Five things we learned last month
With only a few weeks to go before we send it to press, issue #17 is shaping up nicely and our brains are full of new bits of knowledge we came across in our research. To give you an idea of what to expect from our upcoming issue, here are five of the most striking facts we learned in January.
1) According to the Good Country Index, which attempts to measure countries’ contribution to the common good of humanity, Egypt is a surprise world leader in the ‘International Peace and Security’ category. The indicators that helped put it there include the large number of peacekeeping troops it sends overseas and the small percentage of arms exports relative to the size of its economy.
2) Between March and October 2014, the European Leadership Network counted 39 “near-misses” – close encounters between the Russian military and the West. One of the most serious incidents was a near-collision over Denmark in March between a commercial airline and a Russian reconnaissance aircraft after the Russian plane failed to broadcast its position.
3) In 2011, diabetic hacker Jay Radcliffe gave a live demonstration of how to remotely hack into an insulin pump at a Las Vegas hackers conference. Radcliffe showed it was possible to switch off the medical device, which monitors and regulates blood-sugar levels of diabetics, or wirelessly change the dosages administered – with potentially fatal results.
4) The annual ‘Dance Your PhD’ competition was won by University of Georgia PhD student Uma Nagendra in November 2014. The plant biologist relied on aerial acrobatics to bring her research topic (‘Plant-soil feedbacks after severe tornado damage’) to life.
5) Square dancing in public places has become immensely popular in China in recent years. The craze has many bitter opponents, however, and there are reports of people throwing firecrackers at noisy dancers and even setting dogs on them.
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