News Article | April 17, 2017
The Brain Injury Association of America recognizes March as Brain Injury Awareness Month, a time that hits close to home for one KCU medical student. It’s also a time to raise awareness about the 2.4 million children and adults in the U.S. who sustain a traumatic brain injury each year, along with another 795,000 who suffer an acquired brain injury from non-traumatic causes. For Landon Sowell, a first-year medical student at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU), it’s a time to reflect on his own medical miracle and his dream of offering hope to someone else. When he was 7 years old, Sowell suffered a kick to the head while feeding horses near Fulton, Kentucky. The horse’s hoof struck him just behind his right ear. The first grader was rushed to a local emergency room and immediately transferred to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, with a fractured skull, brain swelling and bleeding in his brain. “He looked like he had been in a boxing match with all the swelling,” said his mother DeAnna Reams. “He was unresponsive and did not look like my sweet, vibrant little boy.” Sowell survived the injury, but the medical team prepared his family for the possibility that he might never be that vibrant little boy they once knew; that he might have suffered permanent physical injury and learning disabilities. “The doctors weren’t sure if I would make it to 20 years old and be fully functional,” said Sowell. In the beginning, he couldn’t stand, walk or coordinate his arms and hands well enough to catch a ball. He couldn’t repeat a sequence of words to test his speech, and the kick was so forceful that he was left with impaired vision and crossed eyes. “I woke up in a neck brace,” Sowell remembered. “I couldn’t move my arms or legs or speak. I had to use a wheelchair, I had to learn everything again; it was such a strain just to put a puzzle together.” Much to the surprise and delight of his family and medical team, Sowell slowly gained back the ground he had lost. Following a year of intense physical therapy and surgery to correct his eyes, Sowell regained physical function and cognitive ability. He wasn’t allowed to play sports out of concern that he could sustain a concussion or suffer seizures, but he excelled academically in high school and college. Inspired by the physicians who treated him, Sowell decided to go into medicine. In August of 2016, he began medical school at KCU. “This is truly an amazing story,” said CenterPoint Medical Center’s David D. Dyke Jr., DO, an internationally renowned concussion expert and president of the Brain Injury Association of Missouri. “It is rare to have moderate to severe brain injury and still make it into medical school.” Dyke says the brain remains a mystery on many levels, but there is more interest in studying the brain and brain injuries. “We are just scratching the surface, even though our knowledge has increased dramatically over the past 10 years.” Dyke believes Landon’s young age at the time of his injury had an impact on the ability of his brain to heal, but notes the importance of focusing on brain injury prevention, especially in adolescents. Sowell wants to use what he calls his “second chance” in life to provide not only medical care, but also hope to kids and parents who show up in the ER with injuries similar to his. “I want to make a difference,” he said. “If a little kid comes into the ER and I see them in the condition I was in, I want to demonstrate that recovery is possible.” Sowell credits his confidence in achieving his goal of becoming a doctor to his Christian faith and his ability overcome profound physical challenges. His near-death encounter as a child puts life into perspective even today. “My mom says it kicked common sense into me,” he said with a smile. “That experience proves there is nothing so bad that can ruin your day, nothing so bad you can’t get over, and always look for the most positive thing, no matter what it is.”
News Article | April 17, 2017
For Shafer, Kline & Warren’s (SKW) engineers, the work on the intersections surrounding Independence Avenue and The Paseo began in 2002 with the goal of improving safety for drivers and pedestrians. Today, their design work is part of a comprehensive housing, transportation and urban development project to improve the Paseo Gateway district and create a safe, welcoming and vibrant community in the Northeast area of Kansas City, Missouri. This month, SKW kicked off the design phase of the $12 million Paseo Gateway transportation project to improve an intersection that has been historically ranked as one of the top five high-crash locations in the City of Kansas City. The transportation project is one pillar of the revitalization of the Paseo Gateway community, for which the City received a five-year $30 million federal Housing and Urban Development grant to invest in the area. “It’s an exciting opportunity to make an impactful statement on a part of town that needs the help,” said SKW Transportation Team Leader Jay Burress. “It’s gratifying to move forward on a project we have been conversing with City leaders about for more than a decade. It’s a high-crash area. As engineers, we like to fix things that don’t work well to make them right and help keep people safe.” In 2004, SKW designed an interim improvement for the intersection, which mitigated some of the danger of the intersection, but the scope of the project was limited by budgetary constraints. Then, throughout the past year and a half, SKW has worked with Zimmerman/Volk Associates, Shockey & Associates and Taliaferro & Browne on the pre-design phases of the project, which included economic impact studies, the drafting of 10 potential alignments for the intersection, and meetings with the public and other area stakeholders. Kansas City’s Parks and Recreation Department has plans to include an architectural feature in the intersection to create a gateway to downtown and the boulevard system. Additionally, plans for the area are focused on creating business and economic growth opportunities as well as revitalizing an area park. “It has truly been a collaborative process,” said Burress. “We worked to ensure the design selected was a win for all those involved. It needed to benefit the neighborhood and its residents while meeting the desires of Kansas City University and supporting future businesses coming to the area.” The design will include reducing the intersection of Independence Avenue and the north and southbound lanes of The Paseo to a single, typical intersection with left turn lanes. This change will increase capacity for the intersection while reducing crashes. Additionally, a bridge on Cliff Drive will be removed, and the intersection of Cliff Drive and The Paseo will become a typical intersection, which will eliminate the merge and weaving issues that currently occur. “In some ways, this reminds me of the Barry Road project in Kansas City, Missouri,” said Burress. “People were dying there because of roads and bridges that didn’t function well. We helped address that with a multi-phased roadway design project to accommodate the increased traffic and improve safety. Together with the addition of Zona Rosa, that project helped change the whole area. It would be amazing if we could similarly help flip the Paseo Gateway community.” On March 20, the City began work to raze the Royale Inn as part of the comprehensive neighborhood project. Construction on the transportation portion of the project is anticipated to begin in spring 2019.
News Article | April 17, 2017
Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) announces the appointment of Edward R. O'Connor, PhD, MBA, FACHE, to the position of provost and executive vice president for Academic and Research Affairs. O'Connor comes to KCU from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where for the past three years he served as provost and chief academic officer, and professor in both the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Medicine. Prior to his roles at Creighton University, O'Connor held several positions at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, including dean and professor of Biomedical Sciences for the School of Health Sciences; professor of Medical Sciences at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine; and executive director for the National Institute for Community Health Education. While there, O'Connor also served as head coach for men's cross country. "Dr. O'Connor brings extensive experience in administration with a focus on academic excellence and cross-campus collaboration, as well as research and scholarship; we're very pleased to have him join our team," said Marc B. Hahn, DO, KCU president and CEO. "His expertise in establishing new academic programs in the health professions, with a commitment to growing interprofessional education, will best prepare our students to succeed in today's health care environment." As provost, O'Connor will provide leadership, vision, direction and advocacy to best support students in meeting their academic and career goals. He also will be responsible for advancing KCU's goals for research through continued collaboration with key partners. "This is a time of great opportunity for KCU, and I'm honored and excited to be a part of its continued growth," said O'Connor. "I look forward to working with other members of the leadership team, our faculty and the entire KCU family to achieve the University's strategic goals and ensure the greatest success for our students." O'Connor earned a Doctor of Philosophy from the Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience at the Albany Medical College Graduate School of Health Sciences in Albany, New York; a Master of Business Administration in Health Care Leadership from Yale School of Management, Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut; and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from State University of New York at Albany. O'Connor has served in leadership and committee positions on the local, regional and national levels and holds membership in several professional societies. He has served on the board of directors of several hospitals and most recently served on the board of CHI Health, an organization consisting of 15 hospitals, two stand-alone behavioral health facilities, and more than 150 employed physician practice locations, which serve Nebraska and western Iowa. He is also the author of dozens of publications and the recipient of many prestigious honors and awards.
News Article | April 17, 2017
LearnHowToBecome.org, a leading resource provider for higher education and career information, has analyzed more than a dozen metrics to rank Missouri’s best universities and colleges for 2017. Of the 40 four-year schools on the list, Washington University in St. Louis, Saint Louis University, Maryville University of Saint Louis, William Jewell College and Rockhurst University were the top five. 14 two-year schools also made the list, and State Fair Community College, Crowder College, Jefferson College, East Central College and State Technical College of Missouri were ranked as the best five. A full list of the winning schools is included below. “The schools on our list have created high-quality learning experiences for students in Missouri, with career outcomes in mind,” said Wes Ricketts, senior vice president of LearnHowToBecome.Org. “They’ve shown this through the certificates and degrees that they offer, paired with excellent employment services and a record of strong post-college earnings for grads.” To be included on the “Best Colleges in Missouri” list, schools must be regionally accredited, not-for-profit institutions. Each college is also appraised on additional data that includes annual alumni salaries 10 years after entering college, employment services, student/teacher ratio, graduation rate and the availability of financial aid. Complete details on each college, their individual scores and the data and methodology used to determine the LearnHowToBecome.org “Best Colleges in Missouri” list, visit: The Best Four-Year Colleges in Missouri for 2017 include: Avila University Baptist Bible College Calvary Bible College and Theological Seminary Central Methodist University-College of Liberal Arts and Sciences College of the Ozarks Columbia College Culver-Stockton College Drury University Evangel University Fontbonne University Hannibal-LaGrange University Harris-Stowe State University Kansas City Art Institute Lincoln University Lindenwood University Maryville University of Saint Louis Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Missouri Baptist University Missouri Southern State University Missouri State University-Springfield Missouri University of Science and Technology Missouri Valley College Missouri Western State University Northwest Missouri State University Park University Rockhurst University Saint Louis University Southeast Missouri State University Southwest Baptist University Stephens College Truman State University University of Central Missouri University of Missouri-Columbia University of Missouri-Kansas City University of Missouri-St Louis Washington University in St Louis Webster University Westminster College William Jewell College William Woods University Missouri’s Best Two-Year Colleges for 2017 include: Crowder College East Central College Jefferson College Lake Career and Technical Center Mineral Area College Missouri State University - West Plains Moberly Area Community College North Central Missouri College Ozarks Technical Community College St. Charles Community College State Fair Community College State Technical College of Missouri Texas County Technical College Three Rivers Community College About Us: LearnHowtoBecome.org was founded in 2013 to provide data and expert driven information about employment opportunities and the education needed to land the perfect career. Our materials cover a wide range of professions, industries and degree programs, and are designed for people who want to choose, change or advance their careers. We also provide helpful resources and guides that address social issues, financial aid and other special interest in higher education. Information from LearnHowtoBecome.org has proudly been featured by more than 700 educational institutions.
News Article | March 15, 2016
Just after midday on 25 November last year, Paul Johnson arrived at Millbank Studios, a pale stone building, used by news broadcasters, diagonally opposite the Palace of Westminster. Johnson, who is 49 and gangly, was riding a Brompton folding bicycle, his left suit trouser leg tucked into a red sock. (He claims to own socks of no other colour.) Johnson is the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, an independent economic research organisation that occupies a unique position in British political life. Though other outfits attempt similar work, the IFS stands apart: when it comes to economic policy, its assessments have, for many, become the closest approximation to revealed truth. “It is quite extraordinary in a way that it is regarded as the ultimate authority,” says Robert Peston, the former economics editor of the BBC and now the political editor of ITV news. “Basically, when the IFS has pronounced, there’s no other argument. It is the word of God.” Johnson had been summoned to the broadcast studios on the occasion of the autumn statement, one of two announcements the Treasury is mandated to make to parliament annually. (The budget, which is typically delivered in the spring, outlines the government’s revenues and expenditure for the coming financial year; the autumn statement combines an update on progress since the last budget with economic growth forecasts.) Both events are major pieces of political theatre – and the IFS now plays a crucial role in their reception. If the chancellor is the impresario of the day’s performance, then the IFS has become Westminster’s most prominent – and feared – theatre critic. For both the autumn statement and budget, the chancellor stands up in the House of Commons to deliver his speech at 12.30pm. Immediately after the speech, Johnson and his deputy commence a tour of the TV studios, offering immediate takes on the chancellor’s offering. Meanwhile, back at IFS headquarters in Fitzrovia, some of the brightest economic minds in Britain begin combing over documents that have just been released by the Treasury. The 24 hours that follow are the busiest days of the year for the IFS. The institute’s staff must move quickly to calculate how much each new policy will cost, or benefit, certain sections of society, using a huge computerised model of the British tax and benefits system. More broadly, the IFS economists – many of whom are still in their 20s – assess whether the chancellor’s political rhetoric matches the harder reality of the numbers. This work, which continues late into the night, fuelled by takeaway pizza, involves a search for where the Treasury has buried this year’s bodies – and an attempt to reconcile the complexities of academic economics with the media’s demand for straightforward answers. “Ranges are for cattle,” US president Lyndon Johnson supposedly once quipped to an economic adviser. “Give me one number.” A select team drawn from among the IFS’s 40 full-time research staffers must race to build their findings into a presentation that is delivered at 1pm the following day – under the watchful eyes of all of Britain’s political, economic and media establishment. What the IFS says about the chancellor’s budget determines the public narrative about what the government has actually done. At a time when the British media, public, and political establishment are all fiercely polarised, the institute’s findings are taken as gospel. No one can doubt its enormous authority. But how did one small economic research institute come to occupy such a commanding position in British public life? Outside Millbank Studios last November Johnson, whose manner is cheerful and slightly awkward, met his deputy, a 41-year old LSE graduate named Carl Emmerson. Together they climbed the stone flagged stairs of the studios. At 12.30, when George Osborne stood to address the House of Commons, Johnson was ensconced in a booth in the BBC zone. In front of him lay a plate of sandwiches and a sheaf of freshly released documents from the Treasury. With headphones clamped over his ears, and his body hunched in concentration, Johnson watched the chancellor deliver his speech. Osborne began by promising “far reaching changes to what the state does and how it does it”. The main thrust came 10 minutes later, when he abandoned a proposed cut to tax credits that had caused him considerable political vexation over the preceding months – partly thanks to the IFS’s initial criticism of Osborne’s plan. In a summer budget on 8 July 2015, after the general election, Osborne had announced a cut to tax credits as part of a series of measures to shave £12bn from the welfare bill. The following day, at its post-budget presentation, the IFS claimed that the policy would cost 13 million families an average of £260 per year. A further three million would be more than £1,000 worse off annually. Johnson himself said the measure would hurt the poor “much more” than the rich. The Financial Times, the Guardian, the BBC and the Independent all ran the story, prominently referencing the IFS. In October, the Sun launched a campaign under the headline “Tax credits cut bonkers”, using a single father of two named George Osborne – annual income £6,760 – to illustrate its theory. In November, the other Osborne did a U-turn. When the chancellor’s speech was done, Johnson’s real work began. He sat for makeup and then toured the Millbank studios, first to a BBC set-up transmitting to BBC 2, the BBC News Channel and BBC Parliament. There Johnson sought to explain that Osborne’s change in policy was more cosmetic than the chancellor had suggested – that the overall cuts would in the long run be just as sharp as they were going to be when first outlined in July 2015. The key point was that, following reforms to the welfare system, new benefits claimants would receive less than at present. Johnson was playing his translator role, putting the numbers into – relatively speaking – plain English. “On that tax credit point, it is terribly important to be clear that he has changed nothing in the long run,” he said. Later, Johnson and Emmerson headed to College Green, the rectangle of distressed grass where Westminster broadcasters stage their exterior shots. It was now past three o’clock and Johnson’s left trouser was still tucked into his sock. As he moved from live broadcast to live broadcast, he was constantly greeted by fellow members of the political and media establishment. On the Millbank Studio stairs he bantered with Robert Peston; on a lobby sofa outside a Sky News studio, Johnson discussed his choice of tie with Nigel Lawson, Margaret Thatcher’s longest-serving chancellor. But it was in the Sky studio itself that the IFS’s position as the ultimate explainer and umpire of British politics came into sharp focus. The Sky anchor Dermot Murnaghan sat in a studio, framed by bars of illuminated red and blue. “Ah my God, the man that knows,” Murgnahan roared, off-air, when Johnson arrived. “I feel I’m here in a Penn and Teller show,” the anchor said. “And you’re going to explain what happens.” This week, following Osborne’s budget speech on Wednesday afternoon, Johnson and his researchers will work far into the night preparing their response. The IFS occupies the top two floors of a 1960s office block on Ridgmount Street in Fitzrovia. The office is blandly corporate – staffers use PCs rather than Apple computers, and there is not a beanbag in sight. Venetian blinds hem the windows and bookshelves hold copies of Fiscal Studies, the institute’s house journal. Most IFS staff – who invariably refer to their employer as “IFS” with the definite article elided – join straight out of undergraduate or masters programmes. Altogether 40 of the overall headcount of 60 are full-time “research economists”, while others are mostly senior academics with part-time affiliations. Their wardrobe is a contrast to the corporate look of the office – the younger staffers dress like members of a university debating team: Superdry T-shirts, Adidas trainers, zip-off trekking trousers. They are expected to scrub up for TV appearances, and a room in the basement, equipped with an ISDN line for static-free radio interviews, holds racked suit jackets alongside damp cycling clothes. On budget days the institute obtains no special information before the chancellor’s speech, nor does it gain access to embargoed media briefings. Last November, by the time Johnson returned from Millbank in the middle of the afternoon, the work back at IFS headquarters was well under way. The IFS’s autumn statement analysis was done by three teams, whose work corresponds to the areas they study in their day-to-day research. The most potentially explosive work took place downstairs. There, four young men clustered at desks strewn with papers, Fox’s biscuits, a copy of Accountancy magazine and a packet of Tyrkisk Peber, a liquorice candy popular in Scandinavia. Andrew Hood, James Browne, Stuart Adam and Rob Joyce work on “direct tax and welfare”, performing the distributional analysis that has become the IFS trademark, calculating how much policy change will cost certain groups. Upstairs, two further teams were at work. The first, led by Gemma Tetlow, 34, focused on big-picture spending, while David Phillips, 30, led the final team, focusing on local government and devolution. Johnson patrolled among the teams like a gallery owner, carefully polishing his treasures before unveiling them to the public. Johnson and Emmerson also placed calls to Treasury director Stuart Glassborow to seek clarification or check points of fact. One former Treasury official told me that there was always “an open line with a junior nerd at the IFS” on budget day, pointing out it is in the interest of neither side to get detail wrong. At 6.30pm, the pizzas arrived, fresh from Olivelli, an establishment near the British Museum, and the staff gathered to eat in the common room on the third floor. Afterwards, as evening drew into night and deadlines approached, the atmosphere was calm. The scene resembled the performance of other complex tasks by an experienced team: shades of the aircraft cockpit or the operating theatre. (Exceptions are not unknown, however: Johnson told me a staffer once became so panic stricken on budget night they had to go home early.) Before each team went to bed, the researchers sent on their draft slides for the following day’s presentation, on blue and green IFS-branded templates, to Johnson and Emmerson. The director and his deputy provided overnight feedback. Gemma Tetlow, the last economist standing, left the office at 1.15am. The next morning, “IFS day”, as one former lobby correspondent terms it, started early. Johnson rose at six for the Today Programme, while staff were assembled in Ridgmount Street by about 8.30am. Those individuals selected to present – chosen by a process of relative democracy and a ruthless assessment of their social skills – wore suits. They rehearsed in front of Emmerson in the basement. The first slide of Tetlow’s presentation bore George Osborne’s face superimposed on Bob the Builder’s body. The caption read: “George the Builder: he can fix it (just not today – he’s enjoying the Sun)”. That morning, the Sun had triumphantly announced “Tax credit cuts scrapped by George Osborne in U-turn after Sun campaign.” In rehearsal Tetlow ran to twice her planned 20-minute length. “Serious butchering,” in her words, ensued. At a few minutes before 1pm, the team decamped from Ridgmount Street and crossed Gower Street to the University of London campus. In the lobby outside the Beveridge Hall, much of the UK’s political and media establishment, identifiable by 270 plastic lapel badges, had gathered. Johnson spoke first. “The first thing to say is that this is not the end of austerity,” he said. “This spending review is still one of the tightest in postwar history.” Tetlow followed, but this day belonged to Andrew Hood, who ran through his findings on how Osborne’s policies would affect welfare recipients. After the slides had slid, the press surrounded Hood, desperate to hear more from this young man who seemed to know more about the benefits system than anyone outside government. It was clearly exciting for Hood; he was relishing this moment after hours immersed in TAXBEN, the IFS’s computerised economic model. As Johnson had done, Hood sought to explain just how the apparent U-turn by Osborne meant rather less than it seemed, especially over the long term. As with Johnson, though, not everyone got the message. “Can I try something in journalese on you?” asked a reporter. The reporter slipped into copy mode, and presented Hood with a news line about how many people would be affected by benefits changes in the next five years. Hood mulled. “Let me think about this. Can I replace ‘Over five to 10 years’ with ‘In the long run?’” “Umm, newsdesk says no,” the reporter answered, to collective laughter from his peers. Hood continued to walk his recalcitrant audience through points of detail that they struggled to understand. At one stage he broke from spending several minutes outlining exactly why a certain, apparently simple conclusion was in fact wrong, to examine the rolling TV coverage. “Sky News have just reported exactly the line I’ve just told Sam he’s not allowed to print,” Hood lamented. “Too late now,” said another reporter. “It’s news. Too late.” The origins of the IFS go back to a bachelor weekend in 1967 at the Bell, a ritzy red-brick pub in the Buckinghamshire village of Aston Clinton. Four city men attended: tax consultant John Chown, investment manager Bob Buist, stockbroker Nils Taube and banker Will Hopper. Chown, who is now 86, recalls the Aston Clinton meeting as an opportunity “to have the four of us together for a weekend with no distractions apart from the fact that we were getting well fed and watered”. The four men were bound together by a collective disgruntlement at the introduction of corporation tax by James Callaghan, then chancellor, in 1965. At the Bell, each man wrote an article on an aspect of tax, which they offered collectively to William Rees-Mogg, then editor of the Times. They expected the pieces to seep into print gradually, but Rees-Mogg ran them together on 10 April 1967, under the headline “A charter for the tax reform.” A reproduction of this piece now hangs in the basement of the IFS office. Encouraged by the response to their article, in July the following year Chown, Buist, Taube and Hopper decided over supper at Stella Alpina, an Italian restaurant in Mayfair, to found an institute. The minutes Hopper made afterwards stated that the principal objective was “to study the economic impact of existing taxes and proposed changes in the fiscal system”. The intention was for an independent “research society”, rather than a “propaganda society”. Hopper proposed the name, including the use of “for” rather than “of”, a move that has persistently confused outsiders down the decades. In 1969 the IFS was formally incorporated as a limited company and the following year, Dick Taverne, the Labour MP for Lincoln and former financial secretary to the Treasury, became the part-time director for the new body. In 1970s Britain though, the IFS struggled to make headway. As an organisation with no established track record it could not attract top-flight staff, and its work attracted little attention. In an attempt to raise its profile, in 1975 the IFS created the Meade committee, a wholesale examination of the British tax system led by James Meade, a renowned former Cambridge economist. Meade was assisted by two young economists: John Kay, who would go on to become director of the IFS, and Mervyn King, who would later become governor of the Bank of England. The report it produced ran to 533 pages, took three years to prepare, and during this period Meade won the Nobel prize for economics for his earlier work on international trade and capital movement. On its publication in 1978, The Structure and Reform of Direct Taxation commanded five full pages of coverage in the Financial Times, and helped to solidify the IFS’s reputation. Yet funding was hand-to-mouth, relying mainly on corporate donations, with periodic infusions from grant-giving bodies such as the Gatsby Foundation. Evan Davis, now the presenter of Newsnight, arrived at the IFS in the summer of 1983 as an intern during his Oxford PPE degree, and returned full time the next year. He recalls on one occasion raiding a skip in order to acquire partitions for the office, which had relocated to Castle Lane in Victoria. (Though the partitions were not, as far as he remembers, actually used.) In 1979, John Kay took over as director of the IFS. In his first few years in charge, it remained a scrappy outsider throwing stones at Whitehall. Relationships with government in general – and the civil service in particular, who perceived a trespass on their traditional expertise – were thorny. If some of the 1980s battles were part of the growing process of a new institution, Kay agrees that his personality may have also played a role in the IFS-government spats. “I am impatient to get things done,” he told me. After Kay and two colleagues, Andrew Dilnot and Nicholas Morris, published a book that was critical of the Inland Revenue, Laurence Airey, the chairman of the board of the Revenue, summoned Kay into an enormous ballroom in Somerset House, which then held the Revenue’s headquarters, and screamed at him for 15 minutes. When Kay interjected to ask for the specifics of Airey’s grievance Airey shouted back: “I’m too angry to give details.” Kay, who is now a columnist for the Financial Times, recalls stepping down in 1986, emotionally exhausted by repeated tussles with the civil service machine. But under his tenure, the IFS’s public profile undoubtedly grew. In 1982 the IFS published its first “green budget”, which came out well before the budget, and aimed to lay out the issues at stake in the contemporary debate. The “green budget” continues to this day. The following year, the IFS presented its first “rapid response” to the budget, although at the first attempt the institute was not ready to go public with its “rapid” take until three weeks after the chancellor’s speech. Andrew Dilnot recalls limited media attention in the 1983 general election campaign. Four years later, the situation was very different. In the 1987 election campaign Dilnot found himself spending “most nights” at the BBC studios. During the 1990s and early 2000s, the IFS’s public profile continued to grow, but the wrangles with government did not entirely vanish. When Gordon Brown was chancellor, he came to see the IFS, then under the leadership of Robert Chote, as a major antagonist. During that time, it fell to Damian McBride to present Brown with the “snaps” – immediate coverage of breaking news – of the IFS post-budget press conferences. Before McBride could speak, Brown would grab the paper from his hands and yell a single word: “Chote!” (Inevitably, “Chote!” became a catchphrase among Treasury staff.) McBride believes the IFS was incentivised to pick holes in the budget because negative announcements drew more publicity. “It [the IFS] caused us more problems than the Tory party,” he told me. McBride was happy to fight back, however, once describing Paul Johnson to a journalist as a “failed Treasury economist”. Alistair Darling, who succeeded Brown as Labour chancellor on Tony Blair’s departure in 2007, was less choleric, but he still acknowledged the potential problems posed by the IFS. “Of course it’s irritating and inconvenient when the IFS offers a critical view the day after a budget,” he said. “But frankly you have to take these things in the round.” The IFS owes its prominence, in large part, to the media. It has been so successful at attracting press attention, in fact, that other thinktanks regularly contact Paul Johnson asking how they too might pick up such lavish coverage. But the secret of its success – aside from a well-drilled PR operation – is simple. First, many journalists are not confident with numbers; they want a reliable source they can turn to. (When I asked former IFS staffers for examples of the worst questions journalists had asked them, the wince-making responses included “How do you work out a percentage?”) The explosive calculation, last July, that Osborne’s proposed tax credit cut could cost some families upwards of £1,000 per year was made simply by taking the government’s projected saving and dividing it by the number of people who would be affected. That was primary school arithmetic – but it became potent only when it was stamped with the IFS imprimatur. Second, the perception that the IFS is an impartial umpire means that harried broadcasters do not have to find someone to represent the “other side”. The official IFS position is that it has no ideological agenda – that its work is beholden only to data. (“You can referee data,” Andrew Dilnot likes to say.) The IFS has built its reputation on this rigid focus on microeconomics: they will assess the costs of new policies, or the impact of tax changes, but they studiously avoid “big picture” questions such as the causes of the 2008 financial crisis, or the wisdom of government borrowing. (Bonnie Brimstone, who heads communications for the IFS, routinely turns down press requests that fall outside this regular furrow.) This narrow focus is the source of some criticism – particularly given the influence of the IFS on public debate about economics. Robert Peston argues that the IFS’s emphasis on microeconomic matters has steered British media coverage in a similar direction. “Everybody – BBC, ITV, newspapers – obsesses about what the IFS says about who the winners and losers are,” Peston told me. “Nobody really gets into the whole issue of whether austerity, for example, is good or bad for growth. Did George Osborne’s cuts at the start of the 2010 parliament make Britain richer or poorer?” The Oxford macroeconomist Simon Wren-Lewis makes a similar point, arguing that the financial crisis, and the ensuing need for governments to undertake fiscal stimulus – borrowing and spending to spur economic growth – meant that one had to look beyond narrow microeconomic questions. After 2008, Wren-Lewis said, “you needed some macro knowledge to talk about the budget – about what fiscal changes would be effective at boosting demand – which the IFS does not have”. Some left-leaning economists look with particular scepticism on the claim that the IFS has no ideology, arguing that the institute holds an excessive faith in the power of market forces. The tax expert Richard Murphy, a professor of political economy at City University who advised in Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign for the Labour leadership, said the IFS was “embedded in all the normal, standard pro-market assumptions that dominate conventional economic thinking in the UK and elsewhere”. Howard Reed, who worked at the IFS for nearly a decade and now runs an economics consultancy that has produced work for the Trades Union Congress and the thinktank Demos, took issue with the organisation’s view of itself as an impartial arbiter. “Suppose you’re a football referee,” Reed said, “and you don’t realise the pitch is sloped – you can try your best to be neutral, but one team might win five-nil just because of the way the pitch is set up.” Allies of the current government have a different complaint with the IFS – that its distributional analyses, which show the impact of policy changes on various groups, only give a snapshot at the instant the changes are implemented, rather than their effects over time. This has led some on the right to argue that the IFS has not captured the way in which recent changes to welfare and tax credit policy may change behavioural incentives over the long term. “In a sense, those dynamic questions are probably more important,” said Rupert Harrison, a former IFS staffer who served as George Osborne’s chief of staff until 2015. None of these criticisms are news to Johnson. “For nearly everything we do,” he said, “yes, we’ve got an economic framework around it – but actually we’re describing data. It’s the data that is doing the talking.” In 1974, two American political scientists, Hugh Heclo and Aaron Wildavsky, published an influential book about the workings of the British state called The Private Government of Public Money, which argued that an extraordinarily small clique of officials, who know one another well, dominate Britain’s decisions about taxation and spending. More than 40 years later, while the IFS vaunts its independence, multiple ties bind Ridgmount Street, Whitehall and Westminster. For instance, Paul Johnson served in the Treasury between his first stint at the IFS and returning as director. Prior to the IFS, Johnson was tutorial partner at Keble College Oxford to Ed Balls, the former shadow chancellor. Balls’s pre-government journalistic career at the FT moved in parallel to Robert Chote’s, who was then at the Independent. Chote preceded Johnson as director of the IFS. During his tenure at the IFS, Chote’s wife Sharon White was building a career at the Treasury that would culminate in her role as second permanent secretary at the department. In 1997 Gus O’Donnell, who would go on to become head of the civil service, was in Washington as the UK executive director on the boards of the IMF and World Bank; he held a wedding party at his house for Chote and White. Later, when Chote wrote to Gus O’Donnell to bemoan the Treasury briefing against the IFS, he ended his letter with the words “We have all known each other for a long time …” In the three decades since Laurence Airey screamed at John Kay in Somerset House, the scrappy outsider has become an accepted part of the establishment – and a pathway for individual elevation to its ranks. Today the IFS recruits between one and four researchers each year. They receive 400 applications. Nothing is a greater testimony to the growing power of the IFS than the decision made by George Osborne in 2010 to create a counterpart inside the government. On his accession as chancellor, he established an independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), in order to take the business of economic forecasting out of the Treasury in the name of greater independence. Though the IFS does not itself engage in forecasting, and nor does the OBR do distributional analysis, by dint of its position as a quasi-external oversight body, the OBR did venture onto traditional IFS turf. Fraser Nelson, the editor of the Spectator, suggests that the motivation behind Osborne’s decision to create the OBR was to dent the public profile of the IFS, which many conservatives felt skewed leftwards, owing to the perceived tendency of British academic economists to favour big government and big spending. Last year sunny economic forecasts by the OBR provided Osborne with an extra £27bn that permitted his U-turn on tax credits. In the days after the statement, some commentators suggested that the optimistic economic forecast was an example of possible OBR capitulation to political will. However, Robert Chote, the former IFS director who is now chairman of the OBR, is adamant about his organisation’s independence, and last month a Treasury select committee report indicated that while Treasury civil servants did try to lean on the OBR in the run up to the publication of the office’s earlier forecasts in December 2014, the OBR resisted. Perhaps the best way to understand the relative positions – and prospects – of the IFS and the OBR is to see them as part of a decades-long struggle to tame an over-mighty Treasury. Britain is rare among European countries to have no separation between the finance ministry, responsible for short-term matters, and an economics ministry, which traditionally manages longer-term issues. As Robert Laslett, former chief economist for pensions at the Department for Work and Pensions remarks, attempted governance mechanisms that do not have an absolute separation from mother Treasury tend to run into trouble. They are, in his words, “piglets too close to the sow”. The IFS today occupies a quasi-constitutional role in British life, but without the scrutiny on management and funding that applies to formal government bodies. Its separation from government may be one of the best explanations for its success. For the IFS itself though, life goes on. On Monday, four months after the autumn statement and two days prior to the budget, Johnson and his team were gearing up to do it all over again. With rumbles afoot in the stock market, and following the Bank of England’s decrease to its earnings and peak growth forecasts, he suspected the OBR would downgrade its economic forecasts. “To the extent that things are changing in the economy it looks like they’re changing in the wrong direction,” he said. However, Johnson emphasised that ultimately he and his team would not know how things would go down until Wednesday, when George Osborne stands up in parliament. “I don’t have any more idea than anyone else I’m afraid,” he added. “So we’re sort of as ready as we ever are.” • Follow the Long Read on Twitter at @gdnlongread, or sign up to the long read weekly email here.
News Article | February 21, 2017
Scientists at the John Innes Centre are developing a new line of fast-growing sprouting broccoli that goes from seed to harvest in 8-10 weeks. It has the potential to deliver two full crops a season in-field or it can be grown all year round in protected conditions, which could help with continuity of supply, as growers would no longer be reliant on seasonal weather conditions. The part of the broccoli plant that we eat is the flower buds. This innovation in crop production builds on the wealth of fundamental research carried out by Professor Dame Caroline Dean and her lab on vernalisation - the need for some plants to experience a period of cold weather before they can flower. The timing of the switch to flowering is critical for a plant's adaptation to the environment and its resulting yield. Dr Judith Irwin and her team, working collaboratively with Professor Dean, have focused on translating this knowledge to Brassica crop species. Many crops rely on this period of cold before they can flower and so are very susceptible to fluctuating winter temperatures. Recent adverse weather in Murcia, Spain led to a shortage of courgettes, iceberg lettuce and broccoli. The team at the John Innes Centre have been working on way to increase crop productivity and reduce our vulnerability to fluctuations in climate. "We harnessed our knowledge of how plants regulate the flowering process to remove the requirement for a period of cold temperature and bring this new broccoli line to harvest faster. This means growers could turn around two field-based crops in one season, or if the broccoli is grown in protected conditions, 4-5 crops in a year." This line has been developed with strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The John Innes Centre aims to provide pre-breeding material to plant breeders and growers for year-round scheduling of Brassica vegetables. The consequences of our changing climate are one of the main issues facing crop production. The British Food Report published on 16 February 2017 together with recent headlines have shown how vulnerable our vegetable supply is to adverse weather conditions, both at home and abroad. The UK's reliance on imported vegetables is particularly acute with only 23% of our fruit and vegetables grown in the UK (British Food report 2017). In addition to having a short growing period, there is the opportunity to move production into urban farms enabling reductions in the carbon footprint of food production and supply. Dr Jonathan Clarke, Head of Business Development at JIC said: "The continuity of food production is being challenged by changes in our climate. Here at the John Innes Centre we have been challenging the way people think about how we produce food. As part of this approach we are considering the potential of moving some forms of food production into contained horticultural production systems - these could range from simple glasshouse or growth rooms to more complex vertical farms. This new line of broccoli could be grown in such systems and would overcome the problem of seasonality and our dependence on imported crops." The new broccoli line developed at the John Innes Centre is one of a number that have been selected to address this issue and as a step toward climate-proofing our crops. "This is a very exciting development as it has the potential to remove our exposure to seasonal weather fluctuations from crop production. This could mean broccoli - and in future other vegetables where the flower is eaten, for example, cauliflowers - can be grown anywhere at any time enabling continuous production and supply of fresh local produce." Judith and her team identified the new line as part of JIC's GRO Institute Strategic Programme. They were surprised to see how rapidly it grew from seed to harvestable sprouting broccoli spears. Detailed analysis identified the gene responsible for this trait. They are now testing further generations under conventional glasshouse and controlled environment conditions. This line has been developed using conventional breeding techniques. In order for this experimental line to move towards commercialisation the next steps involve flavour and nutritional analysis and performance testing under true protected and field commercial growing conditions. Dr Irwin will discuss the new line of broccoli at an Agri-Tech East's 'Nutritious and Delicious' event at the Institute of Food Research, Norwich on 22 February. 1. For further information about the new line of broccoli or to interview Dr Judith Irwin please contact: Geraldine Platten, Acting Head of External Relations The John Innes Centre E: Geraldine.email@example.com 2. For further information about the Agri-Tech East event on 22 February please visit: http://www. 3. Images to accompany this press release can be found at: http://bit. 4. The British Food Report was researched independently by academics at the Universities of Leeds, York, Oxford, Aberdeen, Reading, City University and Rothamstead. It was published by food retailer Morrisons. Find the report at: http://bit. The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science and microbiology. Our mission is to generate knowledge of plants and microbes through innovative research, to train scientists for the future, to apply our knowledge of nature's diversity to benefit agriculture, the environment, human health and wellbeing, and engage with policy makers and the public. To achieve these goals we establish pioneering long-term research objectives in plant and microbial science, with a focus on genetics. These objectives include promoting the translation of research through partnerships to develop improved crops and to make new products from microbes and plants for human health and other applications. We also create new approaches, technologies and resources that enable research advances and help industry to make new products. The knowledge, resources and trained researchers we generate help global societies address important challenges including providing sufficient and affordable food, making new products for human health and industrial applications, and developing sustainable bio-based manufacturing. This provides a fertile environment for training the next generation of plant and microbial scientists, many of whom go on to careers in industry and academia, around the world. The John Innes Centre is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). In 2015-2016 the John Innes Centre received a total of £30.1 million from the BBSRC. The John Innes Centre is also supported by the John Innes Foundation through provision of research accommodation and long term support of the Rotation PhD programme. The John Innes Centre is the winner of the BBSRC's 2013 - 2016 Excellence With Impact award. The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond. Funded by Government, BBSRC invested over £473M in world-class bioscience in 2015-16. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see: http://www. For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see: http://www.
News Article | February 15, 2017
Although studying music can be a highly rewarding experience, some students may find the music history aspect of those studies challenging because of the sheer amount of information involved. Recognizing this, Drew Schweppe began his quest to translate centuries of essential music history facts to a mobile app that would allow students and teachers to take that information with them anywhere. The result is Informusic (http://www.informusic.org/), the music history app for iOS devices and smartphones, and in addition to its introductory pricing at just 99 cents, Schweppe and his team are also offering an additional special bulk discount of 50% off to educators and schools for a limited time, through February 15, 2017. Created by Schweppe and refined along with a select team of leading musicologists, performers, professors, and historians, Informusic is the all-in-one music history and composer resource that means that music students and classical music fans alike will now be able to access a wealth of detailed musical history facts and information with just the swipe of a finger. To celebrate its launch, Schweppe will also be making appearances at schools, colleges and groups in several U.S. cities to demonstrate Informusic and talk about music history, app development, music industry careers, and tips for music educators. Informusic offers an expansive amount of detailed yet quickly accessible information on Western Art Music’s greatest composers and compositions, from the Medieval era, through the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras – and with more expansions yet to come. At the swipe of a screen, users can browse Informusic for such useful and fascinating information as composer biographies, quick facts, and complete works, along with program notes, sheet music, audio samples, and suggested further scholarship. Informusic also features interactive timelines that allow students to make connections between the music they learn in Band, Orchestra, Chorus & Music Appreciation/Theory with what they’re learning in Social Studies, Art, English, Science, and more. Users can also search with ease, by year, event type, or specific keywords. The app is constantly updated with ever-expanding content and composers as well. Informusic founder Drew Schweppe is a dynamic and polished speaker who will be appearing in several cities in the coming weeks to discuss Informusic and to demonstrate its uses for educators and students firsthand. He will be in Ithaca, New York, from February 6-10, in New Orleans, LA (February 20-24), Oklahoma at the end of February, Denver (March 1), in several major cities in California (still to be announced, March 6-7), Seattle (March 9-14), Chicago (from March 16-22), and in Pittsburgh during the week of March 23, 2017. Schweppe created the app as a result of his studies while pursuing Master’s degrees in Music and Music Industry Leadership from City University of London and Northeastern University. He also holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition degree from Ithaca College. With successful recent speaking appearances including Indiana University, Ithaca College, North Park University, and Classic Chicago, Schweppe would welcome the opportunity for additional speaking or appearance opportunities -- to set up an appearance today, or to inquire about fees, availability, or abstracts, contact Drew Schweppe directly at (215) 896-7193 or via drew(at)informusic.org. Informusic is compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, and requires iOS 8.0 or later. Informusic is currently available for a limited time through February 15, 2017 for just $.99 at the Apple iTunes Store, at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/informusic/id1015896668?mt=8. While Informusic currently features only Western Art Music, expansions for other genres are already in the works now. Informusic is the essential classical music history app for iOS that was created and founded by Drew Schweppe. Informusic provides a wealth of music history information that was specially created by experts in musicology, history, and performance. Its advisory board of PhD musicologists chaired by Dr. Mark A. Radice (Professor, Music Theory, History, and Composition at Ithaca College) ensures the app’s quality and accuracy as an invaluable learning tool for all. Learn more about Informusic at http://www.informusic.org/. For more information on Informusic, or to review the app, please contact publicist Angela Mitchell at (904) 982-8043 or news(at)paranoidpr.com. To reach Informusic directly, or to inquire about bulk purchases for your class, school, or organization, please e-mail hello(at)informusic.org.
News Article | February 15, 2017
Adaptive Solar Facade. Credit: Chair for Architecture and Building Systems, Institute of Technology in Architecture, ETH Zurich Global climate change is affecting our planet and mankind; climate science is thus instrumental in informing policy makers about its dangers, and in suggesting emission limits. Science also shows that staying within limits, while meeting the aspirations of a growing global population requires fundamental changes in energy conversion and storage. The majority of low-carbon technology innovation observed in the last decades, such as the 85% cost reduction in photovoltaic cell production since 2000, was driven by largely uncoordinated national policies. These included research incentives in Japan and the U.S., feed-in tariffs in Germany, and tax breaks in the U.S. During the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting in Boston, Tobias Schmidt, ETH Zurich - The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, Jessika Trancik, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, U.S.A., and Masaru Yarime, City University of Hong Kong, will review the successes and failures of policies for low-carbon technology innovation and show how characteristics of both the technologies and the policy instruments themselves helped and, in some ways, hindered technological progress. In addition, they will demonstrate how research by the innovative science community can inform policy decisions in the future to accelerate low-carbon innovation and affect the livelihood of our planet in the long-term, despite limited resources. Wind and solar energy installations have grown rapidly in recent decades as their costs have fallen. It remains unclear; however, whether these trends will continue, allowing the technologies to measurably contribute to climate change mitigation. Jessika Trancik, Associate Professor of Energy Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA, uses the case example of photovoltaic technology to uncover the key determinants of innovation from the formulation of policy to the design of technologies. She explains the feedback of emission reduction and the practical lessons that emerge for engineers and policy makers alike. Considering Different Types of Learning in Low-Carbon Innovation Policy Recent empirical studies demonstrate that innovation patterns and technological learning can differ strongly between energy technologies. Fostering low-carbon innovation may thus require technology-specific policy interventions. Tobias Schmidt, Assistant Professor of Energy Politics at ETH Zurich, Switzerland compares photovoltaics (PV), wind and lithium-ion battery storage technologies in relation to the locus of innovation in the industry value chain, learning feedback, and type of innovation. He relates his observations to technology architecture and production processes deriving implications for other energy technologies. Based on these analyses, Schmidt makes recommendations for the design of policy portfolios to accelerate innovation in clean energy. Masaru Yarime, Associate Professor at the School of Energy and Environment, City University in Hong Kong presents case studies from Japan and the U.S. on how low-carbon energy technologies can be implemented within the larger systems of smart cities. Their implementation calls for the promotion and integration of a variety of innovations in the electronic, housing, automotive, and infrastructure sectors. This requires collaboration and coordination with relevant stakeholders in academia, industry, government, and civil society. Yarime examines smart city projects with policy implications for platform creation, technological development, and end-user engagement. Explore further: Fiscal incentives may help reduce carbon emissions in developing countries
News Article | March 3, 2017
It's a Friday night and I'm about to meet a hot date I hooked up with on a dating app. But how do I know he's really who he says he is? After all, online dating fraud is on the rise and it seems easy for people to adopt false identities, stealing photos from other websites and concocting plausible back stories. Luckily, my date seemed legit, but if I'd been concerned I could have used a service like Circle 6. You can let six of your closest friends know where you are at all times, and with just one tap you can contact them should you feel in danger while out on a date. Online dating is a big and growing business - dating apps are worth $2.5bn (£2bn) in the US alone, according to Marketdata Enterprises. New stats from campaign Get Safe Online reveal that seven reports of dating fraud are received by the UK's Action Fraud every day - an increase of 32% over two years. So what are these companies doing to keep their members safe? A few of the smaller apps are using technology such as Jumio, a digital identification service, to filter out scammers. Dating app TrueView, for example, uses it and has adopted a trust score verification system. "We didn't want to create just another dating app, there are tonnes of those," says co-founder Matt Verity. "We wanted to create one where people felt confident about who they're talking to. The more social media accounts you link to it, the more your trust score goes up," says Mr Verity. But social media accounts can be bogus, too, and set up in a matter of minutes, so as well as using Jumio to delve into these accounts, they adopt another layer of identification. "An added level of this trust score is getting users to scan in driving licences and passports - allowing you to verify who you say you are," says Mr Verity. "The more your trust score goes up, the more trustworthy you'll look on the site." Users can then choose to filter out anyone who doesn't have the same level of trust verification as themselves. But, he insists, anyone with a very low level trust score for a long period would be looked into further. Yoti may be useful to check out the credentials of someone you're interested in dating. The app gives anyone the ability to check the name, photo and age of people they meet online. Once you've made contact with someone you can simply send them a text via the app, asking them to verify themselves using a selfie, mobile number and ID, such as a passport. A handful of other small dating sites and apps - Mai Tai for example - use similar verification systems. But VieLoco believes video is also a useful tool. "Live video chat is the best way to discover if someone doesn't look like their photos or behaves how you might expect them to, which may be a sign that you should proceed with caution," says co-founder Nora Lee Notzon. But what are the bigger dating companies doing to ensure our safety? Many issue guidelines, such as never to give out personal information and to watch out for odd language in messages or personal profiles, for example. Many insist they apply security measures, but won't reveal what systems they use. A spokesman for Match.com told the BBC: "We have a dedicated team who monitor security on the site, through both up-to-date technology and human checks. "But, like many companies, we do not disclose details of our security and fraud prevention tools as this provides valuable information to those with criminal intentions." So we just have to trust them? "Bigger organisations will use a variety of datasets as part of their counter-fraud solutions," says Andrew McClelland, chief executive of the Online Dating Association (ODA). "They are able to automate much of this using feeds from data providers that use sources such as the DVLA [the UK's Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency]." While the ODA does provide a code of practice on how dating websites should be run and how they should keep members safe, he admits that it does "require members to carry out checks, but doesn't prescribe how these checks are done". "They definitely have systems in place. However, if revealed, they can easily be mirrored by competitors," says Tom Bourlet, a former digital marketing consultant at a dating website. "Most use photo-recognition software. If the image is a duplicate from another website, it is instantly deleted. We also built an algorithm to read the content for duplication or syndication." Some experts believe dating sites could be doing more to analyse the language people use. Last year Tom van Laer and a group of researchers at London's City University compared tens of thousands of emails pre-identified as lies with those known to be truthful. The algorithm analysed their word use, structure and context for linguistic differences. "Liars cannot generate deceptive emails from actual memory so they avoid spontaneity to evade detection," says Mr van Laer. Algorithms can pick up on these traits, he says. A recent investigation by Wired magazine revealed just how cavalier some of these dating sites services can be with our personal data. And with many dating companies not being transparent about what systems they use to protect us, are we in danger of losing faith in them? A recent YouGov survey revealed that only half of UK consumers are confident that the personal details on someone's dating profile are true. But that doesn't seem to be stopping hundreds of millions of people around the world from using online dating sites and apps. And many have found love through them. But until there is a bulletproof way of weeding out the fraudsters, the advice must be: proceed with caution. Follow Technology of Business editor Matthew Wall on Twitter and Facebook Click here for more Technology of Business features