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Science & Technology

Treasures under the sea?

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) have announced that licences for deep-sea mining can be applied for from as early as 2016, but type in “deep-sea mining petition” into google and there are countries of people who object to this.

Natural resources are not going to be available forever. This is fact. They may last throughout our lifetime, but society is guzzling these from Earth faster than the Earth can provide. Seabeds, however, are rich in minerals and “one square kilometre could meet a fifth of the world’s annual consumption of rare metals and yttrium” (phys.org, 2011).» >

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Free app of the week

Speech Enhancement Lite created by DigiPhD

This is an invaluable tool for students of speech and language therapy, acoustics, auditory processing, audio engineers, psycholinguistics, music analysis, digital signal processing and forensic linguistics. I found this app useful when studying phonetics and phonology. With this app you can record anything and it will generate a spectrogram and a short-time Fourier transform of the recording, which can then be distorted, enhanced and modified.» >

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Who is watching you online?


Cyber crime: Internet fraud and hacking are a threat to any internet user. Although security measures are always improving their performance, such as the card reader for internet banking and Bitdefender’s safe screen when entering sensitive information online, internet criminals still keep ontop of the game.

A student from Reading University reported: “Just 2 months ago, after having a paypal account linked to the same bank account for 6 years, £485 was stolen from my bank account!» >

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Why the draft communications bill won’t perturb terrorists in the slightest. Britain’s IT contractors, though, would celebrate it


If you were to browse the 123-page Draft Communications Bill and search for the terms ‘proxy’, ‘VPN’, ‘bitcoin’ and ‘TOR’ you would find no results. And if you were a criminal you would breathe a sigh of relief. To give some idea of how Theresa May interprets ‘the online threat’ the bills forward states a major target is ‘the threat of crime from e-mail’. It’s as if Saddam Hussein were to prepare for ‘the threat of the horseless carriage’.» >

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The Science of fashion

Emma Bullough

As this year celebrates the 75th anniversary of the public launch of nylon, an essential constituent of hosiery, it leaves the question begging: what has science done for fashion?

Any woman will tell you what an essential part of their wardrobe tights are and we owe their existence to the scientific advance that produced nylon back in October 1938. The polymer nylon can be produced via a polycondensation reaction, where two simple monomers are combined, forming water as a by-product.» >

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A knight in twitter armour

Complaining about your job on twitter can have unpleasant consequences. Despite this, it does not seem to deter people from venting their workplace stresses on Twitter. In one week almost 22,000 people had posted complaints about their job, workplace, co-workers or boss on Twitter (Kawase, University of Hannover).

FireMe! is a tracker tool on Twitter that warns people when they have over stepped the mark with inappropriate comments about their workplace.» >

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The moral of this story is…

A seminal paper from Harvard has been found to contain major errors. This paper: Growth in a Time of Debt, authored by Reinhart and Rogoff, has been used as evidence by politicians to support decisions in making austerity cuts during the economic crisis. Decisions which have been made based on false information.

To add insult to injury, the mistakes in the paper were not due to computer error and nor were they intentional.» >

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HIV now curable…possibly…

A child born to a HIV infected mother has been declared cured. This is a fantastic achievement for medical science, but digging deeper we find there are unusual aspects about this case.

To appreciate the magnitude of what happened in this case, what usually happens when new-borns are at risk of contracting HIV they will be given 1 – 2 antiretroviral drugs in order to prevent the virus manifesting. At 6 – 8 weeks the infant is tested for HIV, and not before because it cannot be known before this time if they have contracted the HIV virus from their mother.» >

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