Sci/Tech Articles

Mobile apps and tablets have assumed a prominent position in the landscape of technology use in education and training, as anticipated by the EDUCAUSE 2012 Horizon Report. With mobile phone subscriptions totaling around six billion, and predictions that sales of tablets and e-book readers will increase substantially as prices continue to fall, mobile devices are rightly seen as a compelling means of solving pressing global problems in education. Numerous successes have already been recorded.

By Agnes Kukulsa-Hulme  |  April 12, 2013

Few people would argue that self-sufficiency is a “bad” thing. After all, there is security in only being dependent on oneself. It is not surprising then that the creation of an energy independent United States, where the nation rids itself of all foreign sources of energy, is a fairly popular political position. The possibility of stable gas prices that are immune to international supply fluctuations, as well as the tapping of the clean-burning natural gas reserves, is indeed attractive. In political rhetoric, the idea is often thrown around: President Obama has stated that “America's dependence on oil is one of the most serious threats that our nation has faced" and that it "bankrolls dictators, pays for nuclear proliferation, and funds both sides of our struggle against terrorism.” On closer inspection, however, becoming an energy independent nation may create more problems than it solves.

By Dennis Lee  |  February 25, 2013

As the Doha summit came to an end last month, many left unsatisfied. No concrete progress was made on the planned new protocol agreement for 2015, which, unlike the Kyoto Protocol, would require all nations—not just the wealthy— to cut emissions. Even an outline of the new protocol has yet to be reached. Furthermore, the billions of dollars of funding intended to help developing countries adapt to potential consequences of climate change was postponed for another year. However, the failure of governments to reach effective solutions regarding climate change is not a new trend to the international community. Christiana Fugeress, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change stated after Doha that “the international policy response is fundamentally behind where the science says we are.” As the frustration over the slow pace of international discussions about climate change starts to grow, many people are starting to question whether the fight against climate change is something that should be left to the government alone, or whether the private sector should start playing a larger role.

By Jeffrey Zhao  |  February 25, 2013

The Internet is a wild and unruly place: international coordinated efforts to prevent online crime are patchy at best, hopelessly insufficient at worst. Yet, regrettably, this is unlikely to change in the near future. Whilst these problems need to be addressed, it is imperative that freedom reign on the Internet, and this is proving to be a major international stumbling block. The main issue is this: how can the modern medium of free speech, free assembly, and free press be regulated without restricting or destroying its very purpose? This was the dilemma that faced delegates from across the world in Dubai in December 2012 during the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT). Unfortunately, the international community failed to reach an agreement in Dubai, and the deadlock that has developed doesn’t seem likely to end any time soon.

By James Watkins  |  February 23, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir once said that the only thing the Jews have against Moses is that he “brought us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!” Israel has always been the barren state, but recent excavations of natural gas and the presence of large shale oil deposits promise to change Israeli energy policy. The consequences of an energy independent Israel are profound, but may not be entirely good for the Middle East. 

By Yacine Fares  |  February 12, 2013

All too familiar with the current economic situations of Greece and Spain, Ireland currently finds itself in a peculiar position within the European Union. In the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, the nation’s economy shrank more than ten percent and weathered one of the deepest recessions in its history. Through extensive global assistance and adherence to strict austerity measures, Ireland is poised in 2013 to become the first country to leave its EU bailout on schedule. Recent economic figures have shown slow market-access growth and led to praise from the European Commission for Ireland’s adherence to its fiscal plan.

By Katie Farineau  |  January 28, 2013

As climate change accelerates, the geography of the Arctic is rapidly changing. Of late, there has been much discussion about new potential that is being opened up in the North, and countries are stepping forward to capitalize on it. The window of opportunity is opening quickly, as temperatures are rising faster in this region than anywhere else in the world. The prospects of particular interest to countries in the vicinity are the potential new shipping routes and fossil fuels, yet it still remains to be seen who is going to lay claim to this highly-demanded area. The Law of the Sea determines nations’ abilities to extract oil and gas beyond a 200-mile exclusive economic zone originating at their borders. For a country to have a legitimate claim to resources, it must demonstrate that the area in question lies on its continental slope. 

By Sarah Moon  |  December 30, 2012

Over the last forty years, a strong and principled argument that privacy is a fundamental human right deserving special protection in an age of high technology has confronted more pragmatic considerations from a variety of interests. The messy twists and turns of this international struggle have produced a sort of consensus on what it means for an organization to process personal data responsibly. But it is an uneasy consensus, hedged by exemptions and qualifications, and regularly shaken by monumental shifts in the processing powers of technology, and by game changers like the 9/11 attacks. 

By Colin Bennett  |  December 14, 2012

Data protection is at the heart of the digital economy. Whether it is students posting photographs of themselves online, consumers typing in credit card details to book a flight, or individuals interacting with e-government applications, we constantly rely on our data being protected. As such, information technology has huge economic and social potential. However, this potential will only be fully realised if citizens trust that their personal information is protected: hyper-connectivity must go hand-in-hand with the protection of privacy online.

By Viviane Reding  |  December 14, 2012

The urbanization of developing countries is transforming global climate, landscapes, societies, and cultures. The strong pull of cities and towns for higher wages and quality of life has emptied rural areas and provided higher incomes, education, health status, longevity, and, for many, liberation from the limitations of rural life.

By Michael Cohen  |  June 30, 2012