In the spotlight
New international standard for descriptive metadata launched
A new international standard for descriptive metadata has been published by the International Standards Organizations (ISO), seeking to harmonize the approach adopted by different industries globally. Descriptive metadata for the Internet is a necessary requirement for users to navigate their way around different sites. Metadata facilitates the tracking of resources, plus their identification and archiving.
Revealed: quarter of all tweets about climate crisis produced by bots
The social media conversation over the climate crisis is being reshaped by an army of automated Twitter bots, with a new analysis finding that a quarter of all tweets about climate on an average day are produced by bots, the Guardian can reveal.On an average day during the period studied, 25% of all tweets about the climate crisis came from bots.
Encouraging the use of open datasets: 2020 #EUDatathon competition now open
On 18 February, the European Commission and the Publications Office of the European Union launched the fourth edition of the ‘ EU Datathon ‘, a competition that invites people passionate about data to develop new, innovative apps that make good use of the EU’s numerous open datasets. The application process is open until 3 May 2020.
Agriculture & Environment
Birds’ lives changing rapidly in Finland, signalling ecosystem shift
Beyond shifts in migratory patterns, birds in Finland are showing dramatic changes in their lifestyles and cycles as the climate warms. That is according to a book published on Thursday by a leading ornithologist from the University of Helsinki. Common birds are proliferating while rarer species’ populations have plunged by more than 90 percent.
We have a chance to halt biodiversity loss. The stakes have never been higher
The year 2020 has been designated a “super year for nature”, when the global community will rededicate itself to halting biodiversity loss with a 10-year action agenda, scheduled for agreement at the conference of the parties to the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) in Kunming in China in October.
Research and agricultural innovation in Lao People’s Democratic Republic benefiting smallholders
While Lao PDR is a comparatively small country in Asia it has an impressive track record in agricultural research and recent organic innovation. At the Lao PDR Rice Research Center, just under an hour’s drive from the capital, a team of researchers in white coats and hair nets, inspect samples of many different rice varieties.
Transport & Energy
Is this, finally, the affordable electric car?
The electric car revolution won’t succeed until new battery-only vehicles are affordable to average income buyers and a sneak preview ahead of the cancelled Geneva Auto Show showed the industry was still nowhere near achieving this promised land.
Instead of panicking over the coronavirus, maybe we should start innovating
The new coronavirus, COVID-19, is disrupting our lives, health and financial markets. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global health emergency. Also, stocks are plummeting. But it’s not all bad. According to Fintech Futures, the effects of the coronavirus on the local Chinese market have proven that innovation and technology are replacing banks’ role in the financial sector.
Food & Health
Covid-19 is teaching hard lessons about China-only supply chains
Until about the third week of January, only a few pharmaceutical executives, drug-safety inspectors and dogged China hawks cared that a large share of the world’s supply of antibiotics depends on a handful of Chinese factories. These include a cluster in Inner Mongolia, a northern province of windswept deserts, grasslands and unlovely industrial towns. Then came the covid-19 outbreak, and quarantine controls that locked down factories, ports and whole cities across China.
EFSA chief: assessing fast-changing agrifood innovation is key challenge
Being equipped with the right methods to assess industry’s rapidly changing innovation will be a key challenge for the European Food Safety Authority, (EFSA). Regarding the Green Deal, EFSA is obviously only affected in the agri-food part, which means sustainability from farm to fork. The political aim is to make agriculture and the agri-food system sustainable, which has many aspects ranging from food waste, diet, nutrition, to the amount of animal protein, but it’s also about farming practices.
Science policy & Communication
Huawei to build first European 5G factory in France to soothe Western nerves
Huawei will build its first European manufacturing plant in France, the chairman said on Thursday, as the Chinese telecom giant seeks to ease worldwide concerns stoked by U.S. charges that Beijing could use its equipment for spying.
Nintendo: Animal Crossing fans upset by cloud restrictions
Fans of the Animal Crossing game have criticised Nintendo after it said players would not be able to save their progress to its cloud back-up service. Saving game progress to the cloud is a key feature of the Nintendo Switch online subscription service, which costs £17.99 a year.
Digital Services Act – the opportunity for Europe to lead in the platform economy
The European institutions are gearing up for the revision of the 2000 eCommerce Directive. The Directive has contributed to what is now known as the platform economy in the Single Market. However, at the time of its drafting many of today’s challenges were impossible to anticipate.
To 11 million Brazilians, the earth is flat
Ricardo, who declines to give his full name for just that reason, is a 60-something man whose restaurant in Sao Paulo has become a meeting place for people who, like him, reject the notion that the Earth is a sphere. “The only things I know for certain are that I’m going to die someday and that the Earth is flat,” he says.
Walnut intake linked to healthy ageing in women
Consumption of at least two servings of walnuts every week may be associated with healthy ageing among women, a study claims. “Healthy aging” was defined as longevity with sound mental health and no major chronic diseases, cognitive issues or physical impairments following the age of 65.
Birds may learn to make better food choices by watching videos of others eating
Some birds may have the natural ability to learn to avoid foods that taste disgusting and are potentially toxic by watching videos of each other eating, according to a new study. Seeing the ‘disgust response’ in others helped the birds blue tits and great tits, native to the European continent, recognise distasteful prey by their peculiar markings without having to taste them, a study, published in the Journal of Animal Ecology, noted.