Posts By / iralfe

Hair Rollers!

The service assessment sequence

The research

Dr Sae Oshima, a Senior Lecturer in Corporate Marketing and Communications, is researching the awkward moments at the end of a haircut: when the customer must give their feedback.

Dr Oshima calls these moments the ‘service assessment sequence’, a period where honest opinion is often suppressed by social rituals. To her best knowledge, no previous study explored this interaction between customer and stylist. Dr Oshima aims to both inform customers on ways to ask for the best haircut, and educate stylists on communicating with customers to ensure they’re satisfied.

During her MA studies at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr Oshima focused on examining video-recorded, naturally occurring interactions. Continuing to develop her interest in the micro-foundations of professional tasks through her PhD studies, she decided to investigate an interaction close to her heart.

“How do we end up with good and bad haircuts? Some have brought pure joy and happiness, and others even made me cry for an entire week! We tend to credit the quality of the service (good/bad haircuts) to the stylists’ skills alone, but becoming a student of social interaction has enabled me to question this assumption,” explains Dr Oshima.

The importance of this interaction analysis extends further than the hair salon. This research applies to any social interaction where work or services require evaluation. While some services may be assessed by a clear measure of whether something works or not, other service evaluations involve people’s perspectives. This work therefore has far reaching implications on how communication can impact final outcome.

The findings

Dr Oshima video-recorded 60 haircutting sessions in various types of salons in USA and Japan, ranging from slow-paced salons that offer complimentary alcoholic drinks, to high volume/low profit margin chain salons with their value-oriented pricing and speedy service.

Her research has found that many small actions, such as a pause of 0.7 seconds, a shift of gaze, or a slight head movement, can all change the outcome of a haircut, and subsequently affect whether the salon business succeeds or fails.

Above is the ‘Hair Rollers!’ board game which aims to present the variance in haircut outcome due to small actions and responses by a customer. It also highlights the importance of feedback in a service assessment sequence and how this can change the interaction.

HAIR ROLLERS!

The negotiation of professional identities and power is one uncovered issue, present in ‘Hair Rollers!’ Stylists juggle the roles of service-provider and hair expert. Dr Oshima believes that in caring for both body and minds of customers, stylists may yield to customer’s opinions which undermine their role as a professional – see tiles E2, E4 and E6, where the customer hints at an upcoming revision of the cut. Her video evidence and research paper shows how stylists and customers may harmonise the sometimes conflicting responsibilities of ‘service-provider/patron’ and ‘expert/novice’ through a combination of verbal and nonverbal communication.

She was surprised to find just how much work the customers are doing in this sequence to give an “authentic” assessment of the cut which the stylist will believe. For instance, as seen in tile C4, customers perform a physical inspection prior to verbal assessment. Conversely, when the customer says they like the cut too soon, without physical inspection, the stylist may ignore their response – as seen in tile D3. Findings also suggest stylists and customers are constantly dealing with the issue of when it is good enough, and how they can take enough time for inspection without taking too much time. This issue is addressed in this research paper.

A third research paper tackles an ever-challenging topic in the field of social interaction: the complex relationship of practical action and speech. Dr Oshima worked with Professor Jürgen Streeck, of the University of Texas at Austin, to examine how a customer’s physical inspection is coupled with verbal responses.

Finally, this research paper assesses the role of a specific action present during most assessment sequences – nodding. Video data was collected during Dr Oshima’s research in Japan where it is commonly thought that Japanese people are good at reading each other’s minds and nonverbal acts. Dr Oshima challenges this notion to further analyse mechanisms of synchronised nods and how they contribute to satisfactory closure of business.

The impact

Dr Oshima has shared her findings with the stylists and clients who participated in the study, to help improve the quality of service. Her findings have also been shared with organisations and publics in the USA, Denmark and the UK. She has showcased not only hair salon data, but also various other video recorded data from other interactions (such as lunchroom gatherings, flamenco rehearsals or start-up project meetings) to reveal how the small things that people do drastically change what happens next in their interactions with others, and impact outcome.

Dr Oshima concludes: “If we start seeing these micro moments as the opportunity to make choices, then we can turn unconsciousness into consciousness. This is what I want to continue doing with my research – to spread awareness and appreciation for the massive power of micro-actions.”

The future

Dr Oshima currently has two research papers in progress. The first is on the role of emotion in service evaluations. This paper will have a particular focus on the customer’s presentation of surprise, which Dr Oshima finds to be a key form of emotional display in service evaluations. The second paper will include an analysis of service-assessment sequences between a software designer and his clients. This research will aim to address a common problem feared by design practitioners termed the ‘design-by-committee pitfall’. Dr Oshima has collected around 15 hours of video-recorded interactions between a designer and his clients with which she will now determine how verbal and nonverbal practices shape design outcome.

Photo of the week

The photo of the week series is a weekly series featuring photos taken by our academics and students for our Research Photography Competition, which provides a snapshot of some of the incredible research undertaken across the BU community.

Below: Some eggcellent results obtained from the VMD developing latent fingermarks on a chicken egg using gold and zinc.

This week’s photo of the week, Fingermarks on a chicken egg developed by Vacuum Metal Deposition, is by Alex Otto and Nicola Jones, demonstrators in Forensic Science.

This past October Bournemouth University Forensic department welcomed its newest piece of latent fingermark development equipment to the Crime Scene Training Facility…the VMD 360!  Following delivery, Demonstrators in Forensic Science Alex Otto, Nicola Jones and Christopher Dwen received bespoke training from West Technology Forensics over a two day period. 

Vacuum Metal Deposition (VMD) is widely recognised as one of, if not the most powerful latent fingermark development techniques currently available. The technique is commonly used to develop latent fingermarks on porous, semi-porous and non-porous exhibits using metals such as gold, zinc and sterling silver. Latent fingermarks developed using VMD are frequently found to be superior quality, and with excellent ridge clarity and higher contrast than fingermarks developed using alternative forensic methods.

The VMD 360 is currently the only table-top vacuum metal deposition unit available in the world and is compact and aesthetically pleasing. Furthermore, with an abundance of potential forensic research still to be undertaken using VMD, such as development of fingermarks on eggs in cases involving rare wild bird egg theft, exciting times lay ahead!

Opportunity for post-doctoral researchers at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) run several fellowship schemes, a number of which are open to post-doctoral researchers. There are currently two fellowship roles with open applications.

These are 3-4 month placement fellowships, to experience working within a research and policy environment. 

You can read the experience and viewpoints of outgoing POST intern, Fabiola Creed, here.

Photo of the week

The photo of the week series is a weekly series featuring photos taken by our academics and students for our Research Photography Competition, which provides a snapshot of some of the incredible research undertaken across the BU community.

 

This weeks photo of the week is by Phillip Wilkinson, a lecturer in Communications, from the Faculty of Media and Communications, and is titled ‘Ethnography in a Divided Community.’

The Isle of Portland is geographically and historically divided. Its only connection to mainland England is a 2-mile road. Following this road onto the Island takes you through Underhill, a concentration of villages beneath a 500ft cliff face, to Tophill, a plateau of gentrified Victorian settlements. Historically, day-labourers, quarrymen, and fishermen lived in Underhill while farmers, land-owners, and clergy lived in Tophill. Presently, the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMP) – an amalgamation of socio-economic indicators – ranks Underhill in the UK’s top 10% for deprivation. Tophill however, is a popular location for retirees, tourists, and is the site of an ambitious Academy, seeking to uplift the broader Portland community.

It is within this Academy that I undertook my research exploring the role of technology in education and a presumed inadequate use of technology to supporting learning in the home by disadvantaged families. From this I developed a programme of community workshops focussing on family co-production of digital media such as 3D printing, stop-motion animation, and blogging. Ironically, as my research exploring technology progressed the less concerned about technology it became, instead it focussed on the division on the island and its illustration of presumptions of deficiency in society more widely.

Greece: victory for New Democracy signals the beginning of the end of the crisis

Roman Gerodimos, Bournemouth University

As polls closed in Greece on July 7, with pollsters predicting a convincing victory for the centre-right New Democracy and a defeat for the left-wing Syriza government of Alexis Tsipras, an unusual sense of calm prevailed across the country. Rarely has a Greek election night been so quiet.

New Democracy’s incoming prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, went out of his way to unite and manage expectations. His supporters were just relieved to have ousted Tsipras. Tsipras himself looked relieved, having managed to reverse his party’s losses at the recent European Parliament elections, to win a respectable 31.5% of the vote, which will allow him to remain as a strong second pole in the system. With 39.9% of the vote, New Democracy will have 158 seats in the Greek parliament, an outright majority.

Smaller parties all put on a happy face for their own internal reasons, with the exception of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, which failed to pass the 3% threshold to elect MPs. It looked as if Greece had finally attained what it had been desperately seeking for one long decade: a sense of normalcy.

Exactly ten years ago, in the summer of 2009, the first signs that Greece was in economic trouble started to become apparent. As the markets’ confidence in Greek bonds collapsed, the government turned to the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Within weeks it had entered a vortex of excruciating negotiations, conditional bailouts and tough austerity measures that went on and on. To an extent these are still going on and, in different forms, are expected to go on for much of the 21st century.

It’s hard to overstate the impact of the crisis and austerity on Greek society. Beyond the obvious effects – unemployment reaching 25%, hundreds of thousands of mostly young and well-educated people leaving the country to seek employment abroad, pensions and public services facing severe cuts – the political system was rattled. One of the two main pillars of the post-1974 system, the centre-left PASOK, collapsed. Far right parties such as Golden Dawn and the xenophobic, homophobic Independent Greeks – entered parliament.

The crisis has been the single biggest challenge to Greece’s survival since World War II. Its root causes, the way Greeks were stereotyped in the world’s media, and the way lenders and successive Greek governments designed and implemented austerity measures, all became sources of collective shame and humiliation. This in turn polarised a political culture that has been historically prone to bouts of instability and violence.

Rise of violence

Tsipras weaponised and normalised this populist narrative of victimhood, pitting the “innocent people” against “the corrupt elites”, including Greece’s EU partners and lenders. As I have shown in my research, this narrative was also used by far-left radical groups to justify revenge and aggression.

Political violence tripled between 2008 and 2018. Far-left violence was 3.5 times bigger in scale than far-right violence, which itself soared. Low-level incidents are a daily occurrence with thousands of them having taken place during the decade of the crisis, especially before Syriza got into power. Radicalisation and extremism have been particularly prominent among young people. While many are politically apathetic, those who do engage tend to do so in radical ways. Golden Dawn drew most of its supporters from the 18-25 age group, while Syriza has consistently topped the polls in that group.

The January and September 2015 victories of Syriza, which governed in alliance with the Independent Greeks, acted as pressure valves that allowed Greek society to vent a lot of its anger and frustration. That radicalism, which was such a prominent element of Greek political culture during the first period of the crisis, gradually ran out of steam.

From January to June 2015, Yanis Varoufakis, the flamboyant poster boy of the “Caviar left”, led catastrophic and slightly surreal negotiations with EU and IMF lenders. These ended up costing Greece billions of euros, triggered a bank run and capital controls, caused it to default on its debts to the IMF and brought it within hours of exiting the Eurozone. Eventually, Tsipras did a U-turn and, in late 2015 began implementing all of the lenders’ requests, effectively showing that there really was no alternative to austerity.

Mitsotakis’s moment

Since being elected leader of New Democracy in 2016, Mitsotakis worked hard to renew his party. In the space of three years, he managed to turn an out of touch, old-school, conservative party into a modern, liberal, social media savvy electoral machine. While banking on his image as a well-educated and professionally successful technocrat who will cut taxes and facilitate foreign direct investment, he also placed strategic emphasis on the youth vote.

He voted in favour of civil partnerships for same-sex couples and spent time meeting with drug addicts in rough parts of Athens. He also carried out a radical renewal of New Democracy’s parliamentary candidates and party workers, promoting many people in their 20s, 30s and 40s. In doing so, he managed to build up support in the crucial 18-24 demographic, reaching 27%-30% in the recent elections, and so ending Syriza’s monopoly on the youth vote.

Whether Greece has really entered a new era of normalcy will become apparent fairly soon. One of the first moves Mitsotakis pledged to take is to scrap the so-called “asylum” law, which forbids police from entering university premises. As a result of the law, urban university campuses have become hotspots of crime, vandalism, drug-dealing and anarchist propaganda and public opinion has recently shifted in favour of taking action. However, far-left groups still carry street credit in universities and in the urban pocket of Exarchia in downtown Athens, where law-and-order has completely collapsed.

On election day in Greece, the only incident that broke the peaceful hum of post-election dinner parties took place there: a previously unknown anarchist group stole and burnt a ballot box, threatened electoral clerks and threw tear gas. What happens at Exarchia over the next few months – whether and how the government decides to enforce the law and how young people and wider society react – will be the best indicator of whether Greece has truly turned the page.The Conversation

Roman Gerodimos, Associate Professor of Global Current Affairs, Bournemouth University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

BA’s record fine could help make the public take data security more seriously

Eliyahu Yosef Parypa/Shutterstock

John McAlaney, Bournemouth University

British Airways (BA) has received a record fine of £183m after details of around 500,000 of its customers were stolen in a data breach in summer 2018. The fine was possible thanks to new rules introduced last year by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which gave the British regulator powers to impose much larger penalties on companies that fail to protect their customers’ data.

But fines like these don’t just act as a business deterrent because of their financial cost. They are a method of public shaming that we can use as a form of social control to force companies to act more ethically. And research on consumer behaviour has demonstrated that social (dis)approval can be a more powerful motivator than financial factors.

The public nature of the fine is embarrassing for BA, as it reminds the public of the data breach and delivers an official verdict that the company was at fault. The huge size of the fine also indicates how serious the breach was. As a result, BA will rightly be worried about what damage the fine might do to its reputation.

Reputation is a valuable commodity for companies, and in some instances can be more important to consumers than the price of products when they are choosing who to buy from. We tend to make simplistic conclusions about the people and groups around us based on their behaviour, a phenomenon known as fundamental attribution error. This suggests a fine could lead consumers to conclude that if a company cannot protect its data – regardless of whether it has any value – then it should not be trusted on other aspects of its operations.

Although GDPR has hugely increased the size of the penalties for breaches, BA isn’t the first organisation the UK has publicly fined for breaking data protection rules, and others include Facebook, Uber and the Royal Mail. Given the importance of reputation to companies, there’s a chance these organisations would have rather accepted a higher fine in exchange for the amount not being made public.

Establishing social norms

The fine won’t just have an impact on BA either. Online data breaches are relatively new phenomena, but this sort of public shaming is an old method of social control. It sets and reinforces social norms and standards about what all organisations should be expected to be able to achieve, a message that can be intended for both businesses and the public.

My research has shown how social norms have a powerful influence over people’s behaviours and attitudes. We judge ourselves and others in relation to adherence to our collective perceptions of how we, as a society, believe we should be performing.

It’s not easy for a society to reach a consensus on what a social norm should be for a new phenomenon, especially in situations where we are uncertain about our own degree of knowledge and understanding. For most people, hacking and hackers remain a relatively murky and ill-defined threat that is hard to define or quantify, and the dangers of having your data released into the wild aren’t easy to see.

But there is evidence that consumers are becoming more concerned about businesses that do not keep their data secure, particularly after the introduction of GDPR. High-profile businesses receiving major fines could help spur this process further.

Stereotypical portrayals of hackers don’t help.
Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock

New normal

But that’s not the end of the story. At the time of the breach, BA described it as a “sophisticated, malicious, criminal attack”. This sort of narrative implies it’s difficult for organisations to protect themselves against highly motivated and technically skilled criminals. Hollywood portrayals of hackers as hoodie-wearing lone geniuses support this idea that it’s impossible for any organisation to fully prevent attacks.

While not exactly putting a positive spin on a company’s involvement in a data breach, this idea does limit the damage done to its reputation. It assumes that organisations are already doing everything they can reasonably do to protect their systems and customers.

Hacker communities take a very different position, arguing that many large organisations fail to take the basic steps that could be expected of them, despite having the resources to do so. If this is the case, we can expect to see more companies hit by penalties that could be even larger (the UK’s rules allow fines of up to 4% of a company’s turnover).

But social norms are fluid. What can seem shocking or extreme at one moment can quickly become the new normal. Heavy fines always cause financial pain to organisations, but if they become widely used and publicly reported then there’s a risk that they become seen as the cost of doing business, as arguably has happened with fines relating to health and safety. This would make fines less damaging to a company’s reputation and so less useful in forcing firms to do their best to protect customer data.

As such, only a strategic use of fines will help the public see how serious it is when organisations fail to live up to the data standards our new laws have set. If this is achieved then it may help the public understand the seriousness of data security, and in turn take greater responsibility over their own safety online.The Conversation

John McAlaney, Associate Professor in Psychology, Bournemouth University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Photo of the week

The photo of the week series is a weekly series featuring photos taken by our academics and students for our Research Photography Competition, which provides a snapshot of some of the incredible research undertaken across the BU community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s photo of the week is by Madison Miller, a student from the Faculty of Media and Communications.

Binaural beats aren’t a subject well known, though they are commonly used in different forms of meditation music. The word ‘beat’ may help tip you off that binaural beats are involved with music, but their unpleasant sound would say otherwise. Because of this divide, my research goes to explore exactly what binaural beats are through a philosophical point of view. Here, my research compares and unifies the scientific (or functional) and spiritual (or aesthetic) elements of binaural beats to conclude: binaural beats are a form of art. This form of art rests as music, since binaural beats allow for an aesthetic response from the listener, even if it’s a negative response.

In order to communicate these findings, I paired binaural beat instrumentation to nature photography (as nature is often used for visualisation meditation and even added to meditation music). The goal of pairing the nature photography to the binaural beats was to show that music (non-visual art) provides aesthetic responses much like photography (visual art). Likewise, though binaural beats are awful to listen to on their own, when paired with other instruments, or overlaid with other sounds, the aesthetic response can change, much like individual perceptions of interpreting photography.

Photo of the week

The photo of the week series is a weekly series featuring photos taken by our academics and students for our Research Photography Competition, which provides a snapshot of some of the incredible research undertaken across the BU community.

This week’s photo of the week, ‘Llamas at Rainbow Mountain, Peru’ is by Karen Thompson, a senior lecturer in Leadership, Strategy and Organisations, from the Faculty of Management. 

Global warming is believed to have melted the snow and ice revealing Rainbow Mountain or Vinicunca, in the Andes in the Cusco region of Peru.  In recent years around 500 villagers are reported to have moved back to their ancestral land to act as guides to tourists bringing in around $400,000 a year to compliment farming activity in the region.  At 5,100m above sea level, the altitude and weather that can be inhospitable make for a challenging hike and yet there are fears of environmental destruction by the large numbers of tourists.   

The delicate balance between planet, people and profit is a key driver for my research and is represented by setting for my photograph.  The curious llamas captured my heart and as a result I used a llama as the icon for curiosity – one of the eight principles I identified for the concept of Responsible Project Management.  I used this photo in the practitioners’ Guide to Responsible Project Management that was created with colleagues, students and professional practitioners using a social learning approach to research.

Photo of the week

The photo of the week series is a weekly series featuring photos taken by our academics and students for our Research Photography Competition, which provides a snapshot of some of the incredible research undertaken across the BU community.

This week’s photo of the week, ‘Digital Virtual, the Liminoid Space,’ is by Nurist Ulfa, who came second in this years research photography competition and is a PGR student in the faculty of Media and Communications.

Digital virtual space (Shields 2003) is a ‘liminoid’ zone (Turner 1982), the locale mediated by technology that combine aspects of materiality and imagination. This space is characterised by the removal of physical boundaries and the interwoven sociocultural norms, codes and rules, and thus offer freedom for individual to carry out various practices, adopt different subject positions and actualise fantasises and daydreams beyond what is possible in the materially real (Denegri-Knott and Molesworth 2010; 2012). In the context of Jilbab girl, the digital virtual space in video games has enabled them to move away from the physical, social, cultural and religious contexts of everyday life, facilitating experimentations of practices that are inconsistent with their Islamic beliefs, including wearing non-veiled fashions, consuming non-halal foods, performing excessive shopping and practicing non-Muslim lifestyles, including dating and flirting, etc.

Photo of the week

The photo of the week series is a weekly series featuring photos taken by our academics and students for our Research Photography Competition, which provides a snapshot of some of the incredible research undertaken across the BU community.

 

This week’s photo of the week, ‘A quiet moment at my local, but I can’t relax. How am I going to find the dream placement?’ is by Vianna Renaud, a placement development advisor and postgraduate researcher from the faculty of media and communications.

Each year second year university students prepare for their sandwich placement search. Whilst a variety of both academic and support staff promote employability activities to help students gain a better idea of what is out there, student engagement can be quite low. Given the success of peer assisted learning initiatives across the HE sector, I am researching the potential impact of an employability coaching and mentoring programme on both first year and final year students.

Photo of the week

The photo of the week series is a weekly series featuring photos taken by our academics and students for our Research Photography Competition, which provides a snapshot of some of the incredible research undertaken across the BU community.

This week’s photo of the week, ‘Post-feeding Blood pattern comprised of the artefacts of the blowfly Calliphora vicina enhanced with Bluestar,’ is by the winner of this years Research Photography Competition, Christopher Dwen, a TTO Demonstrator In Forensic Science.

Blowflies have a high affinity for some bodily fluids such as blood, semen and saliva when other food sources are absent. For this reason, they are frequently found at crime scenes if they have access through open doors or windows.

Because some foods are difficult for a fly to breakdown in their pure forms, it first uses the proboscis (mouth parts) to draw it up, which it then mixes with digestive enzymes to break it down. This food is then expelled, again via the proboscis, and returned to at a later time when it is more easily consumed. Often, this type of feeding behaviour will leave ‘spotting’ stains on a surface as the fly dabs a surface with the proboscis following ‘bubbling’, which involves the fly repeatedly expelling and reabsorbing a bubble of regurgitated liquid (in this case, blood) from its proboscis.

The attached image is of a bloodstain pattern created entirely by just five blowflies (Calliphora vicina), and then enhanced with Bluestar® Forensic latent bloodstains reagent. A petri dish of horse blood in the centre of the pattern was the food source, and the resulting pattern shows the density and distribution on deposited fly artefacts in relation to that source.

How prehistoric people faced climate change revealed by video game technology

Esteban De Armas/Shutterstock

Peter Allen, Bournemouth University and John Stewart, Bournemouth University

How will climate change remake our world in the 21st century? Will we be able to adapt and survive? As with many things, the past is a good guide for the future. Humans have experienced climate changes in the past that have transformed their environment – studying their response could tell us something about our own fate.

Human populations and cultures died out and were replaced throughout Eurasia during the last 500,000 years. How and why one prehistoric population displaced another is unclear, but these ancient people were exposed to climate changes that changed their natural environment in turn.

How habitats in prehistoric Eurasia would have looked (a) during a period of relative warmth, and (b) during period of relative cooling ‘T.’ = Temperate.
Allen et al. (2019), Author provided

We looked at the region around Lyon, France, and imagined how Stone Age hunter gatherers 30,000-50,000 years ago would have fared as the world around them changed. Here, as elsewhere in Eurasia during colder periods, the environment would have shifted towards tundra-like vegetation – vast, open habitats that may have been best suited for running down prey while hunting. When the climate warmed for a few centuries, trees would have spread – creating dense woods which favour hunting methods involving ambush.

How these changes affected a population’s hunting behaviour could have decided whether they prospered, were forced to migrate, or even died out. The ability of hunter gatherers to detect prey at different distances and in different environments would have decided who dominated and who was displaced.




Read more:
Humans are not off the hook for extinctions of large herbivores – then or now


Short of building a time machine, finding out how prehistoric people responded to climate change could only be possible by recreating their worlds as virtual environments. Here, researchers could control the mix and density of vegetation and enlist modern humans to explore them and see how they fared finding prey.

Surviving in the virtual Stone Age

We designed a video game environment and asked volunteers to find red deer in it. The world they explored changed to scrub and grassland as the climate cooled and thick forest as it warmed.

The participants could spot red deer at a greater distance in grassland than in woodland, when the density of vegetation was the same. As vegetation grew thicker they struggled to detect prey at greater distances in both environments, but more so in woodland. Prehistoric people would have faced similar struggles as the climate warmed, but there’s an interesting pattern that tells us something about human responses to change.

As the climate warmed and wooded environments spread, finding prey became increasingly difficult.

Creeping environmental change didn’t affect deer spotting performance in the experiment until a certain threshold of forest had given way to grassland, or vice-versa. Suddenly, after the landscape was more than 30% forested, participants were significantly less able to spot deer at greater distances. As an open environment became more wooded, this could have been the tipping point at which running down prey became a less viable strategy, and hunters had to switch to ambush.

This is likely the critical moment at which ancient populations were forced to change their hunting habits, relocate to areas more favourable for their existing techniques, or face local extinction. As the modern climate warms and ecosystems change, our own survival could become threatened by these sudden tipping points.

The effects of climate change on human populations may not be intuitive. Our lifestyles may seem to continue working just fine up until a certain point. But that moment of crisis, when it does arrive, will often dictate the outcome – adapt, move or die.


Click here to subscribe to our climate action newsletter. Climate change is inevitable. Our response to it isn’t.The Conversation

Peter Allen, PhD Researcher in Human Evolution, Bournemouth University and John Stewart, Associate Professor of Evolutionary Palaeoecology, Bournemouth University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

A day in the life of a PGR with Chloe Casey

Chloe Casey is a first year PhD student from the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences who is researching the mental wellbeing of postgraduate researchers (PGRs). Research suggests that the prevalence of poor mental health is higher in PGRs than in other student populations or the highly educated general public, yet few researchers have implemented interventions to promote wellbeing in doctoral students. We follow Chloe as she attends her first academic conference in Brighton: The UK Council of Graduate Education’s first annual conference on the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Postgraduate Researchers, where she presented with her supervisor, Dr Steve Trenoweth.

Day 1

05.59

En route to Brighton from Bournemouth on the earliest train I have ever boarded. I thought I would do some work to distract myself from worrying about the presentation, whether I’ve chosen the right outfit or if people will think I’m smart enough to be there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11.57

I don’t know what I was panicking about, everyone from professors to other PGRs were really open and willing to learn from each other.  Apart from my initial worry: ‘is everyone in the world researching the same topic as me?!’ I realised that although there were consistent themes we all seem to be approaching the issue using different methods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13.52

A conference highlight for me was listening to John de Pury from Universities UK discuss their wellbeing strategies through the PGR lens. There was a real sense that the HEI sector and policy makers are starting to take note that PGRs aren’t the same as other students and need support tailored to their needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14.39

The break-away sessions were a great opportunity to network with other researchers and HEI professionals in smaller groups. As a PGR myself, my favourite session was ‘Fail again, fail better’, celebrating failure as a wellbeing intervention for doctoral students. Research is a rollercoaster, it’s exploratory, frustrating and rewarding. We should honestly share our ups and downs with others, not to normalize struggle, but engage with failure as a positive, learning process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21.08

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2

10.21

I loved the use of a life grid in a research project from the University of Lincoln; it visually showed the highs and lows of doctoral study and what we all experience as PGRs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14.15

Our presentation of Steve’s study results was well received and I heard some really useful feedback about my research proposal. Dr Gill Houston from UKCGE chaired our session and said we should come back to present the results of my research in 2020. I’m so glad my supervisor provided me with the opportunity to practice presenting and to promote my own research. I’ve had the chance to exchange ideas and build relationships with some great contacts.

17.21

I’m so glad I took the time out of studying to attend the conference, the experience was invaluable. It’s reassuring to know as a researcher that you are working in an exciting, up-and-coming topic area, but also as a doctoral student to hear the collaborative efforts of the HEI sector, policy makers and researchers to promote wellbeing and encourage a positive postgraduate research experience.

Photo of the week

The photo of the week series is a weekly series featuring photos taken by our academics and students for our Research Photography Competition, which provides a snapshot of some of the incredible research undertaken across the BU community.

This week’s photo of the week, ‘Diana painting trees of life in her family shop,’ is by Paola Vizcaino, a lecturer in Events Management.

The picture is part of my personal collection from the ethnographic research I conducted for my PhD in Tourism Studies (2013-2016). I investigated women’s processes of empowerment in relation to their work as producers and vendors of handicraft pottery catered to the tourist market in central Mexico.

Diana was one of the research participants who shared her story with me:

“Ah, a nivel personal, a mí me encanta. Nos cambió a todos, nos cambió la vida porque, vamos, el hacer artesanías nos abre otro mundo ¿no? Aparte de que de esto vivimos, nos adentró en un mundo muy especial. Yo creo que el conocer a mucha gente de todos los tipos y clases sociales, yo creo que el trabajo de uno habla por sí solo, pero sí nos cambió la vida… Me encanta mi trabajo.”

Translation:

Ah, on a personal level, I love it. It changed us all, it changed our lives because, come on, making handicraft pottery opens another world, right? Apart from the fact that we make a living out of this, we entered into a very special world. I think that knowing a lot of people of all types and social classes, I believe that one’s work speaks for itself, but it did change our lives … I love my work.

Photo of the week

The photo of the week series is a weekly series featuring photos taken by our academics and students for our Research Photography Competition, which provides a snapshot of some of the incredible research undertaken across the BU community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week’s photo of the week, ‘Happy Place,’ is by Chloe Casey, a PGR student from the faculty of Health and Social Sciences.

This photograph represents my ‘happy place’ where I escape my all-consuming doctoral research. The PhD experience is said to be difficult, autonomous and characterised by high workloads and pressure, so it is important that postgraduate researchers are encouraged to prioritise their own well-being throughout the journey. There has been much interest in the mental health of undergraduate students but there is limited research exploring factors underpinning the mental well-being of postgraduate research students specifically. However, preliminary results suggest a high risk of stress, anxiety and burnout in this population. It is documented that the organisational stressors that doctoral students experience can impact academic performance and attrition, but these require further exploration. Postgraduate researchers are often part of wider research teams and their output provides scientific advancement, societal and institutional benefits therefore programme attrition can pose significant personal and financial costs. Our research is concerned with exploring and understanding the promotion of well-being in doctoral students and developing methods to promote their mental health and resilience so they are best supported to thrive academically, achieve their personal goals and successfully complete their planned research.

Photo of the week

The photo of the week series is a weekly series featuring photos taken by our academics and students for our Research Photography Competition, which provides a snapshot of some of the incredible research undertaken across the BU community.

 

This week’s photo of the week, ‘Peeping Capuchin,’ is by Aaron Hart, an Ecology and Wildlife conservation student from the faculty of Science and Technology.

Going on the international field trip to Costa Rica as part of my course (Ecology & Wildlife Conservation) was truly inspiring. I found myself immersed in the whole experience, surrounded by an abundance of wildlife of which I took a keen interest to the white-faced Capuchin monkeys that roamed within the forests on Montezuma. Their behaviours and relationship with the local residents  fascinated me and I left wanting to study them further.

This led me to want to base my dissertation on them looking at observed differences found in behaviour between the wild and captive populations and how enrichment techniques can reduce stereotypical behaviour and preserve natural behaviours, essential for successful reintroduction’s. This involves working closely with local zoo’s and implementing a variety of enrichment techniques to test their effectiveness against stereotypical behaviour and then possibly going back to Costa Rica to volunteer in a monkey sanctuary of which I can observe natural behaviours in my time off. This also provides an opportunity to investigate further into the relationship between monkey and man and if their change of relationship over the years has led to a change in natural behaviours.

Why Huawei security concerns cannot be removed from US-China relations

File 20190509 183080 14q9co.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
astudio / Shutterstock.com

Sascha-Dominik Dov Bachmann, Bournemouth University and Anthony Paphiti, Bournemouth University

Huawei’s role in building new 5G networks has become one of the most controversial topics in current international relations. The US is exercising direct diplomatic pressure to stop states from using the Chinese telecoms giant. The US government regards Huawei as a clear and present danger to national security and argues that any ally opting for Huawei will compromise vital intelligence sharing among these countries in the future.

So far Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Japan have heeded the US call to ban Huawei. The UK, however, is still considering using Huawei to build non-core elements of its new internet infrastructure. Differences over the matter within the UK government recently led to the sacking of defence secretary, Gavin Williamson.

When assessing the risks of having Huawei involved in building 5G infrastructure, it’s important to consider not just the security risk from Huawei, but also the wider context of international relations. It’s important to first recognise that China is a major cyber-power.

The Chinese government has been using cyber-operations since at least 2006 for strategic and military gains. Tracing the origins of hacks is difficult but China is accused of a number of hacks on government departments in the US and around the world.

Military operations aside, US politicians say Chinese cyber-enabled espionage directed at the US economy has resulted in an estimated loss of US$300 billion a year in intellectual property theft.

Risky business

Additional risks come from China’s increasing military cooperation with Russia, NATO’s main rival. And also that China seems keen to supplement its Belt and Road Initiative of global trade dominance with dominance in cyberspace. Huawei offers highly competitive pricing that could drive out rivals and this potential monopoly could be costly in the long run for countries that rely too heavily on it.

It is in the context of China’s growing cyber-power that Huawei is seen as a risky business partner when it comes to developing critical infrastructure, such as a new 5G network. Huawei may insist that it is an independent company that does not have ties to the Chinese government, but this is not how it looks to Western powers. According to the CIA, Huawei has received funding from both the Chinese army and Chinese state intelligence. Plus, it does not help that Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei was once an engineer in the Chinese army and that the company’s ownership lies with a “trade union committee” that is appointed by the state.

Then there’s China’s National Intelligence Law of 2017, which requires Chinese companies “to provide necessary support, assistance and cooperation” with national intelligence work, if called upon. So Huawei’s assurances that it will not hand over customer data to the government are difficult to trust. All the more so given China’s track record of using private actors for the purposes of spying.

Backdoors and vulnerabilities

If a country’s 5G network is compromised, this could open it up to a number of risks. First, there’s simply access to information that is transmitted across the network. More worryingly, the “internet of things” will be built on 5G. Everyday devices will all be connected – from driverless cars to smart fridges, speakers and traffic signals.

This opens the possibility for a determined actor (whether state or non-state) to control these important processes. A cyber-attack via 5G infrastructure could lead to significant damage to property and even loss of life, and would amount to an armed attack under international law.

The internet of things opens up a number of cyber-risks.
Shutterstock

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has a dedicated Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre. Its 2019 report found no evidence of Chinese state interference or the deliberate introduction of “backdoors” that could be used to siphon off information. But it does criticise Huawei’s technology for being generally vulnerable to attack. The potential risks, however, apply to any equipment vendor that the UK may choose to use instead of Huawei.

In light of the current US government’s tough stance on China, in terms of trade and security, it is fair to ask if the present US warnings have more to do with denying market access to a strong competitor than security concerns? If so, the UK may have to decide whether it values its relations with the US or China more. As well as the security risks that Huawei may pose, the UK must consider the importance of maintaining its information sharing arrangement with the US and the other “Five Eyes” countries, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The trust issue will always remain with Huawei because of its proximity to the Chinese government. But, after the UK’s top spies said Huawei could be “managed” in terms of potential security risks, the main risk at the moment seems to be diplomatic. Namely, repercussions with Washington and the potential backlash regarding a post-Brexit trade deal and suspension of intelligence sharing. With China potentially becoming a global adversary to the West as a whole (not just the US), the UK should bear in mind which side it is choosing when deciding who builds its 5G infrastructure.The Conversation

Sascha-Dominik Dov Bachmann, Associate Professor in International Law (BU) and (extraordinary) Reader in War Studies (SEDU), Bournemouth University and Anthony Paphiti, Visiting Research Fellow in Conflict, Rule of Law and Society, Bournemouth University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.