Urban Population boom is a challenge all over the world. The United Nations Population Division estimates that two-thirds of the population will be living in cities by the year 2050. In particular, rapid urbanization will take place in Africa and Asia, which can be regarded as an opportunity for improving life conditions in many countries.
Urban population is increasing fast. Massive changes are on the way regarding the way people live and cities evolve. New sustainable developments are required in the near future. Credits: http://instagram.com/scienceisherenow
To deal with the demand for new and sustainable developments, a very interesting building competition took place in the US some yers ago and has now a new edition, this time on the outskirts of Paris: The Solar Decathlon. Universities from all over the world have built full-scale solar-powered houses to be presented to juries and the public. The 2014 Solar Decathlon competition is taking place in Verasilles, France, with a focus on six different issues concerning sustainability: density, mobility, sobriety, innovation, affordability and local context. The competition section open to the public started on the 28th of June and will end on the 14th of July (tomorrow); meanwhile, winning teams have been announced for each of the ten awards, which include for example “Urban Design, Transportation and Affordability”, “Energy Efficiency” or “Comfort Conditions”, amongst others. For the final decisions, the juries had to bear in mind that renewable energy supplies are required, but more importantly that the demand for energy should be controlled and limited. Also, the rules of the contest point to the need for affordability, which should “remain the key issue for applicable sustainable urban solutions”. Check the video below with a report from this year’s Solar Decathlon Competition:
The Lancet medical journal has dedicated a special series of articles to the theme of newborn health around the globe.
Every Newborn. Credits: http://instagram.com/scienceisherenow #worldpopday
The Every Newborn series, published on the 20th of May, provides a comprehensive depiction of the progresses concerning the attempts to increase newborn survival. The numbers speak for themselves: every year 2.9 million newborns die and 2.6 million babies are stillborn. The areas of the world where most of the fatalities occur are south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Now, the five papers on Lancet have highlighted that the progress to prevent newborn mortality has been slow and that many child deaths are preventable. In particular, the day of birth was found to be the most dangerous for mother and child survival, and researchers have concluded that special health care measures should be concentrated on the days around birth.
An important aspect concerning these documents: The Executive Summary contains an Action Plan with milestones to end preventable newborn deaths and stillbirths by 2035.
For more information I do recommend The press conference for the Every Newborn series. It was Filmed May 20, 2014, in New York, Kim Eva Dickson, UNICEF Senior Adviser of Maternal and Newborn Health, and Joy Lawn of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine field questions at the Every Newborn press conference.
On the 11th of July we will celebrate The World Population Day. I am starting here a series of posts on population growth and associated aspects. Expect more on the days to come. Meanwhile, check here for information concerning this important day.
The World Population Day is an annual event. “Whether we can live together equitably on a healthy planet will depend on the choices and decisions we make now” can be read in the UN website Greening the Blue.
World Population Day: 11th of July of 2014. Around the world as the World population increases. Building homes and feeding the ever growing population will remain a challenge. In addition, resources are not unlimited. #worldpopday
The silk road to epigenetics: the driving forces behind silkworm domestication
Silkworms are under the spotlight after the publication of a study where epigenetic modifications are compared between wild and domesticated varieties. This work unravels the mechanisms that led to the domestication of silkworms and the improvements in silk production about 5000 years ago in China.
The domesticated silkworm, Bombyx mori, was the focus of the study by Xiang and colleagues, published online on the 23rd of September 2013 in the journal BMC Genomics. Photo: Wikipedia
The domesticated silkworm has been artificially selected to produce more and better silk, the luxurious product that is so valued worldwide. It has been estimated that silk production has increased up to tenfold with sericulture (the breeding of silkworms for the harvesting of silk, also known as silk farming). For example, the domesticated variety shows nowadays a series of human-preferred traits such as faster growth, bigger cocoons and increased resistance to disease than the wild variety. Silk production is of great economical importance, especially in rural areas of the main producing countries, China and India, and research in these animals is expected to lead to an important increase in revenues. In addition, these are good model organisms for studies in invertebrates, as they easy to breed and have fast growth. Now, a team comprising scientists from various Institutes in China has asked the question: which are the main differences found in domesticated silkworms, apart from genetic divergences, that contribute to their particular characteristics?
The end of the month will mark 8 years post hurricane Katrina.
We take a look at the science that is being done in New Orleans. And how this city can teach us that music and science are very similar!
This summer marks the 8th year post hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. It all happened during the last days of august 2005 and it was a tragedy that will not be forgotten for many years to come. I was recently in New Orleans and more than searching for the signs of the hurricane’s devastation, I decided to concentrate on the good side of this great city. It was easy because New Orleans has a lot for you – especially if you enjoy music. But to me, New Orleans has more to offer and it’s something that is not that different form good music: it’ good science.
My photos don’t do justice to the superb French Quarter Festival. You really have to be there and sing and dance. credits: Ana Costa