“Toilet innovation is important”

Tuesday, 12 November 2013 09:30
Toilets may not be the sexiest of topics. But for UNU-MERIT Maastricht researcher Shuan SadreGhazi, they are a highly significant – if neglected – phenomenon. “Today, more than 2.4 billion people in the world don’t have access to a proper sanitation system.”

A job for everyone

In Money
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 09:21
“I’m irritated by colleagues who say things in the media about the current crisis with the greatest authority. It’s precisely a crisis like this that shows economists need to be more modest in their pretentions. We can explain with hindsight exactly what went wrong, but making even rough predictions? No, we need to be much more modest in this.” Joan Muysken, economics professor and co-founder of the economics faculty, will deliver his valedictory lecture at UM on 29 November. He looks back on his career.

The law is not always the solution

In Society
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 14:59
The collapse in April of a textiles factory in Bangladesh that killed 1127 workers shocked the world. Suddenly, stores like Primark, H&M, Tommy Hilfiger and G-Star turned out to be acutely interested in working conditions and safety at their suppliers’ factories. PhD candidate Mark Kawakami, who studies human rights in sweatshops, and his supervisor Jan Smits, professor of Private European Law, were not exactly surprised. “Social pressure is sometimes stronger than strict legislation.”

The science of fans

In Culture
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 14:52
Most people play computer games for fun. But for assistant professor Karin Wenz, gaming is serious business. At the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, she coordinates the project Narrative Fan Practices, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The researchers scrutinise fans not only of computer games, but also of TV series, movies and other forms of popular culture. The content they generate constitutes more than just fun: it has an impact on our very culture.

Blood clotting research on the Alps

In Body
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 14:37
Oxygen deficiency increases the risk of thrombosis – at least, this was the suspicion. Now, thanks to a spectacular research expedition to the thin air atop an Alpine summit, there is certainty. The research leader Bas de Laat from Synapse, a spin-off company of Maastricht University, used a new testing method that can predict thrombosis early.

What is it like to live in a castle in the year 2013? Like a fairy tale – or just really expensive? Eduard de Loë and his three brothers grew up in the Mheer castle in South Limburg. Today he lives in the German district of Kleve, on an estate he inherited when he was three years old. De Loë is one of the owners who participated in a recent UM study on the conservation of historical estates in Limburg.

According to the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG), people with dementia should only be euthanised if they are able to give informed consent when the time comes – even if they have aliving will. “Doctors struggle these days with euthanasia requests that are not about physical but psychological suffering”, says Job Metsemakers, professor of General Practice Medicine. “They want more clarity.” This is understandable, says the medical ethics lecturerRob Houtepen: “It’s important that the considerations involved in the end of life are laid down in legal criteria, but there must remain room for interpretation.”

Keep an ear out for Elia Formisano

In Mind
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 08:37
By the time this interview with Italian-born Elia Formisano, extraordinary professor of Neural Signal Analysis, takes place, it has been raining for days. We start with the obvious: would he not rather live and work in his home country? But Formisano feels at home in Maastricht, and the reason why becomes clear soon enough. "This is what keeps us here", he laughs, pointing at the 9.4 Tesla scanner – an enormous machine that would not be out of place in a science-fiction movie. In real life, however, this machine helps scientific dreams come true.

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