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Archives Mensuelles: novembre 2012

Life performs computation much more than you’ve ever thought

This post was first published on SciLogs.com ‘Beyond the Lab’

“The level of intelligence has been tremendously increased, because people are thinking and communicating in terms of screens, and not in lettered books. Much of the real action is taking place in what is called cyberspace. People have learned how to boot up, activate, and transmit their brains.

Essentially, there’s a universe inside your brain. The number of connections possible inside your brain is limitless. And as people have learned to have more managerial and direct creative access to their brains, they have also developed matrices or networks of people that communicate electronically. There are direct brain/computer link-ups. You can just jack yourself in and pilot your brain around in cyberspace-electronic space.” ― Timothy Leary, Chaos & Cyber Culture

This quote brings up thoroughly discussed concepts of “wired human interactions” and “globalized self,” all describing our relationship to the internet. The quote also highlights another perspective: the ultimate connection as showcased in cyberpunk culture through the “console cowboy” Case in the Neuromancer or the “game pods”, these outlets plugged through bio-ports in Cronenberg’s movie, Existenz. But if this sounded as daring science fiction 10 years ago, achieving this ‘ultimate connection’ now looks feasible in the near future. Research unveiling the hidden potential of DNA in terms of molecular computation has been ongoing for years, and its outcomes are more promising and mind-blowing than one might have imagined. I kindly invite you to join me in a dive into the exciting waters of DNA-based computers.
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Publié par le 23 novembre 2012 dans Research, Science

 

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No to Cuts: Secure EU Budget for Science | Non à l’austérité budgétaire dans la recherche

[Français ci-dessous]

Since yesterday (22 November), the European Union holds a very important meeting: EU heads of states decide upon member states budgets. Naturally, EU budget for research is discussed during this meeting, and its amount for the next seven years is determined (re HORIZON 2020, the follow-up of FP7). Researchers have mobilized to have their voices heard as the European Commission proposes the minimal amount of 80 billion euros for HORIZON 2020 budget, opposing the 100 billion euros suggested by the European Parliament. As the initiative No Cuts on Research highlights it, « for the European Research Council (ERC) that means annual increases of about 6% which is just enough to allow the ERC to consolidate its funding activity and its mission to support European leadership in world class research. It will not be sufficient, though, to launch any new activities. » Fears persist, however, that these 80 billion euros melt down to much less.

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Publié par le 23 novembre 2012 dans Politique, Research, Science

 

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Bad Health Care: The Pandemics of Poverty

This was first published on FutureChallenges.org

The content package of this post relates to the “Death Threat,” and addresses non-communicable diseases. The one I want to speak about is poverty. Because all the other NCDs  you can think of — like obesity, cancer, etc. — are just a consequence of pandemic poverty. Pandemic poverty is an incurable pathogen, and its chronic infection causes an infuriating amount of disorders.

When I started following the Egyptian doctors strike, the first thing that came to mind was to wonder how viral it would go. The working conditions of medical practitioners in Egypt provoke a kind of trauma. Generously, the government spends 5.7% of its total budget on health (many countries spend 15%). This inevitably means that if people want access to healthcare, they have to pay out of their own pockets. Which they do. A lot.

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Publié par le 23 novembre 2012 dans Health, Politique

 

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Bulgaria: Recovering Drug Addicts Targeted by Police Bullying

This was initially published on FutureChallenges.org.

Non-communicable diseases is a puzzling term for many. Personally. I am bothered because it does not include a wide range of socially-relevant disorders. The pandemics of poverty as well as stigma and extra-legal investigation of people in a poor health condition are a chronic scourge along with obesity and cancer.

My country of birth is officially Bulgaria. The amazing amount of inanities spouted by its rulers are among the bunch of reasons that justifies its (thus far) officious name: Absurdistan. The recent outbreak of militia questionitis [*] in the country might change this.

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Publié par le 22 novembre 2012 dans Health, Privacy

 

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Women in Science: Still Thin on the Ground But Not For Too Long

I have started curating stories for SciLogs.com’s The Aggregator, In brief, the idea is to have resources collected when an interesting story happens. I did this one for Ada Lovelace Day 2012, but as it relates to Women in Science and Research in general, we can have Ada Lovelace Day everyday 🙂

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Publié par le 21 novembre 2012 dans Research, Science, Women

 

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Loverboy and the Happy Hooker: EU Anti-Trafficking Day

This was first published on FutureChallenges.org. You can find more about initiatives against human trafficking here. The post below is my personal take on it.
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Publié par le 21 novembre 2012 dans Miscellaneous, Women

 

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Bacon Fans United: The Pig Genome Sequenced

This was initially published on Australian Science.

Breeding healthier and meatier piggies has been one of the many scientific challenges of the past decades; creating more reliable models to study human diseases is another. The swine disease model is indeed much better to use when studying human disorders than the (thus far) widely used murine models. Although pigs reproduce slower than mice and are more expensive to take care of, they are more similar to humans when it comes to anatomy and physiology. These common grounds have allowed the development of accurate swine models for diabetes, cystic fibrosis or retinitis pigmentosa (a cause of blindness). In its issue of 15 November, Nature published the fully sequenced and annotated pig genome. This is a major achievement, and will allow considerable progress to be made on both the yummy and the healthy fronts.

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Publié par le 19 novembre 2012 dans Research, Science

 

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