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29 June 2015
One doubts that authors, as a class, often get enraged about anything
other than the puniness of their advances, the nastiness of reviewers
and the fact that Ian McEwan and Alain de Botton sell so many more books
than they do. But what is certain is that writers will adapt as
creatively as they always have to the book world they find themselves
in, writes Professor John Sutherland (UCL English Language &
Literature) in the Financial Times.
A Dutch district court has ordered the Netherlands
to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 25% lower than 1990 levels by 2020.
This is several percentage points deeper than the 17% reduction the
country had been envisaging, writes Professor Arthur Petersen (UCL STEaPP) in The Conversation.
26 June 2015
Computer scientists have a history of borrowing ideas from nature, such
as evolution. When it comes to optimising computer programs, a very
interesting evolutionary-based approach has emerged over the past five
or six years that could bring incalculable benefits to industry and
eventually consumers. We call it genetic improvement, writes Dr Justyna Petke and Dr Bill Langdon (both UCL Computer Science) in The Conversation.
When a delegation of Brazilian senators arrived in Venezuela recently to
visit Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma, two Venezuelan leaders who
are being held as political prisoners, they soon ran into trouble, writes
Dr Marco Aponte-Moreno and Lance Lattig (both UCL Management Science & Innovation)
in The Conversation.
24 June 2015
Not since the early years of the 19th century has Greece roused such
strong feeling in the rest of Europe. At that time, the Greek War of
Independence proved to be a rallying point for thousands of sympathizers
who joined together to liberate Greece from the Ottomans and their
empire, writes Professor Phiroze Vasunia (UCL Greek & Latin) in NDTV.
Europe’s weather systems tend to cross the Atlantic and slam into
Britain, which should make the UK ideal for wind power. With very low
running costs, cheap and easy integration into the grid in most of the
country, and with wind being a mature industry that’s still evolving
continuous improvements, how could it not be the country’s cheapest
renewable, asks Andrew Smith (UCL Bartlett School Environment, Energy &
Resources) in The Conversation.
You no longer have to look to science fiction to find the cyborg. We are
all cyborgs now. Mobile phones, activity trackers, pacemakers, breast
implants and even aspirins all act as biological, cognitive or social
extensions and enhancements of our bodies and minds. Some have even
predicted that human beings as we know them will be replaced by
technically enhanced, god-like immortal beings within 200 years. Or at least rich people will, writes Rikke Duus (UCL Management Science & Innovation)
in The Conversation.
23 June 2015
Some time in the late 80s, departments in my faculty received a letter
from the dean instructing us to redesign our undergraduate courses,
replacing outdated traditional degrees with modern, modular programmes.
Up to that point, student achievement was based on finals, taken over an
intensive few weeks in the third year, writes Professor Jonathan Wolff (UCL Philosophy) in the Guardian.
18 June 2015
I have always wondered why our species Homo sapiens, that
evolved in Africa about 200,000 years ago, seemed to do nothing special
for the first 150,000 years. Because it is not until about 50,000 years
ago that the first sign of creative thinking emerged with beautiful
cave paintings found in Spain, France and Indonesia, says Professor Mark Maslin (UCL Geography) in The Conversation.
For more than 20 years, Cuba has been developing a sophisticated
urban and suburban food system, producing healthy food, improving the
environment and providing employment. But how will the sector survive if the economy opens up to US agricultural and industrial trade and investment, writes Dr
Emily Morris (UCL Institute of the Americas) in The Conversation.
Creativity is the ability to generate novel, useful ideas and innovation
is the successful implementation of those ideas. With this in mind, it
is tempting to suggest that technology has made us more creative: the
digital revolution has clearly produced a large number of innovative
products and services, writes Professor
Tomas Chamorro Premuzic (UCL Clinical, Educational & Health
Psychology) in the Guardian.
There has been much discussion in recent years about why East Asian children perform so well on international education tests. I’ve argued before that there is no one reason for these countries' stellar results, but that home background and culture plays an important role, writes Dr John Jerrim (UCL Institute of Education) in The Conversation.
17 June 2015
They said it was crazy – and in truth the European Commission’s
billion-euro plan to build a computer model of the human brain appears
to have been too ambitious. But after years of controversy and dispute,
many neuroscientists believe that the Human Brain Project may no longer be doomed to failure, writes Sanjeevan Ahilan (UCL Biosciences) in The Conversation.
The second one day cricket international between England and New Zealand was heading towards an enthralling climax as England attempted to chase down a near-400 run target for the first time in the team’s history, writes Professor Ian Preston (UCL Economics) in The Conversation.
16 June 2015
Complaining about public transport might seem as English as moaning
about the weather. And it isn’t very British to shout about success. So
what follows might seem odd, but here goes: Transport for London leads
the way as an effective transport authority, writes Nicole Badstuber (UCL Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering) in The Conversation.
Fathers’ active participation in family life will likely be one of the
most important social developments of the 21st century. Times have
changed since fathers were often seen in terms of breadwinners and
authority figures. Today’s children wish for a relationship with their
daddy as a loving father, a pere de coeur, not just a father of duty, a pere de devoir, says Professor Margaret O’Brien (UCL Institute of Education) in The Conversation.
the Islamist terror group ISIS used hammer blows, bulldozing and
explosions to destroy the ancient city of Nimrud in March this year,
they wiped out a relic of Iraq’s glorious past, writes Professor Mark Ronan (UCL Mathematics) in History Today.
15 June 2015
There are enduring gaps between the way different groups of children do
at primary school: between boys and girls, between children from richer
and poorer backgrounds and between children from various ethnic groups.
Despite efforts by recent governments to close these attainment gaps,
the performance of pupils from low-income homes, for example, seems to fall far below that of their peers, writes Tammy Campbell (UCL Institute of Education) in The Conversation.
10 June 2015
The park is almost open. Two decades on and Jurassic Park has morphed
into Jurassic World, the one and only dinosaur theme park. Science has
apparently evolved too: the genetically-engineered dinosaurs are to take
a secondary role to a new star of the show, a genetically-engineered
hybrid, worryingly named Indominus Rex. Undoubtedly, chaos will ensue, writes Elizabeth Jones (UCL Science & Technology Studies) in The Conversation.
9 June 2015
An information war is raging in Eastern Europe; at stake are perceptions
of the situation in Ukraine. In both Russia and the West, the
commentariat claims the other side manipulates gullible minds with
propaganda, writes Dr Joanna Szostek (UCL SSEES) in The Conversation.
George Osbourne has just announced
that government departments have to find £3 billion in savings over the
next year. The Department of Communities and Local Government will have
a reduction of £230 million from its £8 billion budget this year alone.
Promises have been made that local authority budgets will not be
affected, but I doubt many are convinced that these will be upheld, writes Lorna Richardson (UCL
Centre for Digital Humanities) in The Conversation.
It’s not every day my Twitter feed is full of people talking about
flat-tops, squeezing and injections, but then Wednesday 3 June was not
an average day for the Large Hadron Collider, writes Dr Gavin Hesketh (UCL Physics & Astronomy) in The Conversation.
8 June 2015
Very few people take the trouble to read Magna Carta (the 'Great
Charter'), either in medieval Latin or in translation, but someone who
probably did read the text, perhaps even in the Latin, was Gandhi, who
was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple during his years in London, writes
Professor Phiroze Vasunia (UCL Greek & Latin) in NDTV.
3 June 2015
Sepp Blatter’s resignation as president of Fifa comes after a week of
scandal for the global football body. Among soccer fans, sadly, the
organisation has become a byword for sleaze. England spent £21m on the
campaign to secure the 2018 World Cup. The height of our attempts to
influence the delegates seems to have been the offer of a free breakfast
with Prince William in Zurich. Little wonder we only obtained one vote
in addition to our own, writes Dr Paul Ormerod (UCL Clinical, Educational &
Health Psychology) in City AM.
2 June 2015
The trouble with the Conservative victory in the election is not only
that we are stuck with a system of funding higher education that will
burden graduates with debt while taxpayers continue to contribute almost
as much as before – a lose-lose situation by any standard, writes Professor Peter Scott (UCL Institute of Education) in The Guardian.
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