The Birmingham Brief

The Birmingham Brief - intelligent thought on policy issues.

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Thursday 15th January 2015

Counter-Terrorism Bill could be 'devastating' for university freedoms

Description
With the shock from the Paris terrorist attacks barely diminished, attention in a number of western capitals is understandably fixated on counter-terrorism. Specifically, how can future terrorist attacks be prevented?
Date:
Thursday 15th January 2015
Categories:
Arts and Law
Thursday 8th January 2015

Self-driving cars moving closer as part of latest safety revolution

Description
In 2013, more than four people died on the UK's roads every single day – a total of 1,713 fatalities. The official statistics for that year also showed that more than 20,000 people suffered serious injuries in road accidents. These grim facts are the biggest motivation for the ongoing development of intelligent systems to make cars safer. All major automotive manufacturers and their suppliers, in addition to Google, hi-tech firms and telecoms companies, are making strides towards the vision of autonomous – or self-driving – cars. Significant amounts of funding have been invested by national governments, the European Union and the defence sector in the past two decades, with no sign of their commitment waning.
Date:
Thursday 8th January 2015
Categories:
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Thursday 18th December 2014

Chemistry makes Christmas magical!

Description
From the enticing aroma of the turkey in the oven to the 'whoosh' of the flames as the brandy-soaked pudding comes alight, Christmas is a wonderful time for the senses. But have you ever considered the science behind our best-loved festive traditions?
Date:
Thursday 18th December 2014
Categories:
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Thursday 11th December 2014

The 'Arab Spring' four years on: hopeful prospects or doomed experiment?

Description
In six days, it will be exactly four years since what would become known as the 'Arab Spring' began – an often forgotten reference to the revolutionary movements which swept over Europe in the spring of 1848. That day, a young street vendor called Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight in the streets of his native Sidi Bouzid, in the centre of Tunisia. He had decided to take his own life as a sign of protest at the injustice inflicted upon him by petty officials of Ben Ali's autocratic government, which had been in power since 1987.
Date:
Thursday 11th December 2014
Categories:
Arts and Law
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