Sci & Tech


The future of the internet

Brazil is playing host this week to the “World Cup of internet governance”, as technology magazine Wired put it. States, hi-tech firms and civil society players will compete over how the net is managed. A Swiss negotiator gives his insights.  

Smoking warning

Medical pressure groups have come out against a liberalisation of electronic cigarettes, saying more needs to be known about the benefits and risks of the device. The sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine is banned in Switzerland.  

Sovereignty for seeds

What farmer wouldn’t want an insect-resistant pepper? Yet opposition is growing to a pepper patent granted to Swiss agrochemical giant Syngenta. A coalition has stepped up the fight against patents and the threat they pose to farmers everywhere.  

Building a revolution

Among the Gantenbein vineyards near Fläsch in eastern Switzerland stands a striking piece of architecture – what looks from a distance like an enormous basket filled with grapes is a brick facade built entirely by robots. It could be the future of architecture.  

Opinion

Greenpeace, the global environmental NGO, typically leads protests. Last month, it became the target.  

Horizon 2020

Switzerland is no longer part of the “Champions League” of European research. Scientists tell swissinfo.ch their future is uncertain following the European Union’s decision to exclude Swiss institutes from funding within its flagship research programme.  

CO2

Carbon dioxide is often considered the big bad wolf of greenhouse gases, a major cause of climate change and global warming according to specialists. But what if it could be used to produce energy and mitigate some of its impact?  

Tissue engineering

Scientists at the University of Basel have reported the first ever successful nose reconstruction surgery using cartilage grown in the laboratory. They used a method called tissue engineering, where cartilage is grown from patients’ own cells.  

Greenhouse gas emissions

Switzerland was able between 2008 and 2012 to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 9% – slightly above its Kyoto Protocol target of 8%. Despite this, environmental organisation WWF reckons the government is still “flying blind” when it comes to climate politics.  

Flu drug flak

Researchers say that Tamiflu, a flu medicine made by Swiss drugmaker Roche, is not as effective as originally claimed. Their review comes after years of fighting to obtain complete data on the drug as governments around the world continue to stockpile it.  

Solar Impulse 2

Five years and eight world records after unveiling the prototype, the Solar Impulse team has introduced the Si2 – a solar plane that’s scheduled to fly around the world in 2015. Test flights are planned for next month, followed by training missions over Switzerland.