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SciDevNet

The Science and Development Network aims to provide reliable and authoritative information about science and technology for the developing world. Their goal is to help both individuals and organizations in developing countries make informed decisions about how science and technology can improve economic and social development.


Website: http://www.scidev.net/


Contact:

General queries: info@scidev.net
Editorial queries: editor@scidev.net
Technical queries: support@scidev.net

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Panama’s sloths harbor potential drugs
January 30, 2014 09:29 AM - Fred Fertado, SciDevNet

Sloths may be slow, apparently boring animals, but their hair is fast becoming an intriguing avenue for scientists seeking new drugs, including antibiotics and cancer-fighting compounds. A paper published in PLOS One this month (15 January) shows that sloth hair harbors a rich diversity of fungi whose extracts may contain a treasure trove of compounds active against bacteria, breast cancer cells and the parasites that cause malaria and Chagas’ disease.

Biofuel crops 'may amplify mosquito-borne disease'
January 23, 2014 01:29 PM - Wagdy Sawahel, SciDevNet

The expansion of the some biofuel crops may unwittingly increase the risk of mosquito-borne disease by altering the insects' life cycle, a study suggests. The so-called first-generation biofuel crops, most notably maize, are increasingly being replaced by second-generation biofuel crops, such as perennial grasses, which require less energy, water, fertilizers and pesticides to thrive.

Volume of electronic waste set to rise by a third
January 6, 2014 01:02 PM - Greenpeace India, SciDevNet

The amount of electronic waste produced globally is set to grow by a third between 2012 and 2017, according to a forecast made by experts at a global partnership created to tackle e-waste.

Forecasting storms using lightning!
January 3, 2014 09:43 AM - NASA via, SciDevNet

An alternative to costly radar-based weather services could soon be operational in developing nations, to help them detect severe storms more cheaply and quickly. The technology, which uses lightning detection to forecast when and where storms will strike, has already proven successful in demonstration projects in Brazil, Guinea and India. Next year, Earth Networks — one of the companies at the forefront of the technology — will conduct further trials in Haiti. As more developing nations increase their numbers of mobile phone masts, which are ideal locations for mounting the lightning sensors on, the proportion of countries using the technology looks set to increase, according to the US company.

Intelligent disaster relief
December 27, 2013 11:46 AM - Kieran Dodds/Panos, SciDevNet

The "fragmented" coordination between relief actors in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan last month underscores the need for artificial intelligence to streamline disaster response, says a team behind such an effort. The ORCHID project, a consortium of UK universities and private firms, aims to make this possible by combining human and artificial intelligence into an efficient complementary unit known as a Human Agent Collective (HAC).

Using Lightning to Predict Severe Storms
December 26, 2013 08:59 AM - Charlotte Owen, SciDevNet

An alternative to costly radar-based weather services could soon be operational in developing nations, to help them detect severe storms more cheaply and quickly. The technology, which uses lightning detection to forecast when and where storms will strike, has already proven successful in demonstration projects in Brazil, Guinea and India. Next year, Earth Networks — one of the companies at the forefront of the technology — will conduct further trials in Haiti.

Using Plankton to Control Malaria
December 17, 2013 09:02 AM - Joel Winston, SciDevNet

Improving the biodiversity of ponds and lakes in malaria-endemic regions could offer a powerful and sustainable way to control malaria. A common mosquito-controlling strategy is to apply biological insecticides, such as Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) — a bacterium that produces toxins that target mosquito larvae. Because of this precise impact, Bti treatment preserves more biodiversity than chemicals such as DDT, which are lethal to most species.

UN shows how mobile-phone data can map human need
December 9, 2013 01:00 PM - Jan Piotrowski, SciDevNet

Tracking people’s movements after the Haiti earthquake, mapping malaria spread in Kenya, evaluating Mexico’s government policies on flu outbreak, improving national census surveys in Latin America and Africa... These are just a few examples of how mobile-phone data has been used in development, as highlighted by a recent UN report.

Developing technology for the developing world: Earthquake detection via smartphone
December 2, 2013 01:01 PM - Fred Furtado, SciDevNet

Countries that do not have or cannot afford earthquake detection systems may soon have an alternative thanks to a new technology being developed in the United States and discussed last week at the 6th World Science Forum (WSF), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Quick tsunami sensors tested in Mediterranean
November 20, 2013 08:58 AM - Giovanni Sabato, SciDevNet

A new alert system could improve tsunami warnings in the Mediterranean, but most countries bordering the sea still lack evacuation plans, scientists have said ahead of a meeting of 20 countries in Italy this week (19-21 November). The tenth session of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the North-Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and connected seas, Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (NEAMTWS) will discuss establishing new national tsunami warning centres. It will also work towards organising the next tsunami exercise, a simulation of tsunami alerts following several different kinds of earthquakes, to evaluate the communication and response mechanisms throughout the NEATWS network.

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