July 2018 Ideas and Innovation

Read the articles selected in July 2018

The right diet can boost potency of cancer drugs

di Heidi Ledford

Fonte: Nature, 11 Luglio

Two recent studies show that diet can influence a tumor’s metabolism, making possible less toxic chemotherapies. It remains to be determined if and how much a diet works well for every patient since the individual metabolism is quite subjective.

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La matemática de la vida

By Núria Jar

Source: La Vanguardia, 8 July

The discoverer of the Enigma Code had a passion for natural sciences. In one of his last articles, Alan Turing used his equations to explain the development of the form in the living beings from a unique cell. Today his formulas inspire synthetic biology.

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Le numérique, outil d’inclusion sociale

Source: Le Figaro, 9 July

The increasing inequalities and social as well material marginalization as the effect of the digital revolution is a concrete problem and risk unless through targeted policies and funding we don’t harness the digital as a tool of social inclusion.

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The way people walk can be used for ID and health checks

Source: The Economist, 12 July

Researchers are trying to translating people’s gaits in unique patterns,  through pressure-sensitive systems elaborated by artificial intelligence, that can be used as codes for the personal identification or as diagnostic help in the healthcare.

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La UE debate la reforma del derecho de autor

By Tommaso Koch

Source: El País, 5 July

The reform of the author’s right isn’t finding an agreement between the European parliamentarians. If on one side it improves the protection of creators of works and editors of journals from the Internet giants, on the other side they fear to kill the spirit of the Internet, which has so imprinted our civilization.

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The labs growing human embryos for longer than ever before

By Helen Shen

Source: Nature, 4 July

With a culture system, researchers can grow human embryos for 12-13 days outside of the maternal body, to shed light on the key early processes of human development and the causes of pregnancy loss and birth defects. This improved knowledge is raising cogent ethical questions.

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Plan to amend biopiracy rules would “smother research”, biologists warn

By Kai Kupferschmidt

Source: Science, 3 July

The proposed extension of the Nagoya Protocol to sequence information on organisms, to protect the sovereignty of developing countries on their biodiversity, raises concerns among scientists, given the importance of genes sequences obtained from plants or animals against pandemics and for research.

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L’espace, clé de la puissance européenne

Source: Le Figaro, 4 July

The growth of Europe in the space race depends on what the Member States are willing to give up in terms of geographical return of their efforts. To the wave of the “New Space”, Europe should counterpose a will all the more determined and united and promote the collaboration between the public and the private sectors.

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Personalised machine learning for robot perception of affect and engagement in autism therapy

By O.Rudovic, J. Lee, M.Dai, B. Schuller, R.W. Picard

Source: Science, 27 June

Robots can be used to engage with autistic children in interactive activities that integrate the help of therapists. The latest advances in deep learning allow to developing a machine language tailored to the individual characteristics and the environment of each child.

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Computer algorithms can test the dodginess of published results

Source: The Economist, 16 June

Researchers have created algorithms to spot manipulations of data presented in a published paper in order to achieve the desired result. They will help science to become more open.

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The first clear evidence of a sense of magnetism in insects

Source: The Economist, 21 June

A study published in Current biology explains how insects can find their way in their 1000 Km. journeys. An experiment on moths suggests that, like birds, they use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate, and have also a visual orientation.

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Mysterious interstellar visitor is a comet-not an asteroid

By Alexandra Witze

Source: Nature, 27 June

A team of astronomers led by Marco Micheli of the European Space Agency in Frascati, Italy, has calculated the composition of Oumuamua, a spatial object come from beyond the Solar system. Identified once as an asteroid, it has turned out to be a comet.

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