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
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?)
BY KAI KAROS. Pain is a very personal and subjective experience. At the same time, pain is also constantly communicated to and interpreted by others, making it an interpersonal experience as well. This begs the question: Does pain affect our social relationships and can social relationships affect our pain?
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.
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.
DOOR BRAM DE BOTSELIER. About 150 heads of state and government will come together in France’s capital for one of the biggest gatherings of world leaders ever. On the agenda, only one issue: the climate. But what exactly is the problem and why is it taking so long to come up with a solution?
BY EIKO FRIED. In response to the Germanwings crash, media and politicians have construed depression as cause for the tragedy, and depressed individuals as hidden danger we need to protect ourselves from. This stigmatization is inappropriate and harmful—what we really need is a better understanding of a severe and very common disease.
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…
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?
BY BART BOETS. As summer fades away, the time is ripe to share some of my experiences as a postdoctoral researcher abroad in Cambridge, Boston, where I am a visiting Fulbright scholar at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research (MIT, Cambridge) and the Noninvasive Brain Stimulation Lab (Harvard, Boston). My wife and four children joined me for the summer months — we had a really nice time and a wonderful cultural experience around the MIT lab and Harvard hospital.