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A fish virus that poses a global threat, the plight of refugee scientists, and a UN treaty on killer robots are among the top-read articles published on SciDev.Net’s global edition in 2017.
Here’s a countdown.
10. The plight of Arab refugee scientists in the diaspora
A meeting convened in Italy in March to discuss the challenges facing researchers who are fleeing conflict in the Middle East and North Africa attracted policymakers, representatives of scientific and educational institutions, refugee agencies, and refugee scientists.
9. Virulent bird flu strain threatens to spill out of China
A virulent strain of bird flu resurfaced in China around April this year, threatening poultry farms in other countries and prompting the World Organisation for Animal Health to intensify control efforts in the region.
8. UN treaty against killer robots urged
In August, the founders of leading robotics and artificial intelligence companies wrote an open letter to the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons calling for an international treaty to ban killer robots.
7. Genetics to boost sugarcane production
Scientists in Brazil are taking steps towards genetically modifying sugar cane so it produces more sucrose, according to research published in March.
6. Youth in Tunisia find a way out of violence with tech
Online mapping technology is helping keep young people in Tunisia’s marginalised neighbourhoods out of trouble, the CEO of NGO International Alert, Harriet Lamb, wrote in an opinion article.
5. Invention could slash energy consumption
An Egyptian inventor has successfully tested a safe electricity system for homes that eliminates the risk of electric shocks and significantly reduces energy consumption, we reported last June.
4. Weather updates twice a day as apps transform farming
Hundreds of tech-based services which are being developed for agriculture are being assembled into an online database — a feature published this month explores the challenges and expected benefits.
3. Water and power: Mega-dams, mega-damage?
A data visualisation published in March looked at the impacts of hydropower as well as planned mega dams in key locations across the globe.
2. Egyptian invention cuts rice irrigation water by half
An emerging tilapia disease could impact global food security, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization warned in May.