4 July 2018

Research Picks, including "Family hotels’ use of ICT in entertaining children and recommendations for inclusion of wearable devices"

Family tourism and ICT
As with almost all areas of human activity, information and communication technology (ICT) is playing an increasing part in tourism entertainment and education. Indeed, ICT is now an essential component of both industries. A new study has now looked at how ICT might benefit childhood development while on vacation. One outcome of the work might be the introduction of wearable technology that motivates children to be more physically active when on such a trip. “As contradictory as it may seem, ICT might be in function of increasing physical activity,” the team reports. Their application encourages physical activity through games and connects them using ICT tools to the entertainment programs of the hotel in which they are staying.
Ružić-Baf, M., Debeljuh, A. and Slivar, I. (2018) ‘Family hotels’ use of ICT in entertaining children and recommendations for inclusion of wearable devices‘, Int. J. Education Economics and Development, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp.124-133.

You having a laugh?
Does humour initiated by a corporate entity for the purposes of marketing pay off? Apparently, it plays an important role in driving firm-consumer conversations on social media. However, there has been little research into the mechanisms. New research looks more closely at this paradigm and shifts the emphasis. “The research opens up new paths for exploring humour on social media from a rhetorical perspective and enriches the persuasion literature,” the team reports. “It also offers tourism marketers a deep understanding of how to initiate conversations by fully leveraging the technological basis of social media.” In addition, they say, the new model can teach marketers and commercial concerns how to have a laugh and more organically appeal to their prospects.
Ge, J., Gretzel, U. and Zhu, Y. (2018) ‘Humour in firm-initiated social media conversations: a conceptual model‘, Int. J. Digital Culture and Electronic Tourism, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp.273-293.

Energy storage through phase change
Materials that undergo a phase change when heated, by sunlight, for instance, effectively absorb energy as latent heat, which can then be released when the sun no longer shines to provide warmth or do work to generate electricity for lighting etc. Researchers in India have reviewed the scientific literature on Phase Change Materials (PCM) and their potential for Thermal Energy Storage (TES). Common PCM materials include paraffin, fatty acids, hydrates, and metallic compounds. All of them have some potential, but the team concludes that composites could well be the way forward in this area of research. They point out that so far the scientific literature has focused on experimental materials in the laboratory and there is now an urgent need to find commercially viable PCMs that could be used on a large scale to store solar energy for night-time use with a view to increasing energy security and sustainability in the face of ongoing climate change.
Hadiya, J.P. and Shukla, A.K.N. (2018) ‘Thermal energy storage using phase change materials: a way forward‘, Int. J. Global Energy Issues, Vol. 41, Nos. 1/2/3/4, pp.108-127.

A very human story
To understand inequality in the modern world, we need to look at human history in detail and how we might consider that for around for 97 to 98% of our species’ existence as foragers and early agriculturalists we lived equitable lives. The origins of extreme inequality accompanied the rise of states and civilisation some 5500 years ago, US researchers suggest. Underpinning this change was the development of weapons technology that enabled the few to subjugate the many. Moreover, the question remains as to why despite political democracy in many contemporary societies, we now see extreme inequality. The researchers conclude that we must “nest” the way in which the social science of inequality is taught and that this should be done within the broad historical experience. Ultimately, this “may help break the ideological barrier to moving toward more equal societies.”

Wisman, J.D. (2018) ‘The dynamics of inequality in the human story: a brief sketch‘, Int. J. Pluralism and Economics Education, Vol. 9, Nos. 1/2, pp.4-17.

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