All that we have in common, all that we share, by TV 2, Denmark

Friday, 10 February, 2017

I almost feel as if I shouldn’t be posting something like this, given the mood that prevails in some quarters. Then again, it is all the more reason to share this video, titled All That We Share, produced by TV 2, a television station in Denmark.

Regardless of age, race, religion, and social and economic circumstances, there’s a lot that we have in common as people, with people, from differing cultures and backgrounds.

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The Doomsday Clock now sits at two and half minutes to midnight

Friday, 3 February, 2017

The Doomsday Clock, originally developed by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in 1947, as a gauge of international events that are dangerous to the world, including a nuclear war, now sits at two and a half minutes to midnight.

This is the nearest that the clock has been to midnight in that last fifty years. It would seem various efforts to make the world a safer place are missing the mark.

Even if nuclear weapons did not exist, climate change and the accelerating loss of biodiversity are serious threats. Damage to ecosystems is already taking place; climate change is causing loss of life and property, as well as affecting natural systems. At the same time, the nations with nuclear weapons are still testing new devices and more sophisticated delivery systems.

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Are the great systems, and order of the world, breaking down?

Friday, 8 July, 2016

Maybe I’m just projecting personal concerns, but the world feels like a gloomier place today, compared to say ten years ago. Look at the headlines though. The rise of Donald Trump. Brexit. Financial and economic systems that are still struggling to get back on their feet after the GFC. Even an inconclusive election in Australia.

Are the great systems of the world collapsing, asks Umair Haque? If so, what must we do to restore balance, and some degree of harmony?

The great systems of the world are breaking down. And in that breakdown, they are taking prosperity, stability, and social progress with them. That is why yesterday’s sense of easy security, comfort, and optimism is being replaced by anxiety, hate, fear, anger, and pessimism. Hence, today, nothing less than the great systems of the world must be reimagined and remade.

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Artists and illustrators react to the Brexit referendum result

Friday, 1 July, 2016

Artwork by Gizem Vural

In the wake of last week’s decision by the people of Britain to leave the European Union, artists and illustrators have begun turning to their canvases, to express their thoughts on the outcome of the Brexit referendum, including New York based illustrator, Gizem Vural.

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Monaco, Singapore, Hong Kong, and now London?

Wednesday, 29 June, 2016

The prospect of independence for Scotland and Northern Ireland seemed like reasonable propositions, in the wake of last week’s referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union, given both had voted by a clear margin to remain part of the single market.

The remain vote was also high in London, but I didn’t think that would lead to calls for the English capital to breakaway from the United Kingdom, and become a city state, along the lines of Singapore and Hong Kong. Still, that is what has happened.

There is actually a credible case for independence. Singapore, Hong Kong and Monaco all prove that cities can exist on their own. There is historical credibility too – in feudal times free cities were outside of the control of regional barons, and were bastions cosmopolitanism and free thinking – where new idea and new inventions were born. London is like this today.

I would say the Scottish and Northern Ireland causes have the greater chance of success, despite the considerable huddles each face. I’m not sure London could go its own way though, as much as I like the idea.

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It’s three minutes to midnight according to the Doomsday Clock

Friday, 30 January, 2015

Climate change, and concerns over nuclear weapon stockpiles, have prompted members of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, to advance the hands of the so-called Doomsday Clock another two minutes closer to midnight, to eleven fifty-seven, or, if you prefer, twenty-three fifty-seven.

While the world likely has a little more than three minutes left to it, and the clock is purely symbolic, unless action is taken to address the issues being highlighted by the scientists, the world may indeed find it is fast running out of time, in the not to distant future.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists doesn’t use the clock to make any real doomsday predictions. Rather, the clock is a visual metaphor to warn the public about how close the world is to a potentially civilization-ending catastrophe. Each year, the magazine’s board analyzes threats to humanity’s survival to decide where the Doomsday Clock’s hands should be set.

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A world not so gone wrong?

Thursday, 15 January, 2015

It may come as a surprise, but the world is not teetering on the brink of collapse, even if many of the headlines from the last twelve months seemed to suggest as much:

As troubling as the recent headlines have been, these lamentations need a second look. It’s hard to believe we are in greater danger today than we were during the two world wars, or during other perils such as the periodic nuclear confrontations during the Cold War, the numerous conflicts in Africa and Asia that each claimed millions of lives, or the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq that threatened to choke the flow of oil through the Persian Gulf and cripple the world’s economy.

Ok, so, the world may not be about to end anytime soon, but would you go so far as to call last year, twenty-fourteen, one of the best years in history? That seems like a big call, but who knows, maybe not?

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Star date now, news headlines at the speed of light

Wednesday, 19 November, 2014

We all know that when we gaze up at the stars in the night sky, we’re looking at passed history.

Of a star, all we see is a point of light that has been radiating outwards, and into our line of sight, at the speed of light, for, in some cases, thousands of years. The star itself may have long since met its demise, but it could be decades, centuries even, before we learn that.

But have you ever wondered what was happening here on Earth, the day, or thereabouts, that the light from a given star started on its epic journey towards us? StarDate attempts to tell some of that story, with representations of the one hundred stars closest to us, that link to a New York Times article published that day.

The stars in question don’t look to be named, at the moment anyway, but I’m sure the astronomers among us will have no trouble identifying them, based on their distance from us.

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Is the world too globalised for there to be another world war?

Wednesday, 12 March, 2014

Tensions in Ukraine have prompted fears of a global conflict, of the scale of World Wars I and II, breaking out, but John Aziz, writing for The Week, argues that nations have become too interdependent on each other for something like that to actually happen again:

Today consumer goods like smartphones, laptops, cars, jewelery, food, cosmetics, and medicine are produced on a global level, with supply-chains criss-crossing the planet. An example: The laptop I am typing this on is the cumulative culmination of thousands of hours of work, as well as resources and manufacturing processes across the globe. It incorporates metals like tellurium, indium, cobalt, gallium, and manganese mined in Africa. Neodymium mined in China. Plastics forged out of oil, perhaps from Saudi Arabia, or Russia, or Venezuela. Aluminum from bauxite, perhaps mined in Brazil. Iron, perhaps mined in Australia. These raw materials are turned into components – memory manufactured in Korea, semiconductors forged in Germany, glass made in the United States. And it takes gallons and gallons of oil to ship all the resources and components back and forth around the world, until they are finally assembled in China, and shipped once again around the world to the consumer.

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2014, it’s not all doom and gloom in the world…

Friday, 10 January, 2014

A counterbalance hopefully, similarities to 1914, and the possible prospect of a Great War like conflict notwithstanding, the outlook is not all despair. For instance, literacy rates are rising, diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis are on the wane, while poverty and hunger are in decline globally, among other positive trends.

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