October 2017 Ideas and Innovation

Read the articles selected in October 2017

World could be powered by one offshore wind farm the size of India, finds study

by Andrew Griffin

Source: The Independent, 10 October

According to a new study, a  wind farm built across the North Atlantic on a surface the size of India and exposed to the oceans wind speeds would generate an amount of electricity equivalent to more than six watts per square metre and could fulfil the energy needs of the planet.

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In cities, it’s the smoke, not the fire, that will get you

by Megan Molteni

Source: Wired, 12 October

Smoke produced by the increasingly large and frequent wildfires related to global warming hits also cities, even far away from rural areas, and particulates, trapped in the streets in high amount together with urban smog, represent a public health threat, that needs high efficiency mechanical or electronic air cleaners.

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Shaping smarter cities : assessing global challenges

Source: Wired


Innovation is reducing the consumption of energy, food and water. As by ancient civilisations, the technique shapes how people live and addresses primitive needs. Technology is the hope of our cities to become better places. Its solutions can be scaled across the globe.

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Instagram helps rekindle a love of poetry and a boom in sales

by Rob Walker

Source: The Guardian, 7 October


The immediacy in communicating, as it is allowed by the social media, changes the poetic writing forms. The spoken word defines the poetry of the young generations, creating a new interest and a taste thas produced record sales of books in verses in Britain last year.

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Discovery that shook the world wins US scientists Nobel prize in physics

by Hannah Devlin & Ian Sample

Source: The Guardian, 4 October

The discovery of gravitational waves, made possible through the Ligo experiment, has opened a new way to study our universe starting from a career gamble, based on an apparent mathematical illusion predicted by the relativity theory, and is the triumph of modern large-scale experimental physics.

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Artificial synapses could lead to brainier, super-efficient computers

by Andreas von Bubnoff

Source: Wired, 4 October


Researchers at the UCLA are building a computer inspired by the brain that is not as conventionally made of orderly patterned silicon circuitry, but it is a messily interconnected mesh that in its neuromorphic complexity concentrates 1 billion artificial synapses per square centimetre and has excellent functional potential. 

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The robots are already here, and they’re made of flesh and bone

by Brett Frishmann & Evan Selinger

Source: The Guardian, 25 September


From the assembly line to the age of big data, technology has produced workers more and more automated and controlled.The digital version of Taylorism is an “algorithmic management” of information that promotes higher efficiency in the labour force but hiddens their value of being human.

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Cryo-electron microscopy wins the Nobel Prize in Chemistry

by Matt Simon

Source: Wired, 4 October


The discovery of a technique called cryo-electron microscopy has revealed the shape of biological molecules at an atomic resolution, opening a new era for the biochemistry that will help the medicine to understand many diseases.

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Metascience: Reproducibility blues

by Marcus Munafò

Source: Nature, 29 March

Rigor Mortis by Richard Harris introduces to the new discipline of metascience – the scientific study of science itself- in a time when various perverse incentives in modern academia seem to undermine the scientific method, leading to a literature based on not reproducible and unreliable findings.

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Counting on the world

Source: http://www.asvis.it/, 23 September

There is an urgent need for more and better quality data to monitor SDGs, as well as for governments’ and citizens’ planning and decision making. Only a system produced with the contribution of more actors, despite the legal barriers and methodological pre-conceptions, can help achieve sustainable development.

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Robot teachers won’t replace us

by Aldwyn Cooper

Source: Times Higher Education, 25 September

Artificial intelligence can’t replace the role humans have in communication. The transfer of knowledge involves values and social skills that make us citizens. Furthermore, technology doesn't take into account that we humans don’t learn all in the same way.

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Katherine Johnson opens Nasa research facility named in her honour

by Ian Johnston

Source: The Independent, 25 September


One of the genial mathematicians recounted in the movie Hidden Figures has been honoured by Nasa for her work that changed the history despite the fact that she had to struggle with racial segregation and sexist stereotype.

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