Friday, 19 August 2016

Rural and remote communities, technology and mental health recovery

an article by Oliver K. Burmeister (Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, Australia) and Edwina Marks (Barkly Regional Council, Tennant Creek, Australia) published in Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society Volume 14 Issue 2 (2016)


This study aims to explore how health informatics can underpin the successful delivery of recovery-orientated healthcare, in rural and remote regions, to achieve better mental health outcomes. Recovery is an extremely social process that involves being with others and reconnecting with the world.

An interpretivist study involving 27 clinicians and 13 clients sought to determine how future expenditure on ehealth could improve mental health treatment and service provision in the western Murray Darling Basin of New South Wales, Australia.

Through the use of targeted ehealth strategies, it is possible to increase both the accessibility of information and the quality of service provision. In small communities, the challenges of distance, access to healthcare and the ease of isolating oneself are best overcome through a combination of technology and communal social responsibility. Technology supplements but cannot completely replace face-to-face interaction in the mental health recovery process.

The recovery model provides a conceptual framework for health informatics in rural and remote regions that is socially responsible. Service providers can affect better recovery for clients through infrastructure that enables timely and responsive remote access whilst driving between appointments. This could include interactive referral services, telehealth access to specialist clinicians, GPS for locating clients in remote areas and mobile coverage for counselling sessions in “real time”. Thus, the technology not only provides better connections but also adds to the responsiveness (and success) of any treatment available.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Legal limits on political campaigning by charities: drawing the line

an article by Debra Morris (University of Liverpool, UK) published in Voluntary Sector Review Volume 7 Number 1 (March 2016)


The fear for charities of being on the wrong side of the law when it comes to campaigning has always been strong. Recent UK legislation on political campaigning has caused considerable consternation, bringing some difficult issues to the fore.

This paper reviews recent evidence on legislation, referring to previous regulatory experience to put new developments in a clear context of charity and electoral law. It highlights ambiguities and suggests how further regulatory guidance might help.

Sorry, I can’t find a link to the full article not even for payment

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Inequality – ‘wicked problems’, labour market outcomes and the search for silver bullets

an article by Ewart Keep and Ken Mayhew (University of Oxford, UK) published in Oxford Review of Education Volume 40 Number 6 (November 2014)


In recent years concerns about inequality have been growing in prominence within UK policy debates. The many causes of inequality of earnings and income are complex in their interactions and their tendency to reinforce one another. This makes inequality an intractable or ‘wicked’ policy problem, particularly within a contemporary context in which many of the established policy responses from previous eras are at best discussed in muted terms and more normally deemed to be unavailable.

This reflects the eclipse of ‘equality of outcome’ models and the concomitant rise of ‘equality of opportunity’ as the new policy mantra from Thatcher onwards. As traditional policy responses have withered, the role of education and training as a ‘silver bullet’ that can address a host of economic and social challenges has come to the fore. This article outlines policy makers’ beliefs that improving the educational attainment of students from lower socio-economic backgrounds can enable them to compete more effectively for elite jobs, and also that increasing the supply of educated employees can transform the level of demand for skills from employers.

These beliefs are then critiqued, with reference to occupational congestion, over-qualification and the evidence that skills supply does not always create its own demand. 

Yes, I know that this is old but still worth reading. Hazel

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Public expenditure, economic growth and poverty alleviation

an article by Ritwik Sasmal (Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany) and Joydeb Sasmal (Department of Economics with Rural Development, Vidyasagar University, Midnapore, India) published in International Journal of Social Economics Volume 43 Issue 6 (2016)


The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of public expenditure on economic growth and poverty alleviation in developing countries like India. If poverty and inequality are high, the government may resort to distributive policies at the cost of long-term growth. The distributive policies and poverty alleviation measures fail to achieve success due to lack of good governance, lack of proper targeting and problems in the implementation of such schemes. On the other hand, if the nature of public expenditure is such that it enhances per capita income, it will help reduce poverty.

After analytical digression and construction of hypotheses panel regression has been done using state-level data in the Indian context to empirically verify the above propositions. Both Fixed effects and Random effects models have been used for this purpose.

The results show that in states where ratio of public expenditure on the development of infrastructure such as road, irrigation, power, transport and communication is higher, per capita income is also higher and incidence of poverty is lower indicating that economic growth is important for poverty alleviation and development of infrastructure is necessary for growth.

This study demonstrates how public policy and public finance can be used as instruments for removal of poverty.

Ten more trivial items for you

34 weird vintage photos of women in tiny miniskirts at huge old computers
via Boing Boing by Xeni Jardin
Totally weird and many are completely unrealistic.
Smoking? In a clean zone?
High heels? When you would, as an operator, have spent half the day on your feet?
However towards the end of the pictures there's this girl adjusting 35mm recording tape. If the computer was British instead of American they could have been me in 1961/2.

Look at the rest for yourself

Myth Makers: The long reach of a famous circle of Oxford scholars
via Arts & Letters Daily: Michael Nelson in the Weekly Standard
BOGSAT: according to, a “Bunch Of Guys Sitting Around Talking” in “regularly scheduled daily/weekly worthless meetings.”
The Inklings: according to religion scholars Philip and Carol Zaleski, “a small circle of intellectuals” who “from the end of the Great Depression through World War II and into the 1950s .  .  . gathered on a weekly basis in and around Oxford University to drink, smoke, quip, cavil.”
Were the Inklings a BOGSAT? Yes. Were their meetings worthless? Hardly. The Inklings took their name, wrote J. R. R. Tolkien, as a “pun .  .  . suggesting people with vague or half-formed intimations and ideas plus those who dabble in ink.” Tolkien was at the heart of the group, along with his fellow Oxford don C. S. Lewis, in whose large, shabby rooms at Magdalen College the Inklings met on Thursday evenings.
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What can we learn from Buddhist moral psychology?
via OUP Blog by Jay L. Garfield
Buddhist moral psychology represents a distinctive contribution to contemporary moral discourses. Most Western ethicists neglect to problematize perception at all, and few suggest that ethical engagement begins with perception. But this is a central idea in Buddhist moral theory. Human perception is always perception-as. We see someone as a friend or as an enemy; as a stranger or as an acquaintance. We see objects as desirable or as repulsive. We see ourselves as helpers or as competitors, and our cognitive and action sets follow in train.
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A great brief video introduction to consciousness and its myriad mysteries
via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz
Here's what we know, and what we know we don't know, and what we don't know we know, and what we don't know we don't know.
(The Economist)

Children are asylum seekers too
via An Awfully Big Blog Adventure by Miriam Halahmy
Recently I have discovered that the UK still has around the same number of applications for asylum as we have had for at least the past 8 years - just over 30,000 a year. In 2014 there were 1,861 separated children seeking asylum in the UK. Hardly a swarm! Not a record to be proud of either.
I have become increasingly concerned about the plight of people seeking a place of safety in recent times. Many are children, some only babies in arms. I have asked myself, What would I do in this situation? The same as my great grandparents, I hope.

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What A Stink! That Time London Smelled So Bad That Government Was Abandoned (And The Embankment Was Built)
via Find My Past by Matthew Calfe
Anyone strolling along the Victoria, Albert or Chelsea embankments on a sunny afternoon these coming months might remark at the beauty of their construction, and what a pleasant walk it is. Little do they know that the elegant route is built on top of massive sewer tunnels, constructed as a reaction to exploding toilets, smelly politicians and lots of lime.
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Yes, the links for additional information all go back to Find My Past but I thought this was sufficiently interesting that you could ignore the advertising.

The Pulpit: 1899
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Circa 1899
“Near Lewiston, Minnesota – The Pulpit”
Yet another rock formation with a fanciful name
8x10 inch dry plate glass negative
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The Fascination of Braids
via 3 Quarks Daily by Carl Pierer
Gypsy Shawl
Braids are fairly simple to picture. A few interleaved strands of string, say, gives a complex and mesmerising object. They are aesthetically appealing, as their widespread use as ornament testifies. While most will be familiar with the standard braid used for braiding hair, there is basically no limit to complexity and beauty. Yet, braids are more than merely nice, artistic adornments for clothes and jewellery. The more and deeper you delve into braids and their complex interconnections, the more fascinating they become. Trying to look at them with a mathematical eye opens up pathways and connections to many deep and beautiful fields of pure mathematics.
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Listen: Marlene Dietrich plays musical saw (with bonus Star Trek theme)
via Boing Boing by Andrea James
Marlene Dietrich always wanted to be a classical musician. Since her cabaret act and film career left little time for her to do the required practice, she played the musical saw instead. Throughout World War II she wowed USO audiences with the novelty. Here she is playing "Aloha Oe" in 1944 with the comedic setup she did in her cabaret act.
Lots of pictures and a couple of videos here

Why do we prefer eating sweet things?
via OUP Blog
Is the “sweet tooth” real? The answer may surprise you. Humans vary in their preference towards sweet things; some of us dislike them while others may as well be addicted. But for those of us who have a tendency towards sweetness, why do we like what we like? We are hardly limited by type; our preference spans across both food and drinks, including candy, desserts, fruits, sodas, and even alcoholic beverages. In this short (but sweet) animated video, we take a quick look at the science behind our preference for sweetness.
Continue to here for the video

Friday, 12 August 2016

Gaming the gamer? – The ethics of exploiting psychological research in video games

an article by Johnny Hartz Søraker (University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands) published in Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society Volume 14 Issue 2 (2016)


The purpose of this paper is to investigate the ethical implications of video game companies employing psychologists and using psychological research in game design.

The author first argues that exploiting psychology in video games may be more ethically problematic than familiar application domains like advertising, gambling and political rhetoric. Then an overview of the effects particular types of game design may have on user behavior is provided, taking into account various findings and phenomena from behavioral psychology and behavioral economics.

Finally, the author concludes that the corresponding ethical problems cannot – and should not – be addressed by means of regulation or rating systems. The author argues instead that a more promising countermeasure lies in using the same psychological research to educate gamers (children in particular) and thereby increase their capacity for meta-cognition.

The importance of this lies in the tremendous effect these behavior-modifying technologies may have upon our self-determination, well-being and social relations, as well as corresponding implications for the society.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

User difficulties working with a business classification scheme: a case study

an article by Peta Ifould (Western Australia Police, Perth, Australia) and Pauline Joseph (Curtin University, Perth, Australia) published in Records Management Journal Volume 26 Issue 1 (2016)


The purpose of this paper is to provide a unique perspective into user difficulties working with the functional business classification scheme (BCS) to register, search and retrieve corporate information at the Western Australia Police (WA Police).

This paper is a single case study. Questionnaire and interview data were collected and analysed from a sample of ten EDRMS users on their perspectives of working with the BCS. An interpretive analysis methodology was used, and inductive reasoning was used for thematic analysis and sense making of the textual data from the transcripts.

Although the research participants were confident working with the BCS, they reported difficulties finding an appropriate folder that matched the information to be classified and deciding where to file the information. Participants reported that the design and structure of the BCS and training were identified as areas needing improvement.

Research limitations/implications
Paradigm shifts in the record-keeping role from the professional to the user may have some bearing on the difficulties users face when dealing with their record-keeping responsibilities. The participants provided comments and suggestions for how to make the BCS more user-friendly, more meaningful and more aligned to the business processes of the users that are practicable and workable solutions for the records professionals to implement.

Practical implications
This paper provides a unique user perspective of a BCS, their difficulties working with it and how these difficulties can be resolved in a government organisation.

This paper provides a unique user perspective of a BCS, their difficulties working with it and how these difficulties can be resolved in a government organisation.