My latest spiked review on technocratic thinking is listed on Arts & Letters today.
Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, argues that nuclear fusion – the form of energy that powers that sun – really could be harnessed within two decades. Although similar predictions have been made in the past, the joke is that fusion is always 20 years away, he [...]
Ireland still has the power to make itself a country worth living in, the Observer, by Fintan O’Toole. The assistant editor of the Irish Times argues the Ireland should embrace “ethical austerity”. I suspect that will be even more painful than regular austerity. Government ‘planning to measure people’s happiness‘, BBC. For a critique of this [...]
Note: Most of this week’s articles are not freely available in full on the internet. How the Observer brought the WWF into being, Observer, by Kate Kellaway. Article to market the 50th anniversary of the world’s largest non-governmental conservation charity. Includes links to the original Observer articles from 1960. Geoengineering: lift-off, Economist. Discussion of high [...]
It was hard to resist laughing at the divisions among greens brought out in What the Green Movement Got Wrong, a Channel 4 documentary broadcast on Thursday. Some greens, such as Mark Lynas and Stewart Brand, wanted a more positive attitude towards such issues as nuclear power and genetically modified food. Others, such as George [...]
Obama could kill fossil fuels overnight with a nuclear dash for thorium, Telegraph, by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. Evidently Carlo Rubbia, a Nobel laureate, is working on thorium as a clean, cheap and safe alternative to uranium in reactors. Are cattle an endangered species?, Rational Optimist, by Matt Ridley. The author finds that one of the plants designated [...]
Evidently humans have scored another victory against nature. The rinderpest virus, which has killed millions of cattle, has been elimated according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). According to the BBC report on the subject: “The eradication of the virus has been described as the biggest achievement in veterinary history and one [...]
I have unexpectedly stumbled across a fascinating BBC programme on the rise of environmentalism, and corresponding decline of scientific optimism, in Britain in the 1960s. When Britain Went Wild, programme three in Series 10 of the BBC Time Shift series, looked at the conservative side of the decade. While the 1960s is usually seen as [...]
Prince Charles evidently has a new book coming out. In an interview in Vanity Fair he describes the main arguments puts forward in Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World (with Tony Juniper and Ian Skelly). It should come as no surprise to those who have followed his outbursts that he presents himself [...]
Robert Edwards, one of the inventors of IVF (in vitro fertilisation) technology, is a worthy winner of this year’s Nobel prize for medicine. Thanks to his efforts, and those of his research partner Patrick Steptoe who died in 1988, some four million extra infants have already been born to couples with fertility problems since 1978. [...]
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