Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Does temporal and locational flexibility of work increase the supply of working hours? Evidence from the Netherlands

an article by Daniel Possenriede and Wolter H.J. Hassink (Utrecht University School of Economics and IZA) and Janneke Plantenga (Utrecht University School of Economics) published in IZA Journal of Labor Policy Volume 5 2016 Article 16


In recent years, many employees have gained more control over temporal and locational aspects of their work via a variety of flexible work arrangements, such as flexi-time and telehomework. This temporal and locational flexibility of work (TLF) is often seen as a means to facilitate the combination of work and private life.

As such it has been recommended as a policy to increase the average number of working hours of part-time workers. To the best of our knowledge, the effectiveness of this policy instrument has not been tested empirically yet.

We therefore analyse whether flexi-time and telehomework arrangements increase the number of actual, contracted, and preferred working hours. Based on Dutch household panel data, our results indicate that the link between TLF and working hours is quite weak.

Telehomework is associated with moderate increases in actual hours, but not in contracted or preferred hours. Flexi-time generally does not seem to be associated with an increase in hours worked. Despite positive effects on job satisfaction and working time fit, we do not find any convincing evidence of a positive effect of TLF on labour supply.

JEL classification: J22, J32, M52, M54

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What about time? Examining chronological and subjective age and their relation to work motivation

an article by Jos Akkermans and Paul G.W. Jansen (VU Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Annet H. de Lange (HAN University of Applied Sciences, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Radboud University, Nijmegen; and University of Stavanger, Norway), Beatrice I.J.M. van der Heijden (Radboud University, Nijmegen; Open University of The Netherlands; and University of Kingston, London, UK), Dorien T.A.M. Kooij (Tilburg University, The Netherlands) and Josje S.E. Dikkers (Hogeschool Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands) published in Career Development International Volume 21 Issue 4 (2016)


The aging workforce is becoming an increasingly important topic in today’s labor market. However, most scientific research and organizational policies focus on chronological age as the main determinant of successful aging. Based on life span developmental theories – primarily socioemotional selectivity theory and motivational theory of life span development – the purpose of this paper is to test the added value of using subjective age – in terms of remaining opportunities and remaining time – over and above chronological age in their associations with motivation at work and motivation to work.

Workers from five different divisions throughout the Netherlands (n=186) from a taxi company participated in the survey study.

The results from the regression analyses and structural equation modeling analyses support the hypotheses: when subjective age was included in the models, chronological age was virtually unrelated to workers’ intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and motivation to continue to work for one’s organization. Moreover, subjective age was strongly related to work motivation. Specifically, workers who perceived many remaining opportunities were more intrinsically and extrinsically motivated, and those who perceived a lot of remaining time were more motivated across the board.

The findings indicate that subjective age is an important concept to include in studies focussing on successful aging, thereby contributing to life span developmental theories. Further implications for research and practice are discussed.

Payday lending in the UK: the regul(aris)ation of a necessary evil?

an article by Karen Rowlingson (University of Birmingham, UK), Lindsey Appleyard (Coventry University, UK) and Jodi Gardner (Corpus Christi College, Oxford, UK) published in Journal of Social Policy Volume 45, Issue 3 (July 2016)


Concern about the increasing use of payday lending led the UK's Financial Conduct Authority to introduce landmark reforms in 2014/15. While these reforms have generally been welcomed as a way of curbing ‘extortionate’ and ‘predatory’ lending, this paper presents a more nuanced picture based on a theoretically-informed analysis of the growth and nature of payday lending combined with original and rigorous qualitative interviews with customers.

We argue that payday lending has grown as a result of three major and inter-related trends: growing income insecurity for people both in and out of work; cuts in state welfare provision; and increasing financialisation.

Recent reforms of payday lending do nothing to tackle these root causes.

Our research also makes a major contribution to debates about the ‘everyday life’ of financialisation by focusing on the ‘lived experience’ of borrowers. We show that, contrary to the rather simplistic picture presented by the media and many campaigners, various aspects of payday lending are actually welcomed by customers, given the situations they are in.

Tighter regulation may therefore have negative consequences for some. More generally, we argue that the regul(aris)ation of payday lending reinforces the shift in the role of the state from provider/redistributor to regulator/enabler.

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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Ethnicity, gender, deprivation and low educational attainment in England: Political arithmetic, ideological stances and the deficient society

an article by Carl Parsons (University of Greenwich, UK) published in Education, Citizenship and Social Justice Volume 11 Number 2 (July 2016)


Attainment data on England’s school pupils are more extensive in coverage, detail, quantity, accessibility and of higher quality than monitoring statistics routinely available in other European countries. These data facilitate investigation of low attainment in England’s schools and its relationship to ethnicity, gender and poverty.

This article reviews longitudinal sample studies and extends this with simpler presentations of England’s national attainment statistics for education over 5 years up to 2014. The analyses show recurrent correlations of low attainment with specific ethnic minority groups, with gender and most strongly with low-income sections of society.

There is a strong case, from these data and other research, that these inequalities are rooted in social and economic factors outside the school, created and sustained by neoliberal economic practices and elitist structures. It is argued that reducing the proportion of children growing up in poverty will have a bigger impact on raising average attainment levels than focusing on in-school factors.

Religious Diversity and the Challenge of Social Inclusion

an article by Gary Bouma published in Social Inclusion Volume 4 Number 2 (2016)


As societies have become religiously diverse in ways and extents not familiar in the recent histories of most, the issues of how to include this diversity and how to manage it, that is, questions about how to be a religiously diverse society have come to the fore.

As a result religion has become part of the social policy conversation in new ways.

It has also occasioned new thinking about religions, their forms and the complexity of ways they are negotiated by adherents and the ways they are related to society, the state and each other.

This issue of Social Inclusion explores these issues of social inclusion in both particular settings and in cross-national comparative studies by presenting research and critical thought on this critical issue facing every society today.

Full text (PDF download)

The Global Gender Gap Report 2016

via South West Skills Newsletter (The Marchmont Web Flash) November 2016

Through the Global Gender Gap Report, the World Economic Forum quantifies the magnitude of gender disparities and tracks their progress over time, with a specific focus on the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economy and politics.

The 2016 Report covers 144 countries. More than a decade of data has revealed that progress is still too slow for realizing the full potential of one half of humanity within our lifetimes.

Full text (PDF 391pp)

An institutional theory of the informal economy: some lessons from the United Kingdom

an article by Colin C Williams (Management School, University of Sheffield, UK) and Ioana Alexandra Horodnic ('Gh. Zane' Institute for Economic and Social Research, Romanian Academy Iasi Branch, Romania) published in International Journal of Social Economics Volume 43 Issue 7 (2016)


The purpose of this paper is to propose a new way of explaining participation in the informal economy as resulting from the asymmetry between the codified laws and regulations of a society’s formal institutions (government morality) and the norms, values and beliefs of the population that constitute its informal institutions (societal morality). The proposition is that the greater the asymmetry between government morality and societal morality, the greater is the propensity to participate in the informal economy.

To evaluate this institutional asymmetry theory, the results are reported of 1,306 face-to-face interviews conducted during 2013 in the UK.

The finding is a strong correlation between the degree of institutional asymmetry (measured by tax morale) and participation in the informal economy. The lower the tax morale, the greater is the propensity to participate in the informal economy. Using ordered logistic regression analysis, tax morale is not found to significantly vary by, for example, social class, employment status or wealth, but there are significant gender, age and spatial variations with men, younger age groups, rural areas and Scotland displaying significantly lower tax morale than women, older people, urban areas and London.

Practical implications
Rather than continue with the current disincentives policy approach, a new policy approach that reduces the asymmetry between government morality and societal morality is advocated. This requires not only changes in societal morality regarding the acceptability of participating in the informal economy but also changes in how formal institutions operate in order for this to be achieved.

This paper provides a new way of explaining participation in the informal economy and reviews its consequences for understanding and tackling the informal economy in the UK.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Sustainable lifestyles for all? Disability equality, sustainability and the limitations of current UK policy

an article by Deborah Fenney Salkeld (University of Leeds, UK) published in Disability & Society Volume 31 Issue 4 (2016)


In recent years, various environmental threats have been highlighted in relation to disability. Growing knowledge of the effects of climate change and particular impacts on disabled people have been highlighted by a number of authors, including a recent critique of disabled people’s ‘vulnerability’ with respect to environmental hazard.

This article focuses on the issue of citizen involvement with climate change mitigation – and more broadly individual and household-level efforts to reduce our impact on the environment. These more mundane aspects of climate change mitigation, for example through transitions to more sustainable lifestyles, also have significant implications for disabled people.

The article argues that disability equality is a key component of sustainability. Limitations are demonstrated in policy designed to address these issues using the example of current UK policy, and it is suggested that policy approaches to sustainability should also be a concern of disability studies.

Austerity policies, ‘precarity’ and the nonprofit workforce: A comparative study of UK and Canada

an article by Ian Cunningham (University of Strathclyde, UK), Donna Baines (University of Sydney, Australia), John Shields (Ryerson University, Canada) and Wayne Lewchuk (McMaster University, Canada) published in JIR The Journal of Industrial Relations Volume 58 Number 4 (September 2016)


Drawing on qualitative interview data from case studies in Scotland and Canada in the post 2008 era, this article explores the impact of austerity policies on the conditions and experience of employment in two nonprofit social service agencies and their shifting labour process.

Despite differences in context, the article finds a similarity of experience of austerity-compelled precarity at several levels in the agency. This precarity increased management control and evoked little resistance from employees. These findings contribute to our understanding of austerity as articulated differently in different contexts, but experienced similarly at the front lines of care work.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

UK has highest rates of cocaine use and gonorrhoea in Europe [feedly]

via the Guardian by Press Association

Report says 4.2% of Britons aged 15-34 have used cocaine in the past year, while 60 people out of every 100,000 have gonorrhoea

The UK is a European hotspot for cocaine use and gonorrhoea, a new report suggests.

Across Europe, 1.9% of young adults aged 15 to 34 report using cocaine in the last year. But in the UK this figure stands at 4.2%, according to the Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 report from the European Commission and the OECD.

“Cocaine is the most commonly used illicit stimulant in Europe,” the authors wrote. “About 2% of young adults aged 15 to 34 report having used cocaine in the last year.”

There are two online editions (both free) PDF and ePub

Further information from the OECD i-Library

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The influence of personality traits and social networks on the self-disclosure behavior of social network site users

an article by Xi Chen, Yin Pan and Bin Guo (Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China) published in Internet Research Volume 26 Issue 3 (2016)


The purpose of this paper is to determine the influence and interaction of social networks and personality traits on the self-disclosure behavior of social network site (SNS) users. According to social capital theory and the Big Five personality model, the authors hypothesized that social capital factors would affect the accuracy and amount of self-disclosure behavior and that personality traits would moderate this effect.

A survey was conducted to collect data from 207 SNS users. The questionnaire was administered in university classrooms and libraries and via e-mail. The measurement model and structural model were examined by using LISREL 8.8 and SmartPLS 2.0.

Based on the path analysis, the authors identified several interesting patterns to explain self-disclosure behavior on SNSs. First, the centrality of SNS users has a positive effect on their amount of self-disclosure. Moreover, people who are more extroverted disclose personal information that is more accurate with the level of the cognitive dimension held constant and disclose a greater amount of personal information with the level of the structural dimension held constant. From a practical perspective, the results may provide useful insight for companies operating SNSs.

This study analyzed the influence of social capital factors on SNS users’ self-disclosure, as well as the interactions between personality and social capital factors. Specifically, the authors examined six important variables of social capital divided into three dimensions. This research complements current research on SNSs by focusing on SNS users’ motivation to disclose self-related information in addition to information sharing.

Monday, 21 November 2016

The Influence of Social Background on Participation in Adult Education: Applying the Cultural Capital Framework

an article by Sebastiano Cincinnato, Bram De Wever, Hilde Van Keer and Martin Valcke (Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium) published in Adult Education Quarterly Volume 66 Number 2 (May 2016)


In this article, we address the issue of participation in adult education building on the cultural capital framework. This theoretical framework suggests that (educational) practices are affected by one’s social background and, more precisely, by the cultural resources handed down in the family context.

To examine the validity of this theoretical framework, we build on data from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies from 23 countries (n = 120,789). The Programme data allow using the variables parents’ educational level (a proxy for social background), educational attainment, and readiness to learn as precursors of participation in adult education (both a proxy for cultural capital).

Our findings suggest that the cultural capital framework is not fully suited to explain participation in adult education: Although social background has an (indirect) influence on participation, its effect does not concur with theoretical predictions, that is, mediated by the readiness to learn.

Regional yearbook 2016: my region in figures

Eurostat publication 173/2016

Is life expectancy in my region higher than in other regions in the European Union (EU)? Is my region richer than others? Does it have fewer road accidents? Does it have many households with broadband internet connection? The answers to these questions and many more are found in the 2016 edition of the regional yearbook, published each year by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. The regional yearbook provides an overview of the wide range of regional statistics available for the 276 NUTS level 2 regions and, for some indicators, the 1 342 NUTS level 3 regions of the 28 Member States of the EU as well as, when available, the regions in EFTA and candidate countries.

Continue reading for date, charts, graphs, a map and links to more detailed information

Do women only talk about “female issues”? Gender and issue discussion on Twitter

an article by Heather Evans (Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, USA) (MacEwan University, Edmonton, Canada) published in Online Information Review Volume 40 Issue 5 (2016)


Recent research has shown that female US House candidates were more likely to talk about so-called “female issues” on Twitter during the 2012 election (Evans and Clark, 2015). In this paper, the author extends this former work by investigating the Twitter activity of all US House representatives during their 2012 election and seven months later (June and July of 2013). The purpose of this paper is to show that women do talk more about “female issues” than men, but do not only focus on these issues.

This paper content analyzes the tweets sent by female and male representatives in the 113th Congress during their 2012 elections, and seven months later.

Female representatives spend significantly more time devoted to “female issues” on Twitter than male representatives, but their time is not dominated entirely by “female issues.” Even though the difference is not statistically significant, women sent more tweets about “male issues” than men both during and after the 2012 election. Women tweet more than men about “women,” but they also care about business issues, as is evidenced by that issue being one of the most discussed on Twitter by female representatives during both the election and seven months later.

Unlike other studies on gender and issue discussion, this paper examines a new type of communication: Twitter. Tweets are split by issue type (female/male) and the author sees that while women do discuss “female issues” more than men, they do not exclude “male issues.” This paper also shows that women focus on “female issues” both during elections and after.

Drivers and effects of labour market reforms: Evidence from a novel policy compendium

an article by Dragos Adascalitei and Clemente Pignatti Morano (Research Department, International Labour Organization) published in IZA Journal of Labor Policy Volume 5 Article 15 (2016)


The paper analyses the determinants and short-term effects of labour market reforms, using information from a novel policy compendium that covers 110 developed and developing economies between 2008 and 2014.

We find that the approval of reforms is positively associated with the unemployment rate, the simultaneous implementation of fiscal consolidation measures and the presence of a fixed exchange rate regime. Differences in the results are explored by looking at the direction of reforms (i.e. increasing or decreasing legislation), temporal horizon (i.e. temporary or permanent measures) and coverage (i.e. complete or two-tier reforms); while also analysing separately reforms’ determinants across domains of labour legislation (e.g. permanent contracts, collective dismissals).

Finally, we find that deregulatory labour market reforms tend to increase the unemployment rate in the short run when they are approved during contractionary periods – while they have a non-significant effect when approved during periods of economic stability or expansion.

JEL Classification: J20, J52, J38, J48, J58, K31

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Thursday, 17 November 2016

The false narrative about personal budgets in England: smoke and mirrors?

an article by Colin Slasberg (independent consultant, Harlow, UK) and Peter Beresford (University of Essex, Colchester and Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK) published in Disability & Society


Successive governments have supported ‘personal budgets’ as the route to transforming social care.

However, this article outlines how the evidence has been constructed in a way that creates a narrative about personal budgets which is misleading. It is a narrative that continues to dominate the national strategy.

The consequence is that the care system remains set in a dysfunctional, two-tier state. For the bottom tier, comprising over 90%, we argue there has not been, nor will there be under the current strategy, any transformation.

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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

‘The language is disgusting and they refer to my disability’: the cyberharassment of disabled people

an article by Zhraa A. Alhaboby, Haider M. al-Khateeb, James Barnes and Emma Short (University of Bedfordhshire, Luton, UK) published in Disability & Society Volume 31 Issue 8 (2016)


Disabled people face hostility and harassment in their socio-cultural environment. The use of electronic communications creates an online context that further reshapes this discrimination.

We explored the experiences of 19 disabled victims of cyberharassment.

Five themes emerged from the study: disability and health consequences, family involvement, misrepresentation of self, perceived complexity, and lack of awareness and expertise.

Cyberharassment incidents against disabled people were influenced by the pre-existing impairment, perceived hate-targeting, and perpetrators faking disability to get closer to victims online. Our findings highlight a growing issue requiring action and proper support.

The ‘Uberization’ of the labour market: some thoughts from an employment law perspective on the collaborative economy

an article by Stefan Nerinckx (Fieldfisher LLPBruxellesBelgien) published in ERA Forum Volume 17 Issue 2 (June 2016)


New collaborative economy models are influencing existing businesses. The most visible examples of the collaborative/platform economy involve renting apartments, sharing cars (TNC) and the delivery of goods and services.

Surveys reveal significant economic potential within the collaborative economy but also a large degree of uncertainty regarding rights and obligations (liabilities, protection of customers, regulatory framework, tax and social security treatment of the income derived, employment status,…).

But the collaborative platform economy also increases competition, changes consumer behaviour and creates challenges. The subject is high on the political agenda of the EU’s Digital Single Market Strategy and an impressive number of court cases are being launched to clarify things.

This article focuses on the employment law structure of the collaborative economy/platforms from an EU perspective.

Useful list of references here

with grateful thanks to Mondaq blog for the link

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

OECD Labour Force Statistics 2004-2015

This annual edition of Labour Force Statistics provides detailed statistics on population, labour force, employment and unemployment, broken down by gender, as well as unemployment duration, employment status, employment by sector of activity and part-time employment.

244pp of statistics (PDF)

Yet more trivia for you, most of which is not trivial

Man, weeping
History is full of sorrowful knights, sobbing monks and weeping lovers – what happened to the noble art of the manly cry?
via Arts & Letters Daily: Sandra Newman in aeon
One of our most firmly entrenched ideas of masculinity is that men don’t cry. Although he might shed a discreet tear at a funeral, and it’s acceptable for him to well up when he slams his fingers in a car door, a real man is expected to quickly regain control. Sobbing openly is strictly for girls.
This isn’t just a social expectation; it’s a scientific fact. All the research to date finds that women cry significantly more than men. A meta-study by the German Society of Ophthalmology in 2009 found that women weep, on average, five times as often, and almost twice as long per episode. The discrepancy is such a commonplace, we tend to assume it’s biologically hard-wired; that, whether you like it or not, this is one gender difference that isn’t going away.
But actually, the gender gap in crying seems to be a recent development. Historical and literary evidence suggests that, in the past, not only did men cry in public, but no one saw it as feminine or shameful. In fact, male weeping was regarded as normal in almost every part of the world for most of recorded history.
Continue reading

Bloodshed and the birth of the modern Middle East
via 3 Quarks Daily: Mark Mazower at the Financial Times
Before the first world war, the term “Middle East” was virtually unknown. The Ottoman empire had ruled for centuries over the lands from the Sahara to Persia but did not refer to them as part of a single region. Coined in the mid-19th century, the phrase became popular only in the mid-20th. It reflected the growing popularity of geopolitical thinking as well as the strategic anxieties of the rivalrous great powers, and its spread was a sign of growing European meddling in the destiny of the Arab-speaking peoples.
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Dmitri Mendeleev's lost elements
via OUP Blog by Marco Fontani, Mariagrazia Costa and Mary Virginia Orna
Dmitri Mendeleev believed he was a great scientist and indeed he was. He was not actually recognized as such until his periodic table achieved worldwide diffusion and began to appear in textbooks of general chemistry and in other major publications. When Mendeleev died in February 1907, the periodic table was established well enough to stand on its own and perpetuate his name for upcoming generations of chemists.
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Renoir sucks – or does he?
via Boing Boing by Rob Beschizza
Even Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the long-dead impressionist painter, cannot escape the internet's disdain for pretty things that are also smarmy.
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George Burroughs: Salem's perfect witch
via OUP Blog by Emerson W. Baker
On 19 August 1692, George Burroughs stood on the ladder and calmly made a perfect recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. Some in the large crowd of observers were moved to tears, so much so that it seemed the proceedings might come to a halt. But Reverend Burroughs had uttered his last words. He was soon “turned off” the ladder, hanged to death for the high crime of witchcraft. After the execution, Reverend Cotton Mather, who had been watching the proceedings from horseback, acted quickly to calm the restless multitude. He reminded them among other things “that the Devil has often been transformed into an Angel of Light” – that despite his pious words and demeanour, Burroughs had been the leader of Satan’s war against New England. Thus assured, the executions would continue. Five people would die that day, one of most dramatic and important in the course of the Salem witch trials. For the audience on 19 August realised that if a Puritan minister could hang for witchcraft, then no one was safe. Their tears and protests were the beginning of the public opposition that would eventually bring the trials to an end. Unfortunately, by the time that happened, nineteen people had been executed, one pressed to death, and five perished in the wretched squalor of the Salem and Boston jails.
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16 Old-School Internet Acronyms: How Many Can You Recognize?
via Stephen's Lighthouse: Gretchen McCulloch on Mental Floss
Try for yourself here
I got none of them although recognised several of them when told the answer.

The Evolution of Language: When is a Phone not a Phone?
via Scholarly Kitchen by David Crotty
As the old joke goes, when is a door not a door? Puns aside, technology continues to evolve at a pace so rapid that it’s difficult for language, which moves slower, to keep up. We still “dial” a phone, despite phones not having rotary dials for decades.
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Interview with Queen
via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz
Over at Cuepoint, Alan Light talks to Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen about their signature operatic rock sound, the band's chemistry, and the final days of Freddie Mercury.
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A voyage around 'Las Meninas'
via 3 Quarks Daily: Simon Schama in Financial Times
Diego Velázquez’s 1656 painting, ‘Las Meninas’
Jacobs, one of the great non-fiction writers of this and the last century, is usually found shelved under “travel writing”, which is the truth but certainly not the whole truth, any more than it adequately describes the books of Bruce Chatwin or Patrick Leigh Fermor. Wherever they happened to go, the travel all these writers undertook was essentially a journey through themselves, and the reports they made drew their power from the geography of their memories. It was their imaginations that roamed as much as their boats or mules.
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The Investigation of Working Memory in Monolinguals, Bilinguals and Trilinguals

an article by Nashmineh Moradi, Hamid Gholami (affiliation(s) not known) published in Journal of Studies in Education Volume 6 Number 3 (2016)


The aim of the present study was to figure out if there are any differences between monolinguals, bilinguals and trilinguals regarding their working memory capacity. This study was exposed fact in design and was a quantitative correlational study.

For the purpose of this study, 90 Iranian participants were selected from different universities and foreign language institutes. For all monolingual samples Persian was their only language, for bilinguals Persian was their first language and Kurdish was their second language, and trilinguals were participants with the ability, in addition to Persian and Kurdish, to speak in English.

The results of the three research questions indicated that monolinguals and bilinguals had no significant difference regarding their working memory capacity, the result was the same for monolinguals and trilinguals, but there was a significant difference between bilinguals and trilinguals in their working memory capacity.

Full Text: PDF

Cybervictims’ emotional responses, attributions, and coping strategies for cyber victimization: a qualitative approach

an article by Michelle F. Wright (Department of Psychology, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic) published in Safer Communities Volume 15 Issue 3 (2016)


The purpose of this paper is to understand cybervictims’ attributions, emotional responses, and coping strategies for cyberbullying incidents that they actually experienced.

There were 76 cybervictims (51 percent girls) between the ages of 12 and 14 included in this study. Adolescents participated in one-on-one interviews to provide comprehensive information about their attributions, emotional responses, and coping strategies for their actual experiences of cyberbullying.

Findings from the study revealed that cybervictims felt insecure and paranoid after experiencing cyber victimization. Cybervictims attributed to their experience of cyberbullying to drama or a fight between themselves and the perpetrators as well as being targeted by an ex-significant other or ex-friend seeking revenge against them for relationship dissolution. They also used adaptive (e.g. social support) and maladaptive (e.g. revenge) coping strategies to deal with cyber victimization, sometimes utilizing a combination of these strategies.

The findings of this study could help with the design of intervention and prevention programs designed to reduce or prevent the negative effects of cyberbullying.

Cheats, charity cases and inspirations: disrupting the circulation of disability-based memes online

an article by Bree Hadley (Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, QLD, Australia) published in Disability & Society Volume 31 Issue 5 (2016)


With the increasing part online self-performance plays in day-to-day life in the twenty-first century, it is not surprising that critiques of the way the daily social drama of disability plays out in online spaces and places have begun to gain prominence. In this article, I consider memes as a highly specific style or strategy for representing disability via social media sites.

I identify three commonly circulating categories of meme – the charity case, inspiration and cheat memes – all of which offer representations that people with disabilities find highly problematic.

I then investigate the ways in which disabled people have begun to resist the representation and circulation of these commonly circulating categories of memes, via the production of counter or parodic memes.

I focus, in particular, on the subversive potential of these counter memes, within disability communities online and within broader communities online.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

A serious game-based solution to prevent bullying

an article by Cátia Raminhos, Ana Paula Cláudio and Maria Beatriz Carmo (BioISI – Biosystems and Integrative Sciences Institute, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal) and Augusta Gaspar, Susana Carvalhosa and Maria de Jesus Candeias (Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Centro de Investigação e Intervenção Social, Lisboa, Portugal) published in International Journal of Pervasive Computing and Communications Volume 12 Issue 2 (2016)


The purpose of this paper is to present a Serious Game with the main purpose of inducing attitude changes as a way to prevent bullying, in a target audience of young people between 10 and 12 years old.

The rationale for prevention is: first, to help victims of these aggressive episodes to acquire or improve competencies in avoiding or dealing with future real bullying situations; and second, to promote empathy toward the victims in bystanders. A back office application complements the game, providing substantial assistance to psychologists while using the game with patients in therapy or in research work.

Both components, the game and the back office, were evaluated with volunteers. The user study leads the authors to the conclusion that the current version of the game holds good potential in bullying prevention: the young people that played the game in a continuous time span, at the end of this testing process, have expressed improvements in their bullying prevention strategies. The back office application, a distinctive feature of the solution when compared to other similar bullying prevention solutions, was positively assessed by the psychologists who tested it.

The game deals with strong social features, such as number of friends and invitations to social events (e.g. a birthday party), to which young people give much importance. Additionally, it offers a variability of scenarios and consequences of actions, taking into account the user’s performance in the game. The main factors that makes the presented solution stand out in comparison with other similar bullying prevention solutions are mainly the following: It includes a back office application to assist therapists with data management features; the role of the player in the game can be chosen according to his own profile; it is possible to play even outside a therapy session (e.g. at home); and it is a portable solution.

Inadequate housing is costing Europe €194 billion per year

from Eurofound

Inadequate and poor housing is costing EU economies nearly €194 billion per year in terms of both direct costs associated with healthcare and related medical or social services, as well as indirect costs such as lost productivity and reduced opportunities. The removal of housing inadequacies across the EU, or at least improving them to an acceptable level, would cost about €295 billion at 2011 prices. If all necessary improvements were completed at once, the cost to EU economies and societies would be repaid within 18 months by projected savings in healthcare and through better social outcomes. This is according to Eurofound’s new report Inadequate housing in Europe: Costs and consequences.

The report, requested by the European Parliament's 2013 resolution Social housing in the EU and based on data from the third European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) finds that, although the quality of housing has been gradually improving in recent years, issues such as heating, insulation, structural problems and cramped conditions continue to affect a substantial proportion of the population in most Member States. These inadequacies have negative impacts on health, result in a greater vulnerability to accidents, and have a negative impact on productivity and economic output.

The report also shows considerable divergence in the standards of housing in Europe. Although only 3% of EU residents reported lacking basic facilities such as an indoor flushing toilet, or a bath or shower, this statistic masks large national differences. In Romania, for example, 22% of the population have neither a toilet, nor a bath/shower. Issues associated with structural problems are more widespread; 12% of EU residents reported damp or leaks, and 9% lived in accommodation with rot in windows, doors and floors. Again, there are pronounced national differences; in Cyprus more than half of residents reported a structural issue in their dwelling, whereas in Austria and Sweden it was less than one in ten.

If all the work to correct these issues was done at once, the €295 billion cost involved in removing housing inadequacies in the EU would be paid back via direct medical savings, and indirect savings and efficiency gains, in 18 months. In countries such as Cyprus, Portugal, Malta, Spain, Greece and Hungary the investment would be recuperated in less than one year. This figure does not include non-health related outcomes such as the impact on market values, home insurance, enforcement action, or the potential economic and social capital associated with community development via the improvement of housing.

The report recommends immediate actions that can be taken, such as improving data collected at national level, so that interventions can be well planned and capitalise on a strong return on investment. The report is also accompanied by a set of case studies from across Europe that will be of particular interest to housing policy experts and legislators.

Finally, it highlights that the removal of housing inadequacies is a long-term investment that will pay both short-term and long-term social and economic dividends. The positive outcomes are not limited to health, where savings on healthcare provision alone would be some €9 billion in the first year, but can also entail the stimulation of the local economy, improved social protection of groups in difficulties, the integration of migrants, and fostering social mobility, particularly for Europe's most disadvantaged children living in inadequate housing.

Download the report in full here.

Misperceptions of unemployment and individual labor market outcomes

an article by Ana Rute Cardoso (IAE-CSIC, Autonomous University of Barcelona), Annalisa Loviglio and Lavinia Piemontese published in IZA Journal of Labor Policy Volume 5 Article 13 (2016)


We analyze the impact of misperceptions of the unemployment rate on individual wages, using the European Social Survey.

We follow a threefold strategy to tackle potential endogeneity problems, as the model includes the following: controls for worker’s ability, the regional unemployment rate, and country fixed effects. We estimate interval regression models.

When subjective perceptions overstate the country unemployment rate, a one percentage point gap between the perceived and the actual rates reduces wages by 0.4 to 0.7 %. We discuss a potential mechanism. A pessimistic view of the labor market leads to concern over own employment prospects, lowering perceived bargaining power and reservation wages.

JEL Classification: J31 D80

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Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Are U.K. Citizens Satisfied With E-Government Services? Identifying and Testing Antecedents of Satisfaction

an article by Vishanth Weerakkody (Brunel University London, Uxbridge, Middlezex, UK), Zahir Irani, Habin Lee, Nitham Hindi and Ibrahim Osman published in Information Systems Management Volume 33 Issue 4 (2016)


Citizens’ satisfaction is acknowledged as one of the most significant influences for e-government adoption and diffusion. This study examines the impact of information quality, system quality, trust, and cost on user satisfaction of e-government services.

Using a survey, this study collected 1,518 valid responses from e-government service adopters across the United Kingdom. Our empirical outcomes show the five factors identified in this study have a significant impact on U.K. citizens’ satisfaction with e-government services.

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The changing graduate labour market: analysis using a new indicator of graduate jobs

an article by Francis Green and Golo Henseke (LLAKES Centre, UCL Institute of Education) published in IZA Journal of Labor Policy Volume 5 (2016)


This paper examines differentiation in the recent evolving graduate labour market in Britain. Using a novel statistically derived indicator of graduate jobs, based on job skill requirements in three-digit occupations obtained from the British Skills and Employment Survey series, we analyse trends in the labour market between 1997/2001 and 2006/2012.

The indicator performs better than other indicators in validation tests, could be applied flexibly in other contexts, and is available in the Additional file 1.

We find that the massive influx of graduates into the labour force has been absorbed with no increase in overeducation. However, the returns to graduation have become more dispersed, with those at the upper quartile of the residual distribution increasing, while those at the lowest quartile have fallen.

The wage gap between matched and overeducated graduates increased by 11 log points.

Using the British Household Panel Study, we find that the persistence of overeducation status did not change but for non-employed male graduates moving into employment, the chances of entering a graduate job decreased.

JEL Classification: J21, J24, J3

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Tuesday, 8 November 2016

What are you saving by face?

an article by Gabrielle Adams published in London Business School Review Volume 27 Issue 1 Spring 2016


Research by Dr Gabrielle Adams holds the nonverbal expression of ‘sorry’ to financial account.

A face in two halves and some explanatory text

Another ten diverse "things" I've found to interest you

The wooden box strung with taut wire and scraped with horse-hair tied to a stick
via OUP Blog by Jane Griffiths
After a recent performance, a member of the audience came up to tell me that he’d enjoyed my playing. “I always think,” he said, as if he were being original, “that the violin is the instrument that most closely resembles the human voice.” Outwardly I nodded assent and smiled; inwardly I groaned. If you happen to be a violinist, then you’ll be only too familiar with this particular cliché. But, as the old adage goes, clichés are clichés for a reason. A colleague has a notion that this one came about because playing the violin causes the same areas of the body – head, arms, and chest – to vibrate and resonate as when singing. Whether this theory holds or not, it is undoubtedly true that the violin, or fiddle, is one of the most versatile and expressive instruments we play.
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A book of the beautiful street signs in Paris
via Boing Boing by Sarina Frauenfelder

I don’t know if anyone knows the magnificent signs of Paris as extensively as Louise Fili. For over 40 years the American-born graphic designer roamed the “City of Lights”, documenting and photographing the signs that bring life and expression to the streets of Paris. The signs that grace Parisian cafes, boutiques, hotels, patisseries, the Métro, etc. are spectacular works of art, from Nouveau and deco to modern and pop. Thankfully Fili has preserved the images of these graphic masterpieces, as already some of the signs in this book no longer exist. As an art student myself, Graphique de la Rue is a brilliant book of eye candy that inspires me every time I open it.
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Brobdingnagian Numbers
via 3 Quarks Daily by Jonathan Kujawa
To say math is about numbers is like saying writing is about words. You can use words well or badly, but in the end it is the things and ideas they represent which are important. Just so with numbers.
I have a clear memory of learning in middle school that the plots of Shakespeare's plays were nothing but retreads of older tales. With the certainty of youth I wrote off Shakespeare as nothing but an over-glorified plagiarist. It took a few years to come around to the realisation you don't read Shakespeare after all these years for the plots, but for his deep study of human nature and unmatched skill with words. Will could put the right words in the right order and really zing: “How well he's read, to reason against reading!” or “Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing”.
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Coleridge's way with words
via OUP Blog by H.J. Jackson
Why should we commemorate Samuel Taylor Coleridge? The obvious reason is his high status as a poet, but a better one might be his exuberance as a wordsmith. As a poet, after all, he is widely known for only two relatively short works: ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ and ‘Kubla Khan.’ While the academy would no doubt add four or five others prized by specialists, the total number is still small. On the other hand, Coleridge’s creative output as a word worker – inventing, importing, adapting, and generally messing about with language – is enormous, his impact incalculable. His collected works now fill 50 volumes in the standard scholarly editions, and his mastery of the arts of language is evident in every one of them.
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10 fun tricks to do with liquid
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder
Start a fire with a water bottle. Use glycerine to make a bottle disappear. Create weird dancing blobs with cornstarch and water. Marvel at water droplets sizzling in a hot pan. Poke pencils through a water-filled ziplock bag without the water leaking. This video has a total of ten cool things you can try at home. It's also one of the rare YouTube videos that doesn't require skipping ahead 20% to get to the interesting part.

Why Did Europe Conquer the World?
via 3 Quarks Daily: Martin Vander Weyer in The Telegraph
The course of history can be interpreted in many ways: as a search for food, water and treasure; as an ideological clash between light and dark; as a class struggle; or as a random intersection of topography, technology, disease, weather and occasional outbursts of charismatic leadership.
Abba’s Waterloo reminds us: “The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself.”
But why? And is it really possible to nail history into a simple framework that explains everything? That, essentially, is what Philip T Hoffman, professor of business economics and history at the California Institute of Technology, attempts in Why Did Europe Conquer the World? – an elegantly concise contribution to the Princeton Economic History of the Western World series. Its starting point is the assertion that Europe really did conquer the world, or at least 84 per cent of it, between 1492 and 1914 – but that you probably would not have bet on that outcome had you landed on Earth in the year 900, when our continent was deeply backward in comparison with the cultural and commercial sophistication of the Muslim Middle East, southern China and Japan.

10 Film Recommendations for Book Lovers
via Abe Books by Beth Carswell
Look, even the most devout and voracious reader has to come up for air sometimes to prevent our eyes from crossing. And when we do, surely we must dip a toe into the waters of other hobbies. What’s nice, though, is how many of those hobbies can still sneakily support our bibliohabits. Film-watching, of course, is a no-brainer. With many of our most beloved stories adapted for the silver screen, it’s another avenue to spend time with our favourite literary characters.
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Trillions of viruses in our bodies
via 3 Quarks DailyEnrique and Gullans in delanceyplace
"The human virome includes trillions of viruses that live in and on our cells, plus even more that inhabit the bacteria in our microbiome. The virome is poorly understood and could be considered the 'dark matter of nature' and humanity; we know it is there but have a very hard time describing it or knowing what it is doing. The human virome is essentially our fourth genome; it interacts directly and indirectly with our other three genomes. Moreover, like your genome, epigenome, and microbiome, your virome is absolutely unique. Viruses live in our intestines, mouths, lungs, skin, and even in our blood, the latter being only discovered recently. But fret not; given that people are generally healthy day-to-day, the virome overall must be benign, and given the millennia of mutual coexistence, our viromes must provide benefits that we don't yet appreciate.”
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Save the universe (and your relationship) by shooting aliens
via Boing Boing by Laura Hudson
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a game about love, about cooperation, and possibly about what it means to save a relationship that’s falling apart.
It opens with what sounds like the first half of a parable: The scientists of the future have found a way to harness the greatest power in the universe – yup, love – uniting all living beings in the universe in a joyous union of little tiny pink hearts. But thanks to an “error in the XOXO matrix”, the forces of anti-love are seeping back into the world and tearing holes in the fabric of space-time. The honeymoon of the love universe is over, and everything is going to hell.
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Invitation to a Beheading
via Arts & Letters Daily: James Camp in Book Forum
Humans are easy to decapitate: Our large heads rest on little necks. Most mammals have thick muscles joining the shoulders with the base of the skull; ours are so slender that our spines show through the skin. It is the price tag of standing upright, of casting off the hominid hunch. “Heads”, writes Frances Larson in Severed, are “tempting to remove”. Above the shoulders, our anatomy resembles a teed-up golf ball.
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The border as a space of contention: the spatial strategies of protest against border controls in Europe

an article by Pierre Monforte (University of Leicester, UK) published in Citizenship Studies Volume 20 Issue 3-4 (2016)


This article analyses the spatial dimension of social movements mobilising against border controls. Focusing on the case of the protests against European border controls, this paper shows that new spatial strategies of protest have emerged since the beginning of the 2000s.

Movements construct collective actions that aim to identify border controls and occupy specific border sites. These new strategies are related to a transformation of the material and symbolic dimensions of border controls in the last decades. As they have become more diffuse and organised through a selective power, social movements strategically locate their protest in order to document the existence and nature of border controls. In doing so, they disrupt the exclusionary logic of citizenship.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Women’s Experience of Workplace Interactions in Male-Dominated Work: The Intersections of Gender, Sexuality and Occupational Group

an article by Tessa Wright (Queen Mary, University of London) published in Gender, Work & Organization Volume 23 Issue 3 (May 2016)


Informal workplace interactions are powerful organizational processes producing inequalities in male-dominated work, where sexuality is frequently employed as a means of control over women.

The article considers whether women can derive support from interactions with male and female colleagues, drawing on qualitative research with women working in the UK construction and transport sectors.

The article contributes an empirical application of McCall's intercategorical intersectional approach, examining gender, sexuality and occupational group. It highlights the benefits and challenges of extending McCall's multi-group method to qualitative analysis.

Stereotypical associations of lesbians with ‘masculine’ work are challenged, showing how gendered and heterosexual norms constrain workplace interactions for both heterosexual women and lesbians. Therefore organizational measures should address not only formal workplace processes, but the informal interactions affecting women's survival in male-dominated work.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Challenges for adult skill formation in the globalising learning economy – a European perspective

an article by Bengt-Åke Lundvall and Palle Rasmussen (Aalborg University, Denmark) published in International Journal of Lifelong Education Volume 35 (2016)


The globalising learning economy driven by more intense competition and the wide use of information and communication technologies is characterised by rapid change in technologies and markets. At the level of labour markets and within enterprises, this is reflected in continuous change in skill requirements for employees.

This is true for all parts of the world economy.

In this paper, the focus is on Europe and developments in the first decade of the new millennium. The major challenge for Europe is to counter the inherent trend, reinforced by the crisis, towards unequal access to learning both in work and in education. Without a new new deal that gives privileged access to vocational education and training for those with little education, the economic performance of Europe will be undermined.

Such a new new deal must be a fundamental element in the effort to lift Europe out of its current crisis.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Privacy concerns in smart cities

an article by Liesbet van Zoonen (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands) published in Government Information Quarterly Volume 33 Issue 3 (July 2016)


• Discussion of arguments for including people’s privacy concerns in research, policy and design of smart cities.
• Thorough review of current research about people’s privacy concerns and the paradoxes that typify them.
• People’s concerns are shown as structured by how they perceive city data, and for which purpose they feel this data is used.
• Framework to assess if and how specific technologies and data-usage in smart cities will evoke people’s privacy concerns.
• Clear directions for further academic research about people’s privacy concerns in smart cities.
• Sensitizing instrument for policymakers and operational managers about privacy concerns among their citizens.


In this paper a framework is constructed to hypothesize if and how smart city technologies and urban big data produce privacy concerns among the people in these cities (as inhabitants, workers, visitors, and otherwise). The framework is built on the basis of two recurring dimensions in research about people's concerns about privacy: one dimensions represents that people perceive particular data as more personal and sensitive than others, the other dimension represents that people's privacy concerns differ according to the purpose for which data is collected, with the contrast between service and surveillance purposes most paramount.

These two dimensions produce a 2 × 2 framework that hypothesizes which technologies and data-applications in smart cities are likely to raise people's privacy concerns, distinguishing between raising hardly any concern (impersonal data, service purpose), to raising controversy (personal data, surveillance purpose).

Specific examples from the city of Rotterdam are used to further explore and illustrate the academic and practical usefulness of the framework. It is argued that the general hypothesis of the framework offers clear directions for further empirical research and theory building about privacy concerns in smart cities, and that it provides a sensitizing instrument for local governments to identify the absence, presence, or emergence of privacy concerns among their citizens.

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Thursday, 3 November 2016

Faster broadband: are there any educational benefits?

Governments around the world are committing substantial public funds to upgrading their broadband infrastructure, partly in the hope of promoting education. Research findings by Rosa Sanchis-Guarner and colleagues raise doubts about whether faster internet speeds will raise young people’s attainment at school.

Published in CentrePiece Autumn 2016

Access the full article (PDF 5pp)

This article summarises ICT and Education: Evidence from Student Home Addresses by Benjamin Faber, Rosa Sanchis-Guarner and Felix Weinhardt, CEP Discussion PaperNo. 1359

CEP alumnus Benjamin Faber is at the University of California, Berkeley
Rosa Sanchis-Guarner of Imperial College London and Felix Weinhardt of Humboldt University of Berlin are research associates in CEP’s urban programme

Leaving education early: putting vocational education and training centre stage Volume II: evaluating policy impact

This Cedefop study focuses on the contribution that vocational education and training (VET) can make to reducing early leaving from education and training (ELET).

Published in two volumes, the first is dedicated to understanding better the learning pathways of young students, providing measurements of early leaving in VET, and understanding the role of VET in breaking the vicious cycle of early leaving and unemployment. This second volume reviews VET-related measures to tackle ELET, either by preventing learners dropping out and/or by bringing those who have already left back to education and training. This volume identifies and discusses the key features of successful policies and practices, plus the conditions necessary to evaluate and upscale successful regional and local practices to national strategies.

Link to PDF of this and other related information

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Naturalisation and on-the-job training: evidence from first-generation immigrants in Germany

an article by Friederike von Haaren-Giebel and Malte Sandner (Leibniz Universität, Hannover) published in IZA Journal of Migration Volume 5 (2016)


This paper empirically analyses the effect of naturalisation on on-the-job training (OJT) participation among first-generation immigrants in Germany. OJT is associated with improved labour market outcomes and provides therefore an indicator for labour market integration.

Naturalisation is assumed to act as a signal of the employee’s commitment to the host country and may thus increase employers’ likelihood of offering OJT. Testing the theoretical link with multivariate estimations (based on the German Socio-Economic Panel) shows a positive and significant correlation. To reduce selection bias on observables, propensity score matching is applied, yielding a significant average treatment effect.

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Digital hoarding

I was reading an article in “bulletin“ number 193 from the Information and Records Management Society which led me to thinking hard.
I admit to being a hoarder of physical stuff, not to the extent that environmental services have to come in to clean out the rubbish of years but …
Do I really need three shelves devoted to glass beads that I will probably never use in my lifetime? And all those jigsaws really should go to the charity shop etc etc

Anyway I thought the idea of digital hoarding was sufficiently interesting to go and hunt out anything I could find on the issue.

The Coming Cure for 'Digital Hoarding'
The next revolution in storage technology will be “context awareness”
an article by Shawn Dubravac on Recode

Confession: I’m a recovering hoarder. I’m actually great at purging, but I do it in rare spurts. I have a hard time parting with things I think I might need, even when I know I’ll never use them.

We all know I’m not alone in this. You’re a hoarder, too. In fact, when it comes to our digital files, most of us are hoarders. Technology has the ability to forever change how we relate to our hoarded digital junk.

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If you have any interest in hoarding as a mental health issue then you may find an article from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America of value.

Hoarding: the basics

Data Breach Management and the New EU Data Protection Regulation

I read this article in "bulletin" number 191 from the Information and Records Management Society but then could not find any link.
Now I've managed to find something which if not identical (I cannot get back to the British Library to check) is sufficiently similar to be useful.

From Information Today Europe

In his second article about the new EU Data Protection Regulation, Ibrahim Hasan explains why all organisations should be examining their approach to data breaches now.

Last year telecoms company Talk Talk was the subject of a cyberattack in which almost 157,000 customers' personal details were hacked. The company was criticised for its slow response especially the time it took to inform the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and customers. Currently in the UK there is no legal obligation, under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) to report personal data breaches to anyone. However the ICO guidance recommends that serious breaches should be brought to its attention. This is going to change soon.

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And whether or not Brexit finally happens we have at least two years of operating under the new EU Data Protection Regulation.

CJEU Says Dynamic IP Addresses Can Constitute Personal Data

an article by Cynthia O'Donoghue and Curtis McCluskey (Reed Smith (Worldwide)) via Mondaq blog

The Court of Justice of the European Union ("CJEU") has ruled that dynamic IP addresses can constitute personal data.

Dynamic IP addresses, registered by a website provider when an individual accesses its website, shall constitute personal data where the operator has the legal means to combine the data with additional data (held by the internet service provider) to identify the data subject.

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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

How to tell apart trade agreements that undermine democratic principles from those that don't

via Dani Rodrick’s weblog “Unconventional thoughts on economic development and globalization”

I discussed in an earlier post on Brexit how to think about international agreements and the constraints on state action they entail in terms of democratic legitimacy. Since that discussion has relevance beyond Brexit, I've pasted the relevant part here below. The basic point is this: the fact that an international rule is negotiated and accepted by a democratically elected government does not inherently make that rule democratically legitimate.

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