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The Rain during Covid-19

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* * * The rain has such precise teeth. She nibbles down the paths and through the bushes, along the gutters and around my veranda chair like a cat. Who knows that she is gobbling us up, swallowing us down? When will she finish?   When eyes smell the stillness and see the music, droplets […]

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Human ‘nature’ as explored in a riveting television series: ‘The 100’

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The question, what is dominant, human ‘nature’, or ‘nurture’ (culture), has been the motivating force in a debate that has waged since at least the 18th and 19th centuries — for instance in the work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (see his prize-winning Academy of Dijon essay on the question, whether human morals had improved by, or […]

Posted inEnvironmentEqualityGeneralHealthLifestyleNews/PoliticsTech

Education policy and the future of water

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On Tuesday, I watched a video on the deteriorating water situation in the Arabic state of Jordan, which foregrounded to me the imperative, that countries give a central place to essential concerns such as the continued availability of water in their education programmes, from primary school through high school to universities. Unless they pay urgent […]

Posted inEnvironmentGeneralHealthMediaTech

The possible destruction of the world as we know it? (And Vaclav Havel’s far-reaching insights)

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On a virtually daily basis, one is confronted with more dreadful news pertaining to the destruction of the world as we know it – or knew it – by forces that seem to be, almost irrefutably, related to anthropogenic climate change in the shape of global warming. For example, a report on Yahoo News (27 […]

Posted inGender violenceGeneralMediaNews/PoliticsTech

‘Dark technology’ and human ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’?

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In the later 19th century there was a protracted debate among thinkers of various stripes about the question, what ultimately determines human actions — ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’ — a debate that is still going on today. But while it was then influenced by the evolutionary theory of Charles Darwin, on the one hand, and empiricist […]

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The destructive approach to nature: ‘Geostorm’

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We are in Porto, Portugal, for an interdisciplinary international conference, and already we are impressed by the beauty of this old city. As usual, because I find seats on a passenger jet too uncomfortable to sleep, I used the time to catch up on some movies, including I, Tonya, with Margot Robbie’s Oscar-quality performance in […]

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The world has not learnt anything from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

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This year marks the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s ‘Gothic’ (proto-)science fiction novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, which was published when the author was only 20 years old. It was the fruit of a contest among herself and two other literary figures — her future husband, the poet Percy Shelley, and another poet, Lord […]

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Optimism vs. realism regarding the future

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The TIME magazine of 15 January, 2018, titled ‘The Optimists’, is edited by Bill Gates, one of the two richest individuals on the planet – this alone already (at least partly) explains his optimism, which is understandably not necessarily shared with people in positions of less economic power. Reading it is an object lesson in […]