Can too many brainy people be a dangerous thing?
- The subsequent surge in populism in Europe, the unexpected votes in 2016 for Brexit and then for President Donald Trump in America, and a wave of protests from the gilets jaunes to Black Lives Matter, has made Mr Turchin something of a celebrity in certain circles, and has piqued economists’ interest in the discipline of “cliodynamics”, which uses maths to model historical change.
- As far back as ancient Rome and imperial China, Mr Turchin shows, societies have veered from periods of political stability to instability, often at intervals of about 50 years.
- In a paper published this year Mr Turchin (with Andrey Korotayev of the Higher School of Economics in Russia) examines the prediction of instability he made in 2010.
- Who counts as the elite, and how competition manifests itself, varies from place to place; one example could be a large number of highly educated folk relative to the number of government offices (and therefore jobs).
- Articulate, educated people rebel, producing a scramble for political and economic power.
How to spin your scientific research out of a university and into a startup
- Here is a blunt fact that often makes founders uncomfortable: your company has little chance of success unless someone who worked on the original research is willing to leave their university role to start this company.
- Actually, the issue is that it’s just too early at this point to raise money from VCs. Typically, founders will need to work full-time on their company for 1+ years before it is ready to raise a multi-million dollar round from VCs. In the meantime, they sustain themselves by self-funding from their savings, getting government research grants, raising a small amount from friends and family, or raising a small “pre-seed” round from angel investors, accelerators, or seed funds.
- Rule #2 is important because it is the full-time founders who will invest years of their life exclusively in making the company successful, and they need to have enough ownership that it makes sense for them to do that.
Scientists used a 3D printer to create the world's smallest boat
- Using an electron microscope, a team from Leiden University constructed the vessel as part of research into potential designs for vehicles that could travel inside the human body, for example to administer medical treatments.
- The boat was just one of many structures created by the researchers conducting investigations into microswimmers: small particles that can move through fluids, and be followed by a microscope.
- Biological microswimmers are microorganisms that propel themselves, including bacteria, algae and sperm.
- Synthetic, self-propelled microswimmers could have a range of uses, including delivering drugs in the human body, Kraft told CNN.
- Researchers conducted the study, published in the Soft Matter journal, to understand how certain shapes of synthetic self-propelled microswimmers affected motion and traction, and better understand the behavior of bacteria.
- Kraft told CNN that particles created in a helix shape showed promising movement.
'Cancer reversing' professor takes out top science prize
- This obliged Professor Mark Dawson, from Melbourne’s Peter McCallum Cancer Centre, to explain his work in simple terms.
- Actually, Professor Dawson is an internationally recognised pioneer in the epigenetics of cancer and in the development of a brand-new class of epigenetic drugs which have the potential to change the way cancers behave.
- The DNA, that contains this genetic code is packaged in each cell, in a way that not all of it is accessible all of the time.
- On receiving the prize at a digital ceremony, Professor Dawson, also from Melbourne University, recalled looking down a microscope after treating some cancer cells with a new epigenetic therapy and seeing them dead.
- Physical scientists of the year prize went to Associate Professor Xiaojing Hao of the UNSW Sydney.
Most COVID-19 victims had a serious pre-existing illness
- Most people who died with COVID-19 in Australia had pre-existing chronic illnesses that contributed to their deaths, according to new mortality data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
- Of the 682 COVID-19 deaths to the end of August, 496 had pre-existing chronic conditions.
- Australian National University infectious diseases physician Peter Collignon said COVID-19 was very different to the Spanish flu 100 years ago when the peak deaths were in 20-to-30 year-old males.
- Temporarily, when COVID-19 hit Australia and the economy shut down from mid-March to mid-April, there was a rise in total deaths by 914 above the five-year average to 11,047 for the four-week period.
- University of NSW epidemiologist Abrar Chughtai said old people with pre-existing illnesses were at higher risk of complications and death from COVID-19 and other flus.
Facebook tells academics to stop monitoring its political ads for rule-breaking
- The social media goliath informed New York University (NYU) that research by its Tandon School of Engineering's Online Transparency Project's Ad Observatory violates Facebook's terms of service on bulk data collection and demanded it end the program immediately.
- The project recruited 6,500 volunteers to install its AdObserver browser extension that collects data on the ads that Facebook shows them personally.
- It sends the information to the American university, allowing it to perform a real-time check that Facebook is living up its promise to clearly disclose not only who paid for political ads shown on the platform but also how much and when the adverts would be shown.
- The Facebook Ad Library is a public collection of all adverts running on Facebook, and any not suitably labeled are flagged up by the university project using data obtained via the AdObserver extension.
GM, Ford knew about climate change 50 years ago
- Instead of shifting their business models away from fossil fuels, the companies invested heavily in gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. At the same time, the two carmakers privately donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups that cast doubt on the scientific consensus on global warming.
- The findings by E&E News reveal that GM and Ford were "deeply and actively engaged" since the 1960s in understanding how their cars affected the climate, said Carroll Muffett, president and CEO of the Center for International Environmental Law. Today the companies acknowledge that climate change is a problem and in statements to E&E News outlined their plans to increase production of clean cars.
- The Environmental Pollution Panel of President Johnson's Science Advisory Committee cited three of Plass' writings in its 1965 report, which predicted that the burning of fossil fuels would cause CO2 concentrations to increase by roughly 25% by 2000, leading to melting of the Antarctic ice cap and sea-level rise.
Europe's second wave brushes past 'lockdown lite'
- London | Europe's second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has swept past the light-touch restrictions put in place in most parts of the Continent, sparking warnings that tougher, economy-sapping measures could follow.
- The seemingly unstoppable resurgence comes as a new study from Imperial College in London suggests that COVID antibodies may last only a few months in the human system, throwing into doubt the prospect of herd immunity and workable vaccines.
- Germany, which fended off the first wave and has so far put in place only limited restrictions this time, could hit 20,000 new cases a day by the week's end, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier warned late on Tuesday (AEDT).
- In France, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the French people would have to "prepare for difficult decisions", on a day when the country clocked 26,771 new cases and reached almost 50 per cent capacity in its intensive care wards.
Shesh Ghale says a university will rise from pandemic ruin
- Shesh Ghale has lost his billionaire status thanks to COVID-19; his $500 million office and hotel project near the Queen Victoria Markets has had to be postponed and his Melbourne Institute of Technology is emptying fast, having been reliant on international students for 85 per cent of its revenue.
- But Mr Ghale still sees blue skies, and in that spirit has not retrenched any of the 500-odd full-time staff at the Melbourne and Sydney campuses of MIT, the provider of technology and business diplomas that he and Ms Gurung established in 1996, just seven years after they arrived in the country.
- Once MIT becomes self-accrediting, he has a five-year goal towards approval as a university college, during which time he plans to finance a program of applied research in MIT's specialties within information technology.
Zoom Deleted Events Discussing Zoom “Censorship”
- The action follows the company canceling an event at San Francisco State University where Leila Khalid was meant to give a talk.
- Zoom shut down a series of events meant to discuss what organizers called “censorship” by the company.
- The events were planned for Oct. 23, and were organized in response to a previous cancellation by Zoom of a San Francisco State University talk by Leila Khalid, a member of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a designated terror organization in the US.
- Adam Saeed, a student at University of Leeds, said he used his personal Zoom account to organize the event.
- He told BuzzFeed News that the company deleted his event and disabled his account without explanation.
- Cynthia Franklin, a professor at the University of Hawaii, also saw an event she organized deleted by Zoom, but was unable to find an alternative platform.