Category Archives: Formats

Interview with Rob Fredrick for American Scientist

Rob Fredrick at American Scientist interviewed me for a podcast he made on one of the talks at the European Conference for Science Journalists in Copenhagen.  I told him about my 2009 Nature story “Fake Facebook pages spin web of deceit” and we discussed the talk.

See also my story on the Copenhagen talk for IEEE Spectrum: https://lucaslaursen.com/how-bots-win-friends-and-influence-people.

Fredrick’s story and podcast here: https://www.americanscientist.org/blog/from-the-staff/computational-propaganda

German breeders develop ‘open source’ plant seeds

There’s open-source software, open-source pharma research, and open-source beer. Now, there are open-source seeds, too. Breeders from Göttingen University in Germany and Dottenfelderhof agricultural school in Bad Vilbel, Germany, have released tomato and wheat varieties under an open-source license. Their move follows similar schemes for sharing plant material in India and the United States, but is the first that provides legal protection for the open-source status of future descendants of plant varieties. Continue reading

Danish Electric Bike-Sharing Dodges Failure

Copenhagen’s public electric bikes are kind of a pain to get started: they are heavy and their coaster brake prevents riders from kicking the pedal around to a convenient starting place. The business side of the operation has also had a rough start, marked by delivery delays, bankruptcy, and restructuring. Once you do manage to push the bikes to a start, however, their 250-W electric motors kick in and they are a breeze to power around Copenhagen’s well-marked and protected bike lanes.

It may not have been electricity, but something has also boosted the Copenhagen bike-sharing program: Usage grew from just 169,000 rides in 2015 to 933,000 last year and the program, called Bycyklen, is on track for similar usage this year. That might be just enough to keep Bycyklen from falling over. Continue reading