The internet is helping to revive minority languages

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Europe’s minority languages have been squeezed by nation-building, urbanisation and the ‘lingua francas’ of the internet, according to Professor Anneli Sarhimaa, specialist in Northern European and Baltic languages and cultures at the University of Mainz, Germany. But one lesson she has learned from researching the fate of the Finnic language Karelian, spoken in Finland and north-western Russia, … Read more

‘Big picture’ platforms boost fight against online terror activity

Image credit - Flickr/Takver CC BY SA 2.0

The fight against terrorism-related content and illegal financing online is speeding up thanks to new platforms that join up different internet-scouring technologies to create a comprehensive picture of terrorist activity. The idea is that when an online tool discovers a fragment of information it can be added to a constellation of millions of others – revealing links that … Read more

Europe’s eyes in the sky are helping to solve energy, land-use problems in Africa

Complex Earth observation data is being turned into real-time tools to help solve problems on the ground in Africa.

Scientists have created a solar atlas of Egypt, revealing where the sun’s rays shine most brilliantly and where dust storms obstruct its light. And in Niger, forecasters are guiding pastoralists towards grazing areas and water sources – and away from conflict with sedentary farmers. These are just a couple of many applications coming out of … Read more

Facebook and Twitter need a redesign to fight junk news

Image credit - Flickr/Olivier Matthys, image is in the public domain

As the use of social media to spread misinformation soars, it’s time for companies such as Facebook and Twitter to redesign their platforms, says Professor Philip Howard, head of the Oxford Internet Institute, UK. According to a recent study by the institute, organised social media manipulation has risen from being active in 28 countries to 48 in … Read more

Scientists want to use dirty nappies as a source of raw materials

The hardest part about recycling used nappies is opening them.

Thousands of soiled nappies that were destined to clog Italian landfill sites or incinerators are being redirected to a recycling plant that is turning them into streams of high quality raw materials, in a new process that it is hoped will be replicated around Europe. Every day, new parents find themselves sucked into the environmentally … Read more