Going bananas in Belgium

BY RONY SWENNEN AND NORA CAPOZIO. How many apple varieties can you find at your local market? Probably at least four or five. We are used to eating yellow, green, red apples, and they can be juicy, sweet, tart, firm, crispy… What if instead I asked you: how many different kinds of bananas do you know? I bet that most of you will say one.

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Do Mobile Phones Set Citizens Free?

BY KATRIEN PYPE. Today there is a general “hallelujah” mood surrounding the emancipatory possibilities of digital communication technologies (mobile phones, smartphones, and social media). The combination of easy, mobile internet access and social media has been hailed as revolutionary: Citizens can now gather information and organize protests like never before, with the democratic uprisings of the Arab Spring collectively serving as poster child for the trend. Some even claim that mobile phones and social media will lead to more democratic, more transparent, more peaceful societies. Lees verder

Pass the chocolate, hold the beer: my year abroad at KU Leuven

BY HELENA WAREHAM. Moving abroad had never been an option until a lecturer enthusiastically convinced me that I had run out of reasons to not go. Three years later, I am near the end of an amazing year studying at KU Leuven in Belgium. I was particularly fortunate that another UEA law student also moved here because it has been great fun to have a friend from home to share the year abroad experience with. I have found new independence, confidence and interests including taking up photography. A particular favourite I have learnt from Belgium is to have chocolate sprinkles and toast for breakfast. I’m also proud to say I have learnt some Dutch, but sadly to the extent of translating menus, counting to ten and asking “Mag ik een zakje alstublieft?” (Can I have a bag please?)

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An end to doping: How do we make sports fair for everyone?

BY PASCAL BORRY AND ROSEMARY JAMES. In reaction to discussions on the participation of Russian athletes to the Olympic Games, some athletes themselves asked in a letter to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for a full investigation and expressed the hope that their efforts to achieve sporting excellence are “not undermined or invalidated by those who cheat.” But what is a fair playing field? Making a Prohibitive List of substances is a difficult task, but remains nevertheless necessary to promote a doping-free sport and thus promote health, fairness and equality for athletes world-wide.

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Sitting – The new smoking or the new sensationalism?

BY SARA KNAEPS. Media tells us that sitting is the new smoking, sitting kills or even this: chairs are murderers. But is this true? First of all, if it would be true, we would go to a future where we have to be 18 years or older to buy a chair, and a lovely little bench in the park will not be the same anymore with signs warning for the dangers of sitting. I am probably exaggerating, but if sitting would really be the new smoking, this is where we are going.

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Cancer day…

BY ERIK DUVAL. Apparently, today is World Cancer Day… I’m not sure about this concept of having days for specific topics. I mean: is there a World Ebola Day? A World Political Prisoners Day? A Let’s-get-rid-of-religious-and-other-bigotry Day? There are only 365 days in a year and so many worthy causes… Still, I was asked to reflect a bit on my experience over the last 10 months, and ended up thinking about how cancer is maybe a bit ‘different’ from other diseases…

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Your Extra-Somatic Brain

BY HANNA PEACOCK. How many things are on your to-do list right now? And how many of those things are actually written on your to-do list? Do you have a plan for how you are going to tackle these things, or are you facing a list of vague and complex tasks? Are you procrastinating? Are you forgetting about something that is due soon? Are these questions making you a bit anxious?

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