The Global Fool

our planet is our village

The Science of Chocolate: How Long Does it Survive in Hospital Wards?
Dec22

The Science of Chocolate: How Long Does it Survive in Hospital Wards?

By Roberta Attanasio The prestigious British Medical Journal is giving the best Christmas present ever to its readers: food for thought. The food is chocolate, the thought (or concern) is chocolate survival. A new research article published just a few days ago and entitled “The survival time of chocolates on hospital wards: covert observational study” presents the result of a study aimed “To quantify the consumption of chocolates in a hospital ward environment.” In other words, the study aimed to answer the following research question: How long does chocolate survive after being identified by healthcare assistants, nurses, and doctors? To answer this research question, observers — doctors familiar with the ward in which testing was being carried out — covertly placed boxes of chocolates at multiple locations (main nursing or reception area of four wards across three United Kingdom sites.) The boxes were kept under continuous covert surveillance and the observers covertly recorded at what time each box was opened, and at what time individual chocolates were taken from each box and eaten. The observers did not discuss the chocolates with ward staff, nor were they on active patient care duties during the observation periods The researchers found that: The survival time of chocolate is short (under an hour) The initial rate of chocolate consumption from a box is rapid but slows with time An exponential decay model best fitted this trend Taken as whole groups, the highest percentages of chocolates were consumed by healthcare assistants and nurses, followed by doctors Importantly, no adverse effects occurred For this study, no identifiable data were collected. No prior consent from participants was sought, as the researchers feared that obtaining consent would bias the study significantly. In the article footnotes, it is stated that the observers would like to apologize to anyone who received a less than truthful answer to the question: “What are you doing...

Read More
Embarrassing Facebook Posts May Cause Anguish
Dec10

Embarrassing Facebook Posts May Cause Anguish

By The Editors A new study from Northwestern University explores the strength of the emotional response to “violations” or ”threats” on Facebook – something that gets posted and results in embarrassment and may, sometimes, create anguish. Jeremy Birnholtz, one of the researchers, said: “Almost every participant in the study could describe something that happened on Facebook in the past six months that was embarrassing or made them feel awkward or uncomfortable.” The study, which will be presented in February 2014 at the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing in Baltimore, found that people concerned about social appropriateness and those with a diverse network of friends on Facebook are more likely to strongly experience a threat, whereas people with a high level of Facebook skills experience the same types of threats less severely. “Perhaps people with more Facebook experience, who know how to control settings, delete pictures and comments and untag, think they knew how to deal with these encounters or at least try to deal with them,” Birnholtz said. The types of violations or threats people in this study reported experiencing most often are: Norm violations: This is the most common type of threat study participants reported experiencing (45 percent) and involves situations when social norms are violated and one’s behavior is exposed in a way that could lead to social and emotional consequences. Ideal self-presentation violations: This is the second most common threat reported (29 percent) and involves ideal self-presentation violations, when content posted is inconsistent with the manner in which a person wants to appear to his or her Facebook audience. Association effects: These threats are a little less common (21 percent) and involve people worrying about their self-presentation because of how someone they associate with on Facebook is presenting himself. Aggregate effects: This is the least common threat (5 percent) and it occurs when an individual’s content gains higher visibility within his or her network as more people like it or comment on it. The unexpected attention can cause one to feel self-conscious about their self-presentation. “People can make bad decisions when posting to your Facebook because they don’t have a good idea of your privacy settings and which friends of yours might see this content,” Birnholtz said. “Facebook doesn’t provide a lot of cues as to how friends want to present themselves to their audience.” He said in the future Facebook could offer more pop-ups and nudges to help people think twice before posting a possible “threat” to a friend’s...

Read More
Facebook: High Connection and Low Well-Being
Aug15

Facebook: High Connection and Low Well-Being

By The Editors Facebook may be big in helping people connect, but may not be that big in making people happy. Indeed, results from a study published in the scientific journal PLOSone indicate that Facebook use predicts decreases in a user’s well being. The study, entitled “Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults” (August 14, 2013), has been carried out by a group of investigators from the University of Michigan (U.S.) and the University of Leuven (Belgium). For the study, the researchers recruited 82 young adults, a core Facebook user demographic. All of them had smart phones and Facebook accounts. They used experience-sampling—one of the most reliable techniques for measuring how people think, feel, and behave moment-to-moment in their daily lives—to assess their subjective well-being by texting them at random times five times a day for two weeks. Each text message contained a link to an online survey with five questions: How do you feel right now? How worried are you right now? How lonely do you feel right now? How much have you used Facebook since the last time we asked? How much have you interacted with other people “directly” since the last time we asked? The study found that the more people used Facebook during one time period, the worse they subsequently felt. The authors also asked people to rate their level of life satisfaction at the start and end of the study. They found that the more participants used Facebook over the two-week study period, the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time. Importantly, the researchers found no evidence that interacting directly with other people via phone or face-to-face negatively influenced well-being. Instead, they found that direct interactions with other people led people to feel better over time. They also found no evidence for two alternative possible explanations for the finding that Facebook undermines happiness. People were not more likely to use Facebook when they felt bad. In addition, although people were more likely to use Facebook when they were lonely, loneliness and Facebook use both independently predicted how happy participants subsequently felt. The authors, in the Concluding Comment of the article, state that “The human need for social connection is well established, as are the benefits that people derive from such connections. On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling such needs by allowing people to instantly connect. Rather than enhancing well-being, as frequent interactions with supportive “offline” social networks powerfully do, the current findings demonstrate that interacting with Facebook may predict the opposite result for young adults—it may undermine it.”...

Read More
Global High Tech Hubs, Applied Sciences and Net-Zero Energy Buildings
Jun17

Global High Tech Hubs, Applied Sciences and Net-Zero Energy Buildings

By The Editors At this time, it only offers a beta class (a one-year Masters of Engineering degree in Computer Science from Cornell University), with a handful of students housed in space donated by Google – in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.  In the next few years, it will be a major global research and academic program that will confer graduate degrees and engage in research in the Applied Sciences – on Roosevelt Island, a 52-hectare sliver of land in the East River between Manhattan and Queens. We’re talking about Cornell NYC Tech and the launch of an innovative curriculum that leaves behind the traditional highly academic approach to learning and moves towards coursework based on an interdisciplinary mix of business and technology with an additional strong component, i.e., real-world experience. According to the Cornell NYC Tech website “Students at Cornell Tech learn and work together with faculty, practitioners, and mentors, at our campus in Google’s Chelsea building, immersed in a culture that encourages entrepreneurial effort and a physical design that encourages collaboration and sharing.” Entrepreneurs are an integral component of the classroom experience and participate by discussing the risks and failures associated with building a start-up. A partnership between Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, a world leader in technology commercialization, adds to the global, entrepreneurial, interdisciplinary graduate curriculum. The plan is to offer Cornell/Technion dual master’s degrees, The campus will be centered on interdisciplinary application domains or “hubs”, rather than traditional colleges, schools and departments. The first three hubs will be called Connective Media, Healthier Life and Built Environment Construction on Roosevelt Island will begin in 2014. In 2017, Cornell Tech will move to its permanent address on Roosevelt Island.  Its first academic building will be a net-zero energy building – a building with zero-net energy consumption and zero carbon emissions annually. Net-zero energy will be achieved mostly through a rooftop solar canopy. In the words of Daniel Huttenlocker, Dean of Cornell Tech, “Just as Cornell Tech will be pioneering new approaches to graduate research and education, our campus won’t look like any other university campus that exists today.  We are determined to innovate in every aspect of the development, from the way that students, faculty, researchers, industry and the community are intermingled, to the sustainability of our buildings and their iconic...

Read More
Globalization, Global Competence and Education
May21

Globalization, Global Competence and Education

By The Editors One of the effects of globalization on higher education is (or will be) the gradual shift from the reductionist approach so in vogue now for many disciplines to a more holistic point of view. The limits of the current discipline-specific reductionist approach will be highlighted when attempting to become globally competent, as discipline-specific knowledge will need to integrate global competence concepts to ensure educational success – success measured on the basis of positive contributions to the new globalized environment as part of the workforce or other. In his commencement address to the graduating class of 1990 at Arkansas College, David Orr suggested six principles for rethinking education – one of these principles comes from the Greek concept of paideia. He said: “The goal of education is not mastery of subject matter, but of one’s person. Subject matter is simply the tool.”  In the current digital age, where borders seem to disappear, global competence is necessary to reach mastery of one’s person. The global competence concept was originally developed by Dr. William Hunter through rigorous research and is summarized as  “Having an open mind while actively seeking to understand cultural norms and expectations of others, and leveraging this gained knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.” During the globalization process of our world, education needs to raise environmental awareness, recognize peace as a common goal, develop appreciation for cultural and social diversity, and operate within the concept of a global village. Education is expected to encourage and represent openness, inquiry, diversity, and limitless learning.  The developing web of MOOCs is one of the major instruments contributing to these educational features. Applying the different facets of the global competence concept to education, independent of the subject matter, will give education the holistic perspective that many feel has been lost. The global competence model in itself is holistic. Feedback provided by Christi Hunter (globalcompetence.org) in a previous post points out that, within the Global Competence Model, Global Leadership Excellence defines the Open-Minded dimension as: “Being receptive to alternative possibilities, being willing to think again despite having formed an opinion, and attempting to avoid those conditions and offset those factors which limit, constrain and/or distort; having a curiosity to acquire new information from a variety of sources and perspectives.” These are all elements that apply to scientific research – and not only. As an example, students in the sciences could refer to the Open-Minded dimension to integrate the holistic approach in their educational experiences, so to better understand the scientific process while acquiring global...

Read More