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  • Science & Medicine

Cybercrime as a local phenomenon

Nicolae Popescu was born in the small city of Alexandria, a two-hour bus ride south of Bucharest. After organising a digital scam to sell hundreds of fictitious cars on eBay, and pocketing $3 million, he was arrested in 2010 but eventually was released on a technicality.

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The importance of physics for humanists and historians

If you studied history, sociology, or English literature in your post-secondary education, it was probably in part because physics was too hard to understand or not as interesting. If you did not pay attention to quiet developments in the world of physics over the past several decades, you missed some very interesting important discoveries. Today, physics is not what our parents or even any of us who went to high school or university in the last quarter of the twentieth century learned because the physicists have been busy learning a lot of new things.

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Can microbiology tell us exactly what killed the Aztecs?

The arrival of the Spanish conquistadors to Mexico in the 1620s marked the beginning of the end for the indigenous people. With an estimated population of between 15 and 30 million at this point, this dropped dramatically to only two million by 1700: the result of battles, famine, drought, and perhaps most significantly, infectious diseases. The following Q&A investigates how microbiology contributed to the ruin of the once-flourishing Mesoamerican culture.

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Six questions to ask before you hit record

Erin Jessee’s article “Managing Danger in Oral Historical Fieldwork” in the most recent issue of the OHR provides a litany of practical advice about mitigating risk and promoting security. The entire article is well worth a read, but for the blog we’ve asked Jessee to provide us a list of some of the most important questions for oral historians to think about in evaluating and limiting exposure to risk.

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The origins of performance anxiety

Noted psychologist and educator Erik Erikson has written about human development from a biological, psychological, and social perspective encompassing the entire life cycle. His famous chart “The Eight Stages of Man” is in his book Childhood and Society (1950). I have found his ideas particularly helpful to understanding the importance of development in musicians, particularly so since children begin to study musical instruments at very young ages.

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A Q&A with plant scientist, Hitoshi Sakakibara

The reason for my specializing in plant science is that plants are autotrophic organisms supporting life on the earth, and plants give us a wide range of benefits, such as food, materials, and medicine. After my starting university around the mid-80s, I realized that there is great potential hidden in plant science because there are still so many fundamental unanswered questions.

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Blue Planet II returns

Blue Planet returns to our television screens tonight as Blue Planet II, 16 years after the first series aired to great critical acclaim. The series, fronted by Sir David Attenborough, focuses on life beneath the waves, using state-of-the-art technology to bring us closer than ever before to the creatures who call the ocean depths their home. Over the coming weeks, we’re going to be sharing a selection of content from our life science resources

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Are we all living in the Anthropocene?

In 2000, atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen and biologist Eugene Stoermer published a short but enormously influential article in Global Change Newsletter. In it, they proposed the adoption of a brand new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. Their argument: humans have had and will continue to have a drastic impact on the planet’s climate, biodiversity, and other elements of the Earth system, and the term “Anthropocene” – from the Greek anthropos, or “human” – most accurately describes this grim new reality.

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Open Access: Q&A with GigaScience executive editor, Scott Edmunds

The 10th Annual International Open Access Week is marked as 23-29 October 2017. This year, the theme is “Open In Order To…” which is “an invitation to answer the question of what concrete benefits can be realized by making scholarly outputs openly available?” To celebrate Open Access Week, we talked to Scott Edmunds, Executive Editor for GigaScience.

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How well do you know quantum physics? [quiz]

Quantum physics is one of the most important intellectual movements in human history. Today, quantum physics is everywhere: it explains how our computers work, how lasers transmit information across the Internet, and allows scientists to predict accurately the behavior of nearly every particle in nature. Its application continues to be fundamental in the investigation of the most expansive questions related to our world and the universe.

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Marketing-driven government (Part 2)

When marketing is used in government, its impact is often limited because it is dogged by a short-term, fragmented approach influenced by political time cycles. Government marketing is often characterised by an overemphasis on broadcast communications, including digital platforms, to the exclusion of a more citizen-centric approach focused on listening, relationship building, and social networking.

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Animal of the month: Bats and humans around the world

Bats are one of the most ubiquitous mammals living on this planet. Only humans are more widespread. So it would not be an impossible assumption that humans and bats have interacted for as long as the two species have inhabited the world. Bats are found in almost every type of habitat, apart from the most inhospitable. As this is the case, we’ve taken a look at some interesting cases of human-bat interaction through the ages.

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Workplace bullying and the law

Is the law able to offer any assistance to victims of workplace bullying? Let me recite an example, which is all too commonplace. Daniel* worked in an office in local government in the UK. When he was bullied by his manager he didn’t even realise it at first. The conduct was subtle. He would be given more than his fair share of the unpopular tasks. Everything he did was criticised, not aggressively, but constantly.

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New finds from the Antikythera shipwreck

The Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities recently announced that the latest season of diving at the famous Antikythera Shipwreck — notable among other things as the findspot of the Antikythera Mechanism, an ancient Greek astronomical gearwork device now recognized to be the most complex and sophisticated scientific instrument surviving from antiquity — had located a concentration of large metal objects buried under the seabed, one of which was recovered: the right arm, lacking just two fingers, from a bronze statue.

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Marketing-driven government (Part 1)

Marketing is an approach to social programme design and delivery that should underpin how governments and not-for-profit agencies develop and select policy, shape how services are delivered, and build sustained partnerships with citizens and other stakeholder organisations. However, marketing is a very often misunderstood and misapplied within Government

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On theory and consensus in science: a journey in time

In ordinary discourse, a theory is a guess or a surmise, as in “that’s only a theory.” In science, however, a theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is supported by confirmed facts and/or observations. Verification of a theory’s predictions ensures its eventual acceptance by the community of scientists working in the particular discipline.

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