Making sense of science

Newsletter September 2018

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This month in science (September 2018)
life society article
Solutions Exist to Curb Biodiversity Loss
Conservation Biology Is science doing enough to help protect the environment? Following a detailed analysis of 13,000 publications on the subject, the answer is yes. A retort to those who believe that conservation biology, a discipline that studies biodiversity and offers solutions to stop the current crisis, is disconnected from reality, and often not compatible with human activity. Study co-author Laurent Godet explains.
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society article
The World’s Earliest Drawing?
Archaeology Nine crisscrossed lines on a 73,000-year-old South African rock fragment have emerged as the world’s earliest-known drawing following a scientific study into how they were originally traced.
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matter space article
Dark Matter, Elusive as Ever
astrophysics Although its existence has been suspected for more than seventy years, the hunt for dark matter continues, as physicists around the world attempt to track it down. Or are they all just chasing an illusion?
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Also this month
society article
A World Without Work: Six Scenarios
Economy Machines will one day be able to carry out all tasks currently performed by humans. We asked the economist Gilles Saint-Paul to describe six possible futures for the 22nd century.
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matter article
The Birth of Color Photography
Photography Chemists, historians and conservators are seeking to preserve—and possibly one day exhibit—extremely fragile prints by Louis Ducos du Hauron, the little-known pioneer of color photography and whose theoretical concept, the so-called three-color process, is still at the core of today’s digital...
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society billet
Is Transhumanism a Sham?
Opinion One day, our superhuman bodies, augmented with memory implants and infrared eyesight, will stop ageing. And we will never die, our conscience uploaded to heavenly clouds of bits and bytes, floating endlessly in the transhumanist fantasy that we are creating. Or not. Researchers Danièle Tritsch and...
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life diaporama
Research in Cold Waters
Life In Greenland, French and Quebec-based researchers are monitoring the impact of climate change. Their clues consist of various marine creatures such as bivalves and shell-based mollusks, whose growth may be disturbed by changes in the environment. Researchers and divers at ease in extreme Arctic...
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society article
Shelley’s Frankenstein: a Feminist Novel?
Literature Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, the pioneering science-fiction novel that went on to become a universal myth, is the subject of a romantic period-drama that hit movie theaters this Summer. Did writing this novel also turn her into a feminist heroine? We asked English literature specialist...
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life article
Epigenetics Rules the Genome
Biology Identified in Drosophila (fruit fly) more than 70 years ago, the Polycomb and Trithorax proteins have recently been found to act as essential regulators of the expression of our genes. We look back at recent studies that have highlighted the role of these protein complexes and the medical...
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life video
India: Nature Under Pressure
environmental sciences Can human development continue at this pace without causing a loss of biodiversity? A group of researchers at the French Institute of Pondicherry believes so. By studying the impact of human activities on a biological hotspot in the South of India, they hope to find the key to a harmonious...
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society article
On the Sources of Secularism in France
History In English the word is ‘secular,’ but the French equivalent ‘laïque,’ which features prominently in the opening paragraph of the French constitution has a different meaning to the French today. The historian Philippe Portier explains.
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Halting biodiversity loss: political actions are required, not additional scientific knowledge
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