Have we lost our moral compass?

There is much not to like about Tony Blair, and when it comes to domestic political issues in particular I share some of the widely held antipathy toward the former British prime minister. But on one thing my mind is settled: here is a man of decency and principle who in committing the UK to […]

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In the crisis of global capitalism even Zizek makes sense

I was minded to cap this idle blog post with the above title and a link to a clip of Newsnight‘s residually trottish economics editor Paul Mason being covered with Slavoj Žižek‘s spittle during an interview for The Culture Show, first broadcast yesterday. Be warned that while watching the interview you may find yourself reaching […]

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The moderation of fools

The Sizergate affair, about which I commented on Sunday, is an unpleasant business, and confirms me in my prejudice against Men of God who when scratched show themselves to be nasty little shits. The divinely saved are no better than the rest of us, and are in many cases a damn sight worse. The latest […]

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Quantifying the climate carbon feedback

Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide leads to global warming, which in turn results in a rise in carbon dioxide. This positive feedback in the carbon cycle is of concern to climate scientists, who have previously estimated the sensitivity of the system, and come up with a figure of 40 parts per million by volume of increased […]

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Not fit for the cure of souls

Stephen Sizer is the vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water – a leafy, affluent corner of Surrey in the southeast of England. This is classic commuter country, with bonused to the eyeballs bankers in comfortable residence. Christ Church is on the evangelical wing of the Church of England, which is itself part of the international […]

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“More memoirs than memory can bring to mind”

They say that political journalism is dying. If so it is going out with a bang, and for this we have to thank Rupert Murdoch’s evil media empire. Referring to the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war as a “Muppet Show”, Times leader writers lay into UK government ministers and officials past and present, and […]

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El Fathead, red noses and Yankee imperialists

Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez has blamed the US for the earthquake that recently struck Haiti, killing an estimated 200,000 people. The cause of the quake was a “tectonic weapon”, says Chávez, with his country’s largely state-run media reporting that the alleged weapon is based on the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP). HAARP is […]

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Shallow questions and even shallower answers

The other day I received an email from a marketing executive at VBS.tv, the online television channel associated with Vice Magazine. This message was to inform me about an interview with Noam Chomsky – esteemed professor of something or other, and the world’s “leading public intellectual”. Chomsky is one of the very few subjects on […]

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Science communication is culturally prejudiced

Tomorrow’s edition of Nature carries an opinion piece by Yale law professor Dan Kahan which urges the science communication community to take on board research that shows how our cultural views shape how we accept or reject technical information about risk. It should come as no surprise to learn that Weltanschauung influences our reaction to […]

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Why must we die?

“We are human, we are angel, We have feet and wish for wings. We are carbon, we are ether, We are saints, we are kings. “Why must we die?” Unlike Norm I have long been a fan of the music of Canadian folk icons Kate and Anna McGarrigle, having discovered their work during my early […]

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