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16th June 2014 £1.00 Issue 1

IN SIGHT Economics SCIENCE GEOGRAPHY ENGINEERING POLITICS

KICKING OFF BRAZIL’s ECONOMY Bitcoins page 06 FLIGHT MH370 PAGE 12 INNOVATION PAGE 14 Christ Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Press photo ©


.....2 | Insight | Contents and Credits

CONTENTS ECONOMICS THE CONTENTIOUS CENTRAL BANK WEAPON Anthony Zhang KICKING OFF BRAZIL Vahesan Raman BIITCOINS Arun Bhahi THREATS TO CHINA’S ECONOMYShahvir Mogul

3 4 6 7

SCIENCE THE BIOCHEMISTRY OF MITOCHONDRIA Prajay Patel THE CHEMISTRY OF SNOWFLAKES Prajay Patel COULD SLEEP LOSS BE SHRINKING YOUR BRAIN? Khilan Shah GRAPHANE: GRAPHENE’S BROTHER Shihaab Nawab

8 9 10 11

GEOGRAPHY THE FLIGHT THAT HAS YET TO LAND Jonathan Gunaseelan VIENNA: THE CITY OF DREAMS Hemang Hirani

12 13

ENGINEERING DARE TO INNERVATE OR INNOVATE Alex Chinweze A BETTER REACTION TO DISASTER Alex Chinweze

14 15

CREDITS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Sharmilan Ilankesan MANAGING EDITORS Khilan Shah, Luxanan Kuganeethan, Akber Khanbhai EXECUTIVE EDITOR Bolun Sun CREATIVE DIRECTOR Paul Jung SUPPORTING STAFF Mr Hargadon, Mr Morton


Economics | Insight | 3.....

THE CONTENTIOUS CENTRAL BANK WEAPON The harsh crises of 2008 hit the conventional central bank controls hard. It was a year later in 2009 when Mervyn King, the previous Bank of England governor, embarked on a 3 month, £75bn ‘quantitative easing’ (QE) Programme. Recently, Mark Carney, the current governor, announced the current quantitative easing stimulus, worth £375bn, was to be kept unchanged. But what does this actually mean? People often regard quantitative easing as printing money. But rather than loading heaps of newly minted coins and notes, central banks use a more complicated process to inject money in the economy. Essentially, the Bank of England creates money out of thin air by crediting its own bank account- electronically- and uses this to purchase assets (usually government bonds) from banks and other financial institutions. Naturally this increase in the demand for bonds causes an upward pressure on prices- from P to P1, as shown below.

S

P1 P

Q

Q1

A Total Success? Quantitative easing has not escaped criticism however. Should it lift economic growth, the potential for inflation to rise is high. Investors in bonds may anticipate this and begin selling bonds. The bonds will lose value; hence there are risks that interest rates may rise with the capability of surpassing inflation. Inflation itself has also been a large concern. Quantitative easing runs the risk of rampant inflation due to the rapid increase in the money supply. This debatably is in return for confidence and growth, though many economists argue there is no proof to suggest that these benefits have been felt. The macroeconomic effects of the stimulus is simply not quantifiable. Companies now also worry about their pension scheme deficits. The cost of paying pensions is calculated based on the assumption that all their assets are invested in bonds, so as the yield on bonds has dropped, these companies have to put more of their assets aside to generate the same level of pension income. BBC has most recently been forced to pay £750m into its pension scheme as it sees its pension deficit rocket to £2bn.

P

D

has recovered, the Bank of England sells the bonds it has bought and destroys the money it has created. This means there is no extra cash generated in the long term.

D1 Q

Coupled with this and the new fresh supply of money in their accounts, companies (who sold the bonds) will use the proceeds to invest in individuals and companies in the form of loans. This carries the hope that they will offer lower interest rates with these loans, thereby increasing the money spent in the economy. Once the economy

Nevertheless, quantitative easing has been the last gasp of hope in the Bank of England’s weaponry, taking over where conventional interest rates have failed. It will still be disputed whether injecting money is advantageous (the creator, Richard Werner, certainly does not think so anymore), or injurious. Then again, as Mark Carney is still keeping the stimulus running, all evidence suggests he is confident that this weapon is a powerful one. By Anthony Zhang


.....4 | Insight | Economics

KICKING OFF BRAZIL’S ECONOMY The wait is over. The spiritual home of football is playing host to 32 teams from across the world all trying to become the next FIFA World Champions. The question all 199 million Brazilians are asking however, is what will happen to the economy after the World Cup: will it go on a match winning streak or will it go off the boil? There have been many critics within Brazil regarding the staging of the World Cup followed two years later by the Olympics with the economy being in such a precarious situation. Having previously experienced vast amounts of economic growth to become the 6th largest economy in the world, as well as part of the coined BRICS countries (a term used to refer to the fast developing economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), it now has the lowest projected growth of 4.2% for the next 10 years amongst these countries. Social unrest has been present in Brazil for almost a year and has overshadowed the build up to the World Cup. It started at the time of the Confederations Cup last year, usually seen as the dress rehearsal to the World Cup. Although there was success on the pitch last year as Brazil were crowned winners, there was not as much certainty amongst individuals for success for the country overall. Although it may seem like a great outlay, the economy will

produce an extra R$142 billion (Brazilian Real) through investment and employment to build the infrastructure. In addition, the infrastructure that is built will not just disappear but stay to benefit future productivity. The 12 host cities will benefit from expanded airports, improved transport systems and better telecommunication services. Although these upgrades were necessary, they hardly would have taken place simultaneously were it not for the World Cup. Increases in productivity as a result of this can shore up Brazil’s previously low productivity. The increased investment will mean that both the price and non-price competitiveness of Brazil’s exports will improve in the global market. In fact at the moment small and medium sized businesses contribute less than 1% of all of Brazil’s exports. Although there is scepticism over the benefits of tourism in the long term, previous hosts of similar global events have enjoyed lasting benefits as people come back to see the places where memorable events occur such as people visiting the Bird’s Nest in Beijing where Usain Bolt broke sprinting world records. However Brazil may have scored an own goal in the cities they have decided to use as hosts for the World Cup. 4 out of the 12 cities such as Manaus in the Amazon Rainforest do not even have a local football team. Consequently, the costs to

build the stadiums in these cities may not be recovered as the occasional music concert may not generate enough income to pay them off. They would become white elephants: not making any real money whilst also being too expensive to take down. There is also the opportunity cost of the 25 billion reals that is being spent on building stadiums which could have been used to invest in either schools or hospitals. The benefits of the global event may not be felt across the country as, whilst the host cities will feel the benefit of improved capital and infrastructure, it will not translate onto a national scale. The World Cup will hopefully will be held without the social unrest which would detract from the spectacle. This will also be a crucial time for the Brazilian government as there are general elections not long afterwards in October. The only thing they can do is hope that the economy will improve after the game changer rather than succumb to a howler. By Vahesan Raman


Economics | Insight | 5.....

BRAZILIAN ECONOMY FACTFILE POPULATION: 196,655,014 CURRENT LARGEST CITIES: 1. Sao Paula- 11,244,369 2. Rio de Janeiro- 6,323,037 3. Salvador- 2,676,606 4. Brasilia- 2,562,963 5. Fortaleza- 2,447,409

WHAT MAKES UP LABOUR FORCE BY BRAZIL’S GDP? OCCUPATION 20% 5.4% 27.4% 67.2% Services

66% Industry

14% 81.3%

Live in an urban area Unemployment Rate

Agriculture

PREPARING FOR THE WORLD CUP TRANSPORTATION -6200 miles of new train tracks -4460 miles of new or widened highways -Rapid transit system between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro -The expansion of 12 airports

VENUES -26% of total sports venues built from scratch -18 are already operating and 8 will have major renovations done

JOBS -700,000 jobs created in total -380,000 jobs created during the country’s preperation for the event -A skills development program will train more than 48,000 participants in strategic skills for the World Cup

6.2%


.....6 | Insight | Economics

BITCOINS “$22,500”. That would be the balance in your account if you had bought $1 worth of Bitcoins in July 2010 and sold it in November 2013. Developed by Satoshi Nakamoto, the decentralised cryptocurrency has been considered as a giant leap in our financial markets, providing a completely new way for businesses to be run due to its online practicality. Managed without a central authority, the digital currency presents a solution to recent problems with banks, global recession and the Euro crisis, but is still in its beginning stages. Bitcoins, however, pose many risks including volatility and illegal market growth. A central authority is considered vital to manage and protect the currency, making decisions to change supply as well as interest rates to control economic policies, whilst verifying the authenticity of the money. However, in Bitcoin, the absence of a central authority means an alternative method is needed to manage transactions and ensure nobody can copy the e-currency. Thus, Bitcoin creators developed a system with public key encryption, where a digital certificate is used to identify account holders, keeping details secure. However, this transparency enables illegal markets to operate globally without detection. There are no accounts, email-addresses, or names associated with each transaction, and instead each balance only has an address and its corresponding public-private key. The Silk Road, an online black market, exploited this weakness and used the Tor hidden service to hide their IP address, making it virtually impossible to track transactions to anyone. The FBI did eventually arrest the owner

and closed the site, but you can be certain there still exists black markets which exploit Bitcoins. The main advantage of Bitcoin is its relevance to the current digital world that we live in, with the proliferation of online ordering, money transfer and mobile applications. People often use PayPal to shop online, but this charges a fee per transaction meaning large transfers of money are usually too expensive. However, when using Bitcoins, money is transferred directly to and from accounts, occurring immediately with no cost, regardless of location or value. Currency-exchange fees are also removed and there is no time or money wasted in the process. This is particularly beneficial in the current globalised market, as a large proportion of products are imported. Although Bitcoin is an evolution of currency, its freedom from central bank regulation means governments cannot interfere to maintain policies, which may unintentionally damage the currency. Quantitative easing, the injection of money supply, is an example which increases economic growth, but reduces our currency’s value. However, these policies constitute our economy and without that ability, our economies will fail. So what does the rise of the Bitcoin imply for the future of central banking? Currently the answer is ‘not much’; however with a central authority, Bitcoins could transform future online markets and become the “complementary, online currency of the future”. By Arun Bhahi


Economics | Insight | 7.....

THREATS TO CHINA’S ECONOMY China has experienced significant economic growth in the last few decades resulting in it growing to become the world’s second largest economy. But what are the threats to growth? Why isn’t China called a developed country yet? What is shadow banking and how is it a threat to China? What are the potential consequences of the economy being the ‘Factory of the world’ and selling so many goods to other countries? According to BBC News, “shadow banking” refers to ‘trusts, leasing and insurance companies - or any other non-bank financial institution which perform banking functions without a banking licence’. In other words, it is the name for the unregulated, unofficial banking system which operates on a huge scale in China. Businesses and even local governments have been borrowing from loan sharks to finance their short term debts since it is quicker than using an official bank. However, in incidents where a shadow bank collapses i.e. if borrowers fail to repay, people could potentially lose all their savings and investors make massive losses.

Many shadow banks in the form of ‘Trusts’ have been set up as off-balance sheet subsidiaries of commercial banks so any losses made will directly affect banks’ profits and operations, hence causing major problems in the official banking system. The main fear of the central government and economists is that the financial system of China can come crashing down like it did in 2008 if the system is left to operate under free market conditions (i.e. with no government intervention and lax regulations). Poverty and inequality are also considered threats to China’s growth since they are the main reasons why China has not been classified as a developed country, despite impressive growth rates. Whilst Beijing and Shanghai are considered developed cities and trade hubs of the world, people in some parts of rural China are dirt poor and the infrastructure of many villages is extremely poor, to the extent that paved roads, access to good education or decent health care are still sought after in some provinces.

China has relied so much on exports to fuel growth in its economy in the last few decades to the extent that it is known as the ‘Factory of the world’. This dependence on exports is thought to be one of the main reasons for the slowdown it has experienced in recent years since European countries have experienced recessions and crises, limiting their purchasing power and their ability to import goods from China. This has meant that exports to European countries and the US have seen a significant decline due to the economic crises these countries have been facing since 2008. China’s export led growth model meant that a fall in exports caused a large slowdown in GDP growth, which is now 7.7% as opposed to 10% in 2007. To sum it all up, China may be classed as a world superpower but there are significant obstacles for growth in the country, which could severely hamper its future prospects if not dealt with properly by its policy makers. By Shahvir Mogul


.....8 | Insight | Science

THE BIOCHEMISTRY OF MITOCHONDRIA The success and development of most cells is based on two powerful, mutually supportive organelles: the mitochondria, which extract energy from sources such as glucose, and chloroplasts, which capture light energy for storage as glucose. Both of these cells have an endosymbiotic origin. Endosymbiotic theory proposes that these organelles were once prokaryotic cells, living inside larger host cells. The engulfed cells relied on the environment of the host cell, whilst the host cell relied on the prokaryote for energy production, in turn this led to the development of mitochondria. Mitochondria are semi-independent within cells, with their own DNA. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is described as ‘singular double stranded circular supercoiled’ DNA molecules which are maternally inherited and consist of small codes for few proteins. The mtDNA originated from the circular genomes of the bacteria engulfed by the early ancestors of eukaryotes. Replication is controlled in order to make sure that daughter cells have the same amount of mitochondria as their parents. Synthesis of Adenosine Tri-Phosphate Mitochondria have two membranes: an outer membrane completely surrounding the inner membrane, with an inter-membrane space in between. The outer membrane has many protein pores, making it permeable to ions and larger molecules, whilst the inner membrane is more restrictive and more involved in protein synthesis. This membrane surrounds the mitochondrial matrix, where ATP synthesis takes place. A proton gradient is generated and is used to drive ATP synthesis. The orange, green and pink structures embedded in the inner membrane represent the proteins of the electron transport chain. Two electrons pass along this chain (red arrow), passing along the three proteins stimulating the transport of a proton (H+) from the matrix to the intermembrane space. The two electrons are used for the conversion of oxygen to water (Reduction).

The build-up of transported protons in the intermembrane space causes a gradient that is used by ATP synthase to produce ATP. ATP synthase is shown in blue, spanning the inner membrane. A black arrow shows protons (H+) moving from the intermembrane space, through ATP synthase, and out into the mitochondrial matrix. As this happens, the enzymatic activity of ATP synthase synthesizes Adenosine Triphosphate from Adenosine Diphosphate. The Overall Reaction Is: ADP3- + HPO42- + H+ + nH+out

ATP4- + H2O + nH+in

The catalysing process begins with a proton from the intermembrane space entering the ATP Synthase complex, followed by another proton leaving the ATP Synthase complex exiting into the matrix space. This is followed by the rotation of the complex, in order to prepare for the next set of protons. This rotation produces the energy required for ATP synthesis. The mitochondria’s’ main function is the production of energy in the form of ATP therefore mitochondrial cells multiply when a cells energy requirement increases. As a result of this cells which need more energy such as heart, liver and muscle cells have a greater amount of mitochondria than cells with a lower energy requirement.

By Prajay Patel outer membrane H+

H+

H+ inner membrane

e- H+

H+

mitochondrion

H+ O2 H2O ADP

P1+ H

ATP

H+

H+


Science | Insight | 9.....

THE CHEMISTRY OF SNOWFLAKES How do Snowflakes Form? Snowflakes form inside clouds, which are made up of water droplets, water vapour and various impurities. When a cloud’s temperature decreases the water molecules crystallise around these impurities, forming a hexagonal structure. These hexagonal structures are able to stack into sheets creating hexagonal prisms.

wide. Larger snowflakes break up in the wind due to their fragility and smaller snowflakes are not heavy enough to fall, so they remain in the atmosphere.

more needle-like crystals are formed.

No snowflakes are exactly alike There are more than 100 features that can be identified on a snowflake giving 10158 Snowflakes form when 2 condipossible snowflake configurations are met: Supersaturation tions. These will be affected by and Supercooling the slightest temperature and Super-saturation: The existence humidity differences. As a of extra water vapour in the air. result of this, no two snowflakes This normally occurs when are exactly identical, Microscopic dust particle in a cloud when it comes down Once the prism Water molecules condense onto the surface of the particle, to the precise grows, branching and then onto each other in a hexagonal lattice formation number of water causes the snowmolecules, spin of flake to develop leg The hexagonal plate grows into a prism. electrons and the like structures from Different facets grow at difference rates, depending on the conditions isotopic abundance the hexagon’s Branching instabilities causes arms to grow on the corners. of hydrogen and corners. Due to the 6 These grow faster than the rest of the crystal and become more pronounced oxygen within sided arrangements The snow crystal is then blown into a new set of them. Whilst it is of water molecules conditions which favour plate growth again. The in snowflakes, they variability of conditions experienced by each crystal entirely possible for accounts for the complexity of forms seen two snowflakes to have 6-fold symmelook exactly alike, try due to this prothe amount of cess of crystallisafactors that contribute to the there is a decline in temperation. The hydrogen bonding structure of a single snowflake ture, which results in more between water molecules is means that it is highly unlikely water vapour in the air than responsible for the hexagonal to have any two which are idenusual. The extra water vapour shape: the angle between the tical. If the snowflake is formed crystallises into water droplets hydrogen atoms in H2O is 104.5 under consistent conditions, i.e. or ice. degrees and hence when hydroconstant temperature and Super Cooling: The existence of gen bonding holds the water o humidity it may be symmetriwater under 0 C. Water does molecules together in the snownot freeze at 0oC due to the cal. flake structure the resultant existence of Brownian motion shape is hexagonal. (Tap water freezes at 0oC due to Why is Snow White? Snowflakes have many light-reimpurities whilst pure water The growth of a snow crystal o flecting surfaces and scatter freezes at -42 C) starts when some molecules The basic shape of a snowflake light into all of its separate connucleate around a tiny impurity. crystal is dependent on the temstituent colours, meaning that Changes in local conditions can perature at which it is formed: unlike water and ice we persubsequently alter the shape lower temperatures produce flat ceive snow to be white. and size of the crystal as it and plate-like structures, whilst forms. The snowflakes that fall at higher temperatures longer, By Prajay Patel are between 0.2mm and 5mm


.....10 | Insight | Science

COULD SLEEP LOSS BE SHRINKING YOUR BRAIN? Everyone has heard the perpetual rhetoric from health experts that sleep is essential, and that you should get at least eight hours of it every day. However new research indicates that sleep deprivation can lead to permanent lasting damage. You may often pull all-nighters to catch up on that last bit of homework or revision before an exam, but long-term sleep deprivation limits the brain’s capacity. There is a widely held belief that you can catch up on lost sleep during the weekend or through naps during the day. But according to Sigrid Veasey from

the University of Pennsylvania this does not appear to be the case. Mice were put on a sleep schedule to mimic that of shift workers. This involved constantly waking them for different periods of time, and then letting them nap to make up for this. The scientists then examined nerve cells within the brain, particularly the locus coeruleus. Large amounts of brain damage were found in the mice, with the mice losing 25% of the neurons in this particular bundle of nerve cells. What is more worrying is that the locus coeruleus is involved with alertness and cog-

nitive function and produces noradrenaline, which triggers the ‘fight or flight’ response. When the mice started to lose sleep, the nerve cells produced sirtuin type 3, a protein thought to protect and energise the nerve cells. But after a few days of constant sleep deprivation this production stopped happening, with the cells dying at an increased rate. This is the first time that evidence has been found that long term sleep deprivation can lead to a loss of brain cells. "No one really thought that the brain could be irreversibly injured from sleep loss,"

Veasey said. However this study was only done on mice and the effect of sleep deprivation may be different in humans. The next step is to analyse the brains of shift workers after death, to look for any evidence of brain cell loss in humans. There is still hope that new drugs could be developed to increasing the amount of sirtuin type 3, thereby preventing the loss of brain cells. So the next time you think of pulling an all-nighter beware: it could be doing more damage to you than you think. By Khilan Shah


Science | Insight | 11.....

GRAPHANE: GRAPHENE’S BROTHER Many of you have probably heard of the material Graphene, the material made of carbon that has been hailed as a ‘wonder material’ by some due to its various properties. For those who don’t know what it is, I’ll briefly explain: Graphene is an allotrope of carbon. Allotropes are different physical forms of an element, meaning that while they may all contain the same element, in this case carbon, they have different structures. Other allotropes of carbon include Diamond and Graphite.

conduct electricity can actually pose a problem: it conducts electricity almost too well. This means it is extremely difficult to make components such as transistors out of graphene as once it starts conducting, it is virtually impossible to ‘switch off’ meaning they can’t really be used in circuits as of yet. In the search for a solution to this problem, scientists managed to make another carbon based material: graphane.

graphene and then burning off large amounts of excess graphene until they are in small strips. Graphane itself also has potential for conducting electricity. Researchers at Rice University, Texas have found that by strategically removing hydrogen atoms from the graphane sheet it gains semi conductive properties which are far more useful for circuits and semiconductors than graphene as it has fewer electrons which are free to move.

Graphane is a material which has exactly the same structure as graphene, except both sides Aside from its conductivity, of the carbon sheet have had scientists are also starting to Graphene has a very similar hydrogen added to them (hydrolook at how its strength and structure to graphite, meaning genation). These hydrogen small mass can be used, as it is comprised of carbon in a atoms bond to the free electrons graphane is said to be as much honeycomb-like structure, but in the graphene sheet, preventas 1000 times stronger than unlike graphite, graphene is ing them from moving freely steel. There is so much more to only a single layer thick. This throughout the structure. This learn about graphane before we makes it an extremely lightmeans that while it loses the can widely use it, so even if weight, but strong and flexible conductivity that graphene has, more research is going into it, material, as it is held together Overall Reaction: it 2-retains the strength and lightwill we see it become widely purely by covalent bonds. 3-As ADP + HPO4 + H+ + nH+out ⇌ ATP4- + H2O + nH+in weight nature of graphene. used in our lifetimes? Only time well as this, it has an extremely will tell. low resistivity, as its electrons This opens up a range of potencan move very freely through tial applications for a material By Shihaab Nawab the structure, making it one of like this. A very important one the best electrical conductors at is its potential use in graphene room temperature known to based circuits. In circuits, man. graphene is used in very small strips, made by taking a sheet of However graphenes ability to


.....12 | Insight | Geography

THE FLIGHT THAT HAS YET TO LAND It’s been more than two months since the disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines Flight, and the location of the flight MH370 has yet to be discovered. The Malaysian Airlines Flight however, isn’t off the radar, metaphorically speaking, as far as the general public and major investigation teams are concerned. Global search efforts are taking place whilst friends and families of the 239 passengers all live through an agonising wait. The flight that left Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, headed towards Beijing was broadcasted as ‘missing’ at 02:40 local time on Saturday 8th March 2014. Since then, regardless of the overwhelming search efforts conducted by the authorities, the case doesn’t seem like it’s coming to a close anytime soon. Theories as to what actually happened 1. The Pilots are Heroes! A common theory is that the flight was involved in some sort of a struggle, possibly to do with hijackers. At this point the pilots could have chosen to fly at 45000ft before suddenly dropping low in altitude, purely to fly aggressively and resist a hijack by disorientating the hijackers. 2. The Pilots are Villains! On the other end of the spectrum, it is also widely believed that the staff on board the flight, particularly the pilots, were behind the planning of the biggest “aviation scandal”. The transponder on the plane, which communicates with ground radar, was shut down as the aircraft crossed into Vietnamese airspace. Nonetheless, during the MH370’s next communication with ATC (Air Traffic Control), the co-pilot was reported to have said “All right, good night”,

evidently misleading all ground staff and acting oblivious to the matter of the transponder. This has led to many raised eyebrows with regards to the fate of the aircraft. Passengers on Flight MH370 and their families There were 227 passengers in total aboard the craft, including 153 Chinese and 38 Malaysians. Among the passengers is Cambridge University student Yuchen Li, 27, who had recently finished his doctoral engineering degree and was heading back to Beijing to see his girlfriend. “See u in Beijing” was the caption of the last picture he shared on a social networking site before departing. Giving a helping hand The present day may be considered to be a time of a global recession- but this didn’t stop many countries joining forces and spending billions in carrying out the search operation for the Malaysian flight. Evidently, the global response of this incident is immense, showing humanity at its best. 26 countries are working together to find the missing flight MH370 over an area covering 1.5% of the Earth’s Surface and 11% of the Indian Ocean. For now, the theories as to what happened exist, but as we all know, theories are rarely correct in practical situations. As the biggest mystery in modern aviation remains unsolved, will the cooperation of global nations pull together and prevail, to create a fairy tale ending for the story that’s captivated the entire world? Flight MH370 should be landing soon…very soon. By Jonathan Gunaseelan


Geography | Insight | 13.....

VIENNA: THE CITY OF DREAMS We are always fed up of our boring, monotonous, stressful lifestyles here in the UK and constantly dream of moving to another ideal place in the world. Well, if this is the scenario you’re in, look no further, Vienna in Austria clearly is the right city for you. For the fifth consecutive year, Vienna was ranked as the number one city with the highest quality of life in the world, surpassing cities in Switzerland, Denmark, U.S and U.A.E. The title was bestowed by Mercer, a global consulting firm, and was based on a combination of traits such as stability, rising living standards, and advanced city infrastructures. Undoubtedly it is definitely something to consider as not only does Vienna boast a vibrant cultural scene, comprehensive health care

and relatively cheap housing, there is also much more to the city that many do not know about. The city literally has everything; for the youth there is a thriving music and nightlife culture beneath the subway between the Thaliastrasse and Nussdorferstrasse stations, with famous clubs like Chelsea and the Rhiz bar. For older residents, Vienna boasts a range of architecture, with pieces from the middle-ages all the way to the Baroque period. There are also museums, markets, world-renowned coffee shops and various other historic features which have led to the city being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Therefore, socially the city is attractive to those of all ages, and it is therefore not hard to understand why it has been

labelled as the city with the highest standard of living. However, it’s not only due to social reasons that the city has clinched first place, but economically the city is also highly appealing. Often referred to as the ‘city of dreams’, Vienna has the fourth highest GDP per capita rate in the world at €36,640, with the cost of living also being relatively cheap in comparison to other European countries. With fantastic transport links including those of the world renowned U-Bahn, you can get around the city for under €1. This is not all: one of the most enticing aspects of the city is that it enables you to get a mix of both city-life and natural surroundings. With 45.6% of the city being green space and just over 5.1% being bodies

of water, there is a perfect balance between the hectic lifestyle in the urban parts of the city, and the calm and serene environment towards the periphery. However, although all this seems to be brilliant, Vienna’s population is growing. Although steadily growing at a rate of just over 1.2% per year, this means that the pressure on the city is ever increasing and as people are realising that it is the best place to live in; spots are being taken rapidly which could soon mean that by the time we look to move, it may be too late. Nevertheless, by the time we are to move, there may be another city that will take the title. Therefore, if you remain optimistic, perhaps one day your dreams of living in your utopic city may come true. By Hemang Hirani


.....14 | Insight | Engineering

DARE TO INNERVATE OR INNOVATE In a world where so much time is spent in virtual reality, it is often difficult to stop and appreciate having functional limbs. Those unfortunate enough to have lost their limbs are reliant on the constant evolution of prosthetic limbs. There are two main forms of prostheses used in current biomedical approaches to amputations: Body-powered and Myoelectric. Body-powered limbs are controlled by bike-like cables connected to the healthier alternative body part which is moved in a certain way in order to re-create motion. The technology available to engineers allows the limbs to weigh one half to a third of a myoelectric limb. Myoelectric limbs work by “listening� to the electrical signals

made by the remaining muscles in the arms and moving the prosthetic limb as naturally as possible. Their weight comes from the motors and batteries inside them. This week, Todd Kuiken, a Psychiatrist and Engineer at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, revealed a project, which if successful, would produce prosthetic limbs designed to facilitate sensory capacities in bionic limbs. The concept behind this is called targeted re-innervation. When a limb is amputated, the neural signals will still exist. The goal, therefore, is to amplify the signal that the brain is sending to these sites so that they can be recorded on the skin surface:; the amplifier being muscles. Let us consider the

arm. It is connected to four main nerves from the brain: the Median, Musculocutaneous, Radial and Ulnar Nerve. If some chest nerves were removed and these four allowed to grow into them, the chest could relay movement intended for the hands. This allowed for more intuitive control over the artificial limbs which responded to appropriate muscle movements. This was evident in more fluid and faster movement in the prosthetic limbs when tested on basic hand functions. This unexpected gift has certainly displayed promise in the desire to give the handicapped the chance to feel normal again. By Alex Chinweze


Engineering | Insight | 15.....

A BETTER REACTION TO DISASTER From a coffee cup to a four bed shelter, this device is proof that Engineers are inspired to innovate by their surroundings.

Reaction is to become active in emergency aid following a natural catastrophe. Each unit provides 80 square feet of space and four single beds. It also contains portable generators that power four power outlets, a weather radio, solid-state LED lighting and a Nest-like AC system.

We are all aware of the destruction Hurricane Katrina caused and the millions subsequently displaced out of homelessness. We are all also aware of the poor rehabilitation efforts carried out by the US government. Driven to solve a problem, Michael McDaniel designed the Exo housing system.

There are some interesting pieces of technology that feature in this design. For example, each system contains an imitation of the Nest AC system that learns your temperature preferences and adjusts accordingly. This status is relayed to a central populous app for easy

The cheap, lightweight, easy to produce, recyclable, reusable Exo disaster relief shelter by

Secure: A rigid shell and a locking door provide a safe place to leave personal belongings

maintenance of the systems. The structure of the design is not overly complex, but its implications could be profound. From disaster aid to housing efforts in Africa and other LEDCs all over the world, the possibilities are endless. The true brilliance, however, comes from its humble conception; inspired by the design of a Styrofoam coffee cup. Ideas are omnipresent, but doing something with them requires the ingenuity of an engineer. By Alex Chinweze

Sleeps 4 adults on fold away, twin sized bunks that neatly store in the walls.

Flexible: Either the front or rear door can be replaced with integrated A/C unit, or connector module to link several units together

Steady: The hollow floor can be filled with 1000lb of water to firmly weight the shelter to the ground

Climate control and power to each unit through a special line


IN SIGHT 16th June 2014 £1.00 Issue 1


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