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Ground-breaking test bed for new offshore Wind Technologies

Ground-breaking test bed for new offshore Wind Technologies

Clean Technica in an article dated April 10th, 2018 by reported that the world’s most powerful wind turbine, the first of two 8.8 megawatt (MW) turbines, has been successfully installed at Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre off the coast of North East Scotland, which is set to be a ground-breaking test bed for new offshore wind technologies.

Vattenfall is a leading European energy company, that for more than 100 years has electrified industries, supplied energy to people’s homes and modernised our way of living through innovation and cooperation.

World’s Most Powerful Wind Turbine Installed At Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre


 

The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay, Scotland, was conceived as a 92.4 MW, 11 turbine offshore wind test and demonstration facility. The project was initially caught up in a protracted legal battle with none other than then-real estate magnate Donald Trump — who promptly lost all legal challenges to prevent the construction of an offshore wind farm he considered would be an eyesore for members of his nearby Trump International Golf Club.

Since then, however, progress has proceeded rapidly, and the hopes of many have come to fruition with the creation of a next-generation testbed for new offshore wind technologies, such as the recently demonstrated suction bucket jacket foundations — which I maintain are cooler than they sound. Supported by the massive 25,000 tonne Asian Hercules III floating crane (seen below), the foundations for the EOWDC are being installed using a new method of securing the massive towers to the seafloor that is faster, more environmentally friendly and quiet, and much easier to uninstall if and when necessary.

Now, the next phase of construction has resulted in the installation of one of two wind turbines which have been specifically enhanced to increase their output by modifying their internal power modes. Specifically, the two turbines have been increased from 8.4 MW to 8.8 MW, which in turn increases EOWDC’s output to 93.2 MW, and as such it will generate 70% of Aberdeen’s domestic electricity demand while displacing 134,128 tonnes of CO2 annually. This is the first time an 8.8 MW wind turbine has been installed for commercial application.

It might not sound a lot — an increase of 0.4 MW — but the EOWDC is intended to serve as a demonstration facility, first and foremost, and testing the application of these incremental increases to wind turbine output could yield significant benefits. Two wind turbines modified such may only increase overall output by 0.8 MW, but a wind farm made up of 100 of these turbines would benefit from a 40 MW increase, simply by modifying existing turbines.

“The turbines for the EOWDC, Scotland’s largest offshore wind test and demonstration facility, help secure Vattenfall’s vision to be fossil fuel free within one generation,” said Gunnar Groebler, Vattenfall’s Head of Business Area Wind. “The EOWDC, through its innovative approach to cost reduction and pioneering technologies, leads the industry drive towards generating clean and competitive wind energy power – one that will reinforce Scotland’s global energy status.”

The V164-8.4 MW and V164-8.8 MW wind turbines were manufactured and modified by MHI Vestas, and have an enormous tip height of 191 meters, with 80 meter blades.

“The first turbine installation is a significant achievement and credit to the diligence and engineering know-how of the project team and contractors,” added EOWDC project director at Vattenfall, Adam Ezzamel. “For it to be one of the 8.8MW models makes it an even more momentous moment because it further endorses the EOWDC as a world-class hub of offshore wind innovation.

“We are very excited by the cutting-edge technology deployed on all the turbines and it is remarkable that just one rotation of the blades can power the average UK home for a day.”

The news was unsurprisingly met with appreciation from UK environmental groups as well.

“Scotland is home to approximately 25% of Europe’s offshore wind resource and projects like Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre in Aberdeen promise to harness this potential on a massive scale,” said Stephanie Conesa, Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables. “This ground-breaking facility leads Aberdeen’s ongoing transition from fossil fuels to renewables, and reinforces Scotland’s global energy status.

“As the windiest country in Europe with some of the deepest waters, we should be proud of Scotland’s burgeoning offshore wind industry,” Conesa added. “With many more promising offshore wind sites on our doorstep, we hope to see similar facilities deployed in Scottish waters in future so we can fully utilise our country’s natural resources.”

“The installation of the first of these powerful turbines at Aberdeen Bay is another milestone in Scotland’s renewables story,” added Gina Hanrahan, Acting Head of Policy at WWF Scotland. “Offshore wind, which has halved in cost in recent years, is critical in the fight against climate change, helping to reduce emissions, keep the lights on and create thousands of jobs across the Scotland and the UK.

“Developments like this have an important role to play in securing the Scottish Government’s target to meet half of all Scotland’s energy demand from renewables by 2030.”

via April 11 Energy News

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International Students in Britain and the English language requirements

International Students in Britain and the English language requirements

In the United Kingdom, all universities state their English language requirements in writing, speaking, listening and reading and have them checked through various tests with the minimum grade overall, and usually the minimum grades required specifically tailored for each course.  International Students in Britain and the English language requirements are a problematic that is recurrent at every start of a new academic year.

The reasons are various.

The affluence of worldwide candidates coupled with the ever-increasing university costs have over the years been the influencing factors of this seeking higher mastery levels of the English language from each and every one.

We republish this article of Bobby Pathak, Heriot-Watt University not only because of the great majority of the MENA’s youth obvious interest in universities of the United Kingdom but to also try and lend a hand to all. .

Do international students in Britain need better English skills?

File 20170905 13709 bai7ol
Shutterstock

 

The start of the academic year is fast approaching, with new students from across the UK looking forward to starting university with a mix of trepidation and excitement.

The UK is also a popular place for international students to study, given that it has some of the best universities in the world. This means that many UK students studying at a British university will be joined in their lectures by students from around the world.

The latest UK Council for International Student Affairs report shows that Chinese students studying at UK universities have far exceeded any other nationality since 2013. The same report also reveals that China is the only country showing significant increases compared with other non-EU countries where recruitment is virtually stagnant.

For many of these students from China, this may be the first time they are educated in only English. And there is the expectation that these students will be able to fully understand and keep up with other students.

Language ability

Having adequate English language skills is important to international students, as there’s no point in them turning up on their first day only to realise they don’t understand the curriculum. In the same way, this proficiency is also important to native English speakers – given that many courses require an element of group work and seminar discussions. Universities don’t want to accept students who will ultimately fail their course either.

International students are offered a place at UK universities on the condition that they have a certain level of English language proficiency. This is checked through a UK Home Office approved test known as the Secured English Language Test.

International students can sometimes struggle with the language.
Shutterstock

In theory, students sit the test, pass and then look forward to starting their new life in a new country. But things get problematic when students do not achieve the required score. In this case, universities may then offer an additional pre-sessional programme of English language study at an extra cost to the student. If completed successfully, this allows these students onto their chosen course.

So far, so good. But the the problem here is that many students do not actually take the Secured English Language Test at the end of their pre-sessional programme. This means that it’s never categorically known if, by the end of the summer course, a student’s language proficiency is at the level originally required by the university.

Testing times

That said, it’s not in the interest of universities to set a student up for failure. But surely if the entry requirement of a university course is a certain grade in the Home Office exam, then the same exam should be given at the end of these programmes. This would help to maintain a level playing field for all students on the course.

As someone who works on these pre-sessional programmes as an assistant professor, I believe there is clearly a value in teaching English for academic purposes. These sessions are also a time when nonnative learners can get a sense of the UK’s academic culture along with the conventions they will be expected to follow – something some UK students would also benefit from, too.

International students need to be made to feel welcome.
Shutterstock

But of course, the point of the programmes is about getting students up to a certain standard of English. Perhaps then the answer is for the Home Office approved tests to be changed to better reflect what is being covered in university pre-sessional programmes.

What this all boils down to is that universities must make sure they are doing enough to support international students. And this support is particularly important given the outcome of the EU referendum and the UK’s apparent fixation with immigration. In this way, the numbers speak for themselves – international students wanting to come and study in the UK is no longer something universities can simply take for granted.

Bobby Pathak, Assistant Professor (Pre-Sessional) English for Academic Purposes, Heriot-Watt University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

7 Must Have Student-Collaboration Apps

7 Must Have Student-Collaboration Apps

An article of The Tech Edvocate written by Matthew Lynch and published on Aug 09, 2017 gives an idea on how education has evolved into increased depth mainly through more reliance on digital computation. This calls on diverse and bespoke application software. In the author’s opinion, these number 7 must have student-collaboration Apps that are the most used ones for the specific capabilities of each.

Would this article apply to the MENA region as well ?

7 Must Have Student-Collaboration Apps, Tools, and Resources

Collaboration in the classroom helps students process and deepen knowledge. Students also develop important real-world skills like problem-solving, communication, teamwork, and leadership.

When you choose the right tools, incorporating technology can further enhance student collaboration and learning outcomes. Here are seven of the best student-collaboration apps, tools, and resources for you to try this school year.

  1. Google Apps for Education

With Google Docs, students can share and collaborate on documents. Color-coded icons show who is typing or editing what in real time.

Google Hangouts facilitates small group discussions, and it’s compatible with any device. Students can also create presentations together with Google Slides or collaboratively build diagrams using Google Drawings.

  1. Debate Graph

Students can participate in group debates or build collaborative brainstorms on any complex topic. Subject maps and spider graphs can be saved and presented to the class or scored by the teacher.

  1. TalkBoard

According to Forbes, it’s an “indispensable tool for illustrating collaborative ideas on the fly.” Students can visually express and build on ideas using iPads.

This app can be particularly excellent for language learners, autistic students, and visual learners.

  1. Padlet

Essentially a virtual bulletin board, Padlet is perfect for collaborative discussions. Teachers or students start by posing an open-ended question. Students respond with words, images, audio, or video. All responses appear on the original “wall” in real time, and students can comment on one another’s posts.

  1. Twiddla

Twiddla calls itself a “meeting platform” where students can collaboratively mark-up graphics, photos, webpages, and uploaded documents. Students may opt to brainstorm on a white canvas or create mind maps as well.

  1. TodaysMeet

This very easy-to-use backchannel tool allows teachers to create a chatroom for the class. Students can ask questions, respond to questions, have collaborative discussions, or provide feedback on your lesson. The site also has a polling feature.

  1. Wikispaces Classroom

WikiSpaces Classroom gives you and your students a safe, private network for having discussions, collaboratively editing pages, and completing group projects. There are pre-built templates for a variety of projects, but students can also work from a blank slate.

You can track all student progress in real time and immediately communicate feedback to your students, whether they’re at home or in your classroom.

These apps, tools, and resources can all be quickly and easily implemented to enhance communication and collaboration in your classroom.

The post 7 Must Have Student-Collaboration Apps, Tools, and Resources appeared first on The Tech Edvocate.

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General Elections in the United Kingdom and the GCC

General Elections in the United Kingdom and the GCC

This article of Jameel Ahmad, Vice President of Corporate Development and Market Research at FXTM and BA (Hons) degree in Business Studies with Accountancy and Finance from the University of the West of England published on AMEinfo of May 31st, 2017  is pertinently about the General Elections in the United Kingdom and the GCC.  It was the UK Prime Minister who called for these elections for next Thursday, in fact three years earlier than scheduled.
The reasons were to obviously strengthen the hands of the eventual winner who will be deemed to negotiate the Brexit with the European Union.
These elections might however affect all countries, starting of course with those of the EU but also those of the GCC; object of this article of Jameel Ahmad. 

GD93WH London, UK. 13th July, 2016. Theresa May addressing the worlds press on her first day as prime minister in Downing Street. Credit: Eye Ubiquitous/Alamy Live News

Could the upcoming UK election represent a risk to GCC markets?

With the OPEC meeting now in the past, investor attention has shifted towards the United Kingdom and the upcoming General Election scheduled for 8 June. Although the market currently appears calm ahead of the event, this event it does represent a risk for emerging assets and this will include those markets in the UAE and GCC region.

With investors currently positioning in favour of Theresa May being declared victorious next week, there is a risk that investors are heavily under-pricing any other potential outcomes at present. The largest risks to emerging market assets are generally when potential outcomes are heavily underpriced, and recent history from the EU Referendum last June is a kind reminder of what can happen when investors are caught on the wrong side of the trade. If recent history does indeed repeat itself then investors are more likely than not going to divert into “risk-off” mode, where riskier assets like the stock markets and emerging assets suffer from low attraction and safe-haven assets like Gold and the Japanese Yen surge from buying demand.

Politics to continue influencing the Pound’s direction

After suffering its heaviest week of losses so far in 2017, the British Pound is attempting to consolidate around 1.28 against the US Dollar. I personally think that politics will continue to influence the direction of the British Pound and I believe that there is further momentum for the currency to fall with the UK General Election being a little over a week away. In general, the markets do not like uncertainty and this is the recurring theme for the UK at present with another election around the corner and ongoing Brexit uncertainty continuing to dominate news headlines.

My view is that even following the dip lower from the 2017 highs above 1.30 is that the financial markets are still underpricing the risk of an unexpected outcome to the election next week. Investors in general stacked their cards heavily in favour of Theresa May being declared the winner following the unexpected calling of a snap election, but opinion polls are currently showing that the race to win the election is going to be close. I can’t help but think that recent history could be repeating itself with the markets currently underpricing the risk of an outcome that could differ to what the markets expect, which is a Conservative victory on 8 June.

USD JPY – a game of politics vs economics

The British Pound is not alone in being underpinned to political risk, with politics vs. economics being the name of the game when it comes to trading the USDJPY. I believe that politics will continue to dictate the direction of this pair as we head into the second half of 2017, and I am actually favouring towards the Japanese Yen covering further ground against its counterparts on the back of safe-haven buying.

A lack of optimism around the likelihood that President Trump will be able to push forward with his legislative reforms will put the spotlight firmly on Washington, and I think that this will result in further pressure on the USD. Any further market uncertainty in the United States will eventually lead to investors being lured back into the safe-haven appeal of the Yen.

EUR USD – facing near-term selling pressure

The likelihood that the ECB will repeat its dovish rhetoric during its Central Bank meeting in June is encouraging traders to enter selling positions on the Eurodollar after the pair reached new 2017 milestone highs above 1.12 last week. Despite economic data around Europe continuing to improve confidence that the economy has turned a corner, the market is swaying towards the belief that the ECB will repeat in June that the economy still requires ECB stimulus and this could result in the Eurodollar slipping further towards 1.10.

The United Kingdom gave up its use of coal

The United Kingdom gave up its use of coal

Following our Earth Day commemoration article Climate Change and Environmental Awareness , where it was mentioned that on that day, the United Kingdom gave up its use of coal for mainly generating its electrical power, today we are happy to republish a World Economic Forum’s article written by Alex Gray, Formative Content on April 26, 2017 on the same subject. It is about the US and Europe abandoning coal generated energy altogether and for the first time for generations, in fact from as it were the launching of this technology.

The media are increasingly reporting that renewable power now accounts for more than 30% of all installed electrical capacity worldwide, exceeding coal, and this whilst some politicians who riding a wave crest of popularity have promised the contrary, that is to dig deep for more coal.

We would take opportunity here to mention that despite the advent of fossil oils, the coal industry never ceased to be sourced for one purpose or another to generate and / or second energy production.
As per this article, Alex is proposing the idea that this is it and there is no looking back.  So, thank you Alex for this piece of good news; wondering however, what’s next?

Image: REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak/File Photo

Coal mining jobs aren’t coming back. But clean energy is already creating millions of new ones

The benefits of renewable energy are obvious: it’s giving us a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet to live on.

But clean energy is also a massive contributor to the economy.

recent report says that “advanced energy” is a $1.4 trillion global industry, almost twice the size of the global airline industry, and nearly equal to worldwide apparel revenue. This is a 7% increase compared to the 2015 total of $1.3 trillion.

Image: Advanced Energy Now 2017 Market Report

In fact, the advanced energy industry, which encompasses energy sources, technologies and services that are clean, affordable and secure, is also growing much faster than the world economy overall – 7% versus 3.1%.

And it is creating jobs. The industry now supports 3.3 million positions in the US alone. That’s equal to the employment provided by retail stores, and twice the jobs in construction.

What is driving its growth?

Globally, advanced energy has grown by nearly a quarter (24%) since 2011, adding $257.7 billion in revenue over six years. The top three performers were electricity generation, transportation and building efficiency, in that order, according to the report, which was prepared by Navigant Research for Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a trade association representing the advanced energy industry.

Electricity generation remained the largest advanced energy segment globally, with $455.6 billion in revenue (up 5% over 2015).

Transportation was the second largest advanced energy segment, growing 8% last year and reaching $447 billion.

At 15%, building efficiency capped a fifth straight year of double-digit growth with a record increase, reaching $271.6 billion in revenue in 2016.

Image: Advanced Energy Economy (AEE)

 

The picture in the US

In the US, the advanced energy industry generated $200 billion in revenue, nearly double that of beer sales, equal to pharmaceutical manufacturing, and approaching wholesale consumer electronics.

Image: Advanced Energy Now 2017 Market Report

Advanced energy in the United States has grown by an average of 5% annually for a total of 28% compared to 2011.

What is advanced energy?

The report defines advanced energy as “a broad range of technologies, products, and services that constitute the best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow”.

That includes things like the transmission, distribution and storage of electricity; vehicles that are powered by fuel other than gasoline or diesel; fuel production including ethanol and biodiesel; advanced industry processes (such as combined heat and power); fuel delivery and electricity generation through renewables.

Another report has reached similar conclusions.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says that, by 2050, renewables will add about $19 trillion to the world economy, and will create about 6 million jobs.

The increase in use of renewable energy, plus improved energy efficiency, will achieve the emissions reductions needed to keep global temperature rises to no more than 2C, according to IRENA. The aim of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change is to keep global temperature increase well below 2C and if possible below 1.5C.

IRENA says that while changing the energy landscape requires massive investment – some $29 trillion –
this only represents 0.4% of global GDP.

In addition to boosting the economy, it will create enough jobs to offset job losses in the fossil fuel industry, and of course, give us a healthier planet to live on.

Renewable energy now accounts for 24% of global power generation and 16% of primary energy supply. To achieve decarbonization, the report states that, by 2050, renewables should be 80% of power generation and 65% of total primary energy supply.

 

After the shock and sorrow come the questions

After the shock and sorrow come the questions

After the shock and sorrow come the questions as put by The Mirror online this morning. The Mirror   goes on :
Were there failings by the security services?

Are we doing enough to detect and monitor those at risk of being radicalised?

Is the Government’s Prevent strategy working?

Why, when it was known the authorities always feared a Mumbai-style attack, was not more done to improve security at Parliament’s carriage gates?

So far we know little about Kent-born Khalid Masood.
Only by learning why he committed the atrocity and how, as seems likely, he was radicalised can we prevent others from following his warped and deadly path.
There are also questions for companies such as Google and why terror manuals, including guides to using cars as weapons of destruction, are so readily available online.
In all cases, and as elaborated on by AMEinfo in an editorial that deserves pondering on, there are always causes to such atrocities but also unfortunately consequences.

London attack: 5 shocking ways terrorism affects economies

As the world watched, an unnamed assailant went on a rampage on London’s streets on Wednesday. Four people lost their lives in the deadly attack near the Houses of Parliament.

Financial impact of the ugly incident is yet to be ascertained but one can assume it will be colossal as the metropolis came to a standstill as events unfurled.

Unfortunately, the world continues to lose more money than it invests as terrorism and violence increase grossly.

The economic impact of violence on the global economy in 2015 was $13.6 trillion in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, according to the figures from Global Peace Index (GPI).

To put this in macroeconomic perspective, the figure amounted to 13.3 per cent of the world’s GDP and it was nearly 11 times the size of global foreign direct investment.

If the lost money was distributed equally across the globe, every person would have received $1,876.

Destruction of infrastructure

Any terrorist activity begins with physical damage to properties. Numerous buildings, roads, railways and airports have been destructed in such incidents. These take a very huge share of governments’ fiscal budgets. Also, factories, machines, vehicles, skilled labourers and other resources are eliminated during the course of violence. In addition, damages to utility resources will have both short-term and long-term impacts on economy.

Uncertainty in markets

Markets are highly vulnerable to any development that catches the attention of investors. After the globalisation, markets have been responding to news-making events even if they are taking place miles away in a different country or a region. Shares in stock markets worldwide had fallen in response to militant attacks in Paris last year.

Investor confidence

Insurgent attacks have the highest potential to dampen the confidence of investors. As risk appetite of businesses wanes, they would turn away from investing in new markets or expanding in existing geographies.

Last year Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan incurred the largest economic impact as a percentage of their GDP at 54, 54 and 45 per cent of GDP respectively, according to the GPI 2016 report.

Peacebuilding spending

Governments spend billions of dollars after militant attacks in order to avoid such occurrence in future. For stepping up military strength and acquiring new weapons and technology as well as boosting intelligence many of the countries across the world allocate nearly half of their budget.

Following a suspected bombing of a Russian plane in Sinai in 2015, Egypt invested some $50 million in airport security.

Tourism

The most immediate impact of any violence will be felt on a country’s tourism sector, which is the backbone of economy in many parts of the world.

In 2010, 14.7 million tourists visited Egypt’s beaches and ancient sites but five years later the number of travellers plunged to just 9.3m as the country witnessed popular uprising and an array of terrorist attacks.

People tend to cancel or postpone their holidays which directly affects airlines, tour operators, hotels, restaurants and retailers.

 

Between 1970 and January 2016, there have been more than 160 terrorist attacks targeted at hotels worldwide. Over the past five years alone, more than 40 hotel terrorist attacks have occurred, according to figures from security consultancy firm Restrata.

Botan Osman Managing Director of Restrata says that hotels have been seen as a soft target for terrorist attacks because they tend to have large, open spaces and attract a high number of visitors, many of whom are often foreigners.

“Hospitality targeted attacks may rise unless the industry takes a harder stance. This can be done whilst balancing the business needs of the hotel.”

“Examining the growth in hotel attacks demonstrates a worrying statistic, with a quarter of all hotel attacks since 1970 occurring in the past five years. Documented attacks within the hotel industry focus primarily on North African states where terror levels are already high, yet research suggests a number of hospitality premises in these areas are lacking in basic security design features,” Osman adds.

 

 

Incorporating Social Sciences in STEM Disciplines

Incorporating Social Sciences in STEM Disciplines

Why science and engineering need to remind students of forgotten lessons from history

Lately, there has been a lot of discussion highlighting the need for incorporating social sciences in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines in order to foster creativity, increase empathy and create a better understanding of the human condition among scientists.

Unfortunately, however, all this talk hasn’t changed the reality on the ground.

As a researcher and teacher in biomedical engineering, looking at the fundamental functions of the human body, I feel that we in engineering (as well as other sciences) have done a disservice to our students. We have failed to connect them to the history of science through stories of scientists.

Our students, these days, have little knowledge about the giants on whose shoulders we all stand.

And yet there is strong evidence that students are more likely to develop an interest in science and pursue science education when engaged through narratives that tell a story.

Research also shows that such stories enable students in STEM disciplines to better understand and apply their classroom knowledge in real-world settings.

Missing piece in science learning

In one of my engineering classes, I discuss how fluids, such as air and blood, flow in the human body. These processes are critical to our health and well-being.

As I do that, I also discuss the associated discoveries made by many leading scientists. The seminal work of scientists such as Joseph FourierDaniel Bernoulli and Isaac Newton has transformed our world and tremendously improved our quality of life.

 

What do students know about Newton? cea +CC BY

However, beyond the most famous anecdote about the falling apple leading to the discovery of gravity, I find that students in my class know little about Newton’s contributions. While students in my class may have a rich understanding of the Fourier transform (a fundamental mathematical relationship that forms the basis of modern electrical engineering), they literally know nothing about who Fourier was.

Research suggests that context and history play a strong role in connecting science and engineering theory with practice.

But despite studies highlighting the importance of storytelling and historical case study approaches, impersonal PowerPoint presentations dominate classrooms. Historical perspectives and rich stories are missing in such presentations.

Why it matters

As educators, we face tremendous pressures to pack technical materials into our courses. So why should we include history in our lesson plans?

First, history provides a compelling perspective on the process of scientific discovery. We have known through research that historical references can help students clear up common misconceptions about scientific topics, ranging from planetary motion to evolution.

Looking at the story of science over centuries enables students to understand that research and discovery are continuous processes. They can then see that the laws and the equations that they use to solve problems were discovered through long and sometimes painful processes.

The findings they arrive at today, in other words, are the fruits of the hard work of real people who lived in real societies and had complex lives, just like the rest of us.

Second, a sense of history teaches students the all-important value of failure in science. It also highlights the persistence of the scientists who continued to push against the odds.

Recent research suggests that by discussing the struggles and failures of scientists, teachers are able to motivate students. Indeed, the discussion of struggles, obstacles, failures and persistence can lead to significant academic improvement of students, particularly for those who may be facing personal or financial difficulties or feeling discouraged by previous instructors and mentors.

Learning from history

This dose of inspiration is particularly valuable for STEM students who face barriers in their academic work, either due to lack of financial resources or due to their gender or race.

The stories of past scientists are a reminder to them that history is an opportunity. Not all great discoveries were made by people who were at the very top of the socioeconomic pyramid.

Connected to the process of discovery and innovation is the fundamental notion of the multidisciplinary approach.

Students need to understand that this approach is not a creation of the 21st century. People have used the multidisciplinary tools of their time for hundreds of years. Johannes Gutenberg, for example, combined the flexibility of a coin punch with the mechanical strength of the wine press to invent the printing press, which created a profound global impact in disseminating knowledge.

The Gutenberg Press replica.Casey PickerCC BY-NC-ND

Finally, a fundamental goal of modern engineering education is to create socially conscious engineering practitioners who have a strong sense of ethics.

Following an engineering education, individuals could go on to develop medical technology for resource-constrained settings, or work on stem cells or genetic engineering. The importance of ethics in any of these areas cannot be underestimated.

Case studies and history could be immensely valuable in teaching ethics. History provides strong evidence of how the environment around scientists was equally important in shaping their lives and discoveries. Lessons from history could provide insights into how to make ethical choices related to technology or engineering principles.

History, heritage and a holistic view of learning

The goal, in the end, is not to compromise on the rigor, or to focus exclusively on history and personalities, but to make the material more accessible through story-telling and connection with our common heritage.

By making students realize that they are part of a grand tradition of learning, success and failure, we might find that the goals of retention, inspiration, access and rich engagement with the material are closer than we realize.

Asst. Prof. Muhammad H. Zaman Photo by Kalman Zabarsky for Boston University Photography

Author : Muhammad H. Zaman, HHMI Professor of Biomedical Engineering and International Health, Boston University

 

This article was originally published on The Conversation.   Read the original article.

 

 

16 events that will shape 2017

16 events that will shape 2017

AMEinfo came up with this formidable vision of next year titled 16 events that will shape 2017; we could not help but reproduce it here all for the benefit of our readers.  All comments are welcome but we would advise to address direct to AMEinfo with nevertheless a copy to MENA-Forum.  

AMEinfo, is a well known and reliable middle east online medium of information.

Historically as per Wikipedia, AMEinfo.com was initially Arabian Modern Equipment Est., incorporated in Abu Dhabi, in February 1993 by Saif Al-Suwaidi and Klaus Lovgreen. The first version of the AME Info CD-ROM database of 125,000 companies was developed and compiled late 1996 and sold some 10,000 copies.  

The listing of the events as proposed by AMEinfo summed up thus.

  •  Many events of 2016 will have repercussions spilling over into 2017
  •  Positive impacts include Saudi Vision 2030, OPEC deal
  •  The fallout of Trump’s presidency, JASTA law, Italy referendum, etc. remain to be seen

The year 2016 was eventful, to say the least, with the world shaken by several momentous events whose repercussions will spill over into 2017.

Here are 16 events of 2016 that will most probably shape the coming year:

 

Saudi Vision 2030

This vision, announced in April, is one of the top economic highlights of 2016. Its repercussions are yet to be experienced throughout 2017 and beyond. Some of the biggest follow ups to this event are the Saudi Aramco IPO, expected to take place in 2018, privatising Football Clubs in the kingdom and its green card plan.

 

Trump as president of the United States

President-elect Donald Trump filling posts for his administration, getting ready to officially take office in January. This is when his foreign policy is expected to take its final shape and impact the whole world, starting with countries of the Americas, passing through Europe and the Middle East and reaching Asia.  

(Donald Trump wins US elections 2016: What it means for MENA)

 

Brexit

The United Kingdom voted to exit the European Union last June through a national referendum. Since then, the country underwent several months of economic chaos that it tried to keep under control, especially because it had not yet left the European Union. The chaos is expected to continue until the announcement of an exit plan, expected in March 2017.  

(Brexit: Who’s next?)

 

JASTA

The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act is a law passed by the United States Congress, allowing survivors and relatives of victims of terrorist attacks to pursue cases against foreign governments in the US federal court. The bill raised tensions with Saudi Arabia – when the bill was introduced, Saudi Arabia threatened to sell up to $750 billion in United States Treasury securities and other US assets if the bill is passed. Saudi Arabia is still lobbying the US over the law.

 

Egypt’s floating of the pound

Egypt’s central bank floated the pound currency in November, devaluing by 32.3 percent to an initial guidance level of EGP 13 to the dollar and hiking interest rates by three per cent to rebalance currency markets following weeks of turbulence. According to many observers, Egypt’s floating of its currency comes in a bid to attract more investors to the country.

 

China’s AIIB development bank

China launched the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a new international development bank, seen as a rival to the current, US-led World Bank. Countries such as Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Philippines and South Korea agreed to join the AIIB, recognising China’s growing economic strength.

 

Google Alphabet

Last August, Google announced creating a new public holding company, Alphabet. Alphabet become the mother of a collection of companies, including Google, which includes the search engine, YouTube and other apps; Google X, the Alphabet arm working on big breakthroughs in the industry; Google Capital, the investment arm; as well as Fiber, Calcio, Nest  and Google Ventures.

 

Panama papers leak

Roughly 11.5 million documents were leaked in April, detailing financial and attorney-client information for hundreds of thousands of offshore entities. The documents contained personal financial information about famous, wealthy individuals and public officials.

The documents were created by a law firm in Panama, with some dating back to the 1970s.

 

Iran nuclear deal: lifting of sanctions

Although the framework of this agreement was announced in 2015, economic sanctions started to lift only in January 2016. The year saw the beginning of Iran’s return to international markets and more is expected for 2017 as the country has not yet made a full comeback.

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones, released this year, started to heat up and explode, causing some injuries in different markets around the world and killing the model altogether. This created massive chaos for the South-Korean manufacturer, which withdrew all units from the markets and started a gruelling investigation into the rootcause of the issue.

 

King Salman bin Abdel Aziz Bridge

Last April, Saudi Arabia and Egypt agreed to build a bridge over the Red Sea, linking the two countries together. This was seen as a historic move highlighting the excellent relationship between the allies. The bridge would be called “King Salman bin Abdel Aziz Bridge”.

 

OPEC deal

Members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC members as well, reached their first deal since 2001, to curb levels of oil output to ease a global glut after oversupply pressured prices for more than two years. Long-term market reactions to the deal are yet to be felt and will probably be seen throughout 2017.

 

Pokémon Go

The new augmented reality game, developed by Niantic, quickly became a global phenomenon and was one of the most profitable apps of 2016, with more than 500 million downloads worldwide.

 

Italy referendum

Italy’s government, led by then-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, held a nation-wide referendum proposing reforms and amendments to the country’s constitution. The referendum failed, leading to the resignation of Renzi, tipping the country into potential political turmoil and the rise of the populist, right-wing movement in the country.

Renzi’s resignation and the country’s instability also brought up concerns over a looming banking crisis in Italy, the third-largest national economy in the euro zone.

(Italy referendum: Step 1 to another Brexit?)

 

Fed raises interest rates

The US Federal Reserve raised interest rates, signalling a faster pace of increases in 2017, with central banks adapting to the incoming of a Donald Trump administration, which has promised to cut tax. The year 2017 will probably see the repercussion of that decision.

 

Turkey’s coup

A coup d’état was attempted in Turkey in July against state organisations including the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The failed coup was carried out by a faction of Turkey’s armed forces, who attempted to seize control of several areas in the capital of Ankara, Istanbul and elsewhere.

The coup, and other terrorist attacks, disturbed Turkey’s peace and stability and harmed its tourism industry, among others.

 

 

‘Road Rage’ these days in the UK a frequent topic in the newspapers

‘Road Rage’ these days in the UK a frequent topic in the newspapers

‘Road Rage’ these days in the UK a frequent topic in the newspapers means driving here is stressful and involves very high level of concentration because of the state of the roads and the volume of traffic.  You combine that with the fast-paced time orientated working life of most people and you have a toxic, boiling mix of anxiety and frustrating that spills over in the uncontrolled environment on the roads.

Pedal Power to the rescue ?

the-guardian

 

There is one particular flashpoint of anger and that involves other road users such as motorcycles and bikes.  There vehicles have the ability to weave (dangerously) in and out of traffic to avoid queues.  In addition, cyclists have their own lanes in some places and this is a cause of some resentment because those lanes normally amount to white lines drawn on the road that effectually narrow a road that once was wide and easy to negotiate by car.  Cyclists in turn are frustrated that cars often park in these lanes, wide lorries use them and they disappear when the road narrows because the road is too narrow to sustain a cycle path and another road!

cycling-in-town

Mortality rate for cycling is similar to Sweden’s which appears on the face of it to make the UK safer than even the Netherlands which prosecutes drivers for any fatality involving a cyclist regardless of fault.  The truth, however, is that although the death rate per car is low, it does not represent the number of journeys by bicycle that are actually taken or the location of them.  Many towns like my own are particularly dangerous for cyclists, having hills, narrow roads, and fast, condescended traffic.  Use of bicycles is much lower than in my grandparent’s day and shrinking in everyday even if we produce Olympic stars like Bradley Wiggins.  As a leisure activity cycling is thriving (perhaps because weekend cycling is quieter) but most less fit, shoppers like myself stay off road most of the time.

Other problems for myself include the restriction in the number of bikes allowed on trains, you cannot plan a trip out the country or town by bicycle and get to the station to find no space in the racks on the train.  In the past, the different arrangement of trains allowed for a good many more bikes in the old fashioned Guard’s carriage.  The same carriage also gave space for wheelchairs or pushchairs that are now much more restricted.  Trains, have thus, become limited in use.  Security is another problem.  Once secure parking could be rent off road in towns and now parking is independent and out on the road.  However, one hopeful sign is that there are many more cycle racks to park in than twenty years ago.

Early cycling !

Early cycling !

It would be nice, however, to once again ride free and easy, with a nice picnic, out to a country or town station for a pedal about.

I would invite everyone peruse through the following site.

The best 32 places to ride in Britain: Part one

 

 

further reading is on the Guardian .

National Health Service

National Health Service

Healthy Britain . . .

For all the lovely things in Britain, for me and most others the best thing about Britain is our National Health Service.   You don’t pay to see a doctor or use a hospital for things you need.  It has often been called the Envy of the World and rightly so.   It might be one of the greatest advances in social justice  ever seen and has remained unmatched since its inception in 1948.

The health of the general population has been crucial to those in power at many key points in British history.  No-one, of course, escaped the effects of the Black Death which killed up to a third of our population.  Many whole communities were destroyed.  But the whole ancient feudal system entered a terminal decline that allowed people to become untethered to their overlords, free to sell their labour to the highest bidder.

terrifying-images-of-cholera-endemic-in-britains-filthy-cities

For most of our history, treatment, such as it was, was administered (freely) by religious communities and these provide the roots of many of our oldest established hospitals.  Most people, in history, however, were cared for at home using traditional medicines.  And therein lies some of the reason for the late growth of comprehensive free healthcare, and that is, until recently, most illnesses were pretty much untreatable and accepted as part of life.  However, things changed rapidly from the eighteenth century onwards.  When Edward Jenner created a vaccine to cure Smallpox, it was freely promoted in order to stop the spread of this deadly disease.  Vaccines for Smallpox have been so effective that the disease itself was declared eradicated in 1979.

Crossness Pumping Station of London's Sewer System

Crossness Pumping Station of London’s Sewer System

Through the Victorian era there were various Public Health Acts, including the 1848 establishment of (still working) sewers that stemmed the spread typhus and cholera.   The government also came to glance into the most personal aspects of citizen’s lives.  In the 1800 it was estimated that as many military personnel were lost to venereal disease as in battle and in the Victorian era there was a real fear, for the same reason, that there were not enough healthy sailors to man the fleet if it needed to sail into battle.  In 1864, the Contagious Diseases Act allowed women to be snatched off the street, examined and hospitalized if they were suspected of carrying VD.

The general health of the population continued to be worry to governments during the First World War.  Many potential recruits had be turned away because of ill-health often stemming from the effects of poverty and neglect.  During this time, the cogs slowly rolled towards the establishment of our National Health Service.   A National Insurance Scheme was established in 1911 and access to medical help improved.  In 1943, at the height of the Second World War, the Beveridge report proposed the `Cradle to Grave’ welfare system that has improved the life of every person in the country, directly or indirectly.

Great Ormond Str Hospital Junior Doctors demonstration

Great Ormond Str Hospital Junior Doctors demonstration