In Brief: World’s first 3D scanner for museum insects comes to Berlin to aid study of population decline

Researchers at Berlin’s Natural History Museum are celebrating the arrival of a new device that will help them digitally preserve the museum’s collection and also share it with the world.

Photo (c) Gregor Schuster

 

 

Researchers at Berlin’s Natural History Museum are celebrating the arrival of a new device that will help them digitally preserve the museum’s collection and also share it with the world.

Representatives say it’s the world’s first 3D scanner for museum insects and it will be able to produce three-dimensional digital replicas of the Natural History Museum’s collection.

Johannes Vogel heads the Natural History Museum and also the former Chair of the Open Science Policy Platform of the EU. He says open source development of the project is an important aspect.

“We are putting out to the world a globally accessible resource, a global digital collection, so that with the authentic and authoritative data associated with the images people can make scientific based decisions.”

Vogel says insects serve a vital role in global ecosystems and that more data is urgently needed to address issues like massive declines in insect populations.

“If we were to imagine a world without insects, it is going to be not long before we will go from this earth as well… they are so important in the health of the planet.”

Several recent studies have shown significant drops in many species of insects, including a 2017 study that showed a 75% decline in insect populations in German nature preserves within the last 3 decades.

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Germany’s federal Health Minister Jens Spahn wants to send a clear message to LGBTQ individuals, and say “You are okay exactly as you are.”

At a press conference on Wednesday, Spahn said he considers so-called gay conversion therapies to be wrong and is pushing for a ban. The German cabinet passed a draft law that prohibits advertising for such therapies and forbids the practice completely for minors.

The law is expected to come into force in the middle of next year. The ministry says anyone who violates the law, including parents and guardians, will face heavy fines or imprisonment.

“This is about protecting individuals, but above all this sends a social signal to gays and lesbians that says ‘you are okay just the way you are and you don’t need to be treated’”.

So-called conversion therapies are designed to convert homosexual people to heterosexuality. The German Health Ministry says this alleged therapy often causes severe mental and physical suffering.

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According to a study commissioned by the Berliner Morgenpost, a majority of Germans are in favor of banning fireworks in inner cities on New Year’s Eve.

More than 63 percent of those questioned in a Civey survey are in favor of banning the loud firecrackers. This year’s results differ from past polls, with more young people also in favor of prohibition in certain locations, at around 64 percent.

Last year the majority of people surveyed between 18 and 29 years old were skeptical of any changes to the New Year’s Eve tradition.

Berlin is introducing two new firecracker-free zones this year, one at the Pallasstraße in Schöneberg and also at the northern section of Alexanderplatz.

This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk. 

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