Week ending Mar 30, 2018

Breaking Next-Gen Scientists Out of the Lab
The University of Melbourne – 3/28/18
Most people think of scientific discovery as a very linear process. To many, it looks like a comic cartoon strip of a scientist in a white lab coat. The scientist has an idea and a little light bulb pops up above their head. They create something new, tell the world and, if they’re lucky, they can make quite a bit of money. That’s invention. But science today has a lot more to do with innovation.  Innovation is different because it involves collaboration. A scientists, we aren’t working by ourselves in a laboratory. We’re out in the wider community, talking to people from a range of fields and learning ways to make their lives better. It’s more than breaking down silos; it’s about blowing them up. Read more

Stanford Research Center uses social science inquiry to tackle solutions to current problems
Stanford News – 3/28/18
As artificial intelligence, automation and other technologies transform the economy and the nature of work, it becomes increasingly important to figure out how to protect and ensure the dignity of many kinds of workers and how to get society to value what they do, Levi said. This topic is one of many Levi tackles with a team of social scientists, engineers and other scholars as part of the Future of Work and Workers project she started at CASBS. “Combining computer science and social science in novel ways, we’ve been thinking a lot about how to create better systems for matching employers and employees that also give the workers voice and bargaining power,” Levi said. “What does it mean for a worker to have voice and power in an environment where unions have basically disappeared? What constitutes valuable skills?” Read more

‘Fog harp’ increases clean water capacity
Phys.org – 3/28/18
A passive, durable, and effective method of water collection, fog harvesting consists of catching the microscopic droplets of water suspended in the wind that make up fog. Fog harvesting is possible – and has gained traction over the last several decades – in areas of Africa, South America, Asia, the Middle East, and even California. As illustrated by recent headlines of South Africa’s countdown to “Day Zero,” or the day the water taps are expected to run dry, water scarcity continues to be a growing problem across the globe. Leading researchers now estimate that two-thirds of the world’s population already live under conditions of severe water scarcity at least one month of the year. Fog harvesting could help alleviate that shortage, and now an interdisciplinary research team at Virginia Tech has improved the traditional design of fog nets to increase their collection capacity by threefold. Read more

 Experts Weigh in on School Shooting Prevention
NPR – 3/7/18
On the Friday after the deadly shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, Matthew Mayer, a professor at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education, got an email during a faculty meeting. 
The email was from Shane Jimerson, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Both specialize in the study of school violence. That email led to nearly two weeks of long days, Mayer says, for some of the leading experts in the field. On conference calls and in Google docs they shaped a concise, eight-point “Call for Action To Prevent Gun Violence In The United States of America.” Their topline message: Don’t harden schools. Make them softer, by improving social and emotional health. “If we’re really talking about prevention, my perspective is that we should go for the public health approach,” says Ron Avi Astor at the University of Southern California, who also helped draft the plan.  Read more

Interdisciplinary Cybersecurity Research Partnership
The Cornell Daily Sun – 3/22/18
Last month, Prof. Hiro Miyazaki, anthropology, and Keigo Komamura, vice president of Keio University in Tokyo, signed a partnership agreement to collaborate on the social, legal, political and technical dimensions of cybersecurity, beginning a “global conversation.” “We think that worldwide, everywhere, universities are all squeezed — both financially and politically,” Miyazaki told The Sun. “So instead of competing, we should actually work together and start sharing resources.” Miyazaki said that cybersecurity is a topic that affects domestic and international society and emphasized the need for interdisciplinary action, which is one of his main priorities as director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. Read more