Local options for US nanotech oversight

In the absence of what it would define as adequate federal oversight of the nanotechnology industry, the Washington DC-based Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) believes that state and local authorities should step in to fill the gap. State and local governments in the US are already beginning to act when it comes to nanotech-related regulatory […]

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Aliens are our brothers in Christ, says Vatican

With creationist godbotherers on the march it might be churlish to ridicule the Church of Rome for speculating about the existence of intelligent life in the universe. Alien life that could even be free from ‘original sin’, according to Gabriel Funes SJ, director of the Vatican Observatory. And then there’s the Catholic Church’s planned celebration […]

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Is morality hardwired?

The application of science can, according to AC Grayling, create serious ethical dilemmas. Indeed it can, but scientific data can also confound the designs of ideologues and cultural critics. Take, for example, recent neurological research which disproves the assertions of commentators who plough a moral relativist furrow when trying to convince us of their political […]

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Wild China

Last night I thought of writing something about the BBC documentary series Wild China that has just started its six-episode run. But events in China have taken a catastrophic turn in the form of a very wild natural event that is reported to have resulted in the deaths of thousands. Unlike in Burma, the Chinese […]

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Sven-Eric Liedman on the enchantment of religion

Following my criticism last month of Jürgen Habermas’ essay on the dialectic of secularisation, and my conjecture at the author’s own spiritual journey, I had some email correspondence on the matter with John and Anja of Obscene Desserts. As part of that John pointed me toward a series of essays published by Eurozine. This was […]

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Another London teenager murdered

Jimmy Mizen lived in Lee, just a kilometre or so down the road from where I stay when I’m in London. The 16 year-old was murdered yesterday by an attacker he had refused to fight. Jimmy is reported to have been a “gentle giant”, happy to give his dad a hug and a kiss. Lee […]

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Hampshire hooligans invade Kent

In my recent post about the Rochester Sweeps Festival there are a couple of photos with unidentified Morris dance sides. I’ve now determined who are the bowler-hatted chaps and chapesses with the red, green and black kit and painted faces. This is Alton Morris from Hampshire, and here’s another picture of this team from the […]

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How to increase business productivity: manage less

An economist in Örebro, Sweden, has in his recently-defended doctoral thesis shown that worker productivity increases in companies facing closure. The reason put forward by Magnus Hansson to explain this is that when management is distracted from daily operations, the employees of failing firms shoulder a greater responsibility for their work, and efficiency is thus […]

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Israel is 60 today

Today is the 60th birthday of modern Israel. Though legally speaking the new state was declared on 14 May 1948: the day on which the British mandate over Palestine officially expired. The rest is history, and this started 11 minutes following David Ben-Gurion’s proclamation with the United State’s recognition of an independent and sovereign Israel. […]

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