Sunday, June 16, 2024

16: Peter Diamandis

China has become a scientific superpower From plant biology to superconductor physics the country is at the cutting edge ...... The old science world order, dominated by America, Europe and Japan, is coming to an end. ........ They may not be household names in the West yet, but get used to hearing about Shanghai Jiao Tong, Zhejiang and Peking (Beida) Universities in the same breath as Cambridge, Harvard and eth Zurich. ....... Blueprints for science have since been included in the ccp’s five-year development plans. The current plan, published in 2021, aims to boost research in quantum technologies, ai, semiconductors, neuroscience, genetics and biotechnology, regenerative medicine, and exploration of “frontier areas” like deep space, deep oceans and Earth’s poles. ........ One of the most highly cited research papers of all time, demonstrating how deep neural networks could be trained on image recognition, was written by ai researchers working in China, albeit for Microsoft, an American company. ........ Closing the door to Chinese students and researchers wishing to come to Western labs would also be disastrous for Western science. Chinese researchers form the backbone of many departments in top American and European universities. In 2022 more of the top-tier ai researchers working in America hailed from China than from America. The West’s model of science currently depends on a huge number of students, often from overseas, to carry out most day-to-day research. ...... In 2019 we also asked if research could flourish in an authoritarian system. Perhaps over time its limits will become clear. But for now, and at least for the hard sciences, the answer is that it can thrive. “I think it’d be very unwise to call limits on the Chinese miracle,” says Prof Marginson. “Because it has had no limits up until now.”

‘It’s unbearable’: in ever-hotter US cities, air conditioning is no longer enough Record-breaking temperatures in the last few years shatter the myth that air conditioning alone will keep people safe ....... Extreme heat was linked to some 11,000 deaths and 120,000 emergency room visits last year. Heat injuries don’t just happen in sun-soaked fields – older adults like Gellot who live alone and cannot escape stifling, poorly insulated units are among the most at risk. ........ “We find, during extreme heat events, that more people die in their homes than in other types of places. They’re not making it to the hospital.” ........ Some experts have begun to warn of the looming threat of a “Heat Katrina” – a mass-casualty heat event. A study published last year that modeled heatwave-related blackouts in different cities showed that a two-day blackout in Phoenix could lead to the deaths of more than 12,000 people. ....... in 2021, a heatwave in the Pacific north-west triggered rolling blackouts ........ Black and Hispanic communities, in particular, are more likely to live in urban heat islands, where asphalt traps more heat than greener, typically wealthier neighborhoods. The disparity is a legacy of decades of redlining and other racist housing policies. ......... Heat triggers respiratory distress, acute cardiovascular events, disrupted sleep and impaired cognition – in other words, heat makes it hard to breathe, hard to sleep, hard to think.



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