Science, Technology and Innovation

Estonia is running its country like a tech company

Estonia is often described as a genuinely digital society. Today a majority of government services are offered 24/7 online, and data integrity is ensured by blockchain technology. By Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia Quartz You can use medical e-prescriptions, file taxes, or even buy a car online without needing to go to the vehicle registration office. There are only a few things that you still need to do in the analog world, such as get married or buy property. Why spend ... Read More »

Aged care workforce will need to triple by 2050 to meet demand, inquiry hears

About 83,500 extra places will be needed over the next 10 years alone, but service providers say they are under significant cost pressures. AAP – SBS Demand for aged care places will explode over the next decade and require a tripling of the workforce by 2050, the aged care royal commission has been told. At the same time, funding uncertainty has caused some residential care providers to put development plans on hold. Recent data shows that 83,500 extra places will ... Read More »

Fund more lab-grown meat to fight climate change, experts tell EU leaders

Chatham House calls for official backing for high-tech food to cut greenhouse gas emissions Jane Dalton Independent Experts at an influential think tank are calling on EU leaders to back the expansion of more lab-grown meat to enable Europe to help tackle climate change. The Royal Institute of International Affairs, known as Chatham House, says new high-tech foodstuffs will be vital to the EU meeting its goals on climate change, human health and drug resistance. Animal agriculture is a significant driver of carbon dioxide ... Read More »

As Germany, UK waver on Huawei, China rebuts chief US security claim

Beijing: With Germany and Britain poised to make a decision on Huawei and 5G, China has begun to hit back with new ferocity at claims its national intelligence law compels Chinese companies to obey its… WAtoday Despite Washington’s public pressure on allies to bar Huawei, Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre is reported to have decided the security risk is “manageable”, while a German cabinet meeting last week is… Germany is said to be weighing up security conditions that could instead be ... Read More »

We Don’t Need Private Health Insurance

New single-payer plans don’t need to worry about carving out roles for health-care profiteers. Adam Gaffney The Nation Does achieving “Medicare for All” mean mostly eliminating private health insurance? Single-payer proponents say yes: After all, if a public plan provides comprehensive, no-deductible coverage for everyone, nobody would want—much less be willing pay for—duplicative private coverage. Yet candidates who previously embraced single-payer sometimes seem a bit unsure. For instance, Senator Cory Booker, who co-sponsored Senator Bernie Sanders’s single-payer plan back in ... Read More »

How to Watch the Super Snow Moon, the Biggest Supermoon of 2019

Good news for sky watchers and selenophiles, the next full moon is set to be the biggest and brightest of the year, according to NASA. the “super snow moon” as it is being called, will cross the skies Tuesday on Feb. 19. Wilder Davies Time While the upcoming “super snow moon” won’t be the extravagant astronomical spectacle that January’s “super blood wolf moon eclipse” was, it will be larger and brighter, and definitely command attention in the sky. If that ... Read More »

Irish butterfly monitoring scheme detects decline above global average

Almost 20% of insects are in decline and 13% are threatened while 7% have conservation status Kevin O’Sullivan The Irish Times The decline of butterflies and bumblebees in Ireland is matching a global trend, indicating insect populations are collapsing, according to the National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC). Commenting on its latest figures, senior ecologist Dr Tomás Murray said Irish butterfly and bumblebee monitoring schemes have revealed rates of decline in these important insects in line with a… The global scientific review confirmed ... Read More »

Call to ban killer robots in wars

A group of scientists has called for a ban on the development of weapons controlled by artificial intelligence (AI). Pallab Ghosh BBC It says that autonomous weapons may malfunction in unpredictable ways and kill innocent people. Ethics experts also argue that it is a moral step too far for AI systems to kill without any human intervention. The comments were made at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington DC. Human Rights Watch (HRW) is one of the ... Read More »

Billions Dead: That’s What Could Happen if India and Pakistan Wage a Nuclear War

This is the real nuclear crisis the world is missing. Armed with what they believe is reasonable intelligence about the locations of Pakistan’s strategic forces, highly accurate missiles and MIRVs to target them, and a missile defense that has a shot at cleaning up any Pakistani missiles that survived the… Zachary Keck The National Interest With the world’s attention firmly fixated on North Korea, the greatest possibility of nuclear war is in fact on the other side of Asia. That ... Read More »

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Kerryn Phelps on medical transfer numbers

Independent MP Kerryn Phelps, who set the ball rolling for the medical transfers legislation, says its passage is “a remarkable exercise in cooperation”. Michelle Grattan The Conversation Phelps says that of the about 1000 people on Manus and Nauru “around 70 people require urgent medical evacuation” and “another couple of hundred will require transfer but not as urgently”. She describes Scott Morrison’s proposal to reopen the Christmas Island detention facility as a “political statement”. “What we need to do is ... Read More »

‘Kill myself or leave’: female surgeons reveal horrifying conditions

Sexual harassment, bullying and a contempt for motherhood are driving aspiring female surgeons out of operating theatres. Kate Aubusson The Age Women training to become surgeons have seriously contemplated suicide, been invited to fondle the nipples of a male colleague and dismissed as childbearers undeserving of medical training, a series of in-depth interviews reveals. The testimonials confirm the shocking case of surgical trainee Dr Yumiko Kadota is not an isolated one, but an endemic problem in Australian hospitals. Bullying, sexual abuse, extreme ... Read More »

Forget Those F-35s and Nukes: Is Iran’s Military Stronger Than Israel’s?

Israeli media is abuzz over a website that ranks the world’s armies—and placed Iran above Israel. Michael Peck The National Interest Is Iran’s military stronger than Israel’s? Israeli media is abuzz over a website that ranks the world’s armies—and placed Iran above Israel. Iran’s armed forces ranked thirteenth in the world, according to GlobalFirepower.com’s 2018 rankings, which apparently combined various statistics to assemble a composite military power rating (0.3131 for Iran, with 0.00 being a perfect score). Israel ranked sixteenth, ... Read More »

Trump envoy urges Europe to ‘link arms’ against China

But first Brussels must start correcting the ‘enormous’ trade imbalances that have stoked transatlantic tensions, says Gordon Sondland. By HANS VON DER BURCHARD Politico Donald Trump’s man in Brussels has a simple message for Europe: Let’s be friends — and fight China. Describing China’s influence as “malign,” Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, told POLITICO that his country and the EU should overcome their current trade tensions and… “We should … combine our mutual energies — we ... Read More »

Having More Education Won’t Slow the Effects of Dementia, New Study Says

”Researchers are still trying to piece together how and why the brain starts failing in old age, but one thing seemed for sure: that having more education earlier in life could build up a robust enough brain reserve to slow down the… Alice Perk Time But in a new study published in the journal Neurology, researchers found that education may not be as important in combating cognitive decline and dementia as they once thought. In a study involving nearly 3,000 ... Read More »

Anxiety on rise among the young in social media age

YouGov survey shows 18% of young people in UK do not think life is worth living Robert Booth The Guardian The number of young people in the UK who say they do not believe that life is worth living has doubled in the last decade, amid a sense of overwhelming pressure from social media which is driving feelings of inadequacy, new research suggests. In 2009, only 9% of 16-25-year-olds disagreed with the statement that “life is really worth living”, but ... Read More »

Influential doctors aren’t disclosing their drug company ties

In September, the New York Times revealed that one of the world’s top cancer specialists had quietly received millions of dollars from drug and other companies. And what’s more, he’d failed to disclose the payments in many of his high-profile medical journal articles. Authors: The Conversation A few months before that, a study found that many experts who write medical textbooks received company payments, but again, their readers didn’t know about it. Today our Australian study of the doctors who ... Read More »