Making sense of science

Newsletter October 2020

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This month in science (October 2020)
life matter diaporama
Our best science images of 2020
Photography Discover the 20 winning photographs of the second edition of La Preuve par l’Image, a competition organised by the CNRS in partnership with the ACFAS (Association francophone pour le savoir). The event rewards images derived from research in all scientific fields.
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life article
A promising lead for preventing severe forms of Covid-19
immunology The most severe cases of Covid-19 could be associated with major oxidative stress. Scientists are now proposing solutions to rapidly identify patients who are likely to develop these acute forms, as well as treatment to manage them.
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life society video
Breathing on top of the world
physiology At an altitude of 5,300 metres, the city of la Rinconada, Peru, is the highest permanent human settlement in the world. While many residents suffer from hypoxia, oxygen deprivation, others are unaffected. A team of scientists led an expedition to study such extreme living conditions and find out what allows some people to adapt.
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Also this month
matter article
Synthetic DNA holds great promise for data storage
Computer science The European project OligoArchive is working on proof of concept for data storage on synthetic DNA. While this medium is in theory unrivalled in terms of information density and longevity, it still faces technical limits that need to be overcome.
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life article
Indigenous populations hard hit by Covid-19
Anthropology How has the pandemic caused by SARS-Cov-2 affected the world’s indigenous populations? Seeking to answer that question, the anthropologist and CNRS senior researcher Irène Bellier has analysed a vast body of data on the subject.
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society billet
What are the universal translators of science fiction worth?
Computational linguistics A magic device of sorts, the universal automatic translators of science fiction enable human and extra-terrestrial civilisations to communicate effortlessly and with no previous learning. Some devices are clearly outlandish, but have others inspired researchers?
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life article
Is there a point of no return in ecosystems?
Ecology Do ecosystems really have a threshold of disturbance beyond which the environment abruptly deteriorates? This notion, which currently informs environmental policies, is being questioned by a group of ecologists. After reviewing and analysing more than 4,000 studies, they say that tipping points are...
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earth article
Maps undergo major reshuffle
Cartography The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has adopted a new international standard, opening the way to a common format for cartographic description. The geographer Erwan Bocher and his colleague Olivier Ertz, who are behind this evolution, walk us through the ins and outs.
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life article
Embryonic cells communicate to organise themselves
Biology Like us, embryonic cells communicate to take decisions and thus transform from a fertilised egg to an embryo with a well-defined shape. Scientists have recently demonstrated the diversity of their exchanges, ranging from long-distance cries for some to short-distance whispering for others.
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And the latest from the CNRS
Press Releases
Unexpectedly large number of trees populate the Western Sahara and the Sahel
The Mountains of Pluto Are Snowcapped, But Not for the Same Reasons as on Earth
Jean Zay, France's most powerful supercomputer for research
Double jeopardy for ecologically rare birds and terrestrial mammals
Predicting Sports Performance with “Big Data”
COVID-19: The EasyCov Saliva-Based Screening Test Confirms its Effectiveness in Real Situations
How Speech Propels Pathogens
Penicillium camemberti: a history of domestication on cheese
Wild birds as offerings to the Egyptian gods
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