Which country’s scientific output rose 18-fold between 1996 and 2008, from 736 published papers to 13,238? The answer – Iran – might surprise many people, especially in the western nations used to leading science. Iran has the fastest rate of increase in scientific publication in the world.
A rapid rise in Middle Eastern, Chinese, Indian and Brazilian science stands out from a report published this week by the UK’s Royal Society, comparing global publication and citation rates between 1993 and 2003 with those between 2004 and 2008. Like Iran, other, smaller players are also stepping up their research activity. Turkey, for example, quadrupled its output between 1996 and 2008, after increasing sixfold its funding for R&D. Similar trends emerged in Tunisia, Singapore and Qatar.
On the broader scientific stage, the established leaders in the US, Europe and Japan still dominate, but their ascendency is being eroded by rapidly industrialising countries. So while the proportion of papers with US authors has slipped from 26 to 21 per cent, China has risen from sixth to second place with 10.2 per cent of the authored papers, up from 4.4 per cent in 1996. India and Brazil are rising rapidly too.
“The leading nations are not getting weaker,” says Chris Llewellyn Smith, chair of the panel that produced the study. “Rather, I would say we’re seeing a rise in other nations into the big league,” he says.
Marking the growth of science as a global enterprise to solve global problems, Llewellyn Smith says that collaborative papers have risen from a quarter to more than a third of all papers published. “To solve a global problem, you need data from all round the world, and this helps to unify the scientific voice geographically,” he says. “So I think we can all benefit from this, to solve global problems.”
“I think when I have explained graffiti to my parents and compared it to the barrage of images we see every day, especially advertising, and how on billboards or corner stores or anywhere—it’s absolutely everywhere—and yet it doesn’t bother anybody. We completely block it out as if we don’t see it, but for some reason we don’t think of it as garbage. And instead maybe we look at graffiti, or the public looks at graffiti and sees garbage and ugliness, and I always wonder why they don’t look at the billboards, especially around San Francisco. There’s millions of them, like the new thing is dot.coms everywhere. Like, why isn’t that garbage? That’s like mind garbage. It’s like commercials on T.V., and yet nobody ever questions that. That is so a part of their view of the world every single day. And when I explained that to my parents, they began to understand why other people might want to put their own visuals in their own neighborhood. Something that they could relate to.”—Margaret Kilgallen (via mariauseyourwords)
In Canada, regardless of gender, age or education, around 80% of people trust climate science. In fact, political affiliation is the only field where there is a noticeable difference in levels of Canadians’ support. Like their U.S. counterparts, conservatives are less likely to believe in global warming (64%) as opposed to between 84% and 91% for each of the four official opposition parties.
The heavy politicization and false claims that there is a “debate” about climate science in the U.S. prevents the country from moving towards solving the challenges this issue poses now and in the future. This is not the case in Canada where the focus is more attuned to how the government and society should deal with the issue, and not on whether or not climate change is happening.
In spite of that I think Canada is still pretty far behind. Also, they should do some regional studies. I’d bet climate change denial in Alberta and Sask. meets or exceeds that of the US.
“We condemn 100 percent how Gaddafi was and is dealing with the people … the killing of civilians. But we also condemn 100 percent the entrance and interference of America and the West.”—Ayatollah Ali Khamenei weighing in on the Libyan intervention (via cosmosweednlife)
In a script carefully and jointly written by the US, France and Britain, every political statement on the military effort against Muammer Gaddafi’s regime is preceded by a mention of Arab support.
Desperate to distinguish between Libya and other western interventions in the Muslim world, which have sharpened anti-western sentiment, the three leading powers in the Libya campaign are drawing legitimacy for their actions by stressing that they are born out of Arab requests.
While some people ask where are the Arab jets, the international coalition – for now at least – has a more powerful weapon on its side: the al-Jazeera television channel.
The Qatar-owned al-Jazeera had highlighted the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as American aggression against Muslims, but in the case of Libya, the popular channel has supported the revolution.
Presenters refer to those killed by the Libyan regime as “martyrs” and to the air strikes as “western military operations” by an international coalition.
Col Gaddafi has blamed al-Jazeera for inciting the rebels. That his forces are suspected of having killed an al-Jazeera cameraman in rebel-held territory has only added to the network’s anti-regime stance.
Al-Jazeera’s owners, the Qatari royal family, are among those backing the international effort.
Although Doha has often used al-Jazeera to deflect criticism of previous partnerships with the US, its rulers have been more open about their support for the Libyan rebels, though Qatar’s specific role is still uncertain. “Qatar will participate in military action because we believe there must be Arab states undertaking this action, because the situation there is intolerable,” Sheikh Hamid bin Jassem, the prime minister, told al-Jazeera on Saturday.
Indeed the Libya crisis represents a rare moment of unity between the people and their leaders in the Arab world, with al-Arabiya, the Saudi-backed channel also on the side of the rebels.
Meanwhile both channels paid less attention to the uprising in Bahrain – where their government backers have supported the Sunni royal family rather than the protesters.
“It is not nice to have an Arab country targeted by the west and others but having said that, this is an exceptional case. The Libyan people, are going through a very tough time. Muammer Gaddafi would go all the way to be the last Libyan alive,” says Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a professor at Emirates University in Dubai.
Even then, many Arabs remain uneasy about western intervention and question why their own governments are not playing the leading role in the campaign.
Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League, said the air strikes diverged from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone and analysts warn that the aversion to outside intervention could provoke opposition in the Arab world and impact al-Jazeera’s coverage if the military effort drags on.
“If thousands of civilians are killed in operations or western powers tried to impose a political system in Libya public opinion may shift,” says Najeeb al-Khunaizi, a Saudi writer.