After the sinking of the Titanic, 100 years ago on 15 April, the safety of passenger ships has been enormously increased. Nonetheless, occasional disasters like with the Costa Concordia continue to happen. So, do technological and procedural improvements make any sense? Professor of Ship Design, Hans Hopman (3mE), thinks so, and explains why in this week’s reportage.
38 million for RID
The Reactor Institute Delft is to receive 38 million euros from the government, which will enable the institute to maintain and strengthen its position as a centre of expertise and education in the field of nuclear technology and radiation. The most significant improvement in terms of the research with the reactor comprises the purchase of a Cold Source: a device that can slow down the speed of neutrons. This enables particles to be more accurately guided for applications such as material research.
According to the advocate general of the European Court of Justice, the Netherlands is overcharging people from non-EU countries for their residence permits. The case was brought by the European Commission, which says Dutch residence permit fees are excessive. European Union law allows member states to determine how much they charge for residence permits, with the proviso that fees should not be so high that people cannot afford to pay it. The difference between Dutch fees for permits for EU residents and fees for non-EU people is excessive, the court found, and as such the Netherlands could be attempting to prevent non-EU residents from obtaining residence permits. The advocate general’s recommendation to lower the fee is not binding, however, although the Court of Justice generally agrees with such recommendations and will rule on the matter later this year.
Virtually reconstructing places of mischief and crime scenes in a computer program can help people who were sexually abused as children and soldiers with posttraumatic stress disorder to deal with their traumas. Or so Dr Willem-Paul Brinkman (EEMCS faculty) and a group of psychologists and psychiatrists he works with believe. Together they have developed such computer programs, one of which (for sexually abused people) is now being tested at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
The conservative VVD party has proposed that only people who can speak Dutch should be eligible for social welfare assistance. The VVD hopes the proposal will become law by 1 January 2013. Both the centre-right Christian Democrats and center-left D66 parties support the proposal, as well as Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam Freedom Party. VVD MP Cora van Nieuwenhuizen said people applying for welfare will be given an opportunity to improve their Dutch language proficiency in classes, but if “they don’t cooperate, their payments will be reduced by 20 percent after six months. If they still resist cooperating after that, their welfare benefit will be cut by 40 percent, until eventually they will forfeit their right to receive any social assistance.”
Rector magnificus Karel Luyben is in discussion with Coen Vermeeren, head of Studium Generale, over the question of whether Vermeeren’s views about UFOs “can be satisfactorily separated from his responsibilities at TU Delft”. Luyben said, via his secretary, that at this stage he does not believe it prudent to further comment on the issue. On 3 December, Vermeeren was quoted in a De Telegraaf newspaper article expressing his beliefs about UFOs. The article was headlined, ‘UFOs exist!’ Vermeeren was then interviewed in a Radio 1 program about whether Dutch astronaut ‘Andre Kuipers will encounter UFOs?’ In both interviews, Vermeeren was introduced as an aerospace engineering instructor at TU Delft, which is a position he holds in addition his position at Studium Generale. Vermeeren told Radio 1 interviewer Thijs van den Brink that he believes he must be allowed to speak openly and honestly about his belief in the existence of UFOs. The university has another opinion about this, however.
The Executive Board should get to grips with integrity policy, the Works Council states after publications in NRC Handelsblad. Last Tuesday the Dutch newspaper wrote that the Executive Board had gone against his own orders by claiming more than allowed in expenses for business trips. Earlier this week Executive Board president Dirk Jan van den Berg said that it was inadmissable that dean Marco Waas had claimed expenses for his wife’s businesses. Waas decided to resign as as dean of the 3mE faculty.