Tag Archives: the netherlands

New study to investigate impact of lobbying

Experts will investigate whether wealthy individuals and groups really do control political decisions as part of a new study.

Academics at the University of Exeter will investigate how policy is influenced by lobbying in the UK, the USA, the Netherlands and Germany to see which kinds of groups may have unfair access because of their funding, status or size. (more…)

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Big Bang Meets Big Data: South Africa Joins ASTRON and IBM to Build the Foundation for a New Era of Computing

South African scientists to develop rugged microservers to handle the harsh desert conditions, explore new computer architectures and develop advanced algorithms for radio astronomy imaging

Pretoria, South Africa – 11 Mar 2013: Square Kilometer Array (SKA) South Africa, a business unit of the country’s National Research Foundation is joining ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, and IBM in a four-year collaboration to research extremely fast, but low-power exascale computer systems aimed at developing advanced technologies for handling the massive amount of data that will be produced by the SKA, which is one of the most ambitious science projects ever undertaken. 

The SKA is an international effort to build the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope, which is to be located in Southern Africa and Australia to help better understand the history of the universe. The project constitutes the ultimate Big Data challenge, and scientists must produce major advances in computing to deal with it. The impact of those advances will be felt far beyond the SKA project—helping to usher in a new era of computing, which IBM calls the era of cognitive systems. (more…)

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Global Warming will Open Unexpected New Shipping Routes in Arctic, UCLA Researchers Find

Shipping lanes through the Arctic Ocean won’t put the Suez and Panama canals out of business anytime soon, but global warming will make these frigid routes much more accessible than ever imagined by melting an unprecedented amount of sea ice during the late summer, new UCLA research shows.

“The development is both exciting from an economic development point of view and worrisome in terms of safety, both for the Arctic environment and for the ships themselves,” said lead researcher Laurence C. Smith, a professor of geography at UCLA. (more…)

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Stress at Work Very Unlikely to Cause Cancer

Work-related stress is not directly linked to the development of colorectal, lung, breast or prostate cancers, but can cause other contributing factors, according to a new study published on bmj.com

Around 90 per cent of cancers are linked to environmental exposures and whilst some exposures are well recognised (such as UV radiation and tobacco smoke), others are not (psychological factors such as stress). (more…)

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Analysis of Greenland Ice Cores Adds to Historical Record and May Provide Glimpse into Climate’s Future

The International North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (NEEM) project results indicate that melting of Antarctic ice sheet may have contributed more to sea level rise than melting of the Greeland ice sheet some 100,000 years ago

A new study that provides surprising details on changes in Earth’s climate from more than 100,000 years ago indicates that the last interglacial–the period between “ice ages”–was warmer than previously thought and may be a good analog for future climate, as greenhouse gases increase in the atmosphere and global temperatures rise.

The research findings also indicate that melting of the massive West Antarctic ice sheet may have contributed more to sea-level rise at that time than melting of the Greenland ice sheet. (more…)

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Interview with Prof. Richard Rood: ‘The Saga of Climate Change’

Richard Rood, is a professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences at the University of Michigan. He loves discussing the intersections of weather and climate, and climate and society. One of his current projects involves studying trends in extreme heat events. Rood is a blogger at Weather Underground and teaches a class on climate change problem solving.

As climate change is a favourite topic of Prof. Rood, so here we go. We have questions for him.

Q: How would you define ‘climate change?’

Richard Rood: As a basic definition, climate change would be an increase or decrease in the mean of the fundamental parameters we use to measure the Earth’s environment. This requires definition of several items: the parameters, what part of the environment, the amount of time used to calculate the mean, the spatial extent over which the parameters span, etc. Important amounts of time for our discussions of climate change are human, for example, the life span of the infrastructure in our cities. A common definition would be changes in the global average, surface air temperature, where the baseline is defined as a 30-year average. This is a weather- and atmosphere- based definition. (more…)

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Mutations in Genes that Modify DNA Packaging Result in form of Muscular Dystrophy

A recent finding by medical geneticists sheds new light on how facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy develops and how it might be treated. More commonly known as FSHD, the devastating disease affects both men and women.

FSHD is usually an inherited genetic disorder, yet sometimes appears spontaneously via new mutations in individuals with no family history of the condition.

“People with the condition experience progressive muscle weakness and about 1 in 5 require wheelchair assistance by age 40,” said Dr. Daniel G. Miller, University of Washington associate professor of pediatrics in the Division of Genetic Medicine. Miller and his worldwide collaborators study the molecular events leading to symptoms of FSHD in the hopes of designing therapies to prevent the emergence of symptoms or reduce their severity. (more…)

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Many Young People Would Rather Surf the Web than Drive a Car

ANN ARBOR, Mich.— More young adults today would rather hit the information highway than the open highway, say University of Michigan researchers.

In a new study in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention, Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the U-M Transportation Research Institute found that having a higher proportion of Internet users was associated with lower licensure rates among young persons.

And this is just not in the United States; it’s happening in other countries, too. (more…)

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