BY COLINE HACOT. Soil erosion may sound like a technical, distant topic that scares off the average non-scientist, even an environmentally sensitive one (myself included). Because the science behind it is intimidating, or because soils aren’t cool, it’s easy to overlook erosion. That’s a pity, because healthy soils are important to all of us, and it matters to look at what EU politicians are doing to protect them.Lees verder
BY SANDRA ROUSSEAU. Flight taxes, road pricing, and carbon pricing are often named as policy options to tackle climate change and urban air pollution. The concept of pricing undesirable effects is simple and sensible. If market prices reflect the economic damages from emissions, the market forces will work for our planet and help to protect it. Internalising external costs is a way to reflect the total impact of our actions. But how do we know what the correct price is? Ideally, such a price should reflect the social value of reducing emissions and incorporate the benefits of better air quality.
BY JEAN-JACQUES ORBAN DE XIVRY. Social media have become omnipresent in our everyday life. However, few people know that Twitter can be useful professionally, especially if you are a scientist. I would like to convince the reader that social medias and especially Twitter, are a useful tool for scientists. Lees verder
BY HUMA SAEED. Europe in the last years has seen a refugee exodus unprecedented after the II World War. While one rejoices when a refugee makes it to a safe heaven, the Eurocentric, liberal view presents ‘the refugee’ as a victim who can only find hope within the borders of Europe, the civilized world. This is fallacious in several ways. Firstly: the overwhelming majority of refugees are hosted in non-European countries. Secondly, it’s not only Western countries that can rebuild a refugee’s life. There are countless refugees rebuilding themselves and their communities, all over the world.
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.
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.