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Trump began his presidency with a fairly traditional American approach to relations with East Asia – but then came his erratic decision in March to meet with Kim Jong-un. US Modern History specialist Mara Oliva explores the US-East Asian geopolitical situation over the past few months in a recent post for The Conversation.

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Ten years on from the demise of Lehman Brothers, former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown believes we are drifting towards another crash – but is he right? Nafis Alam examines the factors that will be critical in any future crisis in a recent post for The Conversation.

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Could robotic trousers be the answer to mobility problems? Reading Biomedical Engineering postdoc Ioannis Dimitrios Zoulias looks the latest developments in technology to get disabled people back on their feet in a recent post for The Conversation.

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Tiny fragments of plastic are being eaten by water-dwelling mosquito larvae and retained in their bodies as they develop to the flying stage, contaminating new food chains as the insects are eaten by bats and birds. Reading’s Dr Amanda Callaghan, who made the finding, tells us more in a new post for The Conversation.

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Children with Down Syndrome often don’t speak or develop vocabulary at the same rate as other children. But new research shows that helping parents to interact with their child in particular ways can boost their language development. Professor Vesna Stojanovik, who is currently hosting the 2018 Down Syndrome Forum at Reading, explains more.

Boy with Down Syndrome sitting on a bench.

Children with Down Syndrome often have a developmental delay in acquiring language skills.

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Fixing a hole

31 years on from the international treaty which banned CFCs, Reading atmospheric scientist Michaela Hegglin reflects on what’s been achieved and whether we’ve really solved the problem of ozone layer depletion.

False-colour view of the total ozone over the Antarctic pole.

False-colour view of total ozone over the Antarctic pole. The purple and blue indicates where there is the least ozone, and the yellows and reds are where there is more ozone. Image credit: NASA Ozone Watch

Today is International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. Ever heard of it? Some of you may know that a crucial treaty got signed on that very day in 1987, but not that the United Nations would have marked this historical event by giving it the status of an International Day. There is a pretty good reason for it.

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Could the London property bubble be about to burst? Geoff Meen, Professor of Applied Economics at Reading, unpicks the reasons behind London’s falling house prices in a new post for The Conversation.

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The University of Reading recently took part in a Universities UK (UUK) and ITN Productions film exploring the positive impact that universities have on people’s lives, and on the prosperity of the UK. This short film looks at how we are sharing the benefits of research to address local, national and global challenges.

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From popping lizards in pillow cases to tape-measuring a mamba, London Zoo has to come up with some creative methods for the annual weigh-in of its animals. But what can a zoo animal’s weight and size tell us about conservation of its wild counterparts? Zoo Keeper turned wildlife researcher Dr Tara Pirie explains more in a new post for The Conversation.

Every August, London Zoo weighs and measures every one of its 19,000 animals. It’s a great PR move for the zoo, guaranteeing lots of friendly coverage of photogenic animals on scales or next to tape measures, at a time when many politicians and journalists have clocked off for the summer. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ebola is back in the Democratic Republic of Congo – but thanks to a new vaccination strategy there’s no reason that a situation like the 2014 Ebola outbreak need ever happen again, says Reading’s  Professor Ian Jones in a recent post for The Conversation.

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