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Researchers’ Weekly Bulletin: the Blog

News for researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University

Anatomical Atlas of Flies

December 15th, 2014

“This interactive anatomical atlas is a great resource for educators who are teaching the anatomy of flies. Built by scientists from the U.S. and Australia, the user friendly interface allows users to click on body parts to discover the name, or to click on a name to identify the correct anatomical region. The site opens with an explanation of the project. From there, select Access the Anatomical Atlas to open crystal clear photographs taken using a stereo microscope. The four major fly groups can be explored in great detail. This is a gem of a resource with snappy visuals and meticulous anatomical precision. [CNH]”

To view the anatomical atlas go to:

[Source Scout Report, 11 Nov, 2014: ]

Digital Culture in 2014

December 15th, 2014

“[Nesta has] published the results from the 2014 Digital Culture survey, based on the responses of 947 arts and cultural organisations in England. It’s only the second year of this major 3-year study, but we’re already seeing an interesting evolution in how arts and cultural organisations use technology.”

“In particular, where the 2013 survey uncovered relatively fast rates of technology adoption, this year’s survey paints a picture of organisations consolidating their digital activities and enhancing their impact.”

“Three out of four organisations (73 per cent) now say that digital technology is having a considerable positive impact on their ability to fulfil their mission effectively, up from 60 per cent in 2013.”

“When we established the Digital Culture study alongside the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Council England and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, we had the dual purpose to create a benchmarking resource for the sector, and measure the impact of the Digital R&D fund.”

“The survey findings suggest that the Fund is well-aligned with the main trends we’re seeing emerge in the data:

  • Significantly more organisations are using digital technology to generate alternative revenue streams,
  • Organisations are optimising their web presence for mobile and enhancing their use of social media to engage audiences, and
  • Increasing numbers are use of data and enhancing their data capabilities.”

To read the report go to:

To read more go to the Nesta blog at:

[Source Nesta blog as above]

Education for the 21st Century: UNESCO

December 15th, 2014

“The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was founded in 1945 on the premise that, in addition to political and economic agreements, “peace must be established on the basis of humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity.” UNESCO’s goals include advocating for quality education for every child on the planet, building intercultural understanding, pursuing scientific cooperation, and protecting freedom of expression. This site, which provides an overview of Education in the 21st Century, bursts with informative articles. Start with Latest News, where you can read up on initiatives, conferences, and progress reports. Take a look at the Publications list for access to full academic articles on the topic of 21st Century Education, including “BRICS: building education for the future; priorities for national development and international communication” and “Harnessing the potential of ICTs for literacy teaching and learning.” [CNH]”

Go to the UNESCO website here:

[Source Scout Report, 3 Oct, 2014: ]

David Foster Wallace’s ‘The Pale King’

December 15th, 2014

“When David Foster Wallace died in September 2008, he left behind his wife, students, friends, thousands of grieving fans – and an unfinished novel he had been writing, on and off, for over a decade. “The Pale King,” cobbled together from thousands of pages of notes and drafts by his longtime editor and published in early 2011, constituted readers’ last look at a long book from Wallace. Now, thanks to the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, you can have a look the “Author’s Forward,” which eventually became chapter nine in the book. Look through all six drafts of the chapter, from the handwritten scratchings of Wallace’s notebook, to his typed final draft. The Editor’s Note by Michael Pietsch, who eventually brought the book out in its completed form, is well worth the read. [CNH]”

To see the drafts go to:

[Source Scout Report, 11 Nov, 2014: ]

UK Data Service webinar: Open geographies and open software – using open UKDS Census Support datasets in open source GIS software

December 15th, 2014

Date: 21 January 2015, 16.00-17.00

“A large number of geospatial datasets, including boundaries and geographic look-up tables are available through UK Data Service Census Support as open data and can be downloaded by anyone. In recent years open source GIS software has reached a point of maturity of being able to match or even exceed the capabilities of traditional proprietary GIS software.”

“This webinar will provide an introduction to the range of open data that is available through Census Support. Through practical examples based around the geographic visualisation and spatial analysis of census data we will explore the range of the open source GIS software that is available.”

“There will be time available during the webinar for questions.”

[Source ESRC news: ]

New international macrodata at UK Data Service

December 15th, 2014

“We are delighted to announce that UK FE/HE users can now access the OECD Health Statistics via UKDS.Stat.”

“The OECD Health Statistics offers the most comprehensive source of comparable statistics on health and health systems across OECD countries. It is an essential tool for health researchers and policy advisors in governments, the private sector and the academic community, to carry out comparative analyses and draw lessons from international comparisons of diverse health care systems. Annual data from 1960 onwards include the following databases: Health status, Non-medical determinants of health, Health care resources, Health care utilisation, Care quality indicators, Pharmaceutical market, Long-term care resources and utilisation, Health expenditure and financing and Social protection.”

“UKDS.Stat is the data platform for UK Data Service international macrodata. The interface (which uses OECD data warehousing technology) provides many exciting features, including searching across datasets from different providers, combining data series from different datasets, data visualisation options and the ability to save and share queries.”

[Source UK Data Service news: ]

Trans-Atlantic Dialogues on Cultural Heritage: Heritage, Tourism and Traditions

December 15th, 2014

13-16 July 2015, Liverpool, UK

“This conference offers a venue for exploring three critical interactions in this trans-Atlantic dialogue: heritage, tourism and traditions. North America and Europe fashioned two dominant cultural tropes from their powerful and influential intellectual traditions, which have been enacted in Central/South America and Africa, everywhere implicating indigenous cultures.”

“These tropes are contested and linked through historical engagement and contemporary everyday connections. We ask:

  • How do heritages travel?
  • How is trans-Atlantic tourism shaped by heritage?
  • To what extent have traditions crossed and re-crossed the Atlantic?
  • How have heritage and tourism economies emerged based upon flows of peoples and popular imaginaries?”

To find out more go to:

[Source Heritage Portal as above]

World’s first artificial enzymes created using synthetic biology

December 15th, 2014

“Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) funded scientists have created the world’s first enzymes made from artificial genetic material. Their synthetic enzymes, which are made from molecules that do not occur anywhere in nature, are capable of triggering chemical reactions in the lab.”

“The research, published in Nature, gives new insights into the origins of life and could provide a starting point for an entirely new generation of drugs and diagnostics.”

“The findings build on previous work by the team at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, which saw them create synthetic molecules called ‘XNAs’ that can store and pass on genetic information, in a similar way to DNA.”

“Using their lab-made XNAs as building blocks, the team has now created ‘XNAzymes’, which power simple reactions, such as cutting up or stitching together small chunks of RNA, just like naturally occurring enzymes.”

The paper, entitled ‘Catalysts from synthetic genetic polymers’, by Taylor et al, is published in Nature

[Source BBSRC news: ]

Studying transgender and transvestism: a new archive

December 15th, 2014

“Wellcome Collection’s exhibition about the study of sex, The Institute of Sexology, highlights the profound effect that the gathering and analysis of information can have in changing attitudes and lifting taboos. Much of the display takes its inspiration from archives collected by the Library; here Dr Lesley Hall, [Senior Archivist at the Wellcome Library], describes a recent addition to the Library archives on sexology.”

“We are pleased and excited to announce that Dr Dave King’s research collection on transgender and transvestism is now available to researchers in the Library. This collection significantly contributes to expanding our understanding of historical developments around trans* questions in the UK since the high-profile ‘sex change’ cases of the 1940s, 50s and 60s such as Roberta Cowell, Michael Dillon and April Ashley.”

“Dr King, a sociologist at the University of Liverpool, contacted numerous doctors (representing a range of specialities) and other professionals who were involved in the treatment of cases involving gender dysphoria and desire for sex change during the late 1970s and early 1980s. His files include published and unpublished papers by them, correspondence, and the records of his interviews with them.”

“While pioneers such as Sir Harold Gillies were already dead by 1970, King was able to meet with and interview such foundational figures as John B. Randell, who founded the Gender Reassignment Clinic at Charing Cross Hospital, London (PP/KIN/A/2/46/1-8). This work illuminates the attitudes and practices of the medical profession in what was then a very marginal area. There are also files on various high-profile trans* individuals.”

[Source Wellcome Library blog: ]

Archaeologists dig into Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh library

December 8th, 2014

“Dust sparkles in the afternoon sunshine that floods through the high, empty window frames of Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh library. As specialists in masks rake gently through the banks of debris, a German architecture periodical is unearthed beneath some chunks of blackened wood, its pages still damp from the water that eventually extinguished the fire that raged through the category-A listed building in May, where students were preparing for their final-year degree show.”

“Forensic archaeologists [have begun] the painstaking task of sifting through the ashes of the library in what promises to be the most complex and revealing part of the conservation process so far.”

“Although about 90% of the building was saved, the library, one of the world’s finest examples of art nouveau design, which housed many rare and archival materials as well as original furniture and fittings, was almost entirely destroyed.”

To read more and see the pictures go to:

[Source Guardian Education as above]

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