Category: Science

Climate, communism and the Age of Affluence?

Fully Automated Luxury Communism (FALC) was a slogan in search of a movement, and now it has its manifesto. The aim: to accelerate capitalism’s positives (technological progress), curb its negatives (neoliberal globalisation), and to re-invent communism for the coming Age of Affluence.

Who Wins From “Climate Apartheid”?

African Climate Justice Narratives About the Paris COP21

ImageThe billion residents of Africa are amongst the most vulnerable to climate change in coming decades, and of special concern are high-density sites of geopolitical and resource-related conflicts: the copper belt of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and mineral-rich African Great Lakes stretching into northern Uganda, western Ethiopia (bordering the Sudanese war zone), Madagascar and s

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Science and Sex: Hirschfeld’s Legacy

In the mostly forgotten history of early twentieth-century movements for sexual freedom, Magnus Hirschfeld’s name is one of the most familiar—and one of the most contested. As a Jewish scientist who championed sexual deviants, he made a perfect target for the Nazis, who were tragically successful in extirpating much of his life’s work.

Ebola: Who are the Architects of Death and How Can We Combat Them?

ImageAccording to the latest predictions of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if the Ebola pandemic continues to progress at the current rhythm, it could affect 1.4 million people in Liberia and Sierra Leone between now and January 2015, leading to the deaths of 700,000 in a year, and thus making Ebola the third leading cause of death from infectious diseases in Africa, after AIDS and respiratory diseases.

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The Dialectical Biologist

It has been almost 10 years since the death of the Harvard paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould at the relatively early age of 60. Gould was not only a major figure in the life sciences, he was also one of the great popularizers of science. He wrote a monthly column for Natural History magazine from 1974 to 2001, generating exactly 300 essays that explained complex scientific ideas without oversimplifying them.

Stephen Jay Gould: An Appreciation

Stephen Jay Gould, the palaeontologist and science writer who died last year, wrote — brilliantly — on a bewildering series of subjects, but he is perhaps best known for his contribution to four: general evolutionary theory; the sociobiology debate; the relationship between science and religion; and the study (or critique of it) of intelligence testing.

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Multiculturalism and Science

Multiculturalism has become mainstream. Across North America and Europe, school curricula are checked for accurate representation of non-Western and non-white cultures. Research examining the culturally conditioned character of all aspects of knowledge has not only gained a hearing in academic journals, but has sometimes been integrated into popular textbooks from kindergarten on up.

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Hoax and Reality

IN 1996, THE ACADEMIC JOURNAL Social Text, self-described as “a daring and controversial leader in the field of cultural studies,” published an article by physicist Alan Sokal in which Sokal argued that in quantum gravity, “the foundational conceptual categories of prior science — among them, existence itself — become problematized and relativized.” What did Sokal mean by this? In Sokal’s own words, “This . . .

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