Making sense of science

Newsletter May 2019

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This month in science (May 2019)
digital billet
Is a Robot just another "Animal"?
Robotics Artificial intelligence algorithms are often seen as "black boxes" whose rules remain inaccessible. We must therefore create a new scientific discipline to understand the behaviour of the machines that rely on them, as we did for the study of animal behaviour. This is the perspective of Jean-François Bonnefon, who along with 22 other scientists just signed an editorial in the journal Nature.
Read the opinion
life earth article
Tracing Plastics in Rivers
Environment On 23 May, the Tara Ocean schooner will leave Lorient for a six-month expedition in European estuaries. On board, 40 scientists will be tasked with assessing the concentration of plastic waste swept along by rivers, and the impact it has on sea organisms. A closer look at the project with Jean-François Ghiglione, a microbial ecotoxicologist at the Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls.
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society article
How the Dreyfus Affair Went Global
History The Dreyfus Affair became an international scandal after the publication of Émile Zola’s open letter “J’Accuse”, prompting thousands of readers the world over to write to the author of the Rougon-Macquart novels. This planetary correspondence was recently discussed by a panel of guest researchers at a conference coordinated by the specialist Olivier Lumbroso in Paris.
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Also this month
digital article
The CNRS at VivaTech
innovation The CNRS was, for the first time, at VivaTech from May 16-18 in Paris. Its researchers, startups, and technologies were present at this yearly European tech fair. With nearly 100 startups created each year, 5,800 patents, 1,400 active licences, and 20 framework-agreements with French CAC 40...
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life video
Inside a Termite's Nest
entomology The queen termite can lay some 40,000 eggs every day for 40 years. So what is her secret? A team of researchers from France and South Africa is trying to recreate a termite's nest in the lab to understand this incredible longevity.
Watch the video
matter billet
Apples, Oranges, and Antigravity?
Physics Would an antimatter orange have fallen on Newton's head like an apple? Physicists have not provided a serious answer to this question, for lack of being able to test it.
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society article
A Future Earth for Sustainable Development
Environment As the first scientific report of the IPBES is irrefutable with regard to the state of biodiversity, and the fight against global warming is at a standstill, a little-known international research programme has been trying since 2015 to unite scientists, politicians, and citizens around the crucial...
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life article
Nature Declining Globally at Alarming Rate
Biodiversity Nature is declining globally at an unprecedented rate, and the blame lies with human activities. This is the conclusion of the 7th plenary session of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which endorsed its first assessment report on the...
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life article
A Video Game for Detecting Alzheimer's Disease
Neuroscience Sea Hero Quest is a video game created by neuroscientists to measure orientation abilities in space. Impairment of this capacity can actually be a sign of Alzheimer's disease. The huge success of the game enabled researchers to gain access to the results achieved by four million people across the...
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And the latest from the CNRS
Press Releases
Notre-Dame de Paris: the CNRS has launched a project to coordinate research
Family crucial to orca survival
Embryogenesis reveals the role of the “second brain” in digestion
Traces of Roman-era pollution stored in the ice of Mont Blanc
The Arctic Ocean, cradle of viral biodiversity
In France, people living by protected areas are more environmentally conscious
CNRS partners with four interdisciplinary institutes of artificial intelligence
International Collaborations
First meeting of the South-American CNRS network in Santiago of Chile
Celebration of the CNRS’ 80th anniversary in Russia
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