A tea break with Professor Alice Gorman, By Martin Sarret

The_Sounds_of_Earth_Record_Cover_-_GPN-2000-001978.jpgVoyager 1, Golden Record, NASA (c)

Alice Gorman is an Australian Space Archaeologist known for being one of the pioneers of her field. Her areas of interest cover a wide range of topics including Indigenous heritage management, Aboriginal  culture, archaeoastronomy, orbital debris and the cultural heritage of space exploration. She works currently as a heritage consultant and a lecturer at Flinders University. Here is the transcript of our interview : Continue reading

Summary of the House of Commons Cannabis Debate, by Calum Kennedy

“Rescue them from their bed of thistles” – Paul Flynn

Yesterday (October 12th) the House of Commons had a debate on the e-petition to make the production, sale, and use of cannabis legal. The Government has already made an official statement regarding the petition saying that “Substantial scientific evidence shows cannabis is a harmful drug that can damage human health. There are no plans to legalise cannabis as it would not address the harm to individuals and communities.” However this debate gave members of the House a chance to share their opinions on the matter, and to send a signal to the government. The results of the debate have no role in the official production of government policies. Continue reading

Digital Advertising. by Calum Kennedy

Google and Facebook are currently in another race. With the increased use of mobile technology for accessing the internet (now a greater amount of time than computer access to the internet) both Google and Facebook have realised the need for faster and less data intensive ways to allow users to access articles on linked sites. Facebook announced their Instant Articles, which imbeds striped down versions of the linked article onto the Facebook stream, and Google just announced their AMP, Accelerated Mobile Pages. I’m not so interested in the fast download speeds or on the question of whether or not Google will be boosting the search rankings of APM pages. What I think is so very important about these changes is the effect it can have on advertising. Continue reading

Can peer-review be saved by private businesses? by Calum Kennedy

The peer-review process is meant to be a guardian of scientific integrity. That is not to say that it maintains the integrity of individual scientists, but that it attempts to ensure that results of these scientists’ intellectual endeavours are presented and discussed in a way that conforms to the ideals of the scientific community as a whole. Ideally, this means that the papers published in journals contribute positively towards scientific debates rather than being mistakes, distractions, or unhelpful repetition. Continue reading

Wake up and smell the kerosene. By Andrew Howard


A plane flying over Yosemite national park by Kristal Leonard (https://www.flickr.com/photos/isntthatbeautiful/8197899031/)

Flying, it’s sort of amazing. You literally ‘fly’ – think about that; FLY. No road, no rail, no water, not even any strings holding it up like a Thunderbirds rocket – just a tin box hurling through thin air at 500 miles per hour at several thousand feet. But we don’t even fly for that phenomenal experience, we do it out of convenience. Flying is a cheap, fast and easy way of getting from A to B
, when B is particularly far away, and land or sea travel would take too long. Most of the time it’s actually far far cheaper than land or sea travel as well. We all do it, and it enables us to meet people and see places that we would not otherwise see. For instance, I really want to go to Stockholm, and I could go this Friday and be back on Sunday night for £90 with no prior booking. The flight takes 2 hours from London. Ninety pounds, to disappear above the clouds and magically descend in Sweden for the weekend. Continue reading

All the problems, by Calum Kennedy

I find it wonderful to talk to people about something that they are passionate about. When they get that glint in their eye and the speed at which they talk starts to get faster and faster and their hands start to gesticulate wildly as though they are fighting the invisible manifestations of whatever it is that is preventing them from reaching their desired goal.

More often than not I find that the topics that people are most passionate about are ones where they want to see more action being taken by others, or by governments. They want less people to eat meat or more regulations to be placed on the meat industry. They want better government support of affordable housing. They want to save the snow leopard, or the rhino, or the elephant. They want businesses to pay better, or for governments to change the minimum wage requirements. They want more people to buy local, and for better aid to be given to countries in trouble. They want the legal system to be tougher on bankers and easier on drug users. They want better education and cheaper education. They want people to treat each other fairly, no matter the colour of their skin. They want better distribution of taxation and better use of the money collected. They want to be safe from terrorism, and to stop atrocities happening abroad.

I, too, want the majority of these things, and I will actively engage with people who are trying to enact change. But at the moment I feel entirely overwhelmed. Continue reading

“Their famine, our food” -by André Gorz

gorzdorineAndré Gorz, French philosopher & friend of Paul Sartre, wrote this is 1983 – yet it is the most relevant thing I have read yet concerning the global food system. I was sad to find that there is no version of this text anywhere on the internet, but happy that this meant I am able to share it with the world.

Gorz was a very thoughtful man. Others may know him & his partner as the inspiration behind the Palm D’Or winning film ‘Amour’. Or for his 75 page love letter to his dying wife (“Lettre a D”). With his wife facing terminal illness, they died together by lethal injection in 2007.

If you care about world hunger, or about eating healthier in equal measure, then this very short essay is all you need to read. This is “Their famine, our food”…. Continue reading