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ECU media newsletter – 14 June 2017

Thursday, 15 June 2017


This fortnight’s media newsletter includes an app to stop elder abuse, social media radicalisation and food waste.

Technology – App aims to help elder abuse

A student-developed app from Edith Cowan University will help the elderly determine whether they’re being taken advantage of financially. The app aims to overcome a lack of technical knowledge of services like online banking where older people are often taken advantage of by others. The app was released today by Advocare to coincide with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Cyber security – ECU to lead Australian cyber skills effort

Almost $1 million in Federal Government funding will help ECU train the thousands of cyber security professionals required to fill a global skills shortage. The funding was announced by Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham and recognises ECU as a leader in the field of cyber security. It’s estimated there’ll be a shortfall of 1.5 million cyber security professionals by 2020 and ECU’s top students are already being offered six-figure salaries at companies around the world.

Environment – Food waste

Australia’s food waste problem is partly driven by the fact that food is undervalued according to ECU Nutrition expert Ros Sambell. She says that food made up about one third of household budgets in the 1970s, compared with about 17 per cent today. “Because we spend proportionally less on food today, combined with the fact that most areas have more access to food, the value we ascribe to food has dropped, meaning we are more likely to waste it at all levels of the supply chain,” she said.

Health – Lead in drinking water

In the wake of lead being found in drinking water pipes at Whiteman Park, environmental health expert Associate Professor Jacques Oosthuizen says Perth water is consistently compliant with metal content requirements at source and the most likely source of the contamination is from soldering used in older piping. He says the amount of lead contamination is also influenced by the temperature of the water, the amount of wear in the pipes and how long the water sits in the pipes.

Terrorism - Four ways social media companies and security agencies can tackle terrorism

Radicalisation expert Dr Robyn Torok says more can be done by social media companies to disrupt terrorist networks. She says removing contact, allowing access to encrypted services, creating counter-narratives and following key phrases are important steps.

Media – Network Ten’s financial woes

Broadcasting lecturer Jo McManus says with the Ten Network going into voluntary administration rumour is rife that it will cut its already heavily reduced news teams and go to national bulletins, probably supplied by Sky News. Ms McManus says this would be a big mistake. Channel 10 went to national weekend news bulletins a few years ago, and ratings plummeted. TV News services in commercial television are all about localism. If Ten goes down this path not only will it mean significant job losses, it could prevent Ten from trading out of its problems. Channel 10 needs strong news bulletins to promote other programs.

Tech – Could a selfie diagnose major health problems?

Dr Syed Shamsul Islam is researching how 3D scans of faces could provide a screening tool for sleep apnoea. He is employing similar AI technology used by Facebook to pick out faces in uploaded photos. Dr Islam says the current test for apnoea is a sleep test, which is expensive and time consuming. “We’re targeting those undiagnosed patients. We can run a very short facial scan that can give the patient’s GP an indication of the likelihood of suffering from sleep apnoea.”

For more information or interviews with our experts, contact the corporate communications team on (08) 6304 2131.


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