A new EU strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation was unveiled recently. The EU accounts for just 7 % of the world population, but it is responsible for 24 % of world expenditure on research, 32 % of high-impact publications and 32 % of patent applications. International cooperation is seen as a vital step towards homing in on opportunities and further development.
... looking at ways to strengthen excellence in research and innovation by facilitating access to knowledge, people and markets across borders and across the globe. Maintaining a strong focus on firms and innovation, which require a new or different approach between academia and industry and between research and innovation, was also highlighted... integrating the international perspective more fully into 'regular' EU programmes would enhance cooperation with international collaboration, and strengthen the priorities of EU's core research and innovation programmes...
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner responsible for Research, Innovation and Science... said: 'It makes perfect sense to cast the net wider and create and explore opportunities for research and innovation cooperation between Europe and the rest of the world. Not least because the societal challenges that we face today, such as climate change, the spread of infectious diseases or ensuring a steady supply of food and energy, are so big and so complex that we need the world's best scientists to tackle them together...
Astronomers trawling through a mess of stellar data discover that Tau Ceti, our nearest single Sun-like star, hosts five planets - one in its "habitable zone".
If like me you grew up reading science fiction that postulated Tau Ceti and Alpha Centuari as homes for alien life, you will be heartened to hear of the planetary findings around both starts. Tau Ceti appears to have at least 5 planets and one of which in the so called habitable zone. Currently the confirmed planets number 854 but its increasingly clear that many star systems have planets. Going to be interesting as we refine the techniques used for detection and evetually infered observation. Good article on BBC Science on how the planets were detected. Click the image or title to learn more
One of the emerging, and soon to be defining, characteristics of science research is the collection, usage and storage of immense amounts of data.
Lessons being learned in scientific disciplines for big data workflows, analysis will be increasingly applicable to general business as large scale data analysis migrates into multiple fields. Scientific based workflow tools such as Kepler will begin to migrate into non science fields because they have already solved a number of problems that mainstream IT is beginnging to encounter.
If this summer’s Royal Society report arguing for a more open practice of science in public policy and business wasn’t convincing enough then the satirical science website PhD (Piled Higher and Deeper) comics, by Panamanian cartoonist Jorge Cham, may change your mind, as it illustrates one researcher’s change of heart when faced with a life and death situation. The film is a digestible eight-minute animation of the problematic scientific publishing landscape and how open access, the free and immediate online availability of research articles with full re-use rights, can add value.
The animation was made as part of Open Access Week between 22 and 28 October 2012. Jorge Cham interviewed Nick Shockey, director of student advocacy at the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), and Jonathan Eisen, professor at the University of California Davis, US. (...) - by Adrian Giordani, November 14, 2012, iSGTW
Good article on the BBC Future website : As our technologies and understanding advance, will we eventually be able to look at a pile of raw DNA sequence and glean all the workings of the organism it belongs to? Just as physicists can use the laws of mechanics to predict the motion of an object, can biologists use fundamental ideas in genetics and molecular biology to predict the traits and flaws of a body based solely on its genes? Could we pop a genome into a black box, and print out the image of a human? Or a fly? Or a mouse?
Not easily... Click on the image or the title to learn more.
Nikon's Small World Photomicrography Competition 2012 results are online. The visual delights of the real world are an inspiration to anyone involved in visualization. and this years competition results are no exception - a visually stunning delight. Click on the image or the title to enjoy.
Since Geneva and Lausanne are near by this article on Nature.com caught my eye. In addition to the local interest as aspect of the article - what is also interesting is the role of modern sensors, simulation and computer models to help determine evidence for historic reports that when combined give us insight for new developments in the region.
In ad 563, more than a century after the Romans gave up control of what is now Geneva, Switzerland, a deadly tsunami on Lake Geneva poured over the city walls. Originating from a rock fall where the River Rhône enters at the opposite end of the lake to Geneva, the tsunami destroyed surrounding villages, people and livestock, according to two known historical accounts. Researchers now report the first geological evidence from the lake to support these ancient accounts. The findings, published online in Nature Geoscience, suggest that the region would be wise to evaluate the risk today, with more than one million inhabitants living on the lake's shores, including 200,000 people in Geneva alone. Click on the image or the title to learn more.
From the World Health Organization Health Bulletin: As public and political awareness of emerging infectious diseases is growing, as animal and human health specialists work closer together to avert potential outbreaks. More than 30 new human infectious diseases have emerged over the past three decades, most of them originating in the animal world. The “One Health” movement is about preventing situations such as deforestation and certain agricultural practices that encourage their emergence, and it advocates for early detection.There are still huge gaps in our knowledge, we need a better understanding of the wildlife hosts of pathogens, otherwise we will not be able to prevent future outbreaks,” says Linfa Wang who heads the emerging virus research team at the CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory. In 2009, the United States government launched the Emerging Pandemic Threats programme to “preempt or combat diseases that could cause future pandemics”. It works in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to help develop laboratory networks and strengthen diagnostic capacities in the places where new diseases occur. “If we’d had these systems 50 years ago, perhaps we could have detected HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) and averted the pandemic that has killed millions of people.” says Pierre Formenty, who leads the Emerging and Dangerous Pathogens team at the World Health Organization in Geneva Switzerland. To learn more - click on the image or the title.
Empirical Zeal is one of my favourite science blogs. It is written by Aatish Bhatia, a grad student at Rutgers University. This weeks post explains how a gas of quantum particles can have a negative temperature – negative as in, below absolute zero. It is a great explanation via analogy that involves the Dalai Llama, Warren Buffet and Scrooge McDuck, socialist states and happiness and if that does not make you want to read more about science - I am not sure what will. Enjoy.
Researchers have developed a platform that compiles all the atomic data, previously stored in diverse databases, on protein structures and protein interactions for eight organisms of relevance. They apply a singular homology-based modelling procedure.The scientists Roberto Mosca, Arnaud Ceol and Patrick Aloy provide the international biomedical community with Interactome3D, an open-access and free web platform developed entirely by the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona). Interactome 3D offers for the first time the possibility to anonymously access and add molecular details of protein interactions and to obtain the information in 3D models. A great article describing the services is available here: http://www.nanowerk.com/news2/biotech/newsid=28103.php#ixzz2FLF10eRq or click on the image or title to explore the service directly.
Researchers believe they have unlocked the genetic secrets as to why honey bees are so sensitive to environmental change. One of the reported findings suggests that development variation between worker bees and queens is the result of diet and a "histone code" - a process that sees genetic changes made to proteins called histones within cells' nuclei. Rather than "genetic" changes that are locked into DNA, these are known as "epigenetic" changes. The report marks the first time such effects had been recorded in honey bees. Click on image or title to learn more.
As a kiddie of the 1970's who grew up reading about NASA and the space race I hope this is true. NASA is reportedly serious about sending astronauts back to the moon's neighborhood and will likely unveil its ambitious plans soon now that President Barack Obama has been re-elected, experts say. The space agency has apparently been thinking about setting up a manned outpost beyond the moon's far side, both to establish a human presence in deep space and to build momentum toward a planned visit to an asteroid in 2025. Click on the image ir the title to learn more.
Titan is the latest supercomputer to be deployed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), although it's technically a significant upgrade rather than a brand new installation. Jaguar, the supercomputer being upgraded, featured 18,688 compute nodes - each with a 12-core AMD Opteron CPU. Titan takes the Jaguar base, maintaining the same number of compute nodes, but moves to 16-core Opteron CPUs paired with an NVIDIA Kepler K20 GPU per node. The result is 18,688 CPUs and 18,688 GPUs, all networked together to make a supercomputer that should be capable of landing at or near the top of the TOP500 list. Click on the image or the title to learn more
Fascinating article on Slate regarding the mutation from lactose intolerant to lactore tolerant in some humans. Two hundred thousand years later, around 10,000 B.C., this began to change. A genetic mutation appeared, somewhere near modern-day Turkey, that jammed the lactase-production gene permanently in the “on” position. The original mutant was probably a male who passed the gene on to his children. People carrying the mutation could drink milk their entire lives. Genomic analyses have shown that within a few thousand years, at a rate that evolutionary biologists had thought impossibly rapid, this mutation spread throughout Eurasia, to Great Britain, Scandinavia, the Mediterranean, India and all points in between, stopping only at the Himalayas. Independently, other mutations for lactose tolerance arose in Africa and the Middle East, though not in the Americas, Australia, or the Far East. Click on the image or title to learn more.
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