Making sense of science

Newsletter January 2019

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This month in science (January 2019)
society article
Who Was the First Artist?
Archaeology The recent discovery of Neanderthal paintings raises questions about the emergence of the status of artist in the history of humanity.
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life earth article
Indonesia: Investigating a Tsunami
Geology On September 28th, the city of Palu in Indonesia was struck by a violent tsunami that claimed thousands of victims. An international team of scientists was dispatched on-site to better understand the dynamics of the devastating wave. Two French researchers, including the geoarcheologist Jean-Philippe Goiran, were part of the mission.
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society article
Edgar Morin: In praise of complex thought
Anthropology From French song writing to the mishaps of political parties, globalisation and secularism, the philosopher-sociologist Edgar Morin has turned his inquisitive mind to a wide range of topics. Yet even more noteworthy is his way of thinking, in which everything is interwoven. A conversation with the father of “complex thought”…
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Also this month
life article
Sugars, New Molecules for Health
Chemistry HIV, obesity or Parkinson’s disease are all conditions that could be treated using complex carbohydrates. Inspired by these sugars—present on the surface of all cells—several research teams have developed a variety of strategies, as demonstrated in the context of six applications.
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society diaporama
The Mysterious Steles of Mongolia
Art and science Nearly a thousand ornamented steles dot the Mongolian steppes. These “deer stones” were erected between 1200 and 800 BC, and are part of large funerary complexes built by nomads from the Karasuk culture or Deer stone civilisation.
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life article
In Arizona, a Miniature Earth under a Dome
Environment Biosphere 2, an immense scientific project born in the 1980s, is a miniature version of our planet recreated in the middle of the Arizona desert. Initially intended to prepare for stays on Mars or the moon, the prototype is now used to conduct environmental research and anticipate how ecosystems...
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life article
The Secret Life of a Clownfish
Biology The creators of the animated film "Finding Nemo" didn't tell us everything about the clownfish. From the role of its white stripes to its struggle for reproduction and hermaphroditism, there's much more to discover about this fascinating star of our coral reefs.
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society article
A Sociologist in the Realm of Dreams
Sociology Social factors permeate our lives, even affecting the inner world of our dreams. Long a favoured field of examination in psychoanalysis, and more recently the neurosciences, the workings of the sleeping brain are now a focus of sociological analysis. The sociologist Bernard Lahire has authored a...
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earth diaporama
Memory on Ice
Glaciology The goal of the Ice Memory programme, launched in 2015 by the glaciologists Jérôme Chappellaz and Patrick Ginot, is to create a global ice archive sanctuary in Antarctica. And they must act quickly, as glaciers everywhere are melting due to global warming, taking with them invaluable information...
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matter article
Fossil Fuels: Drilling where it Matters
Physics chemistry Using extraordinarily detailed 3D images of the internal structure of kerogen—the organic matter in source rocks from which fossil fuels are extracted—a French-American team demonstrates that the size and connectivity of its pores will determine a deposit’s mining potential.
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society article
For the Love and Hate of Smartphones
Technology In a recently-published essay entitled "The Third Brain,” the researcher Pierre-Marc de Biasi alerts us to our increasing dependency on the smartphone, an "intrusive, manipulative and addictive" device.
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And the latest from the CNRS
Press Releases
How manganese produces a parkinsonian syndrome
The “sleeping” brain remains attentive to its environment
Metasurfaces make ultrasounds do the twist
Human neuronal networks for modelizing Parkinson’s disease
Physics can show us the inside of tumors
Massive stars make waves
A model for describing the hydrodynamics of crowds
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