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?
The community complained that the process killed their animals and plants, and had an adverse impact on the environment. The Committee found that Paraguay failed to prevent contamination in violation of the their right to traditional lands, and recommended that Paraguay complete the relevant criminal and administrative proceedings. This decision affirms that the term “home” in the context of the indigenous community should be interpreted “within the context of the special relationship between them and their territories including their livestock, crops and their way of life such as hunting, foraging and fishing.”
— Read on www.asil.org/ILIB/un-committee-finds-violation-indigenous-peoples-right-traditional-lands
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/
David Wiley has proposed that the federal government take the intellectual property of academic publishers using the power of eminent domain. The fees that public universities have already paid (the University of California system alone paid $13 million to Elsevier in 2021) could go quite a ways towards the “just compensation” for property seizure specified in the Fifth Amendment.
Recently, supporters of Sci-Hub have begun creating copies of the site’s immense archive in case it is taken down. Their hope is to make Sci-Hub “un-censorable.” But it is still worth contemplating a world without Sci-Hub—that is to say, a world in which Sci-Hub would be unnecessary. The “effective nationalization” proposed by Wiley and by the academic publishers themselves might just pave the way there. Imagine it: a 21st-century Library of Alexandria, a truly utopian creation, gifted to the world by Uncle Sam.
— Read on palladiummag.com/2021/09/24/a-world-without-sci-hub/
At nearly 4,000 pages, the report from the IPCC is massive. These five lines highlight their findings.
— Read on www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/08/10/ipcc-report-un-takeaways/
Decades of environmental stress culminated this year in one of the worst manatee die-offs in recent history: As of May 21, at least 749 manatees have died in Florida in 2021, in what has been called an unusual mortality event.
— Read on edition.cnn.com/2021/05/30/us/manatee-deaths-florida-2021-trnd/index.html
In this episode, John Noksana, Carolina Behe, and Mumilaaq Qaqqaq sit down with Threshold producers Amy Martin and Nick Mott to discuss Inuit food security and Inuit sovereignty in the North.
John, an Inuit hunter from Northern Canada, and Carolina, the Indigenous Knowledge and Science Advisor for the Inuit Circumpolar Council in Alaska, discuss how food security fits into a bigger picture of Inuit self-determination. Then, we hear from Mumilaaq, who’s addressing that bigger picture on an even larger stage: in Canada’s Parliament.
— Read on www.thresholdpodcast.org/conversations-inuit
In ‘How the Word is Passed,’ writer and poet Clint Smith visits eight places central to the history of slavery in America, including Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello plantation and Louisiana’s Angola prison. “We are taught that the history of slavery is something that happened almost like when there were dinosaurs,” he says. But Smith notes that his grandfather’s grandfather was enslaved — and that “this history that we are told was so long ago wasn’t, in fact, that long ago at all.”
Seventy percent of our coastlines are in the developing world, but representation at the global stage is disproportional. The harsh truth is, if we aren’t being inclusive and equitable, we aren’t going to move the needle on the things that really matter, the things that are integral to our very existence, and we will continue to fail. As humans continue to destroy habitats and explore the last wild places, we can look forward to more frequent unintended consequences like pandemics and perhaps even global lockdowns. Building the mechanisms that would enable us to continue the important work of conservation no matter what, should be our priority. So, if we truly want to save our oceans, never forget: every coastline needs a local hero.
New enigmatic geoglyphs in the Indian Thar Desert: The largest graphic realizations of mankind? – ScienceDirect
— Read on www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2352226721000362