Digital • Envi • Mobility & Energy • Agri & Food • Health • Scipol & Comm • EU initiatives • Curious news
In the spotlight
How the Covid pandemic could end – and what will make it happen faster
Most people have already adjusted their expectations to a spring of disruption – but most are quietly hoping that by the summer, and into the autumn, life in the UK will have returned more or less to normal. Are they right to be confident?
Young people’s despair over coronavirus deepens as crisis drags on
“Many feel they’re paying the price not of the pandemic, but of the measures taken against the pandemic,” said Dr Nicolas Franck, the head of a psychiatric network in Lyon, France. In a survey of 30,000 people that he conducted last spring, young people ranked the lowest in psychological well-being, he said.
If you have had #COVID19, should you still get vaccinated?
Why are we not vaccinating children under 16?
WHO’s Chief Scientist @doctorsoumya explains these and other vaccine related questions in #ScienceIn5 this week ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/2kZMQurxWN
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) February 15, 2021
‘The strangeness of COVID’: What it’s like living with debilitating after-effects for nearly a year
She told Sky News: “I’ve had weird tingling in my hands, arm weakness – I couldn’t pick up a cup of tea without using two hands – unable to stay awake, not able to sit up to eat my meals… I’ve become intolerant of standing up. “It’s just an ongoing battle.
Digital providers have provided valuable support for millions of users unable to access traditional #mentalhealth services during the COVID-19 #pandemic, says @Dr_Inkster: https://t.co/gkSjkOS1vu@psychiatry_ucam @CamNeuro
— Cambridge University (@Cambridge_Uni) February 11, 2021
— EMPL Committee Press (@EPSocialAffairs) February 11, 2021
Study by the European Parliament – ‘Liability of online platforms’
Given the central role that online platforms (OPs) play in the digital economy, questions arise about their responsibility in relation to illegal/harmful content or products hosted in the frame of their operation.
A network of Twitter bots has attacked the Belgian government’s Huawei 5G ban
Social media research group Graphika has published a report today exposing a small network of 14 Twitter accounts that engaged in a coordinated campaign to criticize the Belgian government’s plan to ban Huawei from supplying 5G equipment to local telecommunications providers.
‘We need a global vision of sustainability’
What bothers you about the concept of free trade? Free trade aims to reduce or abolish all tariffs and non-tariff measures, which are extremely important for fair trade and to avoid distorting competition.
The very first episode interviews researchers working to protect and preserve #biodiversity 🍃. It includes ERC funded #womaninscience Rosaleen Duffy @sheffielduni.#Biodiversity2020 #conservation @biosec_erc https://t.co/FUYogN3CiV
— European Research Council (ERC) (@ERC_Research) February 11, 2021
Scientists who travelled to the bottom of the South China Sea discovered plastic bags, bottles and food wrappers, all teeming with life https://t.co/bnp1ihcVm1
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) February 11, 2021
Pulses: More than just a meat alternative
Pulses like peas and lentils, however, produce some 0.9 kg of CO2-equivalent for every kilo grown. And they provide a far higher protein yield per square kilometer than a herd of cattle or flock of chickens, meaning existing farmland can be used more efficiently and untouched forests can be spared.
Mobility & Energy
Volkswagen taps Microsoft’s cloud to develop self-driving software
Volkswagen AG on Thursday said it will use Microsoft Corp’s cloud computing services to help it streamline its software development efforts for self-driving cars.
Autonomous driving uses #AI systems which, like all IT systems, can be vulnerable to attacks – read our and @enisa_eu analysis and recommendations on the related cybersecurity risks 👉 https://t.co/IBnOThNrQY #EUcybersecurity pic.twitter.com/L8OLjzd1VT
— EU_ScienceHub (@EU_ScienceHub) February 11, 2021
Viewpoint: how Horizon Europe could change the face of earthquake prediction
Earthquakes are still the number one cause of death from natural disasters – and carry huge economic costs to society. But today, an opportunity for Europe to advance research and innovation in the field of earthquake prediction is opening up thanks to the advance of cheap detectors, intelligent sensor systems and deep learning algorithms.
Agriculture & Food
Edible insects likely to hit supermarkets within months after EU agency’s green light
The breakthrough comes after last month the European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA) published a scientific opinion concluding that dried yellow mealworm is safe for human consumption. This is the first time that EFSA, an independent agency of the EU that monitors the food chain, releases a complete evaluation of an insect-derived food product.
Finland promotes urban farming for carbon-neutral living
Turning bare urban rooftops into lush green gardens that help residents relax while they grow their own food is helping to build a circular economy and reduce carbon emissions. This is the goal of Finland’s ERDF-funded CircularHoodFood project.
Pig farmers to Boris Johnson: Please save our bacon
Increased bureaucracy is hindering pig farmers exporting their products to the EU, while minimal U.K. tariffs are allowing in cheap EU imports, according to the U.K.’s National Pig Association, or NPA. More than 100,000 pigs are now stuck on British farms, unable to be exported, the group says.
Pandemic showcases Belgium as Europe’s vaccine valley
A small country with an outsize reputation in research and pharmaceuticals, Belgium has emerged with a strategic role in the world’s battle against the coronavirus. The drugs giants racing to develop and produce new vaccines at scale in record time are international, but many of their global supply chains intersect here.
.@EU_Commission released last week EU’s Beating Cancer Plan & SAMIRA Action Plan. To ensure patients have access to high-quality cancer diagnosis & treatment, we need sufficient production of radioisotopes. Discussed this & more with @tamaravanark, Minister of Medical care of 🇳🇱 pic.twitter.com/J0xM7O2D0K
— Kadri Simson (@KadriSimson) February 11, 2021
Accurate data is key in ‘quality of life’ comparisons
Just before Christmas, the UN Human Development Index 2020 ranked Ireland joint second in the World across a range of indicators which measure quality of life, just below Norway. There was a minor kerfuffle on Twitter. Hurrah, shouted some. Bah, shouted others. Quality of life means many things to many people.
Science policy & Communication
Life without Google: Australia faces unthinkable in spat with search giant
Imagine a world without Google, the search engine so pervasive it’s the starting point for more than five billion queries a day. That’s the reality facing Australia, where the tech giant is threatening to unplug its homepage in a standoff with the government. Google opposes a planned law that would force the company and Facebook Inc.
Safer Internet Day: Let’s deliver on digital literacy
On Safer Internet Day, Commissioner Mariya Gabriel writes for EURACTIV that young people should be given more support in media literacy, allowing them to avoid the pitfalls of disinformation across the online world. Mariya Gabriel is EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.
Facebook banned more COVID-19 anti-vax Content
In a significant move, Facebook has announced it will remove any misleading claims and misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines from both Facebook and Instagram. It’s part of a broader move to help combat fake news about the , the platform has been removing claims about the coronavirus that have been debunked by health experts.
Scientists develop method to detect fake news
Social media is increasingly used to spread fake news. The same problem can be found on the capital market – criminals spread fake news about companies in order to manipulate share prices. Researchers at the Universities of Göttingen and Frankfurt and the Jožef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana have developed an approach that can recognise such fake news, even when the news contents are repeatedly adapted. The results of the study were published in the Journal of the Association for Information Systems.
Confidentiality of electronic communications: Council agrees its position on ePrivacy rules
An update to the existing ePrivacy directive of 2002 is needed to cater for new technological and market developments, such as the current widespread use of Voice over IP, web-based email and messaging services, and the emergence of new techniques for tracking users’ online behaviour.
The world needs science, and science needs women. 👩🔬
On #WomenScienceDay, we celebrate the women scientists at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.
— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) February 11, 2021
Lift-off for Europe’s biggest ever R&D programme
The EU’s Portuguese presidency launched the “Horizon Europe” programme Tuesday with a budget of around EUR 95 billion for research and innovation all over Europe from 2021-2027.
Commission (finally) releases Europe’s Beating Cancer plan
Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas touted the Commission’s plan as setting “ambitious” goals and deadlines in his presentation, as well as activating €4 billion worth of funding with its budget.
Bringing the future to life in Abu Dhabi
A cluster of shipping containers in a city centre is about the last place you’d expect to find salad growing. Yet for the past year, vertical farming startup Madar Farms has been using this site in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, to grow leafy green vegetables using 95 per cent less water than traditional agriculture.