Daily Archives: February 16, 2012

H5N1 – Science in the eyes of the Hurricane

By Gilberto Silber Schmidt

Labex Korea – The controversies about Flu’s studies, raised up a really old discussion. Science is god or devil, guilty or innocent? Scientists are inside of the hurricane eyes. The discussion started inside the Scientific Community. Two rival labs were talking different approaches to the public controversy surround their publication on the creation of dangerous strains of the avian flu (Avian Influenza), which could be transmitted between mammals. The unprecedented decision by the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) was considered a call for a voluntary moratorium on the publication of the studies while an international debate was held to discuss the future of the field.

Credit Collage: N. Kevitiyagala/Science
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Brazil and China will have Research Center for innovation on nanotechnology

In Portaria published on Tuesday (14) the “Official Gazette”, the Minister of Science and Technology, Marco Antonio Raupp, establishing the CBC – Nano (Brazil-China Center for Research and Innovation in Nanotechnology). Is not clear yet the research agenda of the center, but according to the chemist Fernando Galembeck, China expressed an interest in developing, with Brazil, sensors and devices for use in clinical diagnostic to attend dispersed communities.
“The idea is having a portable reliable equipment, of cheap production, to facilitate taking care to people,” explains Galembeck, who is director of LNNano (National Nanotechnology Laboratory) in Campinas (SP), and will be the Brazilian coordinator of BCC Nano. According to him, another area of interest is the development of new products from the biomass. “We can use nanotechnology to transform agricultural waste,” he said, noting that Brazil, being a leading global producer of food and agricultural commodities, generates large volumes of biomass not yet grasped.
The Sino-Brazilian Center will be virtual and working as a network of research and development cooperative linked to the LNN-Nano. According to the concierge “participation in the CBC-Nano will be considered relevant public service, not entailing any specific remuneration. China is considered a major power in nanotechnology research, with a while Brazil occupies the 25th position. According to data released by ABDI (Brazilian Agency for Industrial Development), the international nanotechnology market will reach $ 693 billion by the end of this year to $ 2.95 trillion in 2015.
Nanotechnology concerns the ability to manipulate materials of atomic size, of 1 to 100 nanometers, that each has a millionth of a millimeter, ie, a unit 10 000 times smaller than the diameter of hair.

Source: Agência Brasil, February 13th, 2012
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The Soil erosion and global warming

By Gilberto Silber Schmidt

Labex Korea – Usually we believe that environmental problems are linked exclusively to the unsustainable management of the water and air. However, information contained in the Annual Report of the Pnuma (Environment Programme of the United Nations) reports that the agricultural activity has degraded and polluted the soil, mainly due to erosion by agricultural activities, as to be 100 times more intense than the “Natural Soil” erosion process” and this fact have impacted on Global Warming.
The biggest problem is that the soil erosion loses carbon to the atmosphere, and its replacement of hard practice. According to the Pnuma report, 24% of Earth’s land has suffered damage, reducing their productivity over 25 years, due to the unsustainable use of the soil. The track surface soil alone holds about 2.2 trillion tons of carbon – more than three times the level present in the air. Since the 19th century, approximately 60% of the carbon stored in soils and vegetation has been lost as a result of changes the use of it. “The soil carbon stocks are vulnerable the human activities, decreasing rapidly in response to changes in soil cover and the use of it, at both urban and rural areas, in which include agricultural and forestry practices unsustainable, the report emphasizes.

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