Author: vulgavis

The biodiversity crisis calls for an ecosystem health approach to fight disease vectors

Culex pipiens mosquito (Picture by David Barillet-Portal via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY SA 3.0) Chronicled as a tropical paradise at the heart of the Caribbean, the ecosystems of the Dutch Caribbean have undergone a remarkable change during the last 70 years. During a recent mosquito expedition on these islands, we saw that the lush ecosystems of yesteryear have been replaced by savanna-like landscapes with a suite of prickly invasive plants, mammals that maintain the prickly landscape (e.g., goats, rats, monkeys) and mosquitoes that feed on these animals, other livestock and humans (Aedes aegypti, Culex quinquefasciatus). Left to right Pictures...

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Women’s disadvantage: because of who they are, or what they do?

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels This is post was originally published on the SpringerOpen blog. Women are marginalized in the high-tech sector, and there are no visible trends of improvement. As women speak up against injustice, it is becoming clearer that the roots of their disadvantage might be deeper than categorical discrimination against them: it is not who they are, but what they do. A recent lawsuit brought up against Google claimed that the company had categorized women as ’front-end’ developers without good reason, blocking their access to higher payment and faster promotion that the typically male, ’back-end’ developers...

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Supporting Irish women with overweight or obesity to breastfeed – can we get them to ‘Latch On’?

unsplash.com World Breastfeeding Week is upon us and you might be wondering why all the fuss? We know that breastfeeding provides the best nutrition for infants and children from birth to two years and beyond. It is also relatively well known that the WHO endorses this position, as do health services and governments globally. We know that breastfeeding provides the best nutrition for infants and children from birth to two years and beyond. If you were to ask people about the benefits of breastfeeding, you would definitely hear about how it supports health in the woman and her baby....

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Measuring without labels: a different approach to information extraction

This is post was originally published on the SpringerOpen blog. Information extraction (IE) is a broad area in both the natural language processing (NLP) and the Web communities. The main goal of IE is to extract useful information from raw documents and webpages. For example, given a product webpage, one might want to extract attributes like the name of the product, its date of production, price and seller. A few decades ago, such extractors were built painstakingly using rules. In the modern artificial intelligence (AI) community, IE is done using machine learning. Supervised machine learning methods take a training...

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Pivotal moment in the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Ebola virus. Source: Wikipedia The ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo that started in August 2018, and has since been largely forgotten amid the flurry of everything else happening throughout the world. However, recent developments, such as the declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, have attracted renewed attention to the outbreak. What is the current situation of this Ebola outbreak in the DRC? At this point, it is the second longest Ebola outbreak, only surpassed by the 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa. So far, 2592 cases have been reported, of which 1743 have...

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