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It is nearly impossible for us to know or be sure about the earliest human language ever used. www.shutterstock.com

The elusive foolproof theory of the origin of language

There have been many theories that try to explain where language came from. None prevailed or even came close to the position of the Darwinism theory in biology or the Big Bang theory in physics.
Urban Light by Christ Burden at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Rabbit Town displays a similar installation that allegedly copies Burden’s work. Terry Robinscon/Flickr

Redefining travel at Indonesia’s selfie destination, Rabbit Town

Travelling will never be the same with the advances of communication technology. The recently opened theme park Rabbit Town shows this.
High-tech startup success stories shouldn’t hide that the Indonesian economy and population are relying primarily on a myriad of micro and small businesses that are low-tech and low-growth. Mast Irham/EPA

‘Making Indonesia 4.0’ and supporting digital startups is good, but what about the small low-tech entrepreneurs?

Micro-entrepreneurs make up the bulk of the Indonesian economy and population. But red tape and corruption are keeping them from entering the 'formal' sector.
Indonesia’s former president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (left), and current president, Joko Widodo, had activists and scholars supporting their presidential campaigns. Many of them have since been given special staff positions in the administration. Adi Weda/EPA

Indonesia’s predatory politics neuter former activists’ attempts at reform from within the system

Many activists have entered politics in the two decades of Indonesia's democratisation. But this hasn't improved the quality of democracy in the country.
Punk Muslim members from Surabaya and Jakarta gather together for their event ‘Ngobrol Bareng Punk Muslim’ in Jakarta on January 15 2017. Hikmawan Saefullah

Punks are not dead in Indonesia, they’ve turned to Islam

The emergence of the Islamic movement in the Indonesian underground music scene has drawn a lot of people’s attention. What factors are driving the underground youths, especially punks, to religion?
Increasing prices to levels that reflect the costs of production sends a signal that electricity is a valuable commodity. www.shutterstock.com

Indonesia’s electricity subsidy reforms led to improved efficiency

Indonesia will freeze electricity prices until the end of 2019, a presidential election year. Research shows that earlier cuts to electricity subsidies led to improved efficiency in electricity use.
Jakarta’s traffic system is one of many facets of the city that could be improved by smart cities technologies, but at what cost? Vasenka Photography/Flickr

Three scenarios show we have to think carefully about ethics in designing smart cities

Governments are using Big Data to design improvements and upgrades of cities. But ethical questions need to be considered, lest we end up jeopardising citizens' privacy or deepen social inequalities.
It has been called “the single most astonishing fact of human geography” – East African islands the Comoros and Madagascar have both African and Asian influences. www.shutterstock.com

How the Banjar people of Borneo became ancestors of the Malagasy and Comorian people

This research reconciled data and hypotheses from linguistic, archeological and genetic research on the settlement of the Comoros and Madagascar.
The collection of huge data sets that can be searched, collected and cross-referenced is called Big Data. shutterstock.com

Indonesia urgently needs personal data protection law

Increased foreign investment in the digital economy means a national conversation is needed to ensure that citizens don't get exploited.
The use of the term pelakor in isolation reveals people’s tendency to blame only the woman in an affair, though it obviously takes two to tango. shutterstock.com

In Indonesia, a sexist term for ‘the other woman’

Recently, many Indonesians have been bombarded with stories about the “pelakor”, a term popularly used to refer to a woman who is perceived as responsible for ruining a couple’s marriage).
Parts of the world are grappling with the urbanisation problem but some other parts experience the opposite: their cities are shrinking. Shutterstock

Managing shrinking cities in an expanding world

Urbanisation has been a well-established trend and for some countries will continue to be. But some others experience the opposite, resulting in underused and abandoned infrastructure.