Science, Technology and Innovation

How one German city developed – and then lost – generations of math geniuses

There are two things that connect the names Gauss, Riemann, Hilbert and Noether. David Gunderman The National Interest One is their outstanding breadth of contributions to the field of mathematics. The other is that each was a professor at the same university in Göttingen, Germany. Although relatively unknown today, Göttingen, a small German university town, was for a time one of the most productive centers of mathematics in history. Göttingen’s rise to mathematical primacy occurred over generations, but its fall ... Read More »

The politics of fear: How fear goes tribal, allowing us to be manipulated

Fear is arguably as old as life. It is deeply ingrained in the living organisms that have survived extinction through billions of years of evolution. Arash Javanbakht The Conversation Its roots are deep in our core psychological and biological being, and it is one of our most intimate feelings. Danger and war are as old as human history, and so are politics and religion. Demagogues have always used fear for intimidation of the subordinates or enemies, and shepherding the tribe ... Read More »

Tumor-free flounder are just 1 dividend from the cleanup of Boston Harbor

Thirty years ago, during the 1988 presidential campaign, then-Vice President George H.W. Bush took a boat ride across Boston Harbor and derided the environmental record of his rival, Massachusetts… Michael Moore The Conversation Bush was right. For decades Boston had been dumping barely treated sewage into the harbor, although a court-ordered cleanup was just starting. Since 1986 colleagues and I have studied tumors in Boston Harbor flounder, which were a major driver of public outcry over the state of the ... Read More »

Climate change: Which vegan milk is best?

The popularity of vegan foods continues to grow, with January seen as a traditional time to consider giving them a try. By Clara Guibourg and Helen Briggs BBC News Milk alternatives, such as oat, soy, almond or coconut, are one area of interest, with sales rising in the UK. A scientific study suggests the greenhouse gas emissions used in the production of plant-based milks are lower than for dairy milk. But which milk has the smallest impact on the planet? ... Read More »

Progress is Slow in Measuring Social Impact

There is a disconnect between government and the social sector around measuring social impact, writes Australian Social Value Bank impact specialist Andrew Callaghan, who explains why both sides must commit to tackling fundamental issues in… Andrew Callaghan ProBono The measurement of social impact has grown and matured over the last decade. There is a growing body of resources, practitioners and approaches to measuring impact. But while this growth can be seen as a success, there is no doubt that it ... Read More »

Here’s why doctors are backing pill testing at music festivals across Australia

For many years experts in the field of drug policy in Australia have known existing policies are failing. Authors: The Conversation Crude messages (calls for total abstinence: “just say no to drugs”) and even cruder enforcement strategies (harsher penalties, criminalisation of drug users) have had no impact on the use of drugs or the…. Whether we like it or not, drug use is common in our society, especially among young people. In 2016 43% of people aged 14 and older reported ... Read More »

How A Facebook Page Helped Two Women Enter The Sabrimala Shrine

As a conservative backlash sought to silence women who wanted to visit Sabrimala, they turned online to find each other. K.A. Shaji HuffPost THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Kerala —Forty two-year-old law professor Bindu Ammini, a law professor, and 44-year-old Kanakadurga, assistant manager of a state-run grocery store, first met online in… In the early hours of January 2 this year, the two women entered the shrine under heavy police protection, prompting a violent backlash from those opposed to allowing women “of… The two ... Read More »

Indian Teens’ Mental Distress Was Invisible, Invalid Until A Decade Ago

Writer Himanjali Sankar says her book ‘The Lies We Tell’ emerged from wanting to understand difficult mental states in a socially and culturally familiar context. Himanjali Sankar HuffPost Mental illness no longer carries the stigma it used to have even ten years back. But it is tagged by many , ranging from disappointment to impatience and annoyance at what is perceived as self-indulgence at some level. When those in greater control of their mental states come face to face with ... Read More »

Solar storm could cause trillions of damage to Earth – Bill Jamieson

Ultima Thule shows how much we need the Sun’s warmth, but we might be a bit too close for comfort with an estimated 12 per cent chance of a major solar storm between 2012 and 2022, writes Bill Jamieson. The Scotsman Chaos, risk, uncertainty: how these words have come to define our world. But such definitions shrink before the chaos and uncertainty of the planetary sort. The New Year opened with radio signals travelling some four billion miles from the ... Read More »

To feel happier, we have to resolve to the life we evolved to live

When we have to give a talk to a group of people, we feel anxious and experience the bodily fear responses that do not make sense now: The system is not meant to function in this safe context. Arash Javanbakht The Conversation As a psychiatrist specialized in anxiety and trauma, I often tell my patients and students that to understand how fear works in us, we have to see it in the context where it evolved. Ten thousand years ago, ... Read More »

The Simplest Explanation Of Global Warming Ever

Let’s play pretend for a moment. Pretend, if you can, that you’ve never heard about the idea of global warming before. Pretend you’ve never heard anyone else’s opinions on the matter, including from politicians, scientists, friends or… Ethan Siegel Starts With A Bang Forbes Pretend that there are no related concerns, like the economy, our energy needs, or the environment. If you were going to make a genuine inquiry, there would instead be only two questions to ask and answer: is ... Read More »

Finland’s grand AI experiment

Inside Finland’s plan to train its population in artificial intelligence. HELSINKI —  Jaana Partanen is not your typical AI programming geek. Janosch Delcker Politico Until a year ago, the 59-year-old dentist from the Finnish town of Mikkeli had no idea what to make of terms like “machine learning” or “neural networks.” Now, Partanen spends her evenings learning the basics of coding and she is thinking about how to apply artificial intelligence to her job, either to help write up medical ... Read More »

How to change your Facebook, Google and Twitter settings to keep your data private

Any internet user leaves themselves open to having their data harvested Cuara O’Brien The Irish Times We’ve all done it: set up an account on social media or for a new device in our home and just clicked through all the settings without really reading them. It’s the quickest way to get things done, and who really has the time to spend reading through each option and figuring out the implications of a yes or no answer? But tempting as ... Read More »

The U.S. Marine Corps Might Have a New Way to Sink Chinese Warships (And the F-35 Could Help)

“Imagine a Chinese flotilla sailing toward some remote island group near Japan or The Philippines during some near-future war. A Marine rocket battery could quickly deploy to one island aboard Marine or… David Axe The National Interest The U.S. Marine Corps is practicing a new method of speeding firepower across a war zone. And that could have big implications for America’s military strategy in the western Pacific. On Dec. 7, 2018, Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 hauled two M142 ... Read More »

NASA spacecraft completes farthest flyby in history. What’s next?

Scientists at last have their first good look at a primordial piece of the solar system orbiting more than four billion miles away. Michael Greshko National Geographic Laurel, MarylandOn the final evening of 2018, the biggest New Year’s Eve party in the solar system unfolded across four billion miles of space. At 12:33 a.m. ET on January 1, NASA’s New Horizons probe flew by a small lump of rock and ice called 2014 MU69. Also nicknamed Ultima Thule (UL-tee-ma TOO-le), ... Read More »

Why archaeology is so much more than just digging

It’s our experience that most people think archaeology mainly means digging in the dirt. Authors: The Conversation Admit to strangers that you are of the archaeological persuasion, and the follow-up question is invariably “what’s the best thing you’ve found?”. Start to tell them about a fantastic ink and watercolour plan you unearthed in library archives, or an old work site you stumbled upon in thick eucalypt bush, and their eyes glaze over. People invariably want to hear about skeletons, pots ... Read More »