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Good morning, this is Zelda, and today we're taking a look at all the junk that's gathering in space and asking who takes responsibility for cleaning it up. We'll reach out to another kind of space - the cyber one - and consider the threats posed by cyber-surveillance software, while the United Nations security-focused group adopts a final report that brings the international community a step closer to an open and peaceful cyberspace.

Finally, we will see how a Geneva blockchain company brings traceability to farmers.

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Zelda Chauvet, Geneva

17.03.2021


Science & Technology News


Photo article

Distribution of space debris around the Earth. Source: ESA.

🚀 The quest to find answers to space's junk problem. Thirty-four thousand. This the number of objects that are larger than 10cm currently in orbit around the Earth. The situation is alarming, as the number of active satellites and the consequent risk of collisions have increased exponentially in the last decade.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

🇺🇳 UN adopts report to build an open and peaceful cyberspace. The process had started in September 2019. Last Friday, the security-focused United Nations Open-ended Working Group adopted its final report after a week of deliberations.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

🌐 How the mercenaries selling cyber-surveillance software are a threat to cyberpeace. Spyware companies claim to sell their wares only to governments fighting crime and terrorism but it is all too easy for these tools to be used by repressive regimes to attack human rights.

CyberPeace Institute (EN)

Here's what else is happening


Image of the day


Photo article

Beeple’s collage, Everydays: The First 5000 Days, sold at Christie’s for $69 millions. Source: Beeple

Why would anyone buy crypto art – let alone spend millions on what’s essentially a link to a JPEG file? On March 11, Beeple, a computer science graduate whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, auctioned a piece of crypto art at Christie’s for millions. This places digital art and NFTs on a whole other level.

The Conversation (EN)

Anticipatory reads by GESDA


Photo article

The Sierra de Manantlán biosphere reserve in Mexico is a source of clean water for urban residents in nearby cities. (© Adriana Margarita Larios Arellano/Shutterstock).

Nature should no more be seen as a giant fridge with an endless quantity of foodstuffs, the door of which anyone can open and grab something to subsist or grow. Last week, building on the work of about 600 experts over the last ten years, the UN Statistical Commission has adopted the new Ecosystem Accounting framework: an international system that puts a value on the environment. “This means that countries can now calculate the services that ecosystems provide – such as carbon storage and flood protection – and their contributions to the economy in a standardized way and with the same confidence as they calculate GDP to measure their economic production”, sums up a World Bank blog.

“The decision didn’t go as far as it might have done, comments Nature (see below). The overwhelming majority of participating countries wanted the new rules to be designated as a ‘statistical standard’. But the United States and a number of European Union countries objected. This was partly on the grounds that there is still much debate over valuation methodology, meaning that it is too soon to use ‘standard’ as a label.”

The record of the statisticians’ meeting shows that much debate remains on how to value something that isn’t bought and sold in a conventional way, the journal goes on: “But at the same time, this is an active area of research. Many studies have been captured in a landmark report, The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review, published last month by the UK Treasury. [...] Momentum on valuing ecosystem services is now unstoppable, and that is a good thing”.

- Olivier Dessibourg

Momentum on valuing ecosystems is unstoppable. The idea that ecosystems have monetary value creates a welcome route to conserving Earth’s endangered regions.

Nature (EN)

Three visions of the future, inspired by neuroscience’s past and present. The most exciting parts of neuroscience are yet to come. Here’s what we imagine.

Science News (EN)

Gene-silencing injection reverses pain in mice. Another medical use of the CRISPR technology.

Science (EN)

Israel, Switzerland and UK face exclusion from major EU quantum and space research projects. ‘This is not in Europe’s interest’ says leading quantum physicist.

Science Business (EN)

Stanford University just published their 2021 AI Index Report. This latest edition was drawn from a broader set of academic, private, and non-profit organizations for calibration.

Stanford University (EN)

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This selection is proposed by the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator GESDA, working on anticipating cutting-edge science and technological advances to develop innovative and inclusive solutions for the benefit of the planet and its inhabitants.


Next on the agenda


📍24 March | Digital Outdoor Hack. 24 hours of online co-creation in multidisciplinary teams to design innovative digital projects.

Open Geneva (EN)

📍25 March | Ancient Diplomacy: What can it teach us? A navigation through the diplomatic heritage of ancient Babylon, Sumeria, Egypt, the Hittite Empire, India, Persia, and China.

DiploFoundation (EN)

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