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EUROPA - Research and Innovation: What's New in Innovation

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What all scientists and policy makers must contend with-Science Communication-Public Understanding...of Science

"The public reception of scientific ideas depends largely on two factors: people's ability to grasp factual information and the cultural lens through which that information is filtered. The former is what scientists tend to focus on when they give popular accounts of issues such as climate change. The assumption is that if they explain things very, very clearly, everyone will understand. Unfortunately, this is an uphill battle. The general public's average capacity to weigh facts and numbers is notoriously poor — although there is encouraging evidence that probabilistic reasoning can be improved by targeted education early in life" is Natures Editorial line. It continues

"Even more crucial, however, are the effects of the cultural lens."

The classical case of Darwin is summarized with talent. The negative reaction of the Church in England, is compared to the more positive welcome by much of the "3rd World" at the time, hoping to "improve their lot" embraced the theory, In China, Darwin's ideas were seen as supporting Confucians' belief in the perfectibility of the cosmic order. Latin American and Russian reaction figure in this enlightening Editorial.

"The lesson for today's scientists and policy-makers is simple: they cannot assume that a public presented with 'the facts' will come to the same conclusion as themselves. They must take value systems, cultural backdrops and local knowledge gaps into account and frame their arguments accordingly."
[As yet another international round cop15 is about to start Dec 7-18, 2009]
Nature's Editors warn:
The lesson for today's scientists and policy-makers is simple: they cannot assume that a public presented with 'the facts' will come to the same conclusion as themselves. They must take value systems, cultural backdrops and local knowledge gaps into account and frame their arguments accordingly. Such approaches will be crucial in facing current global challenges, from recessions to pandemics and climate change. These issues will be perceived and dealt with differently by different nations — not because they misunderstand, but because their understanding is in part locally dependent.

The Editorial concludes:
"Darwin once said: "But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy." Researchers and policy-makers would do well to mimic his humility when presenting science, and remember how people's minds truly work."

And what of Shakespeare's quote This above all -to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night, the day, Thou cans't not then be false to any man.»?

in reference to: Darwin and culture : Article : Nature (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Materials Science, Non Destructive Testing, NDT using Microwaves with PC laptop imagery, News 26Oct 09 from Missouri University of Science and Technology (MST) could help the Medical Practitioner detect cancer or burns

Missouri University of Science and Technology (MST) has developed a handheld camera that uses microwave signals to non-destructively peek inside materials and structures in real time.

The compact system can produce synthetically focused images of objects - at different planes in front of the camera - at speeds of up to 30 images per second. A laptop computer then collects the signal and displays the image in real-time for review. The entire system, powered by a battery similar to the size used in laptops, can run for several hours, rendering it portable.

"In the not-so-distant future, the technology may be customized to address many critical inspection needs, including detecting defects in thermal insulating materials that are found in spacecraft heat insulating foam and tiles, space habitat structures, aircraft radomes and composite-strengthened concrete bridge members," says Dr. Reza Zoughi, the Schlumberger Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at Missouri S&T, who is leading the research effort.

The team believe that their work could help medical professionals detect and monitor a variety of skin conditions in humans, including cancer and burns, security personnel could detect concealed contraband (such as weapons) or again home owners could detect termite damage.

The idea for developing a real-time, portable camera came to Zoughi in 1998 while he was on sabbatical in France. In 2007, Zoughi's research group completed the first prototype and has spent the past two years increasing its size and overall efficiency.

"Unlike X-rays, microwaves are non-ionizing and may cause some heating effect," Zoughi says. "However, the high sensitivity and other characteristics of this camera enables it to operate at a low-power level."

More:
Various new sources included Yahoo Alerts, Indian and Asian press and physorg.com in particular for the video presentation and original new and web sources
PHYSORG

en référence à :

"The idea for developing a real-time, portable camera came to Zoughi in 1998 while he was on sabbatical in France. In 2007, Zoughi's research group completed the first prototype and has spent the past two years increasing its size and overall efficiency.
"Unlike X-rays, microwaves are non-ionizing and may cause some heating effect," Zoughi says. "However, the high sensitivity and other characteristics of this camera enables it to operate at a low-power level.""
- New research brings 'invisible' into view (w/ Video) (afficher sur Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Intelligence and food to spur Innovations and Innovators

I returned with pleasure to Dave MacKay's blog where almost all his posts are highly pertinent for all, either those whishing to map their professional activity or simply wishing to gen-up on current Climate Change, GW-global warming and energy issues, hopefully all of us. In his post pre-review of the book Challenged by Carbon by Brian Lovell, the blog reader's attention is drawn to the fact that "55 million years ago, an enormous global warming event, raising the temperature of the water at the bottom of the ocean by more than 4 degrees C within roughly 10,000 years occured". I did a rapid Google search and invite readers to do the same.

There is a short history of the big oil companies attitudes from "believing what the rocks say" and they say there is a problem and the business as usual approach and "as a backdrop the war in Iraq

"Yes, some oil companies greened up their public facades in 2003, but have they reverted to business as usual behind the scenes? But what about the rest of the oil industry?"

Quoting MacKay's selection from Lovell since this cannot be over-echoed I believe: "In the second half of the book, Lovell indicates how he hopes the drama will unfold: "government intervention is essential" in relation to the transition to the low-carbon economy; "concerted action" is required from all oil companies; oil companies [and the coal mining and power gen lobby] should turn their remarkable technical skills to a new waste management business: capturing and storing carbon[dioxide CO2], especially carbon [CO2] from coal power stations.

MacKay's figures: "key numbers for carbon capture. A standard unit of carbon capture and storage is "the Sleipner""

1. Norway's implementation of a carbon-emission tax of $55 per tonne of CO2 (which can be compared to today's EU market price of 14.10 euros per tonne),

2. StatoilHydro is storing 1 Mt CO2 per year in the Utsira saline aquifer under the North Sea.

3. A 1-GW coal power station, running all the time, produces roughly 7 Mt CO2 per year. So every 1-GW power station would require roughly 7 Sleipners.

4. The cost to the consumer for electricity from that source might be in the ballpark of an extra 4p per kWh of electricity (similar to the present subsidy for wind power in the UK).

5. The scale of the waste to be stored is worth mentioning. The volume of 7 Mt CO2 (the approximate annual waste from 1 GW coal power station), after it's been compressed to the same density as water, is three times the volume of the great pyramid at Giza.

Read via his site:
Prof. Dave MacKay FRS's book free (food) online
and Blog

in reference to Bryan Novell"s Book : Challenged by Carbon:The Oil Industry and Climate Change (Paperback)

"A 1-GW coal power station, running all the time, produces roughly 7 Mt CO2 per year. So every 1-GW power station would require roughly 7 Sleipners, and the cost to the consumer for electricity from that source might be in the ballpark of an extra 4p per kWh of electricity (similar to the present subsidy for wind power in the UK). The scale of the waste to be stored is worth mentioning. The volume of 7 Mt CO2 (the approximate annual waste from 1 GW coal power station), after it's been compressed to the same density as water, is three times the volume of the great pyramid at Giza."
- Sustainable Energy - without the hot air (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Looking for a field to research, choose the people to follw: Royal Society 2010 Anniversary Professorships

N°1 for materials science and engineering or materials chemistry could be Andre Geim FRS, FinstP who is Langworthy Professor of Physics at the University of Manchester and is known primarily for the discovery of graphene. Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms densely packed into a honeycomb lattice and the first representative of one atom thick materials which until 2004 had remained unknown. Graphene has many potential uses ranging from ultrafast transistors to bendable gadgets and from composite materials to novel batteries, and has been tipped as a likely successor to silicon in electronics. Geim is also known for his educational experiments on magnetic levitation (the "flying frog" experiment) and the development of a biomimetic adhesive known as "gecko tape".

2. The current hotest of topics is undoubtedly Climate Change. The professorship goes to Professor Andrew Watson FRS, University of East Anglia. He aims to improve our understanding of carbon sinks' and develop a model for the global accounting of the atmospheric CO2 budget. I intend to put more RS top quality studies on climate chage etc. in further wikis and on my blogs.

en référence à :

"Professor Andrew Watson FRS, University of East Anglia. He aims to improve our understanding of carbon sinks' and develop a model for the global accounting of the atmospheric CO2 budget."
- Top researchers receive Royal Society 2010 Anniversary Professorships (afficher sur Google Sidewiki)