Page 3.14

What’s buzzing this week in science and science-blog news in Europe? Wonder no more: it’s this week’s top stories from our partner site, ScienceBlogs.de:

Bovine New World?
A team of scientists from Newcastle, England has succeeded in creating hybrid embryos from bovine ova and human nuclei from skin cells (something PZ Myers at scienceblogs.com has been looking forward to for months!)

Instantly, the research press release mutated into a Europe-wide ethics panel—which Tobias Maier at WeiterGen dauntlessly chooses to ignore:

“The outcry is enormous, but I’m not committing myself to that…I prefer to explain where this is actually getting us. For one, this is about basic research. The fact that the scientists managed to prompt cell division at all nicely proves that the complex mechanisms are fundamentally the same in humans and cows…But claiming that severe diseases like Parkinson’s might be healed using hybrid ova is a bit of a stretch. Hybrid cells are no substitute for embryonic stem cell research.”

Olympic Fire Extinguishers
Rioters in London and Paris are acting out their opposition to China’s policies in Tibet by attacking the carriers of the Olympic torch as it passes through Europe. Thousands of police have been called out to preserve order.

Ali Arbia at Zoon Politikon argues that the current unrest is merely the symptom of a time-honored pre-Olympics ritual. He claims that the reprotests won’t really result in a boycott of the Games. Ali has anticipated the international hype surrounding the games since mid-March, when he wrote on his blog:

“You can’t stage a contest of nations and keep politics out of it at the same time. A country is a political entity by definition, and that’s where the trouble starts. Nowadays, to make matters worse, the allure of exploiting the international limelight is by far too great.” —Zoon Politikon, 3/11/08

European Blogging Convention
Last weekend, Germany’s “alpha bloggers” gathered in Berlin for the re:publica ’08 blog convention, discussing topics ranging from plagiarism, to digital activism, to the question of monetizing blogs. Stefan Jacobasch of Mahlzeit was there, and posted his impressions live from the convention. The panel on science communication gave him some specific insights into the relevance of science blogging:

“Science and blogs—how do they go together? Fine, say the blogging scientists at re:publica, who want to attract more researchers into the blogosphere. Regular science journalism is ‘science communication 1.0,’ and an ‘instrument of public instruction,’ said sociologist Marc Scheloske—but that could be expected to change, thanks to the internet…Strong science blogs could help democratise science, Scheloske hopes.”

Science Art: A Self-Limiting System

i-3728855ad92da71f1d72e8646256f534-clicknglue.JPG

“Click & Glue,” an award-winning sculptural installation by German artist Jana Linke, is featured in this week’s ScienceBlogs.de video. In the work, an automated hot-air balloon drifts across a room, trailing a string behind it. When the balloon approaches a wall, it attaches the string to the wall and pushes back off into the air—slowly creating a string net that eventually traps the balloon inside its meshes. “In the end,” writes Beatrice Lugger at Neurons, “Click & Glue prevents itself from the continuation of its task through the performance of its task.”

The video is available here.

That’s all until next week. Note that links in this article are to blog posts in German—but their authors are usually happy to respond to comments in English. Danke!

Thanks to Anwen Roberts and to ScienceBlogs.de managing editor Beatrice Lugger.

    Current ye@r *