Our oceans are dying!

The proportion of the world’s oceans defined as “dead” – containing such low levels of oxygen that very little marine life can survive – has increased alarmingly in the past 70 years, scientists have warned. The researchers, from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Centre, among other institutions, studied dead zones both in open waters and around …

Continue reading ‘Our oceans are dying!’ »

Are the super-rich uncaring?

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the richest part of Europe, recently held elections for the borough council. The elections were believed to be unpredictable because of a terrible tragedy that had occurred last year, where a public housing tower block called Grenfell Tower burnt down, killing 71 people. The tower burnt because it …

Continue reading ‘Are the super-rich uncaring?’ »

Wildlife crisis again: Arctic ice melt is killing birds and leaving caribou stranded

The ongoing loss of sea-ice cover is wreaking havoc on ecosystems across the Arctic, and may spell the end of more species than previously thought. Arctic sea-ice cover shrank last year to the second lowest summer level ever recorded, following an unprecedented winter low, threatening species that rely directly on sea ice, like ivory gulls. …

Continue reading ‘Wildlife crisis again: Arctic ice melt is killing birds and leaving caribou stranded’ »

Where do good and evil come from?

Philosophers have long wrestled with the nature of good and evil. Are they an inseparable duality? Are some things inherently good or evil? These questions seem too abstract to be answered by science. But by asking questions such as “why are animals altruistic?” and “why do chimps sometimes violently kill one another?”, biologists have arrived …

Continue reading ‘Where do good and evil come from?’ »

The end of liberal democracy and humanism? (Part 1)

According to Yuval Noah Harari, in his book “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow” there is new challenge to liberal democracy. It’s primary roots lie not in ideology but in bioscience and information technology. He sugesrs that in the 21st Century “the train of progress is pulling out of the station – and this …

Continue reading ‘The end of liberal democracy and humanism? (Part 1)’ »

Can we trust these new technologies?

Last century, we trusted machines to do things for us; this century, we’re starting to trust them to decide things for us.  Humans have a notoriously patchy record when it comes to decision-making. But relying on technological systems to make decisions for us – especially when risks are involved and our safety is at stake …

Continue reading ‘Can we trust these new technologies?’ »

Epicurus and American Exceptionalism

Contrary to the insinuations of the American Right, most US liberals are not anti-patriotic, or even unpatriotic. The vast majority are proud Americans. Where most sensible people draw the line is between American patriotism- a simple affinity with the American state and its people- and American Exceptionalism, or the belief that America is uniquely important …

Continue reading ‘Epicurus and American Exceptionalism’ »