Should I Stay or Should I Go? The Dilemma of a Conflicted Civil Servant

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An insightful exploration into the issues within civil service. After several bumps in her 33-year long career as a civil servant, Alexandra Hall Hall (yes, two ‘Halls’) faced a dilemma as Brexit counsellor at the British Embassy in Washington, DC. With her opinions contrasting the “nakedly dishonest” official statements that she had to make, Hall Hall’s gave up on trying to influence policy from the inside and retired before the election arose; “if my action was to have any impact at all, it had to take place beforehand.” Read full article here

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To curb drug deaths, communities turn to Reddit, texts and wastewater

With drug overdose deaths on the rise, authorities are attempting to curb the epidemic by tracking and sharing information in real time. In one unique effort, a nonprofit in New York City is using drug-testing equipment and stamping or marking habits of dealers to identify drug batches that may endanger users. Other approaches are also being used, such as monitoring drug-related chatter on Reddit and analyzing local wastewater for opioid and other drug levels. With the combination of these efforts, researchers hope to put a dent in the opioid crisis and reduce overdose deaths. Read full article here


A look inside the lab building mushroom computers

The Unconventional Computing Laboratory at the University of the West of England is pushing the boundaries of computing, working to see if mushrooms can be used to carry out computing and sensing functions. By stimulating the mycelium—the branching, web-like root structure of the fungus—researchers can get it to produce electrical activity and see if it can be used to create complex, multi-dimensional functions that are more precise than traditional computers. This could lead to a whole new world of possibilities, such as using mushrooms to create fault-tolerant, energy-efficient computers and even mapping neural networks. It’s truly a fascinating field of study – and one that could shape the future of computing. Read full article here

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