Hyde Park Civilisation’s Daniel Stach on why popularizing science is so important | Radio Prague

Daniel Stach is the charismatic host of Hyde Park Civilisation, a weekly program which runs every Saturday evening on public broadcaster Czech TV. Daniel has interviewed numerous acclaimed scientists, award-winning and groundbreaking researchers, Nobel Prize laureates about everything from quantum mechanics to the latest research in DNA. There is no doubt in his mind, or the team behind him, that the spreading of information, the debate of ideas, and an understanding of science, is of fundamental importance for our future.

Source: Hyde Park Civilisation’s Daniel Stach on why popularizing science is so important | Radio Prague

Sierra Leone News: Young readers excel in National Reading Competition « Awoko Newspaper

Two young students in class two and class four, Ian J. Sesay of Achievers International Academy in Bo and Grace Umu Lavally of the Njala University International Primary School in Mokonday, in the South were crowned winners of the National Early Grade Reading competition on Thursday 21 December 2017.Grace Umu Lavally dedicated her trophy to her school, parents and guardians. She said, “I owe them all much more than I won in the competition. They have been so wonderful. I felt confident and was sure I could win,” she boasted. She encouraged her colleagues and to read widely – not just their school notes but newspapers, books, pamphlets and everything.The reading competition started with a preliminary stage at district and regional levels. Both private and government schools competed and participated in the preliminary stage of the reading competitions. Eight private schools advanced to the regional level and into the finals.Interestingly, those primary schools that made it through to the finals each had NPSE results in the 85 – 90% range. Essentially, the above average pass rates on the NPS Exams contributed to the excellence in reading levels.The Head Teacher of Oxford International Academy Primary School, in Makeni, Abdul Karim Kamara, said their school is young but have been performing excellently in their academic performances. He said since 2015 they have recorded 100% passes at the NPSE.

Source: Sierra Leone News: Young readers excel in National Reading Competition « Awoko Newspaper

Inside UCR: ECE Professor Wei Ren Wins IEEE Control Systems Society Antonio Ruberti Young Researcher Prize

Wei Ren, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UCR BCOE, has been awarded the 2017 IEEE Control Systems Society (CSS) Antonio Ruberti Young Researcher Prize for “pioneering contributions to distributed coordination and control of multi-agent systems”. The award was presented during the CSS Awards Ceremony at the 2017 IEEE Conference on Decision and Control in Melbourne, Australia December 12-15, 2017. The award recognizes distinguished cutting-edge contributions by a young researcher at or under the age of 40 to the theory or application of systems and control. The Antonio Ruberti Young Researcher Prize was established in 2005 to honor the memory of Antonio Ruberti, one of the first three Professors of Automatic Control in Italy. He was later the Minister for the Coordination of Scientific and Technological Research of the Italian Government and Commissioner of the European Union for Science, Research, and Education.

Source: Inside UCR: ECE Professor Wei Ren Wins IEEE Control Systems Society Antonio Ruberti Young Researcher Prize

Maryam Mirzakhani: Remembering a brilliant mathematician who inspired a world of possibilities – Science News – ABC News

On 16 June 2014, I received an email from the President of the International Mathematical Union. The subject of the email was a question “Will you be at ICM?” and the body of the email consisted of just two lines: “And will you have some disposable time? I have a favour to ask … Best, Ingrid.” The sender was Professor Ingrid Daubechies and ICM is the International Mathematical Congress, which is held every four years. The most anticipated event at each ICM is the award of the Fields Medal, arguably the most celebrated prize in mathematics. In 2014, the ICM was to be held in Seoul, Korea. When I answered Ingrid’s email, I learned that I was to be part of a small group of female mathematicians entrusted with a special job in Seoul, involving such amazing news that it set a bell ringing in my heart — a bell that is still ringing today. This group learned that a Fields medal was to be awarded to a female mathematician for the first time in its long and luminous history. We were asked to be “on call” to provide support and help for the recipient at ICM.

Source: Maryam Mirzakhani: Remembering a brilliant mathematician who inspired a world of possibilities – Science News – ABC News

Grand prize for Bushbuckridge’s top learner

Hard work and dedication has paid off for Thalentha Ngoveni, who was gifted with a red Toyota Yaris as a reward for earning seven distinctions in his matric examination. Ngoveni who is from Acorn Oaks High School in Acornhoek outside Bushbuckridge expected to score only four distinctions. He said: “I am very happy today and I never expected to be a top learner. I would like to thank the department of education for their passion for education and at the same time covering people like me who come from poor backgrounds with an opportunity to better their future no matter their situation,” said Ngoveni. He said that he would like to study Actuarial Science at the University of Cape Town. The teen also thanked Bushbuckridge’s Math Guru, Jerry Mbowane for helping him to improve his math and science marks. “Mr. Mbowane took me in when I needed a mentor and I am glad that my hard work and his wisdom paid off,” he said.

Source: Grand prize for Bushbuckridge’s top learner | News24

Stalin’s ‘ice palace’ is melting due to global warming | Daily Mail Online

Funds to save the monument are now ‘urgent’ as some passageways are severely weakened. But authorities in northern Siberia lack the cash to rescue the icy labyrinth, even though it is listed as a regional monument. Stalin’s Palace is hailed as the creation of a German engineer banished to Siberia by Stalin during the Second World War. Gustav Backmann and other exiled labourers spent years digging through the rock-solid permafrost soil in Novy Port to build a vast natural freezer, finishing their work in 1956. Its purpose was to store mountains of Arctic fish before processing and export to Europe.

Source: Stalin’s ‘ice palace’ is melting due to global warming | Daily Mail Online

No case for a wooly mammoth’s return | Book Reviews | newsminer.com

No creature is more thoroughly associated with the ancient Arctic and Ice Age worlds than the woolly mammoth. A relative of today’s elephants, it was ideally suited for frigid environments due to its thick coat of fur and resistance to frostbite. Emerging some 400,000 years ago, it coexisted with humans once they arrived on the scene, but only for a while. The woolly mammoth’s extinction was driven first by climate change as the last Ice Age ended and its habitat receded to the Arctic. Then, by humans, who hunted it into oblivion. The last remnants lived on Russia’s Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean, where they were driven to extinction by hunters a mere 4,000 years ago. Woolly mammoths are the stuff of popular legend, but scientists are also striving to bring the animal back to life and reintroduce it to its former habitat. The obvious questions are: How would this be done? And, more importantly, why? The answers can be found in bestselling author Ben Mezrich’s recently published “Woolly.” Unfortunately, readers will have to sift through lots of filler to get those answers, because it’s a mess of a book. The science in the book, when Mezrich gets to it, is fairly simple to grasp and operates on three main fronts. The primary one is the laboratory of renowned Harvard geneticist and molecular engineer George Church. Church was first drawn to the mammoth after learning that scientists at Penn State wanted to sequence its genome. In his mind, which sees no limits on the possibilities of science, the next logical step would be to revive the creature. He assembled a team and went to work.

Source: No case for a wooly mammoth’s return | Book Reviews | newsminer.com

Toxic Thaw Syndrome | Hakai Magazine

On a small island in the Beaufort Sea, brown muck slides down tall cliffs, oozes into mud pools, and slithers into the ocean. It’s summer, and the permafrost is thawing. As the sediment enters the sea, it clouds the coastal waters, releasing organic carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. But that’s not all.“We find large amounts of mercury and other pollutants,” says geoscientist Hugues Lantuit. “Anything that is caught in the soils is going to enter the coastal ocean.” Some of those contaminants, which also include PCBs, DDT, and heavy metals, fall to the seafloor. Some will be taken into the food web. Previously, researchers have found high concentrations of mercury in polar bears, ringed seals, and beluga whales, for instance. That’s a problem not only here—on Qikiqtaruk (Herschel Island), offshore of the Yukon coast, where Lantuit has studied for 15 summers—but also elsewhere in Yukon, as well as in Russia, Alaska, Greenland, and wherever warming air meets the frozen ground. Concentrations of mercury in marine mammals in the Arctic are 10 to 12 times greater than they were in the pre-industrial period, according to a 2017 report from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme. The report also warns that the thawing of large areas of high-latitude frozen peatlands could release globally significant quantities of mercury into Arctic lakes, rivers, and oceans.

Source: Toxic Thaw Syndrome | Hakai Magazine

Alaska crushes record for hottest December as Arctic sea ice hits record low

In its hottest December ever recorded, Alaska was a stunning 15.7°F above the 20th-century average. And the year ended with Arctic sea ice hitting an all-time record low. While the East Coast had a cool December and New Year’s week, Alaska baked. Last Tuesday, Anchorage hit 48°F, warmer than southern cities from Atlanta and Jacksonville to Houston and New Orleans.

Source: Alaska crushes record for hottest December as Arctic sea ice hits record low – ThinkProgress

Report: Health problems could arise as Alaska warms

Climate change in Alaska has the potential to create serious physical and mental health problems for Alaskans, according to a new report from state health officials. Melting permafrost that damages infrastructure, increased wildfire smoke, disturbances in the harvest of wild fish, game and plants, and an expanded list of diseases, including tick- or mosquito-borne diseases, are the potential downsides, the Alaska Division of Public Health said. Climate change’s effects on Alaska wildlife have been well documented. Polar bears and their main prey, ringed seals, were declared threatened because sea ice — their primary habitat — is shrinking. The 77-page report released this week was compiled so Alaskans could monitor anticipated changes affecting people and prepare strategies.

Source: Report: Health problems could arise as Alaska warms – ABC News