Science & Technology
Air pollution in a tweet: Communicating complex science
Air pollution is a complex issue that is difficult to communicate to most people. What causes air pollution? How does it affect our children’s cognitive development? What does air pollution have to do with rising temperatures?
Pallavi Pant is an air quality scientist who received her PhD in urban air quality in 2014. Today, she is a staff scientist at the Health Effects Institute in Boston. She is also Social Media Editor with the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, where she aims to communicate the journal’s work to a broader audience.
“But when it comes to communicating science, it’s vital to get the facts right. Young people like Pallavi—experts in their field with a passion to drive forward clear messages about air pollution, health and climate—are commendable in their ability to communicate the problems and how we can be part of the solution.”
This International Youth Day, themed “transforming education,” we asked Pant why, as a scientist, she feels compelled to tweet. How does she educate and bring complex messages to a non-scientific audience?
What influenced your decision to be a scientist, and is being a woman in this field a challenge?
I grew up in a household where curiosity was encouraged. I remember designing scientific experiments to test hypotheses as a kid with my friends. Throughout high school and college, I took steps towards a career in environmental science. In the early days, I wasn’t sure what aspect I would focus on; air pollution piqued my interest and I spent more time understanding it better. My personal experience living in Delhi—seeing the quality of air change over time—was another key contributing factor. Being a woman in science is fun and exciting, but also poses challenges. Occasionally, it has been difficult to deal with stereotypes that influence people’s interactions. In some instances, it is also about being safe—in the field working alone for example. But overall, I’ve had a good experience, and my mentors have been supportive.
Why do you feel it’s important to communicate science to a general audience?
Huge portions of important scientific research are still behind paywalls, and people are often unable to find accurate, reliable information, especially on digital media. Combined with the need for ‘bite-sized’ information, it is critical that scientists find ways to engage with the public, to dispel myths where they exist, and share useful information. After all, the goal for science is to help move towards a better future, isn’t it? During my PhD program, I started a knowledge platform—Air Quality in India—to publicize and communicate the latest science and policy developments on air pollution. I co-founded a similar effort for South Asia—Air South Asia. It is important that accurate, scientifically valid information is brought to the public. I also give public seminars on the topic of air pollution, and I answer queries from concerned individuals about sources of air pollution and possible impacts on human health. I engage with organizations that work directly with communities and point them towards trusted sources of information. On social media, I post curated content on air pollution.
The Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology is one of the first environmental journals to create its own social media platforms. What influenced this decision?
When I spoke with the journal editors, it was clear that they were trying to expand the reach and make the information accessible to a broad audience. I had some experience doing that, and this seemed to be an excellent opportunity to expand my skills too! We hope to disseminate new findings from research published in the journal on social media, and get others interested in the field of environmental health.
What is the biggest challenge you face in communicating air pollution science?
When we train as scientists, we are encouraged to speak in scientific terms. The first issue I encountered was to learn to take a minute and think about my choice of words, and how they would be interpreted by a particular audience. Air pollution science is often complex, and it is a hard task to explain the nuance of the science while making it engaging and interesting. For example, air pollutants can be primary [directly emitted] and secondary [formed in atmosphere from other pollutants], and control strategies are very different for both types of pollutants. Communicating this effectively can be challenging. Sometimes, it is only a matter of directing people to the right information. In other cases, some thinking is required. In all cases, the bottom line for me is to make the information relatable for the particular audience.
How do you hope to take your storytelling to a level where it can reach more people?
I am still learning ways to communicate science better, and weave data and stories together to generate meaningful narratives for people. This year, I am hoping to expand a large, open-source database on air pollution in India, set up a mentoring network for women in air quality in the South and continue working to expand the reach of the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.
Can you summarize the main threats of air pollution in 140 characters?
Air pollution impacts our health, environment & economy; we need to act both at personal & societal levels to improve the quality of air.
Science & Technology
The Dilemmas: Unbeknownst to Others
There are numerous problems that surround our very existence on the planet now. One of them certainly is the advancement of the so-called Artificial Intelligence (AI). It brews in particularly deceptive moment when the mankind is at a breaking point; seeking for the moral triumph and the (generally tolerated if not universally acceptable) winning narrative.
Individuals and world institutions see AI systems as the solutions to their problems, from automating tasks to simplifying hard algorithmic structures into simpler forms through machine-driven intelligence systems. Most people believe that AI technology is a modern hero for generating internet-structured information. Based on some research articles, AI started in the 1950s, and it was built as a subset of computer science by some computer scientists to perform automated algorithms for the machines to help them function as a non-human intelligent system to automatically help solve machine-generated issues.
People behind it must have thought that AI would revolutionize the world in the future [and it did] and would help industries easily commercialize mass-produced products, goods, and services. Humans created AI, but now AI is creating cloned humans, such as from AI-related technologies like genetic cloning, artificial brain chips, artificial medicine, and 3D technologies that are used for manufacturing artificially made foods, like lab-grown products. But one should understand that AI technology has many downsides. We should widen our knowledge of this technology, as having less knowledge of it can be dangerous. It might put us in risky situations that we may regret in the future. Analytically, AI can be used by anyone for good or bad, and it can also be categorized as a light system or a dark system.
There are many articles, blogs, published books, and papers talking about the modern world and how it will shape the future. We are already in the future. We will shape the future, in which our descendants will either live or die. Now, the public officials who have the money, fame, authority, and power and who are making uninformed and illegal decisions are imposing bills to put control on each of us. We must allow ourselves to act like humans and not their slaves. We all know that government systems are important in each nation as they help our nations get organized and collaborate for global interests. We all come from diverse backgrounds, and having a system like the government would easily help us connect.
All meant by Govern-ment
But governments nowadays cannot easily be trusted because they are part of global depopulation programs, and most of these government officials are taking orders from the elites and following the orders of the black sun or the dragon families. The world’s powerful authorities always fund these governments, and they can decide whether they will be on the good side or the bad side. Hence, there are only a few hundred thousand people who understand how the world works, and these are the ones who are always seeking the truth and are always trying to uncover the hidden facts of the world’s economic events. Technically speaking, governments cannot protect us against the dangers of world-created issues like greed, corruption, terrorism, and war because they are part of them.
In addition, a government is a system that connects all the institutions like the United Nations, WHO, WTO, World Bank, EU, IMF, WEC, Red Cross, BIS, Interpol, ICC, CDC, NIH, NSF, FDA, and others. These institutions play a significant role in changing our daily engagement with the world. Many world institutions are mandating misinformation and manipulative media campaigns for the public. We should never let ourselves be programmed by the media. One should understand his or her value. That is why learning and understanding the law is necessary to protect yourself if no one else will, since everybody else has their own agenda in life.
Our communities should be more focused on assisting their citizens and giving them the right information, but it seems that it is not likely going to happen because the control from the highest officials is holding back the good people providing public service from doing good, which makes our current situation more difficult. History is repeating itself.
Technologists have now categorized our world into two categories: we can either live and interact in the real world with a real universe, or we can be part of the current wave of living in a virtual world with a virtual universe under the technological advances of AI and its other similar technologies, such as virtual reality and augmented reality. Everything is programmed and simulated. Also, the robotics industry is increasing enormously, and we must prepare ourselves. It has never been like that before. Technology is increasing, and the world’s natural resources and reserves are depleting.
Do you still see a future for yourself and your future family? Or you will let the technologies decide how your future will look, how you will suffer and be a slave to the dramatic changes in technologies, and how you will struggle financially as the current technologies, especially artificial intelligence, are changing the status quo of the current working space. Major companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon are laying off their employees to cut costs. More than 11,000 employees from the biggest technology companies have been laid off, and small and medium companies are doing the same to restructure their corporate systems to stay competitive and generate more revenue.
This happens because companies around the world are afraid of bankruptcy and falling behind technological trends since everything is advancing every single day. These established companies want to stay ahead of their competitors, especially newly emerging businesses and hyper-competitive entrepreneurs. Manufacturers and production facilities are creating millions of products and services every day. The modern world’s biggest players are in the fields of finance, biology and technology, energy, healthcare, medicine, clothing, food, fashion, transportation, e-commerce, outsourcing, remote work, automation, and sales and marketing. The employees will be dramatically affected by these changes, and those who study and learn will easily find ways to protect themselves physically and financially.
The current world situation is disturbing. Humankind has produced thousands, if not millions, of new products and services in the past few years, ranging from clothing to fashion-related inventions, plastic-related products, and other nonsense inventions that are unhelpful to the earth. Our relationship with technology is so strong – tends to create stronger psychologized bond. And it inclines to be highly addictive.
We put ourselves in a critical condition by being obsessed with newly invented technologies, and 50 percent of these technologies are very harmful to us. Not everyone is interested in studying the advantages and disadvantages of technology consumption. It is significant to reflect on whatever we do, especially with the use of modern technologies, as it would give us a clear idea of how we can overcome the changes we are facing presently.
Health and cognitivity – two sides of a same coin
In healthcare, COVID has been the main topic since the year 2020. There are still billions of people who are unaware of what is really behind the COVID (which actually means Certificate of Vaccine Identification) thing. It is all about the depopulation program that was set up by several people—operatives, agencies, governments, politicians, and elites—to decrease the human population by 90 percent. It is a biological weapon and a weapon for mass destruction. Health institutions are using media agencies and systems to play along with their games and propose bills to control humanity. Illegal health mandates such as taking a vaccine and booster, wearing a mask, and being locked down are all considered acts of global mass genocide. It is critically important to understand theoretically the essence of breathing the natural air and why wearing a mask can cause several respiratory illnesses that may lead to the production of spike protein in someone who’s vaccinated. Scientifically, based on some validated research and scientific papers and articles written by the people who are part of the restoration program, even if you are not vaccinated but are exposed to those who were vaccinated, you can still be subject to a spike protein infection. The vaccines can systematically and electronically transfer or send programmed computer viruses to those vaccinated with the use of AI, computer systems, and radio frequency towers. This global pandemic was planned many years ago as a lock-step operation to spread a programmed virus to kill humanity. Everyone who’s vaccinated is subject to early death syndrome, famously called “SDS” (Sudden Death Syndrome) by researchers, scientists, and medical doctors who are helping to restore humanity and encouraging everyone to act for their health and seek justice if their family members were vaccinated and oppressed.
The pandemic has created new forms of businesses relating to remote work setups, virtual jobs, telehealth, telemedicine, and many more that are operating electronically without the need for a physical governing body. The use of AI and other modern and advanced technologies has had a horrible impact on the lives of billions of people, not only physically but also mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and neurologically. There are hundreds of startups in the industries of biology and technology that are already in progress, and many people are still blind to the truth about who is funding these types of companies. Several published papers showed information about the mere intention of several known vaccine companies like Johnson and Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and others. These biology and technology companies are still at the first stage of global mass destruction, and this is just the start of their game. This is just the beginning, and the next wave of pandemics is nearly coming. While vaccinating billions of people from six continents, these major players have profited billions of dollars and made themselves wealthy, of course, with the help of media agencies and systems, journalists, reporters, researchers, AI systems, scientists, fake doctors, the film and movie industry [motion pictures], the internet, global tech companies, search engine companies, politicians, governments, actors, marketing and advertising, and health institutions, who were all part of this, and most of them were bribed or paid under the table for these global pandemic operations. Some of them are just following orders and not even aware of the truth about coronaviruses and how this was well planned several years ago. It is a crime against humanity. The laboratory in Wuhan, China, was used as propaganda to manipulate the people into believing that it was only China who made it, but China is part of this global depopulation agenda. We must understand that politicians are paid actors. Anyone who is part of this depopulation plan is being handled by the people above. They follow orders from those who are higher than they are.
They don’t care whether the orders they take harm or benefit the people. We should stick it in our thick skulls that one of the main reasons for this pandemic is to kill all the organic humans and replace the planet with inorganic humans. That’s what they are planning to accomplish. There are only a very few people who are very intelligent and well informed about the truth in our world’s situations. These people are well-educated and are working on the good side for the betterment and restoration of the planet Earth. They are doing work behind the scenes without the use of the media, and 90 percent of the population doesn’t know anything about these people or how they are fighting against the demonic authorities who are working on the dark side. We need to be wise enough to not be slaves to the governments that are imposing illegal laws and manipulative narratives. As you go through their lies and agendas, you are putting yourself in a dire situation and staking your life. Some sources are stating that our birth certificates are under the control of our government. We are considered corporations and financiers of government officials. We are the ones who chose them to serve our nation. And if you act against them, you will be considered a threat. We have the freedom to choose our path in life. So, you must wake up and always seek the truth. Nothing good is going to happen on our planet unless we start within ourselves.
We are the driving force of our future. Whatever we do in the present time will shape the earth. Our minds are so aggressive and curious about everything. We need to hold our thoughts before executing them. We must always remember that our actions are our liability. We, as humans, must practice building a good mindset to allow us to think better and be compassionate with everyone and anything we have in our surroundings. Our minds can easily change things. We must be careful with what we create and build, as this will either help us to better our lives or it could destroy our human civilization. Innovation and invention are the catalysts of our future, and these are also the foundations of our current economic, political, governmental, environmental, and social developments.
Future full of Empty Choices?
There are already many established inventions that can be used to restore the planet, and we need to use them. But inventions related to AI will make everything in the world more complex and competitive. This technology is also wildly used by companies that manufacture smart cameras for global monitoring and tracking, and this honestly violates our privacy, safety, and security. Many speculations are going on about AI and chatbots and how these technologies are creating a hyper-competitive world between employers and employees. There is an AI tool that is widely used nowadays because of its features and characteristics. It is creating a dramatic change in the field of media. This AI tool is known as ChatGPT from OpenAI. The structure of its system is like a search engine, but the difference is its ability to respond within seconds in a non-human-like conversation. The first step that you must take is to input your commands or prompts in the box section, and then this AI system will respond to you as if it is a friend who is talking to you virtually. Other bloggers, influencers, and media journalists have tried some ways to use the system and experiment with it. They even published their tutorials through articles and videos to give their feedback about how this new chatbot system works. Most of them were amazed at how the system provided information in a fast-paced setting. Some have also commented that the AI system has no human tone. It does not sound like a human. This AI system is built with billions or trillions of pieces of data from the whole internet. And the interesting thing about it is that it has a high probability of attracting writers, authors, influencers, publishers, and the media to produce misinformation, disinformation, and manipulative narratives. It will create a new industry where misinformation can easily be written, and this will destroy humanity and spread manipulative narratives for money, fame, power, and control. People should understand that consuming any information on the web and the whole internet would change how we view things, especially facts. The media publication agencies and systems want us to fear their narratives. So, we get brainwashed to do what they want us to do. Even if they ask us to get vaccinated, many people will still believe their lies. The world is still running the slave trade program, and it happens every day in any part of the globe. It is profoundly important to do a study about anything that we see and hear before letting our minds conclude; otherwise, we may face the consequences. The world is changing too fast, and most of us are still behind the global agenda. If you allow these officials who are trying their best to enslave you, this could be the end of your freedom—your freedom to feel that you are a human.
But there is nothing to be afraid of—we are all co-creators. We can invent. The future of the world starts with us. This power within requires our comprehension that we manage our lives and our future through intrinsic mindfulness. Having the right thoughts will allow us to reflect on our own actions and wrongdoings. That’s the first step in the earth’s restoration. (Healing as a cognitive event.) Let’s show love, care, honesty, and compassion to our planet. Lastly, at every step on this path, the Supreme is within us. Let’s work together and restore our habitat!
Science & Technology
How the humble neutron can help solve some of the universe’s deepest mysteries
Scientists are unleashing the power of neutrons to improve understanding of everyday materials and tackle fundamental questions in physics.
By MICHAEL ALLEN
Apart from flashbacks that the hit Netflix series Breaking Bad may have conjured up, most of us have likely happily forgotten what we learned in chemistry classes back in school.
So here’s a quick brush-up: chemistry looks at the building blocks of our physical world, such as atoms, and the changes they undergo. An atom consists of a nucleus of protons and neutrons surrounded by a cloud of electrons.
Free the neutrons
Now for something high school chemistry might not have taught us: the humble neutron, found in the nucleus of every atom but hydrogen, can – if manipulated in just the right way – shed light on everything from the climate crisis and energy, to health and quantum computing.
One such way is a rather spectacular process known as spallation, high-energy particles destabilise an atom’s nucleus, which in turn releases some of the neutrons found there.
When harnessed, these newly freed neutrons can be used like X-rays to map the inner structure of materials.
Currently under construction in Lund, Sweden, the European Spallation Source (ESS) is expected to come online in 2027. Once it achieves its full specifications, its unprecedented flux and spectral range is set to make it the most powerful and versatile neutron source for science in the world.
The purpose of the facility, said Jimmy Binderup Andersen, head of innovation and industry at the ESS, ‘is to create neutrons, a neutron beam, to be used for scientific purposes.’
Once the facility is up and running, scientists from across Europe and the rest of the world will be able to use its 15 different beamlines to conduct fundamental research.
According to Andersen, a neutron beam ‘is not the same as an X-ray, but it is complementary and uses some of the same physical laws.’
Like X-rays, neutrons can be used to probe materials and biological systems. But they interact with materials in different ways to the photons in high-energy X-ray beams, and therefore provide different types of information about their targets.
For example, neutron beams can say something about the interior dynamics of lithium-ion batteries, reveal obscured details from ancient artefacts or clarify the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. They can also be used to explore fundamental physics. It almost seems like a case of ‘what can’t they do?’
As part of the EU-funded BrightnESS-2 project partly coordinated by Andersen, technologies developed for the ESS were shared with industry in Europe, to benefit society at large. For instance, some of the power systems developed for the ESS beamlines could be useful for renewable energy technologies, like wind turbines.
Recently, the ESS was contacted by a European semiconductor manufacturer interested in the radiation fields the neutron source can generate. The world we live in is constantly bombarded with neutrons, produced when high-energy particles from outer space, such as cosmic rays from the sun, collide with Earth’s atmosphere. Over time, this exposure can damage electrical components.
The ESS can mimic this neutron bombardment, but on a much faster time scale, enabling it to be used to test the durability of critical electrical components, such as those used in airplanes, wind turbines and spacecraft.
Now ESS is teaming up with other research institutes and companies to find a possible future use of a facility like ESS to address such specific industry needs.
Although the ESS is still being built, scientists are already working on an upgrade to the facility.
When the ESS first opens it will have one moderator, but the EU-funded HighNESS project is developing a second moderator system. The moderators will slow down the neutrons generated during the spallation process, to an energy level that the scientific instruments can use.
‘The neutron energy really matters in a neutron facility, because depending on the neutron energy, you can do different kinds of physics,’ said Valentina Santoro, coordinator of the HighNESS project.
While the first moderator will provide high-brightness, which is a very focused beam of neutrons, the source being developed by the HighNESS project will deliver a high intensity, in other words, a large number of neutrons.
The two moderators will allow scientists to explore different aspects of the dynamics and structure of materials such as polymers, biomolecules, liquid metals and batteries.
A fundamental mystery
The second moderator will also enable explorations of fundamental physics to try and see a neutron become an antineutron for the first time.
‘This is very interesting, because you observe a phenomenon where matter becomes antimatter,’ said Santoro, who is a particle physicist based at the ESS. ‘If you observe something like that you can understand one of the biggest unsolved mysteries: Why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe.’
This experiment can only be done at ESS, Santoro said, because it requires a huge number of neutrons and the ESS will have the highest number in the world.
‘You just need one neutron that becomes an antineutron, and that is it, you’ve found this process where matter becomes antimatter,’ Santoro said.
Research in this article was funded by the EU. This article was originally published in Horizon, the EU Research and Innovation Magazine.
Science & Technology
The Power of Empathy: Building Connections in the Digital World
In our increasingly interconnected digital world, where communication often takes place through screens and devices, fostering genuine connections can sometimes feel challenging. However, amidst this vast virtual landscape, empathy stands out as a powerful force that transcends physical barriers and brings people closer together. By cultivating empathy, we can bridge the emotional gaps that technology creates, leading to deeper understanding, meaningful relationships, and a more compassionate online community.
Empathy enables us to empathize with individuals from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. In the digital realm, where physical distance separates us, empathy becomes an essential tool for bridging the gaps that exist between people. By actively seeking to understand others’ perspectives, we can transcend geographical boundaries and forge connections that might otherwise seem improbable. Empathy helps break down stereotypes, dispel prejudices, and promote inclusivity, fostering a sense of unity in the digital world.In the absence of face-to-face interaction, it’s easy for misunderstandings and misinterpretations to arise. Empathy helps mitigate these issues by encouraging active listening and validation. When we approach online conversations with empathy, we strive to understand not just the words being said, but also the emotions, intentions, and underlying context behind them. By acknowledging and validating others’ feelings, we create a safe and supportive space where open dialogue can flourish, promoting a culture of respect and understanding in the digital sphere.The digital world offers platforms for people to express their thoughts, share their experiences, and seek support. Empathy plays a crucial role in providing emotional support to those in need. By demonstrating compassion and empathy in our online interactions, we can make a significant difference in someone’s well-being. A kind word, a virtual hug, or a heartfelt comment can uplift spirits, validate emotions, and remind individuals that they are not alone. Through empathy, we create a network of support that transcends physical barriers, promoting mental health and resilience in the digital realm.Conflict is inevitable, even in the virtual space. However, empathy acts as a powerful tool for conflict resolution and trust-building. By empathizing with others’ perspectives, we can de-escalate tense situations, promote understanding, and find common ground. Empathy allows us to navigate disagreements with grace, respect, and consideration, leading to more constructive discussions and the potential for mutual growth. By fostering empathy-driven conflict resolution, we strengthen the bonds of trust and create a harmonious online environment.Empathy has the power to inspire positivity and drive change. In a digital world often plagued by negativity, hate speech, and online harassment, empathy becomes a catalyst for transformation. By consciously choosing to respond with empathy and compassion, we can counteract the negativity and create a ripple effect of kindness. Empathy encourages us to be more mindful of our words and actions, promoting empathy-driven initiatives, and supporting causes that uplift and empower others. Through collective efforts, empathy can drive significant change in the digital world, fostering a more empathetic and inclusive online community.
An operational and cultural shift that reveals the true heart and values of a firm is the adoption of an empathic and human-centered approach to leadership. Putting an emphasis on an employee’s skills, qualities, and characteristics that make them uniquely human demonstrates that they are working for brands that actually reflect what they regard as significant and that respect the contributions they contribute to meeting the objectives of the organisation and the individual. Such a move might position your brand as the employer of choice and make a significant difference to your staff retention statistics. Given that many employees are still evaluating their long-term career plans and looking for opportunities that line with their fundamental values, this could position your brand as the employer of cchoice Managers and business leaders must keep in mind that, above all else, your business is your people as we move forward into 2023 with the possibility of a recession and numerous problems ahead. Leaders would be foolish to overlook their team’s demands and expectations while creating your organization’s culture and long-term strategies since they are the ones who will secure your success in the months and years to come, regardless of what you sell or deliver. It takes time to create an empathic workplace culture, but even while it might not be the quick cure you were hoping for, it could mean the difference between failure and success for your business.
Many businesses have used empathy effectively in their lead generation campaigns, and these businesses’ achievements are proof of the effectiveness of this strategy. Here are a few instances of businesses that use empathy in their lead generating campaigns. Zendesk: Zendesk is a customer service software company that uses empathy in their lead generation efforts by actively listening to potential customers and tailoring their approach to meet their specific needs. By using empathy to build trust and establish a connection with potential leads, Zendesk has been able to generate a large number of high-quality leads.Using personalised content that speaks directly to the wants and worries of potential leads, marketing and sales software business Hubspot leverages empathy in their lead generation efforts. Hubspot has produced a lot of high-quality leads by leveraging empathy to establish a human connection with potential leads.In order to generate leads, Salesforce, a provider of customer relationship management software, understands the wants and motives of potential customers and then adjusts its strategy accordingly. Salesforce has been successful in producing a significant number of high-quality leads by leveraging empathy to foster trust and establish a connection with potential leads.
In a digital world where technology can sometimes hinder genuine human connections, empathy serves as a powerful antidote. By embracing empathy, actively listening, validating others’ experiences, and supporting one another emotionally, we can build bridges that connect us on a deeper level. Empathy fosters understanding, resolves conflicts, and promotes positive change, transforming the digital sphere into a more compassionate and inclusive space. Let us harness the power of empathy to forge meaningful connections and make a difference in the lives of others in our interconnected digital world.
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