All posts filed under: News

Best of the Web, 28th July 2017

Culture A Secularist vs. the Progressive Faith Tom Wilson, Commentary Liu Xiaobo and Twitter’s Theatre of Radical Cruelty Jamie Palmer, Tablet Magazine Science Don’t Believe in God? Maybe You’ll try U.F.Os Clay Routledge, The New York Times First Human Embryos Edited in U.S. Steve Connor, MIT Technology Review  How Species Originate Thomas Near, The Economist Ketamine Breakthrough for Suicidal Children Jack Turban, Scientific American Out of All Major Energy Sources, Nuclear is the Safest Hannah Ritchie Our World in Data  The Polygamous Town Facing Genetic Disaster Zaria Gorvett, BBC Future Politics and foreign policy Burke to the Future: The Evolution of Conservatism Emily Jones, History Today Unraveling the Mystery of Putin’s Popularity Jay Ogilvy, Stratfor Worldview Like Rome, America Could Be Ripe for Tyranny Robert W Merry, American Conservative

Best of the Web, 22nd July 2017

Culture Richard Dawkins deplatformed at a book talk in Berkeley for “abusive speech” about Islam on Twitter Jerry Coyne, Why Evolution is True Why it’s a Bad Idea to Tell Students that Words are Violence Jonathan Haidt & Greg Lukianoff, The Atlantic Aliens, Antisemitism and Academia Remi Adekoya & Landon Firm, Jacobin Science Two minds: the cognitive differences between men and women Bruce Goldman, Stanford Medicine Are we all racists deep in side? Michael Shermer, Scientific American Why Brilliant Girls Tend to Favor Non-STEM Careers Lee Jussim, Psychology Today The sex robots are coming. Do not fear them Debra Soh, The Globe and Mail Politics and foreign policy The Passion of Liu Xiaobo Perry Link, The New York Review of Books Is it racist to say Africa has civilizational problems? Remi Adekoya, Foreign Policy Russia’s Global Anti-Libertarian Crusade Cathy Young, Reason Magazine The Myths of 1953 Ray Takeyh, The Weekly Standard I’ve Worked with Refugees for Decades. Europe’s Afghan Crime Wave Is Mind-Boggling Cheryl Benard, National Interest

Emmanuel Macron Beats Marine Le Pen to Win the French Election

After a tense and often antagonistic election campaign, Emmanuel Macron is to become the next president of France. The result is, of course, in all sorts of ways extraordinary. In a little over a year, the 39-year-old former finance minister has gone from being a wannabe to the future tenant of the Elysée Palace. He struck out alone to form his own political movement and while much of the froth surrounding the election has focused on his opponent, the enormity of his achievement needs to be acknowledged and cannot be underestimated. Even before the first round, all the polls had Macron pegged to win the second round 60/40. But then, between the rounds, Le Pen seemed to be nibbling away at Macron’s lead – not by much, but by enough to cause some butterflies among her opponents. Macron appeared lacklustre at a crucial time. Fears of a low turnout and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s refusal to formally endorse Macron also threw a number of unknowns into the mix. A high abstention rate would play in Le Pen’s …

UK Labour’s Failure to Understand Its Voters Has Sent It Into Existential Crisis

In the chaotic days since the EU referendum, the Labour Party has apparently been tearing itself apart, culminating in a full-blown challenge to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. He has been hit with a volley of co-ordinated shadow cabinet resignations, with the promise of more to come. But this is something more than a party political brawl. It’s not just that the party leadership campaigned for Remain, whereas a majority of the British people (and one-third of Labour supporters among them) voted to leave the EU. And it’s not just that Corbyn must now assemble a new shadow cabinet and fight a civil war in the Parliamentary Labour Party even as the government itself melts down. The problem is far deeper. Labour was already at risk of falling into a state of shocking disrepair, but now that Britain has voted to leave the EU, it seems to have entered what may be a terminal decline. Under Corbyn, the party has proven wholly incapable of reconnecting with its own supporters in traditional strongholds, the same voters it has …

Breaking Down Brexit: How the UK Voted

So ends the most bitter and polarising experience of British electoral democracy. The economics of Brexit was heatedly and endlessly debated in the UK’s referendum campaign on EU membership, but ultimately it was trumped by voters’ considerations about national integrity and identity. A majority of 17.4m people voted to leave, against 16.1m for remain. How the drama unfolded Assiduous watchers of the early referendum results had been advised that if the outcome in Sunderland (perenially among the first to declare election results) showed anything more than a six-point winning margin for Leave, then Brexit would be the likely outcome nationally. Anything less, however, and Remain could expect overall victory. In the event, Sunderland produced a remarkable 22-point margin in favour of Leave (61-39), while nearby Newcastle, which had been expected to produce a comfortable margin for Remain, only narrowly favoured the pro-EU choice (51% to 49%). The value of sterling fell off a cliff as the currency markets reacted to these early shocks, but the Remain side’s nerves were briefly steadied a little by better …

News in Brief: Orlando Aftermath, Assassination in Britain

Orlando Aftermath On June 12, 49 people were killed in a mass-shooting terrorist attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando Florida. The event has sparked a revival of the gun control debate in the U.S. as well as concerns about homegrown Islamist terror attacks. The tragedy has also drawn attention to homophobia and hate crime. The debate over which concern deserves most attention: gun control, Islamist terror or homophobia, appears to have created a new level of division in an already divided society. Read more about how motivated reasoning has contributed to the reactions to Orlando here and here. British MP Jo Cox Assassinated A British MP, Jo Cox, was murdered on Thursday by a 52 year old man, Thomas Mair. Vigils have been held across the UK which have been led by the leaders of both the Labour and Conservative parties. Police have indicated that Thomas Mair’s links to far-right groups will be a priority line of inquiry and they have also indicated that they will be investigating his history of mental ill-health. The …

News in Brief: Cancer Vaccine, the Blockchain in Central Banks & Overcoming Antibiotic Resistance

Universal cancer vaccine breakthrough A research team from Germany and the Netherlands have published work in Nature regarding a nanoparticle RNA vaccine which takes advantage of the immune system’s response to viral infection and refocuses it to fight cancer. It has been found to induce anti-tumour immune responses in mice and three human patients with advanced melanoma. This breakthrough possibly represents a step towards a universal vaccine for all (or some) cancers. Read the original study here. Central bankers meet with blockchain start-up CEO Central bankers and Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve Janet Yellen met with the CEO of Chain a San Francisco blockchain and bitcoin start-up. Blockchain and bitcoin represent a true paradigm shift in technology and the way in which money and transactions are handled. Read more about bitcoin and blockchain in the talk that was given at the event here. ‘As long as we study life, it will be read’: the Selfish Gene turns 40 Science writer Adam Rutherford in The Guardian has composed a tribute to Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish …