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Aujourd’hui — 23 septembre 2020Vos flux RSS

« Même après lavage, un masque chirurgical reste plus efficace que les autres »

Par Axel Leclercq
Chercheur spécialiste du textile, Philippe Vroman affirme qu'un masque chirurgical reste efficace après avoir été mouillé,

Hier — 22 septembre 2020Vos flux RSS

Les associations paroissiales doivent être prudentes

Par Maximilien Bernard
Les associations paroissiales doivent être prudentes
Un lecteur nous signale que l’association paroissiale d’un gros village basque est propriétaire du cinéma du village. La gestion et l’animation en ont été confiées, Lire la suite ...

Electron Hole, Meet Your Fractional Cousin

Par Mark Anderson

Researchers have designed a nano-electronic circuit that can tease into existence a strange new kind of quantum “particle.” Its existence confirms decades of speculation about the behavior of electronic circuits in very low temperatures and high magnetic fields—and opens the door for possible applications in next-generation quantum computers.

However, this quasiparticle carries only a fraction of an electron’s charge. It is, to be clear, not substantively an actual single particle but rather more likely an ensemble of electrons acting collectively in certain extreme quantum environments. The excitation does, in other significant ways, behave like a particle. Much like an “electron hole” in conventional semiconductors, this “anyon” acts as if it’s its own discrete entity with its own characteristic mass, charge and spin.

And, unlike the +1 charge of an electron hole, these newly studied anyons (whose name Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek jokingly coined after their seemingly “anything goes” nature) carry just one-third of the electron’s charge.

James Nakamura, postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Michael Manfra at Purdue University, said the quantum trajectories of the anyon are also curious. Its paths through the test circuit interact with other anyons—and indeed even with other quantum incarnations of itself moving through other elements of the circuit—and form interference patterns.

These interference patterns are analogous, Nakamura said, to the wavy patterns of ripples in a conventional laser interferometer. Except, instead of the patterns of light and darkness on a screen that a laser interferometer produces, this interferometer tracks anomalous shifts in conductance as parameters like gate voltage and magnetic field strength are slowly varied.

The circuit—cooled to 10 thousandths of a degree above absolute zero (10 milli-Kelvin) and immersed in a powerful magnetic field of 9 Tesla—exhibits discrete jumps in its conductance. Manfra, Nakamura, and co-authors infer from these observations the presence of the long-hypothesized anyon.

The finding recalls Robert Millikan’s 1909 oil drop experiments that measured the electron’s fundamental charge. Only this time, the Manfra group discovered a quantum of charge that is only 33 percent of that contained by the seemingly indivisible electron.

The group, which published its finings in a recent issue of the journal Nature Physics, not only adduce the existence of these 1/3-charged anyons but they also track how the anyons evolve as they move through the interferometer.

“Quantum mechanical phase is a very subtle thing,” Nakamura said. “But there is a way you can see phases, and that’s through interference measurements… Electrons, since they’re quantum mechanical, have a phase. Also these quasiparticles have a phase. And that’s what we’re studying.”

Nakamura says the group’s experiment and these fractionally charged anyons may not have immediate applications for any quantum technologies yet devised. However, he said, slightly weaker magnetic fields with slightly different conditions are also expected to produce an anyon with 1/4 of an electron’s charge.

This quasiparticle has already been discussed as a possible fault-tolerant qubit for an advanced "topological" quantum computer that codes its quantum information in the anyon’s changing state as it interacts with itself and other anyons moving through a circuit.

But all of that would depend on future experiments that begin by first doing what Manfra, Nakamura, an co-authors did for the 1/3 anyon: observing the quasiparticle and proving that you can track it through the circuits of a nano-sized interferometer. Then it would be possible to discover what a universe composed of fractional charges can cook up.

Netflix Supplants Google as the Employer of Engineers’ Dreams

Par Tekla S. Perry

When I talk to computer science and engineering students regarding their thoughts about future employers, Google generally seems to be at the top of their lists. And Google has topped Hired’s survey of dream employers to work for since its inception in 2017.

Until now. In Hired’s just-released “Employer Brand Health Report,” Google slipped to number three in the rankings, with Netflix and GitHub in the number one and two spots, respectively. To create this list, Hired surveyed 4100 tech professionals, asking them to indicate their level of interest in working for companies in their regions, and created a “brand positivity index” by combining the  “love” and “like” ratings adjusted to reflect the location of company offices. The Hired report breaks out rankings for public and private companies, with SpaceX at the top of the latter list; I’ve combined them in the charts below.

No reason for Google to panic just yet, however. Engineers in the San Francisco Bay Area, home to the vast majority of the top-ranked companies, still love Google the best. Their top 10 (from number one): Google, Netflix, Slack, LinkedIn, Apple, Square, Dropbox, Facebook, Nvidia, and Airbnb.

What do engineers consider most important when they think about where they might love to work? While salary is the driving force overall, there are regional differences. In Silicon Valley, it’s the opportunity to learn new skills, according to the Hired survey; in Boston, it’s company culture.

In a nod to the current reality, Hired also used this survey to measure the tolerance of tech professionals for video calls, or what one might consider the point at which “Zoom fatigue” takes over. The largest cohort—31 percent—drew the line at two hours of video calls a day, while 26 percent indicated that three hours was doable, and a shocking (to me) nine percent were willing to videoconference more than six hours a day.

Companies Most Loved by Tech Professionals

Rank 2020



Positivity Index* 2020

Rank 2019

Positivity Index* 2019



SF Bay Area






SF Bay Area






SF Bay Area






SF Bay Area






Seattle Area






SF Bay  Area






Los Angeles Area






SF Bay Area






SF Bay Area






SF Bay Area






SF Bay Area






SF Bay Area






SF Bay Area






SF Bay Area






New York City












Los Angeles Area












SF Bay Area






SF Bay Area






SF Bay Area




Source: Hired

*The positivity index reflects the proportion of respondents indicating that they would “love” or “like” to work at a company

Why Modeling the Spread of COVID-19 Is So Damn Hard

Par Matthew Hutson
Illustration: StoryTK

If you wanted to “flatten the curve” in 2019, you might have been changing students’ grades or stamping down a rug ripple. Today, that phrase refers only to the vital task of reducing the peak number of people concurrently infected with the COVID-19 virus. Beginning in early 2020, graphs depicting the expected number of infections spread through social networks, much like the virus itself. We’ve all become consumers of epidemiological models, the mathematical entities that spit out these ominous trend lines.

Such models have existed for decades but have never received such widespread attention. They’re informing public policy, financial planning, health care allocation, doomsday speculation, and Twitter hot takes. In the first quarter of 2020, government leaders were publicly parsing these computational speculations, making huge decisions about whether to shut down schools, businesses, and travel. Would an unchecked outbreak kill millions, or fizzle out? Which interventions would help the most? How sure could we be of any forecast? Models disagreed, and some people pointed to whichever curve best supported their predilections. It didn’t help that the researchers building the models were still figuring out what the heck they were doing.

There’s more than one way to model an epidemic. Some approaches are pure mathematical abstraction, just trying to get the lines right. Some re-create society in silicon, down to the person. Some combine several techniques. As modelers—a mix of computer scientists, epidemiologists, physicians, statisticians—fumble their way through the darkness of this pandemic, they pull tools off shelves, modify them, and create new ones, adapting as they learn what works and as new information emerges.

They hope, of course, to help quell the current outbreak. But their larger goal is to have tools in place to model any future disease, whether it’s a seasonal flu or the next big bug. “In some ways, forecasting epidemics was still in its infancy when this pandemic started spreading,” said biologist Lauren Ancel Meyers in June. Meyers, the head of the COVID-19 Modeling Consortium at the University of Texas at Austin, added, “And it has matured quite a bit over the last two or three months.” So what has worked—and what hasn’t?

The most common approach to modeling an epidemic is what’s called a compartmental model. You divide the population into several categories and write mathematical rules that dictate how many people move from one category to another at each tick of the model’s clock. First, everyone is susceptible. They’re in the S compartment. Then some people become infected (I), and later they’re removed (R) from the pathogen’s path, through either recovery or death. These models are sometimes called SIR models. Variations include a group that’s exposed (E) to the pathogen but not yet contagious—SEIR models. If postrecovery immunity is temporary, you might recycle recovered people back to S, making it an SIRS (or SEIRS) model. At its most basic, the model is a handful of numbers indicating how many people are in each compartment, plus differential equations governing the transitions between compartments. Each equation has adjustable parameters—the knobs that set the flow rates.

A graph over time of the removed (R) population usually resembles a sigmoid or elongated S-curve, as the numbers of dead or recovered rise slowly at first, then more steeply, then gradually plateau. The susceptible population (S) follows the same trend but downward, falling slowly, then quickly, then slowly. Around where the lines cross, at their steepest sections, the line for currently infected (I) forms a hump. This is the curve we want to flatten, lowering the hump’s peak and stretching it out, to lighten the load on hospitals at any given time.

Forecasting the shapes of these lines requires getting the equations right. But their parameters—which can change over time—depend on such varied factors as biology, behavior, politics, the economy, and the weather. Compartmental models are the gold standard, says Sunetra Gupta, an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, but “it’s a question of what do you strap onto it.”

A prominent group employing a compartmental model is the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), at the University of Washington, in Seattle. The team actually started out early in the pandemic with a completely different approach called a curve-fitting model. Because the outbreak in the United States lagged behind those in some other countries, this model assumed that the U.S. curve would resemble those prior curves. According to Theo Vos, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington, the aim was to predict the peak in hospital use with curves for China, Italy, and Spain. In late March, with just a few thousand cumulative deaths in the United States, the IHME accurately predicted a rise to about 50,000 over the next four weeks. By April, policymakers and the media were lavishing the IHME model with attention. Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s Coronavirus Response Coordinator, and her team talked with the IHME group almost daily.

But the U.S. curve didn’t flatten as quickly as the IHME model anticipated. In mid-April, for example, it predicted that the death toll would reach 60,000 in mid-May, while the actual number turned out to be around 80,000. As the weeks went on, the model began to garner harsh criticism from some epidemiologists and biostatisticians for failing to account for all sources of uncertainty, and for being based on the unlikely assumption that social-distancing policies would be as extensive and effective in the United States as they were in other countries. (Vos notes, “If you read our documentation that we published on our website with model results at the time, you will see that this assumption was clearly stated.”) By the end of April, IHME director Christopher Murray was admitting that his model was “orders of magnitude more optimistic” than others, while still defending its usefulness. In early May, the IHME team added an SEIR model as a central component of their continually evolving system.

Instead of manually defining the parameters in their SEIR equations, the team let computers do it, using Bayesian statistical methods, which estimate the likelihood of various causes for a given outcome. The group regularly receives statistics on COVID-19’s course: how long it’s taking people to show symptoms, how many people are reporting to hospitals, how many people are dying. They also collect data on factors such as mask wearing (from online surveys) and, as a proxy for social distancing, mobility (from anonymized phone location tracking).

To tune the SEIR model, the system tests different model parameters to see which ones result in predictions that best match the recent data. Once the best parameters are chosen, the SEIR model uses them, along with expected changes in the other inputs, to forecast infections and deaths over the next several months. Bayesian techniques incorporate uncertainty, so the model runs a thousand times with slightly different control-knob settings, creating a range of possible outcomes.

One of the most important knobs is reproduction number, or R (not the same as the R in SEIR). R is the number of people each infected person is expected to infect. Typically, if R is above 1.0, the early epidemic grows exponentially. Below 1.0, it fades away. “We learned how to tame an SEIR model,” Vos says. “They’re very reactive to small changes. The tendency is to go exponential.” In a completely abstract model, slight differences in parameters such as R can cause wildly different outcomes, unbound by real-world social and environmental contingencies. Without using statistics to ground parameter setting in hard data, Vos says, “your cases go completely bonkers.”

Others have also combined compartmental models with machine learning. One model called YYG has done well on a hub that feeds forecasts to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The YYG model is run solely by an independent data scientist with a master’s degree in computer science from MIT named Youyang Gu. His model is very simple: The only data it uses is daily deaths. From this statistic, it sets parameters—including reproduction number, infection mortality rate, and lockdown fatigue—using a grid search. For each parameter, it considers several options, and it tests every possible combination before choosing the set that best matches the data. It’s like mixing and matching outfits—now let’s try the red shirt with the green pants and yellow socks.

“I was frustrated at the quality of the models back in early April and late March,” Gu says. “Back then, one of the most frequently cited models in the media”—the IHME curve-fitting model—“had deaths going to zero by June. When I looked at the data, I could not see how that was possible, so I just wanted to take my own shot.” By 9 May, when the U.S. death toll almost exactly matched Gu’s prediction of 80,000 by that date, the physician and public-health leader Eric Topol praised the YYG model as “the most accurate #COVID19 model.”

“We’ve shown that a very simple model like ours can do a good job,” Gu says. One benefit of simplicity is agility, he adds: He forecasts 50 states and 70 countries, all in under 30 minutes on his laptop. “Because it’s so simple, it allows me to make changes quickly.” In addition, simpler models with fewer parameters are more likely to generalize to new situations and can also be easier to understand.

One alternative to SEIR models is data-driven models. These churn through data without explicitly accounting for separate categories of people, explains B. Aditya Prakash, a computer scientist at Georgia Tech. His team uses a set of deep-learning models—large neural networks, with tens of thousands of parameters. These networks infer complex relations between input data (such as mobility, testing, and social media) and pandemic outcomes (such as hospitalizations and deaths).

Prakash points out that data-driven models can be good for predicting “composite signals, signals which don’t have a clear epidemiological counterpart.” For instance, if you’re predicting medical visits, that’s a “noisy” signal that depends on not only the number of infections but also all the social and economic factors that might make someone visit a doctor or stay at home. But he concedes that compartmental models are better than deep-learning models for exploring hypotheticals—if we could enact policies that reduced R (reproduction number) by 20 percent, would that change the curve much?—because the model’s control knobs are more visible. And since SEIR models rely on epidemiological theory, they can make longer-term predictions. Deep learning is more tied to the data, so it can be more accurate in the short term, but it’s a black box, with thousands of incomprehensible parameters that are determined by the learning process—so it’s hard to know how well it will extrapolate to other situations or the distant future.

While data-driven models occupy the abstract number-crunching end of the modeling spectrum, the opposite, hyperrealistic end is marked by agent-based models. These are much like the video game The Sims. Each individual in a population is represented by their own bit of code, called an agent, which interacts with other agents as it moves around the world. One of the most successful agent-based models was designed at the University of Sydney. The model has three layers, beginning with a layer of demographics. “We’re essentially creating a digital twin for every person represented in the census,” said Mikhail Prokopenko, a computer scientist at the university. He and his colleagues built a virtual Australia comprising 24 million agents, whose distribution matches the real thing in terms of age, household size, neighborhood size, school size, and so on. The second layer is mobility, in which agents are assigned to both a household and a school or workplace. On top of demographics and mobility, they add the disease, including transmission rates within households, schools, and workplaces, and how the disease progresses in individuals. In 2018, the group published a similar model for the flu that used older census data. They were building an updated model for further flu studies when the COVID-19 epidemic broke out, so they pivoted to capture its distinctive characteristics in their disease-transmission layer.

When set in motion, the model ticks twice a day: People come in contact at school or work in the daytime, then at home at night. It’s like throwing dice over and over. The model covers 180 days in a few hours. The team typically runs tens or hundreds of copies of the model in parallel on a computing cluster to generate a range of outcomes.

The biggest insight reported by the Sydney group was that social distancing helps very little if only 70 percent of people practice it, but successfully squashes COVID-19 incidence if 80 percent of people can manage it over a span of a few months. And 90 percent compliance achieved the same effect in a faster time frame. The model informed both a report to the federal government from the Group of Eight Australian universities, and two reports from the World Health Organization. “We’re all pleased,” Prokopenko says, “that an agent-based model—which we’ve been trying to advocate for so long—at the time of need did a good job.”

Prokopenko says SEIR models have done a “rough job” in Australia, where some forecasts have been off by orders of magnitude. Further, they help you explore hypotheticals but don’t tell you exactly how to intervene. Let’s say the SEIR model tells you that reducing R by 20 percent will cut the speed of the pandemic’s spread in half. But how do you reduce R by 20 percent in the real world? With agent-based models, you can make everyone stay home one day a week and see the predicted effects of that policy.

To date, agent-based models haven’t been used extensively—possibly because they require massive computation power that hasn’t been widely available until recently. Also, they’re hard to calibrate. The Sydney model only started matching reality once the team made the ratio of ill people who were symptomatic much lower in children than in adults—one of COVID-19’s stark differences from flu. “Now that we have the technology and expertise to deploy large-scale agent-based models,” Prokopenko said, “it might make a real difference for the next pandemic.”

Researchers say they’ve learned a lot of lessons modeling this pandemic, lessons that will carry over to the next.

The first set of lessons is all about data. Garbage in, garbage out, they say. Jarad Niemi, an associate professor of statistics at Iowa State University who helps run the forecast hub used by the CDC, says it’s not clear what we should be predicting. Infections, deaths, and hospitalization numbers each have problems, which affect their usefulness not only as inputs for the model but also as outputs. It’s hard to know the true number of infections when not everyone is tested. Deaths are easier to count, but they lag weeks behind infections. Hospitalization numbers have immense practical importance for planning, but not all hospitals release those figures. How useful is it to predict those numbers if you never have the true numbers for comparison? What we need, he said, is systematized random testing of the population, to provide clear statistics of both the number of people currently infected and the number of people who have antibodies against the virus, indicating recovery. Prakash, of Georgia Tech, says governments should collect and release data quickly in centralized locations. He also advocates for central repositories of policy decisions, so modelers can quickly see which areas are implementing which distancing measures.

Researchers also talked about the need for a diversity of models. At the most basic level, averaging an ensemble of forecasts improves reliability. More important, each type of model has its own uses—and pitfalls. An SEIR model is a relatively simple tool for making long-term forecasts, but the devil is in the details of its parameters: How do you set those to match real-world conditions now and into the future? Get them wrong and the model can head off into fantasyland. Data-driven models can make accurate short-term forecasts, and machine learning may be good for predicting complicated factors. But will the inscrutable computations of, for instance, a neural network remain reliable when conditions change? Agent-based models look ideal for simulating possible interventions to guide policy, but they’re a lot of work to build and tricky to calibrate.

Finally, researchers emphasize the need for agility. Niemi of Iowa State says software packages have made it easier to build models quickly, and the code-sharing site GitHub lets people share and compare their models. COVID-19 is giving modelers a chance to try out all their newest tools, says Meyers, of the University of Texas. “The pace of innovation, the pace of development, is unlike ever before,” she says. “There are new statistical methods, new kinds of data, new model structures.”

“If we want to beat this virus,” Prokopenko says, “we have to be as adaptive as it is.”

This article appears in the October 2020 print issue as “The Mess Behind the Models.”

Making Absentee Ballot Voting Easier

Par Robert N. Charette

While there is a controversy raging over the legality and security of states like California, Hawaii,  NevadaNew Jersey, and Vermont among others deciding to send out vote by mail (VBM) ballots to every registered voter, there is little controversy over voters applying for absentee ballots from their local election officials. U.S. Attorney General William Barr, for example, who is against the mass mailing of ballots says, “absentee ballots are fine.” The problem is that applying for an absentee ballot is not always easy or secure, often requiring what might be seen as intrusive, irrelevant, or duplicate personal information to prove voter identity.

For example, Virginia’s Board of Elections online voter portal requires a person’s driver’s license information and full social security number be provided as proof of identity, whereas the only legally required information to request a ballot is the last four digits of the voter’s  social security number. In fact, if you don’t provide your driver’s license number (or don’t have one), you can’t request an absentee ballot. This is strange, considering that a mailed in paper absentee ballot application requires only the last four social security numbers be provided as an identifier. This basic information, along with the person’s name and address, is sufficient for local officials to determine whether they are a registered voter or not. Registering online for an absentee ballot cries out to be streamlined.

Two students attending Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax, Virginia, stepped up to meet this need not only for Virginia, but possibly other states in the future. Senior Raunak Daga and junior Sumanth Ratna set out developing an online app called eAbsentee that makes the process of applying for an absentee ballot very easy and accessible to everyone. “With us, it’s five clicks, a one-page form that can be done from your phone,” says Raunak.

The app asks for your name, address, last four digits of your social security number, email and phone number, as well as a legal attestation of truthfulness of the information you are submitting, and you are done. Immediately afterwards, Raunak says, “Both the election registrar and applicant receive a confirmation email,” which helps ensure security of the process. State election boards will often process the electronic application within a day of receipt.  Only first-time voters will need to submit a copy of a valid ID with their absentee ballot or ballot application. In Virginia, absentee ballots were sent out beginning this past Friday, the 18th of September.

Completely online absentee ballot applications were first approved by the Virginia Board of Elections in 2015 after then Republican Speaker of the Virginia House Bill Howell requested the board clarify a new state law allowing electronic signatures on absentee ballot requests. Soon afterwards, the state created its online application form.

Shortly afterwards, Raunak, while working for the nonprofit Vote Absentee Virginia, saw how puzzled voters were while trying to use the state’s portal. He thought the absentee ballot request process could be simplified, so he enlisted fellow student and friend Sumanth. Together, they spent the summer of 2019 developing the app. eAbsentee was officially deployed in September 2019 and was used in last year’s state elections. Some 750 voters used the app to request their absentee ballots.

Sumanth Ratna (left) and Raunak Daga created
Photo: Kusum Daga
Sumanth Ratna (left) and Raunak Daga created

This year, with Covid-19 making people wary of going to the polls in person, and a presidential election stoking voter interest, there is greater motivation for using the app. As of this week, nearly 8,000 Virginia voters have used eAbsentee. That number will likely continue to grow, as several other changes to Virginia election regulations have been made this year. The first change is that an absentee voter doesn’t have to have a pre-approved excuse for requesting a ballot as in the past. A second is that the envelope provided for the return of the absentee ballot includes prepaid postage. The third is that the envelopes sent to and from the voter and the local board of elections will have bar codes to allow both the voter and board to track their transit through the mail. Raunak and Sumanth told me they were deeply involved with Vote Absentee Virginia in the first two efforts to make absentee voting easier.

Raunak and Sumanth, who are both planning to pursue college degrees in computer science or data science, deployed the app on PythonAnywhere which aids portability. “We built the application from the start with the intention that it be easily deployable on multiple platforms and in multiple locations,” Sumanth says. “Another person could very easily deploy our project in another state, which has been a goal since the beginning.”

If you are a Virginia voter thinking of absentee voting, you might consider using eAbsentee. Those of you in other states, well, maybe keep an eye out for it in the next election cycle.

Déforestation de l’Amazonie : ces associations donnent 3 mois à Casino pour réagir

Par Sophie Renassia
Accusé d’avoir manqué à son devoir de vigilance, le groupe a été épinglé par plusieurs associations françaises, américaines et colombiennes.

VIDÉO. La gastronomie végétale bouscule la cuisine française

Par Edie & Alexis
La cheffe Claire Vallée nous explique en quoi consiste la cuisine gastronomique végétale, et propose même une recette !

Tenue républicaine à l’école : Jean-Michel Blanquer recadré par la ministre Élisabeth Moreno

Par Mégane Bouron
La ministre chargée de l'Égalité Femmes-Hommes a réagi avec perspicacité à la tenue républicaine de Jean-Michel Blanquer.

Ce système présent dans plus de 2200 communes veut révolutionner l’autostop

Par Mathilde Sallé de Chou
Quand est-ce que vous avez fait de l'autostop pour la dernière fois ? Si la peur vous freine, le système Rezo Pouce pourrait vous convertir.

Tasmanie : une course contre la montre est lancée pour sauver plus de 200 dauphins-pilotes

Par Mégane Bouron
Les sauveteurs ont déjà pu sauver 25 dauphins-pilotes depuis qu'ils se sont échoués, ce lundi, sur des bancs de sable de Tasmanie.

VIDÉO. Endormi au bord de sa piscine, il est réveillé par un ours venu lui renifler les pieds

Par Axel Leclercq
Généralement, c'est plutôt les mouches et les moustiques qui se chargent d'importuner les dormeurs. Ici, l'animal est un poil plus imposant.

Chili : le plus grand projet de mine d’or au monde vient d’être abandonné

Par Sophie Renassia
Pour préserver l’environnement et les communautés locales, le tribunal a tranché : le projet de mine d’or de Pascua Lama ne verra pas le jour.

VIDÉO. « C’est vraiment violent, sale, pervers » : agressée en pleine rue, elle témoigne

Par Mégane Bouron
Alors qu'elle rentrait chez elle à pied, Elisabeth a été agressée en pleine rue, sous le regard d'une quinzaine de témoins.

Bretagne : des voiliers cargos pour du café et du chocolat encore plus vertueux

Par sophie

Morlaix (France) (AFP) – Transporter des marchandises à la voile, ils en rêvaient, mais lesquelles ? Deux frères se sont lancés dans la fabrication de café et de chocolat bios afin de remplir les cales d’une flotte de voiliers modernes dont le premier lèvera l’ancre en octobre de Saint-Malo.

« On est peut-être en 2020, mais il n’y a rien de plus facile qu’une voile pour faire avancer un navire », assure Jacques Barreau, directeur général de l’entreprise morlésienne de torréfaction de café et de fabrication de chocolat Grain de Sail.

« L’envie au départ c’était vraiment de faire du transport décarboné, mais on s’est demandé ce qu’on pouvait bien transporter », raconte celui qui pendant un temps a développé le projet de parc éolien dans la baie de Saint-Brieuc pour le compte de la PME Nass & Wind, spécialisée dans les énergies renouvelables et dont son jumeau Olivier Barreau est un des fondateurs.

« On n’a pas osé entrer de plain pied dans le secteur très concurrentiel du transport de marchandises », reconnait l’ingénieur de formation de 52 ans lors d’un entretien au siège de l’entreprise située sur le petit port de Morlaix, au pied d’une écluse.

Les deux frères, originaires de Saint-Quay-Portrieux et dont l’un des ancêtres était armateur, décident alors de trouver des produits à fabriquer et commercialiser.

L’activité de torréfaction voit le jour en 2013 puis trois ans plus tard celle de fabrication de chocolat. Fin 2018, ils lancent la construction de leur premier voilier cargo. « On a ainsi pu financer le bateau », souligne Jacques Barreau, évoquant un coût de deux millions d’euros.

Long de 22 mètres et pouvant transporter jusqu’à 50 tonnes de marchandises, le voilier actuellement en fin de construction à Lorient entamera son premier périple le 12 octobre depuis Saint-Malo, son port d’attache.

Flotte de voiliers cargo

Au terme d’une transatlantique de deux à trois semaines, en fonction des aléas climatiques, il jettera l’ancre à New York. Dans ses cales, quelques 15.000 bouteilles de vins biologiques et nature « pour donner un peu de sens à la traversée », explique Stefan Gallard, directeur marketing de l’entreprise en pointe en matière de développement durable.

Quatre marins seront à bord, tous salariés de l’armement Grain de Sail Shipping, dont trois titulaires du brevet de capitaine 3000 et même « illimité » pour l’un d’entre eux, qui permet de commander les plus grands navires. Le deux-mats débarquera ses vins à New York avant de rallier la République Dominicaine où il sera chargé en cacao pour le premier voyage, avant un retour dans la cité corsaire en janvier.

Le voilier effectuera deux boucles transatlantiques par an, jusqu’à l’arrivée d’ici 2023 d’un deuxième voilier cargo d’environ 40 mètres. A terme, l’entreprise ambitionne de développer un réseau de sites de transformation de cafés et de chocolats en Europe et sur la côte Est des États-Unis, le tout relié par une flotte de voiliers cargo modernes.

« D’une idée qui peut paraître utopique on a fait une entreprise qui marche », se réjouit Olivier Barreau, actionnaire principal de Grain de Sail, dont la commercialisation de chocolat (220 tonnes en 2020) représente 90% de l’activité.

L’entreprise, qui emploie une trentaine de personnes et en fait travailler vingt autres porteuses de handicap, a réalisé en 2020 un chiffre d’affaires de cinq millions d’euros, en augmentation de 55% par rapport à l’année précédente. Au printemps, elle inaugurera à Morlaix un nouveau bâtiment de 2.500 m2 qui offrira une capacité de production de chocolat quasiment doublée par rapport celle de l’actuelle chocolaterie.

Plusieurs entreprises en France planchent sur des projets de voiliers cargo, telles que les nantaises Neoline et Zéphyr et Borée ou la finistérienne TOWT, qui transporte depuis 2011 des marchandises sur des vieux gréements et a lancé en juillet un appel d’offre pour la construction d’ici 2024 de quatre voiliers cargos de 70 mètres de long.

©AFP – crédit photo:

Le voilier VOTAAN 72, de l’entreprise Grain de Sail, à Lorient le 15 septembre 2020. © AFP/Archives Fred TANNEAU

Jeunesse et métier manuel : Sont-ils conciliables aujourd’hui ?

Par sophie

Le métier manuel, par opposition au travail intellectuel, sert à désigner toute profession qui se fait à la main et avec un certain effort physique.

Longtemps dévalorisé, ce type d’orientation a souvent été imposé aux enfants avec des difficultés scolaires. Et pourtant, cette option a de quoi attirer la nouvelle génération.

Les formations permettent de devenir maçon, fleuriste, terrassier, serrurier, boulanger, mécanicien,… Elles offrent ainsi aux étudiants la facilité d’accéder plus rapidement au monde du travail sans prendre par de longues études.

Source d’épanouissement, le métier manuel permet à la clé de connaitre l’importance du travail bien fait.

Une formation courte et une reconversion aisée

Les formations au métier manuel sont pour la plupart diplômantes après 6 à 36 mois d’apprentissage. Elles ouvrent en effet sur des diplômes allant du BEP à la licence professionnelle en passant par le CAP, le Bac pro et le BTS.

En fonction du secteur et du niveau de l’apprenant, les établissements n’exigent aucun prérequis ou formation préalable. Il est même possible de bénéficier d’un accompagnement grâce à un dispositif de financement public de formation continue.

Si le temps de formation est court, le choix d’un métier manuel doit toujours se faire sur la base des compétences de l’enfant. Ce bilan, éligible au compte personnel de formation (CPF) à partir de 16 ans, servira à faire le point sur les besoins et la personnalité du futur apprenant. Il permettra aussi de choisir au mieux le secteur professionnel et la formation compatible puis de structurer correctement le projet.

Il faut par ailleurs notifier que les formations professionnelles peuvent être suivies en alternance, en continu ou à distance par correspondance. Avant l’embauche, elles peuvent être suivies d’une période de stage, de suivi ou d’une immersion professionnelle au sein d’une structure renommée.

Un accès rapide au marché de l’emploi

Le marché de l’emploi est sans cesse en fluctuation. Ce fait n’est nouveau pour personne. Pour s’y adapter, les différents métiers manuels enseignés par les établissements spécialisés sont axés sur la vie active. Ils permettent en effet d’obtenir des certifications reconnues avec une réelle valeur ajoutée dans de nombreuses spécialités. Les apprentis peuvent ainsi exercer dans des secteurs tels que :

  • L’artisanat ;
  • La mécanique ;
  • L’industrie ;
  • L’hôtellerie et la restauration ;
  • La mode ou le métier des tissus ;
  • Les métiers du bois (menuiserie, ébéniste…) ;
  • Le bâtiment (charpentier, maçon, carreleur…) ;
  • Les métiers de l’alimentation (boulanger, boucher, charcutier) ;

Des compétences en forte demande

D’après l’étude BMO (Besoins en Main d’Œuvre) de 2020 portant sur les besoins en recrutement des employeurs, certains profils sont plus demandés que d’autres. Parmi les favoris, on retrouve le métier manuel de viticulteur, d’arboriculteur, de cueilleur, d’aide et d’employé polyvalent de cuisine, de cuisinier, etc. C’est aussi le cas des services à la personne et à la santé tels que les aides-soignants, les aides à domicile et les aides ménagères.

De même, malgré un contexte économique difficile, les compétences en charpenterie, jardinage, serrurerie, mécanique, maintenance industrielle et en coiffure sont fortement demandées. Un autre exemple palpable est celui de l’artisanat avec près de 50 000 postes à pourvoir chaque année et des possibilités de reprises d’entreprises. Quant aux salaires, ils peuvent au début avoisiner les 1200 euros pour atteindre 4500 € net mensuel pour les experts.

Le métier manuel en phase avec la modernité

Le secteur du métier manuel s’est également adapté à l’évolution des techniques et des matériaux. En effet, grâce à leur capacité innovatrice, les professionnels ont su faire évoluer leurs compétences afin d’aller avec les exigences du marché. Désormais, les formations offrent des débouchés plutôt intéressants et surtout en adéquation avec la passion de la jeunesse.

C’est ainsi que les serruriers se retrouvent aujourd’hui à installer des équipements domotiques au niveau des portes. Il n’est pas aussi rare qu’un plombier, en plus des installations sanitaires et des réseaux de tuyauterie, gère la maintenance des équipements en énergie solaire. De même, avec un CAP Mécanicien Cellule aéronef, il est possible d’intervenir dans la construction aéronautique en tant qu’ajusteur monteur cellule et d’évoluer en mécanicien moteur.

L’assurance d’exercer un métier qui ait du sens

Contrairement aux idées reçues, le secteur du métier manuel n’est pas instable. Bien au contraire ! En effet, les formations en question sont très concrètes et permettent d’acquérir un savoir-faire ainsi qu’une grande dextérité manuelle. Par ailleurs, travailler la matière est une opération qui nécessite des gestes assez précis et une grande concentration. C’est d’ailleurs toute cette combinaison qui permet de réaliser un bel ouvrage.

Outre le plaisir de fabriquer et de réparer, les travailleurs manuels retirent généralement une grande satisfaction du travail bien fait. De même, le respect de l’outil et la fierté d’appartenir à une main-d’œuvre qualifiée recherchée sont également d’excellentes sources d’épanouissement. Ils ont en plus l’avantage de gagner leur vie tout en lui donnant un sens. Surtout que dès l’embauche, certains sont recrutés à des salaires élevés. Cliquez ici pour lire un article qui liste 5 bonnes raisons de se former à un métier manuel.

Les réseaux sociaux : Espaces de valorisation des créations manuelles

A l’ère de la digitalisation, il est nécessaire de mentionner l’influence des réseaux sociaux sur le secteur du métier manuel. En effet, ces plateformes spécifiquement programmées pour le réseautage servent désormais d’espace de valorisations pour les artisans. Ainsi, que ce soit Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest ou même Tic Toc, ces réseaux sociaux sont utilisés à des fins commerciales.

L’électricien peut ainsi les utiliser pour faire connaitre ses services, valoriser ses compétences. Le peintre et le styliste peuvent aussi présenter leurs nouvelles réalisations, organiser des expositions ou des ateliers visuels… Autant de possibilités qui finalement mettent la lumière sur le métier manuel.

source: JDBN – crédit photo: pixabay

Dans la Drôme, un agriculteur donne des tonnes de tomates invendues à qui veut bien venir les ramasser.

Par sophie

Le champ est déjà vide, l’opération ayant rencontré un écho gigantesque. A Upie (Drôme), un agriculteur a donné près de 30 tonnes de tomates à tous ceux qui en voulaient, pour éviter de les jeter.

La file de voitures  s’étale sur des centaines de mètres. Tout autour, des tomates pleins les sacs, les cagettes ou les coffres : la scène est surréaliste à Upie (Drôme), samedi 19 septembre.

Gaël Blard est maraîcher bio et vend habituellement ses tomates à un industriel qui élabore des coulis et des concentrés, avec des fruits très mûrs. Mais cette année, l’agriculteur se retrouve avec 30 tonnes d’invendus dans une parcelle, qu’il ne peut ramasser en cette fin de saison. Une perte sèche.

La décision a donc été prise rapidement : il ouvre ses portes pour que tout le monde puisse se servir. L’appel a été lancé sur les réseaux sociaux et sur Youtube vendredi 18 septembre.

La parcelle a été vidée en 24 heures seulement; de très nombreuses personnes se sont déplacées.

“Une très bonne initiative”

Si ça permet de faire un peu de coulis, c’est parfait” nous dit une jeune maman. “C’est une très bonne initiative. On jette tellement de choses actuellement. En faire profiter tout le monde c’est une très bonne idée. Mais je crois que y’a plus grand chose là. Il y a eu des matinaux avant nous” prévient la jeune grande-mère. 

Les tomates rouges partant tellement vite, certains sont contraints de ramasser ce qu’il reste, c’est-à-dire les vertes. “Il paraît que c’est bon en condiments, comme des cornichons, on m’a dit çà ici” affirme un amateur venu avec ses enfants. “Je pense que c’est super bien vu les conjonctures actuelles” précise-t-il.

Des gens ramassaient avec des lampes frontales

Gaël Blard est un habitué des réseaux sociaux. Sur sa chaîne Youtube il communique régulièrement pour partager son métier et son quotidien.

Il nous a confié être ravi du succès de son opération généreuse : “Hier je suis venu vers 14h sur la parcelle, il y avait déjà une cinquantaine de personnes, et ça a défilé jusqu’à la nuit. Hier soir il y a des gens qui ramassaient avec des lampes frontales. De toutes façons c’était de la perte pour moi. Je me suis dit plutôt que de les gaspiller, autant en faire profiter. Je voulais me mettre à faire de la vente.

Il se dit quand-même très surpris du succès de son opération : “Je suis super content, parce qu’au final mes tomates ne sont pas gaspillées, ça a profité à beaucoup de monde, c’est génial.”

source – crédit photo:

Près de 30 tonnes de tomates ont été donnés par un agriculteur d’Upie (Drôme), pour éviter que les fruits ne soient jetés. © S. Cozzolino / FTV

Thomas A. Lipo, Motor-Drive Pioneer, Dies at 82

Par Joanna Goodrich

Thomas A. Lipo

Solid-state AC motor-drive pioneer

Life Fellow, 82; died 8 May

Lipo was an innovator in the field of solid-state AC motor drives.

He joined the Power Electronics Laboratory at General Electric in Schenectady, N.Y., where he participated in some of the earliest work on the drives.

He left GE in 1979 to become an electrical engineering professor at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Ind. In 1981 he joined the University of Wisconsin in Madison as a professor of power electronics and electric machines. While there, Lipo helped found the Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium research group, and he served as its codirector for 28 years. He recently had been named professor emeritus at the university.

Lipo was an ambassador for the university through the Fulbright program, which selects students, teachers, and professionals to study, teach, or conduct research abroad. The program allowed him to teach at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, in Trondheim, in 2008. Lipo also taught engineering at Cambridge; Hanyang University, in Seoul; and at universities in Australia, China, and England. During the last five years of his life, he was a research professor at Florida State University, in Tallahassee.

Lipo received his master’s degree in EE from Marquette University, in Milwaukee, in 1964 and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin four years later.

Jorn Haahr

Electrical power engineer

Life member, 83; died 5 December

Haahr was born in Skive, Denmark, and completed his mandatory military service in the Danish Army before enrolling in the Technical University of Denmark, in Kongens Lyngby.

After graduating with a master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1962, he immigrated to Boston and began a long career in engineering. He worked at the New England Electric System in Boston, then relocated to New York to join American Electric Power, where he developed and instituted the company’s 765-kV AC transmission system.

When AEP moved its operations to Ohio, Haahr joined Systems Control, an engineering company that works with electric utilities. In 1995 he was appointed to the Northeast Power Coordinating Council in New York. He retired in 2000.

Haahr enjoyed doing home repairs. He was a New York Mets fan and liked going to the theater, both on and off Broadway, and to the New York City Ballet.

Jim Boone

Radio and satellite engineer

Life Fellow, 87; died 12 May

James V. Boone developed an interest in electronics through his family’s business, Boone Radio Service, in Little Rock, Ark., according to his biography on the Engineering and Technology History Wiki.

He wanted to be a pilot as well as an engineer, so he joined the U.S. Air Force, then began working in Baltimore in 1955 as an engineer at Glenn L. Martin, now part of Lockheed Martin.

For four months, Boone did detail design and drafting, analyzed electrical-load and firing-circuit transients, and wrote specifications for the Air Force’s Bullpup air-to-ground missile. He then transferred to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida and worked as an assistant project engineer on the flight-test program for bomb-navigation systems, rapid-scan radar, and inertial-guidance systems for strategic bombers.

After two years, Boone joined the Air Research and Development Command as a captain at the Wright Air Development Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, in Dayton, Ohio. The organization was responsible for airborne electronics equipment. He also went back to school and received a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology, which is located on the base.

After the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite into orbit in 1957, Boone spent three years helping to improve the reception of U.S. telemetry intelligence on Soviet surface-to-air, antiballistic, and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. He was promoted to captain and branch chief of the Fort Meade Army base in Maryland.

Boone eventually became chief of the Advanced Techniques Branch’s radio equipment development division, part of in the U.S. National Security Agency’s research and development organization. There he led the design, development, and implementation of low-noise microwave receivers using parametric amplifiers and masers to monitor aspects of the Soviet space program.

In 1963 Boone went to Germany for two years to help establish satellite tracking, radar, and wireless data collection capabilities at the Bad Aibling satellite-tracking station in Bavaria.

Three years after he returned to the United States, Boone was appointed deputy director for research and development at the NSA. He was responsible for research and engineering at the agency’s signals-intelligence and communications-security missions. He oversaw the launch and operation of the first three SIGINT satellites of Program 366, which allowed the U.S. military to intercept radio transmissions from Earth.

Boone left the military in 1981 and joined TRW Space Park, in Redondo Beach, Calif., now part of Northrop Grumman. He started as an apprentice to the manager of the company’s military electronics division. He eventually became its manager.

Boone received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1955 from Tulane University, in New Orleans.

Earl McCune

Entrepreneur and engineering professor

IEEE Fellow, 63; died 27 May

McCune founded three startups in Silicon Valley that developed radio-frequency and wireless technology. At the time of his death, he was an engineering professor at the Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands.

He said he knew he wanted to become an engineer at age 12 after his father explained the network theory of electrical circuits to him, according to an obituary published on the IEEE Future Network’s website. It said McCune had a passion for sustainable and energy-efficient RF communications. He was a hardware co-chair for the IEEE Future Network’s International Network Generations Roadmap.

Throughout his 45-year career, he worked on technology development in RF and wireless design.

McCune founded his first company, Digital RF Solutions, in 1986. It developed a number-controlled modulated oscillator, which was superior to competitors’ products in agility, accuracy, stability, and reliability, according to an entry on logic device manufacturer Lattice Semiconductor’s website. Digital RF Solutions merged with Proxim in 1991. McCune founded his second company, Tropian, in 1996. It developed multimode RF integrated circuits and solutions for wireless devices and was purchased by Panasonic in 2006. In 2013 he helped found Eridan, a radio software developer; he was CTO of the company until his death.

McCune also worked for Cushman Electronics, Hewlett-Packard, NASA, and Watkins-Johnson.

He authored two books and was granted more than 90 patents.

McCune was an active IEEE volunteer and served on conference committees for the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society and the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society. He was a member of the IEEE Green-ICT Initiative steering committee, and he served as co-chair of several IEEE Standards Association working groups.

McCune received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science in 1978 from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree in EE in 1979 from Stanford.

Alfred J. Cann

Radar engineer

Life senior member, 93; died 5 June

Born in the Netherlands, Cann moved to the United States in 1940 with his family.

He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from MIT in 1949 and 1953, respectively.

He left the school to serve in the U.S. Navy as a radio technician.

After graduating, Cann worked at Sanders Associates, a defense contractor in Nashua, N.H., now part of BAE Systems. There he worked on radar, radar jammers, missile guidance, and related technologies until he retired in 1989.

Cann was granted more than 100 patents. Several of his articles were published in technical journals.

During retirement, Cann enjoyed contra dancing and playing the mandolin. He volunteered at the Mountain View nursing home in Ossipee, N.H., and the Heritage Park railroad museum, in Union, N.H.

Robert Allen Nafis

President of Northrop Grumman’s electronics division

Life member, 92; died 12 August

Nafis joined Northrop Grumman in 1949 as a systems engineer in Baltimore and spent his entire career there. After he retired, Nafis continued to be a consultant for the company.

In 1957 he was assigned the responsibility for the design and development of an inertial navigation system and radar inputs for the U.S. Navy A6 aircraft. The equipment allowed pilots to navigate the plane as well as launch missiles at night.

Seven years later, Nafis decided to return to school to earn a master’s degree, which he did in 1966 from the MIT Sloan industrial master’s program. He had received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1949 from Cornell.

After returning to Northrop, Nafis was appointed director of its antisubmarine warfare programs.

Three years later, he was promoted to program manager for the F-14 Tomcat Navy fighter, a supersonic aircraft. Nafis helped found the company’s data systems division in 1972 and eventually served as its president.

Ten years later, he was named vice president of corporate development, and in 1984 he was appointed president of the company’s electronics division.

After Nafis retired in 1990, he was a management consultant for the company until 1993. In 1999 he joined the board of startup Princeton Optronics, in Mercerville, N.J.—which was acquired by AMS. Nafis also served on the advisory committee of Cornell’s engineering school.

Borys Paton

Chairman of Ukraine’s National Academy of Sciences

Honorary member, 101; died 19 August

Paton was the first engineer to start intensive research on the use of welding and related fields in space, according to his biography from the National Library of Ukraine.

In 1941 he joined the Krasnoye Sormovo Factory No. 112 in what was the city of Gorky, Russia, now known as Nizhny Novgorod. There, Paton designed electric circuits; through his work he helped increase Soviet tank production, according to a 2018 interview with Times Higher Education magazine.

Paton graduated in 1941 from Ukraine’s Kyiv Polytechnic Institute and earned a Ph.D. in technical sciences in 1952. A year later, he became head of the Paton Institute of Electric Welding, a school founded by his father.

In 1958 Paton joined the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Four years later, he was appointed chair of the academy, and he served in that position until March 2020.

Paton and a team of engineers developed electroslag welding, a process used to fuse carbon-steel plates. He also led research on how certain welding heat sources could improve the quality of smelted metal.

In 1962 Paton became a deputy of the Supreme Soviet. He advised Soviet authorities in the 1970s and 1980s against building the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, according to the book Controlling Technology: Ethics and the Responsible Engineer by IEEE Life Fellow Stephen H. Unger. Paton left his position in 1989.

Paton in 1998 became the first person awarded the title Hero of Ukraine, by then-President Leonid Kuchma, for his research in metallurgy of electric welding.

In 2008 then-President Viktor Yushchenko appointed Paton as a member of the country’s National Security and Defense Council.

Être enterré dans un cercueil « vivant » et participer au cycle de la vie, c’est désormais possible

Par Sophie Renassia
Si certains lèguent leur corps à la science, d’autres peuvent désormais le léguer… à la nature. Comment ? En le transformant en compost.

La pensée positive du jour de Davina Dhamma

Par sophie

“Au contraire de ce que l’on peut penser, nul n’est jamais abandonné. Les animaux tant soumis aux souffrances ont cependant aussi un guide. Après une existence d’épreuves, ils avancent côte à côte sur des chemins paisibles.”

source: Davina Dhamma – crédit photo: capture

Jeunes et ainés : comment vivre ensemble ?

Par celine

Quelles que soient les époques, il n’a jamais été facile pour les différentes générations de vivre en parfaite harmonie. Il est vrai que nous ne sommes plus à l’époque où 3 générations vivaient ensemble sous le même toit. Les générations

The post Jeunes et ainés : comment vivre ensemble ? appeared first on Chrétiens aujourd'hui.

Faut-il vraiment sauver les compagnies aériennes européennes de la faillite ?

Les compagnies aériennes européennes ont déjà demandé 12,8 milliards d’euros d’aides publiques. Le constat (encore amené à évoluer) est tiré par trois ONG, Greenpeace, CarbonMarketWatch, et Transport et Environnement, qui s’inquiètent du manque de conditions sociales et environnementales liées à ces aides publiques. Mais certains observateurs vont plus loin, et remettent en cause la pertinence même de ces aides.

Situation catastrophique

C’est une certitude, le secteur est dans une situation catastrophique. Le trafic aérien a baissé d’environ 90% en Europe. Les pertes de ces compagnies aériennes s’annoncent abyssales, avec des faillites en cascade. Et des conséquences négatives sur l’ensemble des entreprises, jusqu’aux prestataires de services – dans les aéroports par exemple – et constructeurs. Une "renationalisation" de Brussels Airlines par la Belgique est d’ailleurs à l’étude. La compagnie était déjà en mauvaise santé financière avant la crise, et rien ne garantit que sa maison mère, Lufthansa, viendra à sa rescousse.

    "Mettre en permanence de l’argent public dans le secteur aérien est inutile"

Dans ce contexte, des économistes et observateurs du secteur considèrent qu’il ne faut pas nécessairement injecter massivement de l’argent public dans toutes les compagnies européennes pour éviter des faillites à tout prix.

Un modèle menacé

C’est le cas notamment de Jean Collard, expert aérien chez Whitestone Investments, qui estime que certains plans de sauvetages ne feraient que "postposer les difficultés". Parce que selon lui, le modèle économique de certaines vieilles compagnies traditionnelles européennes est de toute façon menacé, à court et moyen terme. Il va jusqu’à comparer certaines compagnies européennes aujourd’hui, à l’industrie sidérurgique européenne des années 70, tant "la rentabilité et la santé financière de bon nombre de compagnies traditionnelles n’étaient déjà pas bonnes avant la crise".

Comme la sidérurgie européenne des années 70 ?

"Mais en plus, face à l’apparition d’un nouveau modèle économique qui est tout doucement en train de se mettre en place en termes de comportement", estime Jean Collard, "maintenir à tout prix les structures traditionnelles, c’est à mon sens condamné à s’arrêter. Nous sommes face à une structure économique dans laquelle les changements vont aller très vite. Il y aura bien un avant et un après Covid-19 dans ce secteur, qui ne pourra pas rester le même, dans sa structure. Mettre en permanence de l’argent public dans le secteur aérien est inutile. Il s’améliorera naturellement, avec l’apparition de nouvelles compagnies".

Le retour du drapeau

Autrement dit, pour Etienne De Callataÿ, il faut dédramatiser cette perspective de faillites en cascade : "Si Lufthansa doit faire faillite, pourquoi ne pas laisser Lufthansa faire faillite ? La question est de savoir si les gens auront encore envie de prendre l’avion en 2023. Et à mon sens, la réponse est affirmative. Et les avions Lufthansa seront-ils en état de voler à ce moment-là ? Bien sûr. Peut-être que ces avions auront été rachetés pour pas grand-chose, par une autre entreprise, peut-être étrangère. Mais si la Chine veut subsidier ses propres compagnies pour que les passagers européens puissent voyager moins cher, tant mieux pour nous. Pourquoi vouloir absolument préserver le drapeau sous lequel volent des avions ? Nous sommes en économie de marché, c’est la règle du jeu".

Même si, précise, l’économiste, "il faut bien sûr à tout prix éviter une catastrophe sociale, prévoir un filet de sécurité solide pour l’ensemble du personnel concerné".

Des aides sous conditions ?

Ce que l’on observe pour l’instant, ce sont pourtant des pays européens soucieux d’aider, en ordre dispersé, leur grande compagnie nationale, de sauver, en quelque sorte, "leur drapeau" imprimé sur des avions. C’est un risque, pour Gilles Dufrasnes, responsable des politiques chez CarbonMarketWatch, "que les Etats favorisent leurs compagnies nationales, au détriment d’une coordination européenne, que chacun protège ses propres intérêts et que l’on se retrouve sans aucune condition pour les sauvetages qui sont mis en place".

Est-ce que ça vaut vraiment la peine de gaspiller autant d’argent public dans une entreprise qui n’a pas d’avenir économique ?

Parce que si lui aussi estime qu'"il faut en tout cas éviter une catastrophe sociale", Gilles Dufrasnes reconnaît "une grande disparité entre compagnies d’un point de vue économique". Le gouvernement italien vient d’injecter des centaines de millions d’euros pour sauver Alitalia, alors que l’entreprise est déficitaire depuis plusieurs années, et que – les avis sont presque unanimes, elle n’a sans doute pas d’avenir économique.

Et la question doit être posée, pour Gilles Dufrasnes : "Est-ce que cela vaut vraiment la peine de gaspiller autant d’argent public dans une entreprise qui n’a pas d’avenir économique ? Et on peut aussi se poser la question pour le secteur dans son ensemble, parce qu’il est sur une trajectoire, au moins douteuse, en termes climatiques et économiques".

TVA et taxe sur le kérosène

Comprenez que pour les ONG environnementales, le secteur aérien ne peut pas s' "améliorer tout seul" dans une recomposition du secteur. Gilles Dufrasnes estime que le risque, aujourd’hui, c’est bien l’absence de conditions liées aux aides publiques : "Ce qu’on cherche avant tout, c’est que si soutien il y a, ce soutien soit juste. Qu’il soit juste pour le contribuable et pour la société en général. Nous voulons nous assurer qu’un soutien financier ne soit pas inconditionnel, mais bien accompagné de nouvelles réglementations, entre autres environnementales. Je pense que ce serait la moindre des choses d’imposer des taxes basiques sur le secteur aérien, comme la TVA et une taxe sur le kérosène, puisque le secteur en a été exempté jusqu’à présent".

Reconfiguration inéluctable du secteur

Pour les compagnies aériennes européennes, les mois qui viennent vont donc être très compliqués. Toutes ne survivront probablement pas, et une reconfiguration du secteur semble effectivement inéluctable. Vers une réduction des flottes et du nombre de compagnies ?

Oui, pour Etienne De Callataÿ,"et il est vrai que certaines destinations ne seront peut-être plus desservies. Cela nécessitera peut-être de prendre un train pour rejoindre un aéroport un peu plus éloigné que celui dans lequel on se rend aujourd’hui. Et ça n’est pas forcément une mauvaise nouvelle". Ce qui se dessine donc, en filigrane, c’est un bouleversement majeur de tout le secteur des transports à l’échelle européenne.

Par Maxime Paquay (publié le 23/04/2020)
A lire sur le site rtbf
  • 22 septembre 2020 à 11:00

Airbus développe le premier avion commercial “zéro émission” au monde

Par Frédéric Ballay

Airbus vient d’annoncer son ambition de développer le premier avion commercial "zéro émission" au monde d'ici 2035. Pour concrétiser cette vision, Airbus va explorer 3 concepts d'avions révolutionnaires propulsés à l'hydrogène, une technologie de rupture permettant de réduire les émissions des avions jusqu'à 50%.

Cet article Airbus développe le premier avion commercial “zéro émission” au monde est apparu en premier sur Pepsnews -News positives.

Autorisation de l’abattage illimité de renards la nuit : le tribunal de Rouen annule tout

Par Axel Leclercq
La justice normande a considéré que les renards ne pouvaient être tenus responsables des maux dont on les accuse.

Interview exclusive de Kathryn Hudson, auteure de Agir avec les cristaux. (vidéo)

Par sophie

Kathryn Hudson est une femme qu’on n’oublie pas. C’est la troisième fois que le JDBN a la chance de l’interviewer. Aujourd’hui pour vous parler de son nouvel ouvrage tout aussi inspirant que les deux premiers: Agir avec les cristaux.

J’aurais envie de vous dire de lire ses deux premiers livres ( Les Anges me l’ont dit et Agir avec les anges) pour comprendre le troisième mais c’est un pur caprice de ma part. 

Vous pouvez ne lire qu’ Agir avec les cristaux et comprendre la personne merveilleuse qu’ est Kathryn. Sa vie est magique, semée de faits troublants et merveilleux.

Si vous aimez les pierres et les cristaux, que vous en portez ou que vous en avez chez vous, cela n’est certainement pas un hasard… Dans ce livre magnifiquement illustré, vous allez explorer l’infini potentiel de cristaux remarquables. Kathryn Hudson développe ici l’univers cristallin qui lui est cher, déjà évoqué dans son premier ouvrage Les anges me l’ont dit. La femme qui avait reçu une améthyste ― avec un message d’encouragement et d’espoir ― à la banque dans laquelle elle travaillait à New York, partage ici ce qu’elle enseigne depuis dix ans à travers ses ateliers, sur le pouvoir curatif et spirituel des cristaux. Au fil des pages, elle nous offre des explications spécifiques pour les choisir, et “travailler” ― voire jouer ! ― avec eux. Grâce aux nombreux exercices pratiques et rituels qui vous sont proposés, vous serez à même de profiter pleinement de leurs multiples bienfaits.

Alors je lui laisse la parole… et vous souhaite de vous laisser envouter par sa bienveillance et son côté solaire:


Propos recueillis par Sophie Denis, en exclusivité pour le JDBN



« Agir avec les Anges » de Kathryn Hudson. Interview

Interview exclusive de Kathryn Hudson, auteure de “Les anges me l’ont dit. Guide pratique…


Le site officiel de Kathryn Hudson

source: JDBN – crédits photos: montage JDBN