A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Media-saturation challenges trust in European democracy

Credit: Getty images

Between doomscrolling and disinformation

'Media is this layer that exists everywhere in our lives', said Dr Tanya Lokot as she explained the term 'mediatized' to Horizon Magazine. It gives her the title of the seven-country research project she leads from the School of Communications, Dublin City University (DCU).

'It's not just something we do for an hour or two.' We are drenched in media. In our personal, work, social and family lives, media has a meaningful role to play.

MEDIATIZED EU is examining the role of media in society and how it influences people's perceptions of the EU and the European project. It does so by analysing media discourses in the EU Member States of Ireland, Belgium, Portugal, Estonia, Hungary, Spain, and non-member Georgia.

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Helping social innovators scale up in size and impact

Credit: Gettyimages

New perspectives for social organisations

Even with brilliant, original ideas, social innovators are often limited by funding and skills shortages when it comes to scaling up. A new Horizon Europe call is opening on May 12 2022 to set up a European Social Innovation Catalyst Fund that will help social innovators grow their ideas.

Social innovators find new ways to look at long-standing social problems.

As an example, most approaches to homelessness focus on issues like emergency accommodation, drug addiction or mental health services. It's only when a homeless person has passed through systems like these that permanent housing might be considered.

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Citizen Science - science by and for the people

Credit: Gettyimages

Through citizen science, ordinary people can take part in extraordinary research

While the story of science is full of larger-than-life figures such as Marie Skłodowska-Curie or Albert Einstein, not everybody can win a Nobel Prize for their individual insights.

But working together as part of a community with professionals, citizen scientists can play an important part in genuine scientific discovery, experiments, data collection and analysis.

Through citizen science, ordinary people can take part in extraordinary research.

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Global Europe in Research and Innovation

Credit: Gettyimages

Marseille Declaration

The biggest challenges confronting humanity necessitate countries work together. At the Marseille Conference on 8 March, Europe explored the path forward for international collaboration in research and innovation.

Now more than ever we bear witness to the achievements made possible in research, when countries collaborate closely and gain access to the right tools and expertise to get the job done. Years of international research collaborations in academia and industry underpinned the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the development of vaccines.

At the same time, geopolitical developments in the past decade have shown that collaboration sometimes needs to be modulated. The illegal Russian military aggression against Ukraine is a clear example of such developments. The EU has strongly condemned the invasion and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated that sanctions would include limiting Russia's access to crucial technology, such as semiconductors or cutting-edge software. The Commission has suspended cooperation with Russia on research and innovation and Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel, issued a statement.

However, with those countries that respect fundamental values, the EU is committed to keep an open approach. This is not just beneficial, it is necessary.

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Is Europe entering a golden age of astronomy?

Credit: Europe's largest astronomy network brings together around 20 telescopes and telescope arrays; Gettyimages

New perspectives in front of European astronomy

Groundbreaking discoveries about gravitational waves, black holes, cosmic rays, neutrinos and other areas of cutting-edge astronomy may soon become more frequent due to the convergence of two major communities of astronomers in a fresh project.

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Focal point for climate change is at the top of our world, and agenda

© Steffen M. Olsen, Danish Meteorological Institute, Denmark - Iceberg, Baffin Bay 2021

Improved climate modelling can predict fish stocks in the North Atlantic, as well as warming effects across the Northern hemisphere, for instance in Europe and North America.

Fragile and exposed to climate change, the Arctic is warming three times faster than the rest of the planet. As the frozen ground melts, carbon dioxide and methane trapped within it are released into the atmosphere, further contributing to global warming.

Michael Mann, the EU's Special Envoy for the Arctic, describes the current environmental situation in the Arctic as extremely serious. He warns: 'It's just getting worse and worse.'

The consequences are being felt elsewhere. Extreme events in Europe, such as the unusually heavy snowfall in Greece and Spain last winter, is thought to be linked to warming in the northernmost regions. 'The Arctic is the main suspect for larger changes in conditions in the northern hemisphere,' said Dr Steffen Olsen, a climate researcher at the Danish Meteorological Institute in Copenhagen.

Since the Arctic is the focal point for global climate change, being able to better forecast Arctic warming could help mitigate its impact, both in the Arctic and elsewhere.

The EU is preparing to adapt to the rapid changes that the Arctic is experiencing. One of the goals of the EU Missions, namely 'Adaptation to Climate Change', is to provide new strategies and solutions and empower communities to lead the societal transformation. The EU Mission 'Restore our ocean and waters by 2030' will deploy innovative solutions at basin-scale (sea basin and river basin) through Mission 'lighthouses' which will each lead on one of the Mission objectives. One of the lighthouse initiatives covering the Atlantic and Arctic sea basin, leads on the Mission objective to protect and restore marine ecosystems and biodiversity.

The new EU Arctic policy is also on the horizon to address new challenges and opportunities.

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Does an ally against climate change lie beneath our feet?

Soil test: An agronomist takes notes in the field. Environmental protection, organic soil certification, research © FCC AQUALIA SA

By enhancing soil's ability to store carbon, the ground we walk on could play an essential role in keeping carbon dioxide out of the air.

If we're going to fight the effects of climate change, we're going to have to get our hands dirty.

'With a huge potential to act as a carbon sink, the soil that sits right under our feet could be at the front lines of climate change,' said Dr Dragutin Protic, CEO of GILab, a company dedicated to developing solutions based on ICT and geoinformatics.

A carbon sink is a reservoir capable of accumulating and storing carbon for an indefinite period. In doing so, it lowers the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.

According to Dr Protic, who cited some recent scientific research, soil has the potential to remove an estimated 1.09 gigatonnes of CO2 per year.

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Fake news or the war on (dis)information

Credit: Pexels by Joshua Miranda

Rejoice, no one is entirely opposed to addressing their misbeliefs

In an ideal world, instant access to information on just about anything would be the final nail in the coffin of misperceptions. But that doesn't quite account for the reality of things. With more information came more ways to spread misinformation, while social media allowed certain individuals with more unconventional ideas to unite in wide communities of like-minded internet users. We see this every day with the spread of conspiracy theories on politics, health or even science.

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Cutting-edge European technology for cleaner mobility in cities

The NEMO project is testing a completely new remote sensing technology that can measure emissions as well as noise from individual road vehicles in real time. © NEMO

European Mobility Week

European Mobility Week, the European Commission's flagship awareness raising campaign on sustainable urban mobility, kicked off 16 September. Reducing air pollution from vehicles has been an important focus of the campaign since its launch 20 years ago; and despite significant progress, it's an issue where sustained effort and innovation remain in high demand. A completely new European-based technology is poised to deliver a solution that could bring us one step closer to a zero-pollution Europe.

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How carbon-intensive industries can scale up CO2 recycling

The steel, cement and chemicals industries account for more than two-thirds of all industrial carbon dioxide emissions in the EU. Image credit - Daniel Moqvist / Unsplash

Green technologies

New technologies that capture and recycle carbon dioxide from industrial processes such as steel and cement making will be vital if the EU is to meet its goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and down to zero by 2050. However, while solutions are emerging, more work is needed in order to roll them out at scale, experts say.

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SSA Recent Posts

07 February 2023
Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
Credit: J. Krishnamurti, the Indian philosopher, aboard the S.S. Bremen, arriving in New York City for a vacation; Getty Images 7 Thoughts by the Indian philosopher J. Krishnamurti 1. "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly si...
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01 February 2023
Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
Credit: Getty images London as a Museum of Art Certain cities in Europe could be considered the centers of Art. One, of course, is Rome, another is Paris, Barcelona, Vienna, and many more. However, the focus today is London. One of the largest cities...
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29 January 2023
Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
Credit: Baruch de Spinoza (1632 - 1677), Dutch philosopher. Woodcut engraving, published in 1881.; Getty images Excerpts from Ethics, Demonstrated in Geometrical Order (1677) 1. "Hatred is increased by being reciprocated, and can on the other hand be...
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