Around this time of year in the Sierra de Guadarrama, a snow-capped mountain range outside Madrid, the snow is starting to melt. Below the tree line, the melting water soaks the earth in dense stands of pine trees. Further down, holly, oak and ash trees line the banks of mountain streams, and goats graze between granite rock formations.
You don’t have to step into the street for Madrid’s roads to pose a hazard to your health: air pollution from cars in the city might just knock you over. Scientists are finding links between the gases and disease.
If you visit the Tabacalera, a decrepit old tobacco factory in the center of Madrid, you might find artists painting in one basement room, hear muffled drums thumping from another, or catch a teenage video DJ performing in the courtyard next to the bike workshop.
There’s no tobacco processing done here anymore. And nobody charges at the door. In fact, it looks, sounds and feels like an anarchic arts squat. Until you bump into a security guard.
The European Science Foundation (ESF) has temporarily shut off support for Spanish researchers because Spain’s member organizations failed to pay their membership fees for the foundation. The move—which an ESF spokesperson says should be temporary—may hobble conferences and workshops seeking ESF funding.
Systems biologist Saúl Ares of the National Center for Biotechnology in Madrid reported the suspension last week on his blog. Together with Javier Buceta of the Barcelona Science Park, Ares applied to ESF for funds to organize an international workshop. But last week, ESF told the duo that it has suspended all support for Spanish activities from July 2013 onward—with the exception of one unnamed “high-profile” event in July—until Spain’s two ESF member organizations pay their unpaid dues.