By mid-century, 10 million people a year are projected to die from untreatable infections. Can Cassandra, an ethnobotanist at Emory University convince Steve that herbs and ancient healing are key to our medical future?
We have been hearing warnings about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest for decades, but experts say a catastrophic tipping point is now just over the horizon. Are they right? And if so, what can we do to pull things back?
— Read on www.newscientist.com/article/mg25233640-800-the-amazon-is-turning-into-savannah-we-have-5-years-to-save-it/
Countries are gathering in an effort to stop a biodiversity collapse that scientists say could equal climate change as an existential crisis.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2021/10/14/climate/un-biodiversity-conference-climate-change.html
As satellites collect larger and larger amounts of data, engineers and researchers are implementing solutions to manage these huge increases.
— Read on www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/nasa-turns-to-the-cloud-for-help-with-next-generation-earth-missions
Aaron Swartz was 26 years old when he took his own life. He did so under the shadow of legal prosecution, pursued by government lawyers intent on maximal punishment. If found guilty, he potentially faced up to 50 years in prison and a $1 million dollar fine. Swartz’s crime was not only legal, but political. He had accessed a private computer network and gained possession of highly valuable information with the goal of sharing it. His actions threatened some of the most powerful, connected, and politically protected groups in the country. Their friends in the government were intent on sending a message.
It’s the kind of story you would expect about some far-off political dissident. But Swartz took his life in Brooklyn on a winter day in 2013 and his prosecutor was the U.S. federal government. When Swartz died, he was under indictment for 13 felony charges related to his use of an MIT computer to download too many scientific articles from the academic database JSTOR, ostensibly for the purpose of making them freely available to the public. Ultimately, Swartz potentially faced more jail time for downloading academic papers than he would have if he had helped Al Qaeda build a nuclear weapon. Even the Criminal Code of the USSR stipulated that those who stored and distributed anti-Soviet literature only faced five to seven years in prison. While prosecutors later pointed toward a potential deal for less time, Aaron would still have been labeled a felon for his actions—and to boot, JSTOR itself had reached a civil settlement and didn’t even pursue its own lawsuit.
But Aaron’s cause lived on. This September marks the ten-year anniversary of Sci-Hub, the online “shadow library” that provides access to millions of research papers otherwise hidden behind prohibitive paywalls. Founded by the Kazakhstani computer scientist Alexandra Elbakyan—popularly known as science’s “pirate queen”—Sci-Hub has grown to become a repository of over 85 million academic papers.
The site is popular globally, used by millions of people—many of whom would otherwise not be able to finish their degrees, advise their patients, or use text mining algorithms to make new scientific discoveries. Sci-Hub has become the unacknowledged foundation that helps the whole enterprise of academia to function.
Even when they do not need to use Sci-Hub, the superior user experience it offers means that many people prefer to use the illegal site rather than access papers through their own institutional libraries. It is difficult to say how many ideas, grants, publications, and companies have been made possible by Sci-Hub, but it seems undeniable that Elbakyan’s ten-year-old website has become a crucial component of contemporary scholarship.
— Read on palladiummag.com/2021/09/24/a-world-without-sci-hub/
A Chinese-backed consortium building infrastructure for a massive iron ore mine in Guinea started blasting a railway tunnel in a habitat for a critically endangered chimpanzee species with no plan in place to manage the impact on the animals, company and government statements and satellite imagery show.
— Read on www.reuters.com/world/africa/exclusive-guinea-rail-builders-blast-chimp-habitat-no-plan-protect-apes-2021-08-17/
“It’s changing quite rapidly,” says a hunter in Canada. “And I’m not old at all. I’m 31.”
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2021/08/13/opinion/climate-change.html
The climate emergency is here — and it will get worse before it could get better.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2021/08/13/podcasts/the-daily/climate-change-IPCC.html
Week of blazes forces evacuations and brings devastating scale of destruction to large areas of southern Europe
— Read on www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/09/wildfires-rage-greece-italy-eu-mounts-firefighting-operation-evacuations-destruction-southern-europe