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GESDA's best pick from the press, web and science journals,
in relation to GESDA's thematic platforms

18 - 24 July 2020


A GESDA product curated by Olivier Dessibourg

www.gesda.global
After this edition, the GESDA BestReads will return on 21 August 2020.
***
If you happen to read any interesting piece related to GESDA's activities during this summertime, please do not hesitate to send them to olivier.dessibourg@gesda.global
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May you all have a nice and sunny summer!

FOCUS 1


Comment l'OMS veut combattre les fake news du monde entier // 21.07.2020, Heidi.news
Sylvie Briand, directrice de la préparation mondiale aux risques infectieux à l'OMS: « C’était important de réunir des gens de différentes perspectives scientifiques et continents. Nous nous sommes vite aperçus que c’était un peu la tour de Babel: tout le monde arrive avec ses références et ses façons de penser. On a des gens de sciences sociale qui s’intéressent au changement, des mathématiciens qui étudient la vitesse de propagation, des physiciens qui travaillent sur l’analogie entre les rumeurs et la mécanique des fluides. Une des premières actions a été de créer un glossaire pour arriver à discuter ensemble, avec déjà 200 termes.» […] « On aussi défini un agenda de la recherche pour les années à venir en fonction de quatre thèmes importants. L’agenda ne doit pas être le fait des seuls chercheurs » […] « Il y a ce vers célèbre de Machado: 'Voyageur il n'y a pas de chemin, le chemin se fait en marchant.' On en est là, pour l’instant. On crée un nouveau champ scientifique: on connaît le but, on sait ce qu’on veut faire, mais on n’a pas encore le chemin. »
Sylvie Briand, directrice de la préparation mondiale aux risques infectieux à l'OMS @RTS

FOCUS 2

Dirk Helbing: «Man neigt dazu, eine Pandemie zu überschätzen» // 18.07.2020, TagesAnzeiger 
Der Physiker und Soziologe Dirk Helbing beschäftigt sich beruflich mit Katastrophen. Wo der ETH-Professor die grösste Gefahr von Corona sieht – und wie wir uns gegen die Folgen der Krise wappnen können.

Dirk Helbing, ETHZ Professor @Wikkipedia

FOCUS 3

The worst of Covid-19 may still be to come (OP-ED) // 21.07.2020, The Financial Times
Its effects are rippling out in circles like a stone thrown into a pond. But they can be stopped, says Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust.

GOOD READS ABOUT GESDA'S PLATFORMS THEMES


GESDA Platform 1: Quantum revolution and advanced AI

Africa, the next AI battlefield: let’s build our own AI (REPORT) // July 2020, Next Einstein Forum
"The use of Africa as a testing ground for political interference is an indication of how vulnerable developing countries are, without the requisite infrastructure and knowledge to block such intrusions". If Africa is to mitigate cyber colonization, substantial investments should be made to ensure internet decentralization and advocate for free and open software created by Africans. Read our contributions on Africa building its own AI technologies.

Machines can learn unsupervised « at speed of light » after AI breakthrough, scientists say // 22.07.2020, The Independent
George Washington University researchers created a new approach for AI computing that uses light instead of electricity. The method uses photons within neural network TPUs to improve the efficiency and speed of ML learning.
About an article published in Applied Physics Reviews

Powerful AI can now be trained on a single computer // 17.07.2020, IEEE Spectrum

OpenAI’s new language generator GPT-3 is shockingly good – and completely mindless // 20.07.2020, MIT Technology Review

Vers un renouveau militant des questions technologiques? // 15.07.2020, internetactu .net

NSF establishes 3 new institutes to address critical challenges in quantum information science // 21.07.2020, NSF

Is emotion AI only hype or is it a reality? // 27.03.2020, TechPluto

A new material helps transistors become vanishingly small // 18.07.2020, The Economist

How AI will make drug discovery low-cost, ultra-fast, and personalized // 23.07.2020, SingularityHub


GESDA Platform 2: Human augmentation

The business of building brains // 21.07.2020, Nature electronics

Elon Musk says Neuralink will stream music straight into your brain // 20.07.2020, Futurism

Brain network mechanism causing spatial memory impairment revealed // 21.07.2020, University of California Irvine Press release
Based on Neuron article.

Hearing restored in rats by modifying ear cells to respond to light // 22.07.2020, NewScientist

New macromolecule could hold key to reversing antibiotic resistance // 21.07.2020, IBM Research Blog

> Controversial DNA modification could play key role in placenta development // 23.07.2020, Science

In conversation with neuroscientist Dr. Kamila Sip: how understanding the brain helps Leaders build habits at scale // 21.07.2020, Forbes

The same company 3D printing KFC’s meat nuggets is printing human tissue in space as well // 20.07.2020, Futurism

© FUTURISM

GESDA Platform 3: Eco-regeneration and geoengineering

EU approves biggest green stimulus in history with 572 billion plan // 21.07.2020, Bloomberg

Project Drawdown: how to reverse global warming by 2050 // 22.07.2020, Geneva.Solutions

Making comprehensive water resources modeling more accessible // 21.07.2020, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

A Norwegian oil billionaire seeks a renewable future // 17.07.2020, Bloomberg

Climate fund head seeks green turning point from virus crisis // 22.07.2020, Thomson Reuters Foundation News

Plans unveiled for world-leading hydrogen plant in the UK // 21.07.2020, ClimateAction

Energy Department announces approximately $64M in funding for 18 projects to advance H2@Scale // 20.07.2020, DoE

Grüne wollen CO2 nach Norwegen verfrachten // 19.07.2020, SonntagsZeitung

Al Gore says the world has crossed a threshold on renewable energy // 21.07.2020, Bloomberg

German floating PV plant works better than expected // 15.07.2020, PV-Magazine

Nuclear power has a big role to play in the energy transition. Here's why // 10.07.2020, WEF

> ITER entame l'assemblage du réacteur de fusion nucléaire de tous les superlatifs // 20.07.2020, Heidi.news

Red Sea corals' heat tolerance offers hope for climate crisis // 21.07.2020, The Guardian

Riddles in the cold: Antarctic endemism and microbial succession impact methane cycling in the Southern Ocean// 22.07.2020, Proceedings of the Royal Society B

Sierra Nevada Corp. selected by the DoD to create unmanned orbital outpost prototype // 21.07.2020, SpaceWatch.Global 

Fabien Cousteau is raising $135 million to build the International Space Station of the deep sea // 22.07.2020, Forbes

© YVES BEHAR

GESDA Platform 4: Science and Diplomacy

> What is the future of the UN in the age of impunity? // 23.07.2020, The Guardian

Ian Bremer «Technologisch sind die USA bereits in einem kalten Krieg mit China» // 19.07.2020, NZZamSonntag
Der Konflikt zwischen den beiden Grossmächten werde die globale Wirtschaft zunehmend entzweien, sagt der US-Politologe Ian Bremmer. Sie bleiben aber abhängig voneinander.

Kelvin Droegemeier: Chinese theft and subversion threaten US scientific research, health and national security (OP-ED) // 16.07.2020, FoxNews 
Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier is director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and serves as President Trump’s science adviser. He previously served as vice president for research and regents’ professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma

> Research security bill advances in U.S. Senate despite opposition from research groups // 23.07.2020, Science

« Richesse et climat ne sont plus compatibles » // 20.07.2020, 24Heures
Pour Lorenz Keysser (ETHZ), la transition écologique est impossible si une alternative à la croissance économique n’accompagne pas l’innovation

« Il y a urgence à penser une stratégie numérique à l’échelle de l’Afrique » // 20.07.2020, Le Monde

Predictive policing algortihms are racist. They need to be dismantled // 17.07.2020, MIT Technology review

Can new leadership fix the World Trade Organization's existential crisis? // 17.07.2020, Geneva.Solutions

OF INTEREST

Matthias Egger sur le COVID-19: « Il faut rester vraiment très vigilant » // 20.07.2020, Le Temps
Attention, nous entrons dans une zone de turbulences (EDITORIAL) // 17.07.2020, Le Temps

« La communauté scientifique a fait preuve d’une agilité assez peu ordinaire alors même que le concept de task force n’entre pas naturellement dans les rouages de la machine fédérale. Les blouses blanches plus rapides que les costumes sombres de Berne? C’est ce qu’a démontré la crise. »
Communiqué de presse du SEFRI sur le changement à la tête de la Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force
> Les 18 nouvelles missions de la nouvelle task force scientifique fédérale // 22.07.2020, Heidi.news

Coronavirus: Russian spies target Covid-19 vaccine research // 16.07.2020, BBC

Italy’s earliest coronavirus strains did not arrive from China, study suggests // 22.07.2020, SouthChina Morning Post
As analysed by Tortoise, « the theory is that it came via Central Europe, not direct from China. What’s interesting is not so much the exact route the virus took, but the prominence given to the story by the SCMP as it sizes up the Hong Kong media landscape in light of the territory’s new security law. […] The upshot is to blur the line taken by Covid from China to the West, which you might say suits Beijing just fine. Speaking of which, the dateline on the story is Beijing, not Milan. »

EU leaders slash science spending in €1.8 trillion deal // 21.07.2020, Science
Science money slashed in EU’s €1.8-trillion budget deal // 22.07.2020, Nature
> Parliament hits back, vowing to ‘correct’ cuts to Horizon Europe // 23.07.2020, Science|Business


> Jean-Pierre Bourguignon back at the helm of the European Research Council // 24.07.2020, ERC News

 

Tools, ressources and partners

Covid-19 can’t stop Citizen Science // 17.04.2020, Undark

EVENTS

SDG Action Zone // 22-24 September, organized by the UN
We are at an inflection point for people and planet, one that is testing our very humanity, solidarity and achievements and people everywhere are now demanding a better future for our world. This September, it’s time for governments, organizations, businesses and all people to engage in honest conversations to supercharge solutions at the scale demanded by so many people and required to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. Over the course of three days on 22-24 September during the UN General Assembly High-level Week, the fully virtual SDG Action Zone will be the foremost collaborative space for engaging emerging and world leaders from across sectors in transformative discourse and disruptive debates to drive the exponential change so needed for people and our planet.

Have a very nice and fruitful week! :-)
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ABOUT GESDA
Humanity is facing global challenges more than ever (with regards for example to the COVID-19 crisis), putting people and the planet under stress and in great uncertainty. Simultaneously, the world is experiencing breakthrough in science and technology at an unprecedented pace, sometimes hard to grasp. Anticipation is therefore key to build the future with the aim to fully exploit this scientific potential for well-being and inclusive development for all. 
GESDA Foundation’s ambition is first to anticipate and identify these cutting-edge science and technology advances and then, based on them, develop effective and socially inclusive solutions to emerging challenges by including, very early on in that process, actors of various professional origins and mindsets (science, diplomacy, philanthropy, industry, citizens, youth). 
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