Science News in Brief: Denmark’s past is literally rotting away in museum stores

In other stories, a new Danish space adventure begins, Mærsk is still having problems with hackers and NemID is set to become even ‘nemmer’ to use

Danish museums are fighting a losing battle against mould and decay when it comes to preserving artefacts from the past. Climate changes over the last few years have seen an increase in damp and wetter conditions generally, and that is not good for Denmark’s cultural heritage, reports DR Nyheder.

The problem is that a lot of the storage areas used by museums are just not fit for purpose. They are often old building such as redundant schools, cellars, lofts or barns and don’t have air conditioning systems installed to control the damp and temperature. Over the last three years, mould has been discovered in 118 storage facilities around Denmark. Roskilde Museum is a typical example. Here, up to 70,000 items are in danger of being permanently lost.

The problem is not new. In both 2007 and 2014 the national auditors Rigsrevisionen sounded the alarm to the Culture Ministry. Nils M Jensen, the head of the association of Danish museums, feels that politicians are not taking the matter seriously enough and that doesn’t look set to change.

The culture minister, Mette Bock, has made it clear that museums can’t expect financial relief from her. “I must make it clear that there is no extra money for museums this year,” she said.

Danish space project almost ready for lift-off
Denmark’s most ambitious space project to date, ASIM (Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor), is all set to be launched from Cape Canaveral on April 2 on a 70 metre-high Falcon rocket sent up by the Space X company. ASIM is an observatory that studies lightning phenomena such as ‘red sprites’, ‘blue jets’, ‘haloes’ and ‘elves’, which occur around 80-90 km up in space. It will be mounted on the international space station, ISS. The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) has been the co-ordinator of the ASIM project. “ASIM is one of Denmark’s really big space missions and is in fact the biggest space instrument built in Denmark so far,” said its chief consultant and engineer, Per Lundahl Thomsen of DTU.

Hackers target Mærsk again
A hacking attack that has been going on for 11 months at the Maersk subsidiary Svitzer Australia has just been revealed by chance. More than 60,000 emails, including sensitive personal data on half the company’s 1,000 employees, have been stolen, reports TV2 Nyheder. The company is convinced that the attack has been launched from an external source. In June last year, Maersk was subjected to a concentrated attack by hackers that paralysed parts of the company’s computer systems and ended up costing it an estimated 2 billion kroner.

NemID app to launch in May
If you are tired of using bits of cardboard to log into the national computer login service NemID, your prayers might soon be answered – provided you have a smartphone. An app has been developed that runs on both Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, which will be available for download at the end of May. The app is not a replacement for the old card system but a supplement. “The Danes are one of the most digital nations in the world – both old and young people. The new app will provide an easy and secure supplement to the existing NemID key card. We’re moving from the wallet onto the phone,” said Sophie Løhde, the innovation minister.

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