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Contemporary surfing culture and iconography have been deeply influenced by the legacy of Big Wednesday. from www.shutterstock.com

Big Wednesday: four decades between surfing and myth making

Contemporary surfing culture and iconography have been deeply influenced by the legacy of John Milius' 1978 cult film Big Wednesday.
International powers with conflicting interests have helped the Bashar al-Asad government to consolidate its power. from www.shutterstock.com

Competing foreign interests trump Syrian aspirations for political change

To understand how Syria has become the theatre for proxy wars between international forces, one has to return to the Arab uprisings and Syria's role as an outlier.
Several studies have shown that spending time in nature is good for health. Now new research has looked specifically at asthma and found that living in green neighbourhoods protects children from developing the condition. from www.shutterstock.com

Children living in green neighbourhoods are less likely to develop asthma

New research shows that children who live in greener neighbourhoods are less likely to develop asthma, and that the more diverse the plant life is, the more they are protected.
Despite the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it remains difficult to monitor governments’ performance because there are no comprehensive human rights measures. from www.shutterstock.com

New data tool scores Australia and other countries on their human rights performance

Despite the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it remains difficult to measure governments' performance. A new data tool gives countries a scorecard on how well, or badly, they are doing.
As watchdogs, regulators, tax agencies, and lobby groups apply more pressure to tech giants Google and Facebook, the two companies are rebranding in response. Wes Mountain/The Conversation

Google and Facebook cosy up to media companies in response to the threat of regulation

It's surprising that news publishers seem to hand more power to Google because now more than ever there's an urgency to have clear barriers between news companies, social media platforms and search engines.
Thousands of high school students across the US walked out of their schools to protest gun violence and to call for changes to gun laws. EPA/Tannen Maury

How lowering the voting age to 16 could save democracy

Lowering the voting age to 16 would bring the age of political responsibility more in line with the age of criminal responsibility and the age of informed consent for medical procedures.
We use different grammar when speaking or writing, but the difference is so subtle that linguists were blind to it for centuries. from www.shutterstock.com

The slippery grammar of spoken vs written English

Spoken language evolves differently and faster than written language, and there are good reasons why this is the case.
The New Zealand government is introducing legislation to become zero-carbon by 2050, but will consider new permits for coal mining, offshore oil drilling and fracking on a case-by-case basis. from shutter stock.com

Why New Zealand should not explore for more natural gas reserves

Natural gas is touted as a “bridging fuel” to displace coal while moving to a low-carbon economy. In New Zealand, this is shortsighted and could lead to stranded assets and hold back renewables.

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