While children are busy preparing their wish lists for Saint Nicholas day, the press gave an interesting insight into the wishes of governmental and public agencies. The police want to exploit security leaks in personal computers to secretly browse on hard disks. Criminal investigators want access to academic DNA banks.
Since November 6th, my inbox has more or less returned to business-as-usual. Four years ago, while on a sabbatical in the U.S., I took the fateful decision to accept 'occasional emails' on behalf of the Obama campaign. Note the word ‘occasional’.
Last weekend we could change our clocks back from daylight saving time. This allows us to still leave for university in daylight and to get out of bed a little less early. The feeling is correct: during winter, our internal clock is better synchronized with social clock time and we behave more in line with the rising and setting of the sun.
It has been the most read article on the website of the Cursor for almost a month: a piece about the theft of a laptop with scientific data from the car of a PhD student. By the time this column appears, the article will have been read more than five thousand times. What makes this story so appealing to people?
The Erasmus University in Rotterdam is going to use cameras to prevent cheating during exams. It was predictable that students, even if they never cheat, would not enjoy this. If you aim a camera on people to keep watch over them they will pay more attention to what they are doing, but at the same time they begin to suspect their peers of dishonest behavior. This creates an atmosphere of distrust that no one likes.
For every human on the planet there are approximately 62 Lego bricks. With five boys in the right age-range -including myself- we have more than our fair share at home. Psychologists praise Lego for being smart toys; excellent for developing valuable skills in problem solving, spatial cognition, construction, collaboration, and -indeed- imagination. In fact, the ideal preparation for a career at TU/e.
I can vividly remember my first day at university. I had been looking forward to it, but was also a bit insecure about what to expect. When I was walking among all my new fellow students, I experienced this insecurity as slightly annoying. Now I know a little insecurity can’t hurt.
Psychology is becoming ever more important at TU/e. Technical systems and artifacts, be they games, cars, robots, lighting systems or buildings, are all meant for human end users eventually. It's essential to know how these users perceive, think, feel, and act. The new human-oriented program Psychology & Technology examines every technical design from a psychological perspective.
From now on, on a biweekly basis, Cursor will be taking a closer psychological look at students, teachers, labs, technical artifacts, the workplace, the scientific business, campus, education, and websites.