828cloud

Data, Info and News of Life and Economy

Daily Archives: June 8, 2022

Chart: Australia Central Bank Hiked Rate by 50 Points

The expected rate hike is 25 points.

Source : Bloomberg

Chart: Japanese Yen Down Past 134 per U.S. Dollar

Sinking further into twenty-year low.

Source : Trading Economics

Mid-week Humour: News in Cartoons

Chart: 6.8 Million Ukrainian Seeking Refuge from Russian Invasion

Source : Statista

中国十年來科技事业发生历史性、整体性、格局性重大变化

记者: 胡喆、张泉、温竞华、王琳琳、徐鹏航 . . . . . . . . .

  重大创新成果接连涌现,从载人航天到深海探测再到中国高铁、中国大坝、中国桥梁,我国建成一大批世界级工程;高质量科普服务惠及我国更广泛人群,深化科学基金改革、不断提升资助效益、促进基础研究高质量发展……

  十年来,在党中央坚强领导下,在全国科技界和广大科技工作者的共同努力下,我国科技事业发生历史性、整体性、格局性重大变化,成功进入创新型国家行列,走出一条从人才强、科技强,到产业强、经济强、国家强的发展道路。

  中共中央宣传部6日举行“中国这十年”系列主题新闻发布会的第六场,聚焦“实施创新驱动发展战略 建设科技强国”。

科技事业蓝图已经画就 在不断向前发展

  党的十八大以来,以习近平同志为核心的党中央,把创新作为引领发展的第一动力,摆在党和国家发展全局的核心位置,立足中国特色,着眼全球发展大势,把握阶段性特征,对新时代科技创新谋篇布局。

  “在目标上,我们建设创新型国家和科技强国;在摆位上,把科技自立自强作为国家发展的战略支撑;在战略上,我们持续深入实施创新驱动发展战略;在路径上,我们坚定不移走中国特色自主创新道路。我国科技事业的蓝图已经画就,我们的科技创新事业在不断向前发展。”科技部部长王志刚说。

  我国全社会研发投入从2012年的1.03万亿元增长到2021年的2.79万亿元,研发投入强度从1.91%增长到2.44%;世界知识产权组织发布的全球创新指数排名,中国从2012年的第34位上升到2021年的第12位……

  王志刚指出,中国在全球创新版图中的地位和作用发生了新的变化。中国既是国际前沿创新的重要参与者,也是共同解决全球性问题的重要贡献者。

  “下一步,我们还是要坚持改革,以改革促创新,以创新促发展,不断地推动中国科技创新发展,支撑引领经济社会、国家安全、人民健康等方面的提升和发展。”王志刚说。

重大创新成果接连涌现

  “十年来,中科院科研人员攻坚克难、勇攀高峰,产出了一批具有标志性、引领性的重大创新成果。”中国科学院院长侯建国说。

  悟空、墨子、慧眼等一批科学卫星提升我国空间科学国际竞争力;凝聚态物理、纳米材料等一批重要前沿方向研究进入世界第一方阵;“中国天眼”“人造太阳”等国际领先的重大科技基础设施成为科研利器……

  侯建国说,中科院紧扣国家战略需求,在保障国家重大工程、突破“卡脖子”技术等方面发挥了关键作用。与此同时,瞄准科技前沿加强基础研究,持续提升原始创新能力,在衡量基础研究水平的“自然指数”排名中,中科院已连续9年位列全球科教机构之首。

  近十年,中科院累计向社会转化了约11万项科技成果,为高质量发展提供强大助力。例如,“曙光”超级计算机、人工智能芯片等促进了相关新兴产业的发展;煤制乙醇、煤制低碳烯烃等多项技术成功实现了商业化,为煤炭清洁高效利用和能源安全提供了科技解决方案。

  下一步,中科院将进一步发挥国家战略科技力量主力军作用,努力取得更多重大创新成果,为加快建设世界科技强国、实现高水平科技自立自强做出新的贡献。

工程科技进步最大、实力提高最快的十年

  “可以说,这十年是我国工程科技进步最大、实力提高最快的十年。”中国工程院院长李晓红说,这十年,我国建成了一大批世界级工程,从载人航天到深海探测再到中国高铁、中国大坝、中国桥梁……这是充分发挥了新型举国体制优势的结果。

  与此同时,工程科技的发展实实在在造福了人民,在确保粮食安全、助力抗击疫情、支撑生态环境改善中都发挥了重要作用。

  李晓红说,中国工程院将建设国内一流、世界知名的工程科技高端智库,为国家发展建言献策,为地方提供战略咨询。

  “我们的院士遍布全国各地,中国工程院可以把他们凝聚起来,组织跨学科、跨领域的院士专家进行联合攻关、服务国家战略,打好关键核心技术攻坚战。”李晓红说,中国工程院将持续强化国家战略科技力量,不断深化院士制度改革,促进院士在国家重大工程、核心关键技术方面发挥更大的作用。

  “我们今后要以更加开放的思维和举措来推进国际工程科技的创新开放合作,提高我国工程科技的国际化水平和影响力。”李晓红说,在全球工程科技治理中要发出中国声音。

高质量科普服务惠及我国更广泛人群

  科技创新、科学普及是实现创新发展的两翼。没有全民科学素质普遍提高,就难以建立起宏大的高素质创新大军,难以实现科技成果快速转化。

  “过去十年,得益于科学普及的推广,我国公民具备科学素质的比例大幅提升,2020年达到10.56%,比2015年的6.2%提高了近1倍。”中国科协分管日常工作副主席、书记处第一书记张玉卓说。

  党的十八大以来,我国不断提高科普组织力动员力,构建省域统筹政策和机制、市域构建资源集散中心、县域组织落实,以新时代文明实践中心(所、站)、党群服务中心、社区服务中心(站)等为阵地,以科技志愿服务为手段的基层科普组织动员体系,打造“品牌、平台、机制、队伍、改革、阵地”六位一体的高质量科普服务体系。

  中国特色现代科技馆体系服务线下公众超8.5亿人次,“科普中国”平台传播量达416亿人次,213万名科技工作者实名注册科技志愿者,连续4年举办世界公众科学素质促进大会深化国际合作……十年来,高质量科普服务惠及我国更广泛人群。

  张玉卓说,接下来将着力营造“人人科普、科普人人”的良好氛围,并引导科普资源和服务向欠发达地区尤其是西部地区倾斜,持续推进科普助力乡村振兴。

促进基础研究高质量发展

  国家自然科学基金是我国资助基础研究的“基本盘”,为基础研究人员提供了最稳定的项目来源。十年里,国家自然科学基金共受理项目申请约201万项,资助约43万项,覆盖自然科学各个领域,形成了完整的资助体系。

  国家自然科学基金委主任李静海认为,当前应对全球挑战与科研范式变革交织,在这关键历史时期,深化科学基金改革、不断提升资助效益、促进基础研究高质量发展,是必须肩负的历史使命和时代责任。

  为此,国家自然科学基金以明确资助导向、完善评审机制、优化学科布局三项任务为核心进行了系统性改革。

  同时,国家自然科学基金大幅简化申请代码,代码数量由3500多个压缩到1300多个。资助管理机制改革方面,国家自然科学基金改革联合基金,针对不同合作对象明确出资比例,引导多元主体加大投入。

  “下一步,科学基金将以转变科研范式与提升凝练科学问题能力为抓手,更加主动开拓未来,为把握新发展阶段,贯彻新发展理念,构建新发展格局,推动高质量发展提供坚实的支撑。”李静海说。


Source : 新华网

Why Some People Still Haven’t Caught COVID-19?

The infections became more frequent and hit closer and closer to home. Their friends contracted the novel coronavirus, and sometimes their children, grandparents and most of their colleagues too. In recent months it seemed to be only a matter of time before the luck of those so far spared from Covid-19 finally runs out.

But some people even made it through the wave of infections – now subsiding – caused by the highly transmissible Omicron variant without contracting Covid-19. In the more than two years of the pandemic, they haven’t been knowingly infected.

If you ask them why, you’ll hear all sorts of suppositions. For example, regular long trips on the underground will build up your resistance by repeatedly exposing you to small viral loads.

“This hypothesis falls in the realm of speculation,” says Dr Ulf Dittmer, director of the Institute of Virology at Essen University Hospital in Germany.

Some people not previously infected attribute it to scrupulously following Covid precautions. Others thank their lucky stars for not contracting the virus from a contact person who later tested positive or while they partied at a club.

Still others wonder if they had an asymptomatic infection that wasn’t detected, for instance before testing was widely available. Or maybe they did have symptoms but tested negative because the sample was collected improperly or the timing was inopportune.

Scientific attempts at an explanation go deeper, but there’s no single definitive answer as to why some people still haven’t caught Covid. A combination of factors could be the reason.

“A number of hypotheses appear plausible,” says Dr Leif Erik Sander, director of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Respiratory Medicine at Charité University Hospital in Berlin.

First of all, it’s important to bear in mind that a significant number of Covid infections go largely or completely unnoticed. In a systematic review and meta-analysis published late last year in JAMA Network Open (Journal of the American Medical Association), the authors noted that about 40 per cent of people with a confirmed Covid diagnosis were asymptomatic at the time of the test. The finding was based on 95 international studies involving nearly 30 million people.

The frequency of testing obviously plays a role in detecting infections. If you’re not tested regularly, there’s a greater chance you won’t become aware of a mild or asymptomatic infection. And your genes can play a role too in whether you get Covid-19.

“There are people who, owing to genetic characteristics, can’t easily be infected with malaria or HIV (the virus that causes Aids), for instance. In certain gradations this will also be true of Sars-CoV-2,” says Sander, adding that the genetic factors aren’t completely understood, however.

As virologist Dittmer explains, HLA (human leucocyte antigens) molecules, which are encoded by a complex of genes, play an important part in the body’s immune response to pathogens such as Sars-CoV-2. He adds that a person’s blood group, too, not only influences disease severity but perhaps also susceptibility to infection with the virus.

The protection provided by vaccinations is probably often underestimated. Although levels of antibodies in your blood able to bind to and neutralise invading coronaviruses decline some time after injection with a vaccine, “protection nevertheless remains significant for months,” Sander says. “That, too, reduces infections.”

Immune responses to Covid vaccines vary from person to person.

“If the response is especially good, vaccination in combination with a previous infection with one of the four endemic common cold coronaviruses can also play a role,” he suggests.

According to Dittmer, a particular subclass of antibodies has been found to provide especially good protection from a novel coronavirus infection.

“Measuring them is complicated though, so for the time being no one will know whether they’ve got these antibodies or not,” he says.

The fact that children who get Covid tend to have either no or only mild symptoms is down to their generally having an innate immune response that’s stronger than the immune response of adults, according to Sander. It’s often “preactivated”, so to say.

Another phenomenon worth mentioning is that for a few days after getting an infection, people are typically less susceptible to infection with another pathogen. “This is due in part to interferons, which are defensive proteins in mucous membranes that also reduce susceptibility to Sars-CoV-2 in the event of contact with it in that time window,” Sander says.

He also notes that some people’s immune system may rid their body of the virus very quickly: “In a Swedish study, researchers detected specific T-cells [a type of white blood cell that’s part of the immune system] in people who didn’t test positive after contact with infected household members – a sign their immune system had indeed engaged Sars-CoV-2 even though an infection or antibodies against the virus weren’t always detectable.”

So what are we to conclude? If you think you’ve somehow managed to skirt a Covid infection, you may already have one behind you. Or you may have benefited from certain temporary circumstances, as-yet-unexplained genetic factors and/or dumb luck.

“Just because you haven’t had Covid yet doesn’t mean you’re permanently safe,” Sander warns. “A new coronavirus variant, or different set of circumstances, can totally change that.”


Source : SCMP

Your Liver Is Just 3 Years Old

No matter how old you are, your liver is always roughly less than three years old, according to a new study.

That’s because the liver is constantly renewing itself and replaces its cells equally well in young and old people, the German study explained.

The liver clears toxins from our bodies, putting it at risk of regular injury. To overcome this problem, it has a unique ability to regenerate itself after damage. But it was unclear if the liver’s capacity to renew itself diminished with age.

“Some studies pointed to the possibility that liver cells are long-lived while others showed a constant turnover. It was clear to us that if we want to know what happens in humans, we need to find a way to directly assess the age of human liver cells,” said researcher Dr. Olaf Bergmann of the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden, in Germany.

For the study, Bergmann and his team used a technique called retrospective radiocarbon birth dating to determine the age of livers in a number of people who died between the ages of 20 and 84. In all of them, liver cells were more or less the same age, according to findings published online in the journal Cell Systems.

“No matter if you are 20 or 84, your liver stays on average just under three years old,” Bergmann said.

Not all liver cells are that young, however. A fraction of cells can live up to 10 years before renewing themselves. These cells carry more DNA than typical liver cells and could be protective, the researchers said.

“Most of our cells have two sets of chromosomes, but some cells accumulate more DNA as they age. In the end, such cells can carry four, eight, or even more sets of chromosomes,” Bergmann said in a news release from the Technical Institute Dresden.

When his team compared typical liver cells with those richer in DNA, they found fundamental differences in renewal.

“Typical cells renew approximately once a year, while the cells richer in DNA can reside in the liver for up to a decade,” Bergmann said.

“As this fraction gradually increases with age, this could be a protective mechanism that safeguards us from accumulating harmful mutations,” he added. “We need to find out if there are similar mechanisms in chronic liver disease, which in some cases can turn into cancer.”


Source: HealthDay