By Robert Wheatley – Health and Innovation Editor
Insect populations are declining, but representation of women in NASA could be improving: a lot’s been happening, both politically and technologically! From AI predicting heart attacks to teenagers redefining neurological treatments, here’s a short summary of what’s new in science.
Now in its 75th year, the Regeneron Science Talent Search, a research-based science competition for US high school seniors, has selected its finalists for its 2017 awards. The scientists involved in the competition face a highly selective process, it made harder for those that lack access to private laboratories or research teams at universities, but winners will be awarded a valuable cash prize of up to $250,000.
Much like this year’s overall winner, Indrani Das, did. Over three-years Das studied brain injuries, eventually identifying a potential major mechanism that causes brain cell death, as well as a possible way of treating it.
Scientists have already been tracking an alarming decline in certain species of insects like honey bees, monarch butterflies, beetles and even moths and certain types of flies. But recent long-term data reveals a concerning drop of insects in places like Europe, with the Krefeld Entomological Society finding recent insect catches reflecting an almost 80% decline in their custom-traps.
While humans may be indifferent about the change in insect populations, and may even be pleased to know of their disappearance, it’s a concern for the species that rely on these insects, and, in turn, “… we can cause massive damage to biodiversity – damage that harms us.”
We’ve come a long way with AI (artificial intelligence), from machines that simply follow very specific commands up to cars that are now driving by themselves. But we’re not just producing machines that benefit capitalism, or ending our frustration with parking cars: engineers and programmers have been building ma