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Top scientists push ‘final opportunity’ for EU-UK research deal

LONDON — Top researchers in the U.K. and Europe have called on leaders to use the final stages of Br..



LONDON — Top researchers in the U.K. and Europe have called on leaders to use the final stages of Brexit talks to reach a deal on science collaboration, warning of the “fundamental and long-term consequences” if relations break down.

The plea to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen comes amid growing concerns the U.K. is planning to walk away from taking part in Horizon Europe, the EU’s roughly €12-billion-a-year R&D scheme.

U.K. officials and science policy experts have warned that the financial contribution due from London has become a big stumbling block in the negotiations.

“This is the final opportunity to use these negotiations to ensure that future generations everywhere can continue to benefit from the results of U.K.-EU scientific collaboration,” reads the letter, signed by Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust; Paul Nurse, Nobel-prize winner and director of the Francis Crick Institute; and Pascal Lamy, former EU trade commissioner and director of the Jacques Delors Institute, among others.

“A decision against U.K. participation in Horizon Europe would have fundamental and long-term consequences,” they write. “It would fracture European research collaboration … It would also hold back our collective efforts to compete on the global stage, not least with countries including China and the U.S.”

Some British MPs have said they fear the government will not secure participation in Horizon Europe beyond 2021. “I do worry we are moving away from association to the program,” one Conservative MP said.

Fair price

In London, conversations have in recent months centered on how much Britain would be asked to pay into the program versus how much it would receive.

Modeling by a group of British vice chancellors, Universities UK, has estimated that the fee — likely to be based on GDP — could end up at €3 billion more than the amount that British researchers would win back over the seven-year program. A more pessimistic estimate, also by Universities UK, said that gap could reach nearly €8 billion.

“The government is just looking for something that is potentially not so disadvantageous over the long term,” said Vivienne Stern, director of the international arm of Universities UK.

Draft rules for Horizon Europe would see the EU retain the right to ask countries for more money if they are very successful.

“In the current financial climate, we don’t think a one-way correction mechanism is fair,” said Stern. “If the U.K contribution to the program significantly outstrips its receipts … there should also be a mechanism to correct downwards. That seems a matter of natural justice to me.”

The government’s position, restated in July, continues to be that it would associate to Horizon Europe “if a fair and balanced deal” can be achieved.

But some MPs and university representatives suggest the government may be talking up the costs of Horizon Europe as a political strategy.

Labour MP Darren Jones, who heads the House of Commons business committee, said it is “widely accepted” that the benefits outweigh the costs. “Arguments that the financial contributions are just too high to take part need to be closely scrutinized to ensure we’re being led by the evidence and not by Brexit ideology,” he said.

“Why would the U.K., at full force, be less successful [at winning funds] in the future than in the past? The British haven’t become more stupid than in the past,” said Kurt Deketelaere, secretary-general of the League of European Research Universities.

“Unless I see somebody coming up with [official] figures … I still suspect that this is an argument that the U.K. government is developing in order to make sure that the university sector [stops] their push for association,” he said.

Both the U.K. government and the European Commission declined to comment on how much the U.K. had been asked to pay to the scheme.

Trust issues

The fresh pitch to von der Leyen and Johnson folloRead More – Source

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Spain’s competition watchdog opens disciplinary case against Google



Spain’s competition watchdog, the ‘Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia’ (CNMC) has opened a disciplinary case against Google for alleged anti-competitive practices affecting publishers and Spanish news agencies, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

CNMC said it was investigating whether Google had abused its dominant position in the Spanish market. The proceedings involve Google LLC, Google Ireland Ltd, Google Spain, SL., and the overall parent company Alphabet Inc.

The alleged practices also include distorting free competition and imposing unfair conditions on press publishers and Spanish news agencies, CNMC said.

The watchdog’s investigation was sparked by a complaint from the Spanish Reproduction Rights Centre (CEDRO).

CNMC will investigate the case over the next 18 months, during which both sides can present their arguments.

According to RTVE, Spain’s national broadcaster, Google will analyse the file and respond to the ‘doubts’ of the CNMC. They said that Google ‘works constructively with publishers in Spain and Europe’ and would ‘need time to analyse the details … as the nature of the claims is still not clear’.

It is not the first action by the Spanish competition regulator against Google, nor the first in which its dominant position in the media sector stands out. In 2021, CNMC already warned that this company and another technology giant, Amazon, monopolised 70% of internet advertising in Spain.

Other lawsuits in the Netherlands and the UK have previously accused the technology company of abusing its dominance in the digital advertising market to harm its competitors. France also fined Google in 2021 for not negotiating in good faith compensation for the media for using its news content.


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How does technology affect reading and writing?



Technology has dramatically changed the way we read and write in the 21st century. From e-books and online articles to social media and instant messaging, technology has made reading and writing more accessible and convenient. However, it has also brought about new challenges and concerns.

One of the biggest benefits of technology is the increased access to information. With just a few clicks, people can access an endless supply of books, articles, and other written materials from all over the world. This has made reading and writing more accessible for people who may not have had the opportunity to do so in the past. It has also allowed for greater collaboration, as people can now share their writing and receive feedback from a global audience.

Technology has also made writing and reading more interactive. Social media and blogs have made it possible for people to engage with written content in real-time, sharing their thoughts, opinions, and experiences with others. This has led to a more dynamic and engaged reading and writing community, with people able to communicate and connect with each other in new and meaningful ways.

However, there are also concerns about how technology is affecting our ability to read and write. One of the biggest concerns is the decline of attention span. With so much information available at our fingertips, it can be difficult to stay focused and absorb what we are reading. Many people find it difficult to concentrate on longer written works, and are instead drawn to shorter, more bite-sized pieces of content.

Additionally, technology has led to an increase in informal writing. The widespread use of text messaging and instant messaging has led to the widespread use of shorthand and abbreviations. This has created concerns about the impact it may have on people’s writing skills, as well as the way they communicate with others.

Another concern is the rise of “fake news.” With the ease of publishing content online, it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate between credible and unreliable sources. This has led to a decline in trust in the media, and has created a need for critical thinking and media literacy skills.

Despite these concerns, technology has also provided new opportunities for writing and reading. E-books and online platforms have made it easier for people to self-publish their work, giving them greater control over the distribution and promotion of their writing. This has created a more democratized publishing industry, and has made it possible for voices and perspectives that may have previously been excluded to be heard.

In conclusion, technology has had a profound impact on reading and writing. While there are certainly challenges and concerns, the increased access to information, the ability to connect and engage with others, and the opportunities for self-publishing have all made reading and writing more accessible and dynamic. As technology continues to evolve, it will be important to address the challenges it presents and embrace the opportunities it provides.

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How to measure human intelligence?



Measuring human intelligence is a complex task that has been attempted by many experts and researchers over the years. Intelligence is often defined as an individual’s ability to think, reason, and solve problems. However, this definition is not enough to capture all the aspects of intelligence. In this article, we will look at some of the ways that human intelligence can be measured and evaluated.

  1. Intelligence Quotient (IQ) Tests: IQ tests are the most commonly used method of measuring intelligence. They are designed to measure an individual’s ability to solve problems, think logically, and understand abstract concepts. The results of an IQ test are expressed as an IQ score, which is a number that represents a person’s intellectual abilities in comparison to the general population.
  2. Achievement Tests: Achievement tests are designed to evaluate an individual’s knowledge and skills in specific subjects such as mathematics, reading, or science. These tests can be a good indicator of a person’s intelligence in a particular subject area and are often used in schools and colleges to assess students’ abilities.
  3. Neuropsychological Tests: Neuropsychological tests are used to evaluate the functioning of the brain and nervous system. These tests can be used to diagnose neurological disorders, measure cognitive abilities, and determine the impact of injury or illness on a person’s cognitive abilities.
  4. Cognitive Ability Tests: Cognitive ability tests are designed to measure an individual’s mental abilities such as memory, reasoning, and problem-solving. These tests can be useful in determining a person’s potential for learning and development.
  5. Behavioral Assessment: Behavioral assessment involves evaluating an individual’s behavior, including their social skills, emotional regulation, and communication abilities. This type of assessment can be useful in identifying areas where an individual may need support or intervention.
  6. Performance-Based Tests: Performance-based tests are designed to measure an individual’s abilities in real-world tasks and activities. These tests can be useful in determining a person’s practical intelligence and can be used in a variety of settings, including schools, workplaces, and healthcare facilities.

It is important to note that no single method of measuring intelligence is perfect and each has its own strengths and limitations. Additionally, the results of intelligence tests can be influenced by many factors such as cultural background, education, and experience. As a result, it is important to use a variety of assessment methods to get a more comprehensive understanding of an individual’s intelligence.

In conclusion, measuring human intelligence is a complex task that involves evaluating a variety of cognitive, behavioral, and performance-based abilities. While intelligence tests can provide valuable information about a person’s intellectual abilities, it is important to use a variety of assessment methods to get a more comprehensive understanding of an individual’s intelligence. By using a combination of tests, experts and researchers can get a more complete picture of an individual’s intellectual abilities and potential for learning and development.

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