyasagar University, Midnapore, India) published in International Journal of Social Economics Volume 43 Issue 6 (2016)

Abstract

Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of public expenditure on economic growth and poverty alleviation in developing countries like India. If poverty and inequality are high, the government may resort to distributive policies at the cost of long-term growth. The distributive policies and poverty alleviation measures fail to achieve success due to lack of good governance, lack of proper targeting and problems in the implementation of such schemes. On the other hand, if the nature of public expenditure is such that it enhances per capita income, it will help reduce poverty.

Design/methodology/approach
After analytical digression and construction of hypotheses panel regression has been done using state-level data in the Indian context to empirically verify the above propositions. Both Fixed effects and Random effects models have been used for this purpose.

Findings
The results show that in states where ratio of public expenditure on the development of infrastructure such as road, irrigation, power, transport and communication is higher, per capita income is also higher and incidence of poverty is lower indicating that economic growth is important for poverty alleviation and development of infrastructure is necessary for growth.

Originality/value
This study demonstrates how public policy and public finance can be used as instruments for removal of poverty.


Ten more trivial items for you

34 weird vintage photos of women in tiny miniskirts at huge old computers
via Boing Boing by Xeni Jardin
Totally weird and many are completely unrealistic.
Smoking? In a clean zone?
High heels? When you would, as an operator, have spent half the day on your feet?
However towards the end of the pictures there's this girl adjusting 35mm recording tape. If the computer was British instead of American they could have been me in 1961/2.

computers-miniskirts-17
Look at the rest for yourself


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Myth Makers: The long reach of a famous circle of Oxford scholars
via Arts & Letters Daily: Michael Nelson in the Weekly Standard
BOGSAT: according to urbandictionary.com, a “Bunch Of Guys Sitting Around Talking” in “regularly scheduled daily/weekly worthless meetings.”
The Inklings: according to religion scholars Philip and Carol Zaleski, “a small circle of intellectuals” who “from the end of the Great Depression through World War II and into the 1950s .  .  . gathered on a weekly basis in and around Oxford University to drink, smoke, quip, cavil.”
Were the Inklings a BOGSAT? Yes. Were their meetings worthless? Hardly. The Inklings took their name, wrote J. R. R. Tolkien, as a “pun .  .  . suggesting people with vague or half-formed intimations and ideas plus those who dabble in ink.” Tolkien was at the heart of the group, along with his fellow Oxford don C. S. Lewis, in whose large, shabby rooms at Magdalen College the Inklings met on Thursday evenings.
Continue reading

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What can we learn from Buddhist moral psychology?
via OUP Blog by Jay L. Garfield
Buddhist moral psychology represents a distinctive contribution to contemporary moral discourses. Most Western ethicists neglect to problematize perception at all, and few suggest that ethical engagement begins with perception. But this is a central idea in Buddhist moral theory. Human perception is always perception-as. We see someone as a friend or as an enemy; as a stranger or as an acquaintance. We see objects as desirable or as repulsive. We see ourselves as helpers or as competitors, and our cognitive and action sets follow in train.
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A great brief video introduction to consciousness and its myriad mysteries
via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz
Here's what we know, and what we know we don't know, and what we don't know we know, and what we don't know we don't know.
(The Economist)


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Children are asylum seekers too
via An Awfully Big Blog Adventure by Miriam Halahmy
Recently I have discovered that the UK still has around the same number of applications for asylum as we have had for at least the past 8 years - just over 30,000 a year. In 2014 there were 1,861 separated children seeking asylum in the UK. Hardly a swarm! Not a record to be proud of either.
I have become increasingly concerned about the plight of people seeking a place of safety in recent times. Many are children, some only babies in arms. I have asked myself, What would I do in this situation? The same as my great grandparents, I hope.

Continue reading

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What A Stink! That Time London Smelled So Bad That Government Was Abandoned (And The Embankment Was Built)
via Find My Past by Matthew Calfe
Anyone strolling along the Victoria, Albert or Chelsea embankments on a sunny afternoon these coming months might remark at the beauty of their construction, and what a pleasant walk it is. Little do they know that the elegant route is built on top of massive sewer tunnels, constructed as a reaction to exploding toilets, smelly politicians and lots of lime.
Continue reading
Yes, the links for additional information all go back to Find My Past but I thought this was sufficiently interesting that you could ignore the advertising.

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The Pulpit: 1899
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Circa 1899
“Near Lewiston, Minnesota – The Pulpit”
Yet another rock formation with a fanciful name
8x10 inch dry plate glass negative
View original post

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The Fascination of Braids
via 3 Quarks Daily by Carl Pierer
Gypsy Shawl
Braids are fairly simple to picture. A few interleaved strands of string, say, gives a complex and mesmerising object. They are aesthetically appealing, as their widespread use as ornament testifies. While most will be familiar with the standard braid used for braiding hair, there is basically no limit to complexity and beauty. Yet, braids are more than merely nice, artistic adornments for clothes and jewellery. The more and deeper you delve into braids and their complex interconnections, the more fascinating they become. Trying to look at them with a mathematical eye opens up pathways and connections to many deep and beautiful fields of pure mathematics.
Continue reading

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Listen: Marlene Dietrich plays musical saw (with bonus Star Trek theme)
via Boing Boing by Andrea James
Marlene Dietrich always wanted to be a classical musician. Since her cabaret act and film career left little time for her to do the required practice, she played the musical saw instead. Throughout World War II she wowed USO audiences with the novelty. Here she is playing "Aloha Oe" in 1944 with the comedic setup she did in her cabaret act.
Lots of pictures and a couple of videos here

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Why do we prefer eating sweet things?
via OUP Blog
Is the “sweet tooth” real? The answer may surprise you. Humans vary in their preference towards sweet things; some of us dislike them while others may as well be addicted. But for those of us who have a tendency towards sweetness, why do we like what we like? We are hardly limited by type; our preference spans across both food and drinks, including candy, desserts, fruits, sodas, and even alcoholic beverages. In this short (but sweet) animated video, we take a quick look at the science behind our preference for sweetness.
Continue to here for the video

Friday, 12 August 2016

Gaming the gamer? – The ethics of exploiting psychological research in video games

an article by Johnny Hartz Søraker (University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands) published in Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society Volume 14 Issue 2 (2016)

Abstract

Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the ethical implications of video game companies employing psychologists and using psychological research in game design.

Design/methodology/approach
The author first argues that exploiting psychology in video games may be more ethically problematic than familiar application domains like advertising, gambling and political rhetoric. Then an overview of the effects particular types of game design may have on user behavior is provided, taking into account various findings and phenomena from behavioral psychology and behavioral economics.

Findings
Finally, the author concludes that the corresponding ethical problems cannot – and should not – be addressed by means of regulation or rating systems. The author argues instead that a more promising countermeasure lies in using the same psychological research to educate gamers (children in particular) and thereby increase their capacity for meta-cognition.

Originality/value
The importance of this lies in the tremendous effect these behavior-modifying technologies may have upon our self-determination, well-being and social relations, as well as corresponding implications for the society.


Thursday, 11 August 2016

User difficulties working with a business classification scheme: a case study

an article by Peta Ifould (Western Australia Police, Perth, Australia) and Pauline Joseph (Curtin University, Perth, Australia) published in Records Management Journal Volume 26 Issue 1 (2016)

Abstract

Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to provide a unique perspective into user difficulties working with the functional business classification scheme (BCS) to register, search and retrieve corporate information at the Western Australia Police (WA Police).

Design/methodology/approach
This paper is a single case study. Questionnaire and interview data were collected and analysed from a sample of ten EDRMS users on their perspectives of working with the BCS. An interpretive analysis methodology was used, and inductive reasoning was used for thematic analysis and sense making of the textual data from the transcripts.

Findings
Although the research participants were confident working with the BCS, they reported difficulties finding an appropriate folder that matched the information to be classified and deciding where to file the information. Participants reported that the design and structure of the BCS and training were identified as areas needing improvement.

Research limitations/implications
Paradigm shifts in the record-keeping role from the professional to the user may have some bearing on the difficulties users face when dealing with their record-keeping responsibilities. The participants provided comments and suggestions for how to make the BCS more user-friendly, more meaningful and more aligned to the business processes of the users that are practicable and workable solutions for the records professionals to implement.

Practical implications
This paper provides a unique user perspective of a BCS, their difficulties working with it and how these difficulties can be resolved in a government organisation.

Originality/value
This paper provides a unique user perspective of a BCS, their difficulties working with it and how these difficulties can be resolved in a government organisation.


Current changes to the labour market may well define the future of Europe

In this blog piece, based on Eurofound’s contribution to the July 2016 informal meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO), Eurofound Director Juan Menéndez-Valdés looks at how the European labour market has changed in recent years and assesses future challenges.

Most discussions on the future of work are dominated by the impact of key changes in society, such as the digital revolution and demographic changes. These changes raise various issues of concern, sometimes suggesting contradictory trends such as labour shortages linked to an ageing population, or new technologies resulting in job loss. Migration and mobility are discussed as part of the solution, but also present important challenges of their own. Eurofound’s research analyses the structural changes that are ongoing in European labour markets in order to inform and complement these discussions, as well as identifying any additional issues.

Europe currently faces the challenge of labour market segmentation, which can result in a divided landscape of winners and losers, with very different experiences and perceptions of European integration and globalisation more generally.

Continue reading


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Another ten oddments to enjoy today

The Post-It Note company's obscure boardgames
via Boing Boing by Michael Borys
2
High adventure in the world of high finance! Wait! Don't fall asleep just yet…
When I was very young, my Uncle Terry was a huge influence in my life. To me, he had the most fascinating set of interests. He collected comics, and seemed to know everything about music. Without my knowing it, he molded so much of what I thought was cool and fun.
Continue reading

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We are all African, but we also have our own histories
via OUP Blog by Matthew Davies
In May 2015, at a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya, a French-led international team announced the discovery of the oldest stone tools known yet. Dating back to more than 3.3 million years ago, these crude flakes, cores, and anvils represent the earliest steps in our evolution into a species reliant on, if not defined by, the use of tools and other manufactured objects. Coined the ‘pre-Oldowan’ or ‘Lomekwian’ after the site in West Turkana at which they were found, these tools are larger and cruder than the more recent Oldowan industry and likely represent both intentional flaking and battering or pounding activities; they are also much older than any fossil specimens yet assigned to the genus Homo. As a species, we are not unique in our ability to make and use tools, and the historical trajectory that emanates from these earliest tools gives rise not just to Homo sapiens but also to our now extinct tool-using cousins Homo Neanderthalensis and Homo Floresiensis. As archaeology literally digs deeper into the past, it reveals an increasingly complex story that both emphasises our shared African origin and evidences the multiple complex trajectories that this evolution undertook.
Continue reading

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Paradox Defines Our Knowledge of the Universe
via Big Think by Orion Jones

The theories that physicists have amassed over the centuries to explain our understanding of the universe are ultimately paradoxical. When theories that explain the movement of objects here on Earth are applied to larger cosmological entities like galaxies, for example, the rules fall apart.
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What is life?
via OUP Blog by Susannah Gibson
Did you learn about Mrs Gren at school? She was a useful person to know when you wanted to remember that Movement, Respiration, Sensation, Growth, Reproduction, Excretion, and Nutrition were the defining signs of life. But did you ever wonder how accurate this classroom mnemonic really is, or where it comes from?
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The God quest: why humans long for immortality
via 3 Quarks Daily: Philip Ball in New Statesman
For an introduction to this bioger­ontological mythology, I recommend last year’s documentary The Immortalists, which profiles two of the most vocal advocates of scientific immortality: the computer scientist Aubrey de Grey and the biotech entrepreneur Bill Andrews. Yet the film shows that these men aren’t lone mavericks with unconventional ideas about ageing and its abolition, but participants in a complex and self-supporting network of techno-myth. And as is the case with, for example, human cloning, nutrition and the surprising properties of water, there is no convenient partitioning here into respectable and cranky science. In consequence, the immortality market can’t simply be eliminated by the appliance of science; it needs to be understood as a cultural phenomenon. Ageing is partly genetic but there are no “ageing genes” – merely ordinary genes that may cause problems in later life. Age-related conditions such as heart failure, dementia and cancer typically stem from an interplay between genes and environment: we can inherit predispositions but environmental factors such as diet and pollution affect whether they manifest. (Research that was widely reported early this year as showing that most cancers are due to “bad luck”, irrespective of environmental influences, in fact had a more complex message.)
It is surprising, perhaps alarming, that we know so little about ageing.
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Creepy 1960s board game for girls included shame tokens
via Boing Boing by Leigh Alexander
wsib
Not that you’d expect the ‘60s to be remotely progressive about jobs for us lil’ ladies, but “What Shall I Be: The Exciting Game Of Career Girls” was a board game about the many career opportunities young girls could dream of: You know, model, actress, stewardess, secretary, nurse and teacher.
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Radiology and Egyptology: insights from ancient lives at the British Museum
via OUP Blog by Arpan K. Banerjee
Egyptian mummies continue to fascinate us due to the remarkable insights they provide into ancient civilizations. Flinders Petrie, the first UK chair in Egyptology did not have the luxury of X-ray techniques in his era of archaeological analysis in the late nineteenth century. However, twentieth century Egyptologists have benefited from Roentgen’s legacy. Sir Graham Elliott Smith along with Howard Carter did early work on plain x-ray analysis of mummies when they X-rayed the mummy Tuthmosis in 1904. Numerous X-ray analyses were performed using portable X-ray equipment on mummies in the Cairo Museum.
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Confronting Reality By Reading Fantasy
via 3 Quarks Daily: Joe Fassler in The Atlantic
Author Lev Grossman says C.S. Lewis taught him that in fiction, stepping into magical realms means encountering earthly concerns in transfigured form.

“If you were in a room full of books,” Lev Grossman writes in his latest novel, The Magician’s Land, “you were at least halfway home.” For Grossman, no books feel more like home than C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, which provide the template for what he likes to read – and how he wants to write. In our conversation for this series, Grossman explained what The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe taught him about fiction, what makes Lewis’s work so radically inventive, and why his own stories must step through the looking glass into fantasy.
Continue reading

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What Happened, Miss Simone? : Liz Garbus' documentary in review
via OUP Blog by Ruth Feldstein
Award-winning director Liz Garbus has made a compelling, if sometimes troubling, documentary about a compelling and troubling figure – the talented and increasingly iconic performer, Nina Simone. The title, What Happened, Miss Simone?, comes from an essay that Maya Angelou wrote in 1970. In the opening seconds of the film excerpts from Angelou’s words appear: “Miss Simone, you are idolized, even loved, by millions now. But what happened, Miss Simone?”
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Investigating consumers’ reluctance to give up local hard drives after adopting the Cloud

an article by Joanne E. McNeish, Anthony Francescucci and Ummaha Hazra (Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada) published in Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society Volumer 14 Issue 2 (2016)

Abstract

Purpose
The next phase of hardware technology development is focused on alternative ways to manage and store consumers’ personal content. However, even consumers who have adopted Cloud-based services have demonstrated a reluctance to move all of their personal content into the Cloud and continue to resist giving up local hard drives. This paper aims to investigate the characteristics of local hard drives and the Cloud that lead to simultaneous use.

Design/methodology/approach
This paper uses content analysis of online comments and ten depth interviews with simultaneous users of local hard drives and the Cloud.

Findings
Three factors influence the resistance to giving up local hard drives. Simultaneous users utilize local hard drives as a redundancy system and as a way to ensure the permanence of their digital content. They are unsure of the Cloud’s ability to support their content creation, management and storage activities (task-technology fit).

Research limitations/implications
Study findings are based on qualitative methods and thus the results cannot be considered conclusive.

Practical implications
The authors speculate that it is unlikely that Cloud-only will fully replace hard drives until these factors are understood and addressed by information technology developers. Cloud service providers may not be aware of how little that users understand the Cloud. In contrast to their certainty and confidence in local hard drives, simultaneous users are confused as to what the Cloud is and how it functions. This uncertainty exacerbates their risk perception and need for control.

Originality/value
This is the first study exploring simultaneous use of local hard drives and the Cloud with a view to understanding this behaviour in terms of the relative advantage of the incumbent technology over the new technology.




Tuesday, 9 August 2016

A wide range of interesting (to me) items. Another ten for you to enjoy.

The climate of Middle Earth
via I do not know as I cannot remember
But this title in my “saved to use sometime
 folder intrigued me as well it might. So, I searched and found.
an article by Radagast the Brown (Rhosgobel, nr. Carrock, Mirkwood, Middle Earth and The Cabot Institute, University of Bristol, UK)
Abstract
In this paper, I present and discuss results from a climate model simulation of the ‘Middle Earth’ of elves, dwarves, and hobbits (and not forgetting wizards such as myself). These are put into context by also presenting simulations of the climate of the ‘Modern Earth’ of humans, and of the ‘Dinosaur Earth’, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth 65 million years ago. Several aspects of the Middle Earth simulation are discussed, including the importance of prevailing wind direction for elvish sailing boats, the effect of heat and drought on the vegetation of Mordor, and the rain-shadow effects of the Misty Mountains. I also identify those places in the Modern Earth which have the most similar climate to the regions of The Shire and Mordor. The importance of assessing ‘climate sensitivity’ (the response of the Earth to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations) is discussed, including the utility of modelling and reconstructing past climate change over timescales of millions of years. I also discuss the role of the Intergovernmental / Interkingdom Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in assessing climate change, and the responsibilities placed on policymakers.
Full text (PDF 8pp)

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Collectable Vintage Posters
via Abe Books by Julie Oreskovich
1946 poster promting the noir film Gilda starring Rita Hayworth
Since the mid 19th century, posters have been widely used to advertise products and events. Classified as ephemera, posters are printed sheets of paper designed to be thrown away after use. Many vintage posters are now considered highly collectable. During the First and Second World Wars, posters played an important part in propaganda and recruitment. Travel posters promoting destinations from around the world are also popular and often use the art deco theme to advertise must-go places. Both the music and film industries have widely used posters to promote upcoming music gigs, festivals, and movie releases. Film posters in particular can fetch record prices, especially for horror and science fiction films released before 1940. Railway posters, event posters, concert posters, pin-up posters are all considered collectable and are sought-after by collectors.
Continue reading

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Tudor Plots on the Metropolitan Line
by Michael Rosen
One of the ways we live is by not knowing the peculiarities and ironies of the history that unfolded in the places we live, work and walk through. In one sense, this really doesn't matter very much. It's not going on anymore. So, to take one example, it's very easy to travel past places in London, which were the sites of public executions, displays of dead people's bodies, disembowellings, dismemberings and the like and not have an inkling of it. So easy that it doesn't matter.
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Quran Fragments Perhaps as Old as Islam
via 3 Quarks Daily: Dan Bilefsky in The New York Times
The ancient manuscript, written on sheep or goat skin, sat for nearly a century at a university library, with scholars unaware of its significance. That is, until Alba Fedeli, a researcher at the University of Birmingham studying for her doctorate, became captivated by its calligraphy and noticed that two of its pages appeared misbound alongside pages of a similar Quranic manuscript from a later date. The scripts did not match. Prodded by her observations, the university sent the pages out for radiocarbon testing. On Wednesday, researchers at the University of Birmingham revealed the startling finding that the fragments appeared to be part of what could be the world’s oldest copy of the Quran, and researchers say it may have been transcribed by a contemporary of the Prophet Muhammad. “We were bowled over, startled indeed,” said David Thomas, a professor of Christianity and Islam at the University of Birmingham, after he and other researchers learned recently of the manuscript’s provenance.
Continue reading

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Doing things with verve
via OUP Blog by Anatoly Liberman
It occurred to me to write a short essay about the word verve by chance. As a general rule, I try to stick to my last and stay away from Romance etymology, even though the logic of research occasionally makes me meddle with it. About two months ago near the street where I live (for a story to win confidence, it usually has to contain a few superfluous references to time, place, and exact numbers), I noticed an ad by a realty called “Verve” and decided that, if not only producers of energy drinks and admirers of female beauty but also real estate agents find it possible to adopt such a pompous name, there would be little harm in devoting a few lines to its use and history in this blog.
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The 10 Greatest Documentaries of All Time According to 340 Filmmakers and Critics
via 3 Quarks Daily: at Open Culture
Earlier this year we featured the aesthetically radical 1929 documentary A Man with a Movie Camera. In it, director Dziga Vertov and his editor-wifeElizaveta Svilova, as Jonathan Crow put it, gleefully use “jump cuts, superimpositions, split screens and every other trick in a filmmaker’s arsenal” to craft a “dizzying, impressionistic, propulsive portrait of the newly industrializing Soviet Union.” He mentioned then that no less authoritative a cinephilic institution than Sight and Sound named A Man with a Movie Camera, in their 2012 poll, “the 8th best movie ever made,” But now, in their new poll in search of the greatest documentary of all time, they gave Vertov’s film an even higher honor, naming it, well, the greatest documentary of all time. A Man with a Movie Camera, writes Brian Winston, “signposts nothing less than how documentary can survive the digital destruction of photographic image integrity and yet still, as Vertov wanted, ‘show us life.’ Vertov is, in fact, the key to documentary’s future.”
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Frank Sinatra's 1963 Playboy interview
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder

I like Frank Sinatra's music. I didn't know he was so articulate and well-read, though. Go get 'em, Blue Eyes!
Continue reading

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The story of the bronze riders
via Prospero by F.N.

Michelangelo is arguably the world's best-known sculptor of marble. He also worked with bronze, yet none of his bronze sculptures are believed to have survived to the present day. Now, experts at the University of Cambridge and the Fitzwilliam Museum (also in Cambridge) are disputing that assumption. They have presented two sculptures of muscular male nudes as being the work of Michelangelo himself. The figures, one young and the other older, both ride on panthers and have raised arms.
Continue reading
Given that this is a fairly old story I tried to find anything to update it with. I failed.

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Farzana: The Woman who Saved an Empire
via 3 Quarks Daily: Arif Akbar in The Independent
Farzana began life as an impoverished, powerless girl in Mughal-era India, where social hierarchies were prescribed and inescapable. Penniless and orphaned by teen age, she earned her keep by servicing the priapic needs of the East India Company in the dance halls of Delhi. So how, by the end of her life, had she become not only the leader of a formidable army but a revered adventurer who sat on an immense personal fortune in one the most illustrious estates of 18th-century India?
Continue reading

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10 things you may not know about Samuel Pepys
via OUP Blog by Kate Loveman
Samuel Pepys’s diary of the 1660s provides ample evidence that he enjoyed writing about himself. As a powerful naval administrator, he was also a great believer in the merits of official paperwork. The upshot is that he left behind many documents detailing the dangers and the pleasures of his life in London. Here are some facts about him that you may not know…
Continue reading and discover some odd things about this famous man

Which Tags Do We Remember in Personal Information Management?

an article by Hyungil Suh (Electronics Telecommunications Research Institute, Daejeon, Korea) and Jeungmin Oh and Wan Chul Yoon (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon) published in International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction Volume 32 Issue 7 (2016)

Abstract

In recent years, as the amount of data grows, personal information management has become essential as well as challenging for everyday lives. Tagging, an alternative or complement to classifying into tree-structured directories, allows users to classify a single information item in multiple categories. Due to its flexibility, tagging system has become popular and a number of studies have been conducted.

Most of the previous research investigated the quality of tags with various tools such as questionnaires. However, the actual usage behavior of tag-based browsing and retrieval of stored information has rarely been studied. In this study, we examined the effects of tag attributes on the user behavior in browsing self-tagged documents under personal information management settings.

Three attributes, tag commonness, tag frequency and tag position, were identified. A controlled experiment with tasks of tagging and retrieval to trace users’ behavior revealed that the tags with higher tag commonness, higher tag frequency, and lower tag position were more likely to be used. The tags with lower tag commonness and lower tag frequency helped users recognize a desired document among a list of candidates.

Among the three attributes, tag position was found the most influential. The findings of this study are expected to enhance the understanding of the quality tags and help information designers in building an effective tagging environment.


Tackling the ‘dyslexia paradox’: reading brain and behavior for early markers of developmental dyslexia

an article by Ola Ozernov-Palchik (Boston Children's Hospital, USA and Tufts University, Medford, USA) and Nadine Gaab (Boston Children's Hospital, USA and Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, USA) published in WIREs Cognitive Science Volume 7 Issue 2 (March/April 2016)

Abstract

Developmental dyslexia is an unexplained inability to acquire accurate or fluent reading that affects approximately 5–17% of children. Dyslexia is associated with structural and functional alterations in various brain regions that support reading. Neuroimaging studies in infants and pre-reading children suggest that these alterations predate reading instruction and reading failure, supporting the hypothesis that variant function in dyslexia susceptibility genes lead to atypical neural migration and/or axonal growth during early, most likely in utero, brain development.

Yet, dyslexia is typically not diagnosed until a child has failed to learn to read as expected (usually in second grade or later). There is emerging evidence that neuroimaging measures, when combined with key behavioral measures, can enhance the accuracy of identification of dyslexia risk in pre-reading children but its sensitivity, specificity, and cost-efficiency is still unclear. Early identification of dyslexia risk carries important implications for dyslexia remediation and the amelioration of the psychosocial consequences commonly associated with reading failure.


Thursday, 4 August 2016

Ten more vaguely trivial items for your enjoyment

Watch the arctic ice cap disappear in these National Geographic maps
via Boing Boing by Rob Beschizza
“Yes, Mr. President”, the headline says. “We Remade Our Atlas to Reflect Shrinking Ice”
In a speech about climate change, Barack Obama had noted that over the years, National Geographic maps of the arctic had changed. The 10th edition of its Atlas of the World, especially, shows a much-diminished ice cap—and even more is gone in the 2014 edition.
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And that was in 2015. What does the more recent map show? The North Pole in the water not on the ice?

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Cocktails in Literature
via Abe Books by Jessica Doyle

Books are remembered for their characters, plots, language, humour, and heartbreak. They’re not typically remembered for their cocktails, and yet many of literature’s most famous stories are so full of booze their pages practically reek of it. In fact, alcohol plays a role in many important literary scenes, from the moment Ebenezer Scrooge endeavours to assist Bob Cratchit’s struggling family in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, to the sweltering hot afternoon at the Plaza Hotel in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.
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Personally I would like to try a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.

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New [it was new when this item was published] edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with Dali artwork!
via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz
alicedali2
In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Princeton University Press just published a special edition of Lewis Carroll's classic, illustrated with Salvador Dalí’s incredible 1969 artwork for the story.
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available from most booksellers including the Book Depository

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The Soviets’ Cold War Choreographer
via Arts & Letters Daily: Apollinaire Scherr
Unlike the famously expatriated George Balanchine, Leonid Yakobson remained in the U.S.S.R. How his spirit is revitalizing ballet today.

To create modern art in a classical mode is to face forward and backward at once, yoked to the past while inching toward the future. Only a fool or a genius would attempt it. So I had heard of the Soviet ballet choreographer Leonid Yakobson, whose modernist advances took place on hostile home territory. I had seen Vestris, the solo he created for a young Mikhail Baryshnikov that compressed an early ballet master’s mercurial life into a few minutes; it was the only contemporary work the superstar brought with him when he defected in 1974. I knew that the best dancers in Leningrad and Moscow had deemed the choreographer a God-given genius and a rebel to boot.
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5 Ways To De-clutter Your life
via Lifehack by Charles Sabarich
Declutter-your-life
One of the most important aspects of trying to organize your life is making sure that you have the space and time to actually live in the first place. Usually, a hectic lifestyle that is built around fighting fires and dealing with things one-by-one comes from having to de-clutter your lifestyle and remove some of the tedious tasks that many of us can get involved in from time to time.
If you want to start making plans to reduce your clutter, then these 5 ways to de-clutter your life should help massively.
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and access the infographic in a printable (readable) version. It works when I remember to use it.

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Ravens get stoned by rubbing chewed-up ants on their feathers
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder
raven
Ravens are intelligent, better talkers than some parrots, roam in teenage gangs, and get high by rubbing chewed up ants on their feathers.
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How Sexual Parity with Men Is Making Women Sex Slaves
via Big Think by Orion Jones
Spanish psychoanalyst Constanza Michelson is arguing, in a provocative piece at the Huffington Post España (Spanish), that women's struggle for sexual equality has actually made them sexual slaves.
Ironically, the more women have tried to free themselves from masculine norms of sexuality, the more they have adopted male sexual tendencies under the guise of sexual liberty.
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Milking bullet ants to extract venom that causes the “worst pain known to man”
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder
When a bullet ant stings you it feels like you’ve been shot by a gun. In the video, watch Dr. Corrie Moreau milk one of these “incredibly aggressive” and alarmingly big venomous ants.
From Brain Scoop: Researchers are interested in what makes the sting so painful and if this potent neurotoxin could have some medical benefits. To study the chemistry of the venom they need to isolate it, so some brave researchers capture and milk them to extract their venom, just like a snake or spider is milked.
Warning: Video starts with a picture of  a very large scary ant
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Science and Religion are Compatible. Science and Dogma are Not
via Big Think by Big Think editors
Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was a pioneer scientist during the turn of the 20th century. He was best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. Tesla was a physicist, mechanical and electric engineer, inventor and futurist, as well as the possessor of a near-eidetic memory. He spoke eight languages and held 300 patents by the end of his life. His legacy has experienced a major resurgence in recent years – the name Tesla, as you might have heard, is way in vogue right now – as many of his predictions about power and communication have come to fruition.
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All this crazy DeepDreaming fractal stuff, explained
via Boing Boing by Rob Beschizza
deepdreaming
Recode's Mark Bergen and Kurt Wagner take us through the internet's latest crazy craze, from top to endlessly repeating puppy-eyed bottom. It all begins with outcast AI rebels!
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Sex differences in spatial cognition: advancing the conversation

an article by Susan C. Levine, Alana Foley, Stella Lourenco, Stacy Ehrlich and Kristin Ratliff (University of Chicago, USA) published in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science Volume 7 Issue 2 (March/April 2016)

Abstract

The existence of a sex difference in spatial thinking, notably on tasks involving mental rotation, has been a topic of considerable research and debate.

We review this literature, with a particular focus on the development of this sex difference, and consider four key questions:
  1. When does the sex difference emerge developmentally and does the magnitude of this difference change across development?
  2. What are the biological and environmental factors that contribute to sex differences in spatial skill and how might they interact?
  3. How malleable are spatial skills, and is the sex difference reduced as a result of training? and
  4. Does ‘spatializing’ the curriculum raise the level of spatial thinking in all students and hold promise for increasing and diversifying the STEM pipeline? 
Throughout the review, we consider promising avenues for future research.


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Informed choice? How the United Kingdom’s key information set fails to represent pedagogy to potential students

an article by Helen Barefoot (Learning and Teaching Innovation Centre, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK) and Martin Oliver and Harvey Mellar (London Knowledge Lab, UCL Institute of Education, London, UK) published in Quality in Higher Education Volume 22 Issue 1 (2016)

Abstract

This paper explores the ways in which information about course pedagogy has been represented to potential students through national descriptors and specifications such as the United Kingdom’s Key Information Set. It examines the extent to which such descriptors provide helpful information about pedagogy, for example innovative uses of technology.

The paper starts by exploring the wider context within which these descriptors have been developed, including a comparison of similar descriptions internationally. This is followed by a comparative analysis, in which two courses (one single honours undergraduate degree, one Massive Open Online Course) are classified and compared. This serves to illustrate the blind spots in classifications such as the Key Information Set.

The paper concludes by arguing that further work is needed to develop classification schemes that both address explicitly the interests of potential students and are able to represent the pedagogic decisions that differentiate teaching in contemporary higher education.