Search Results: technology

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Sulphur sunshade is a stupid pollution solution

    • Greg Foyster
    • 13 April 2016
    10 Comments

    Geoengineering means intervening in the Earth's climate to offset global warming. It's hacking the planet on a monumental scale. The most widely studied proposal is spraying sulphate particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect sunlight, cooling the planet. The idea comes from huge volcanic eruptions, which can blast millions of tonnes of sulphur into the stratosphere, creating a kind of chemical sunshade. After decades of being taboo, this outlandish scheme is now being taken seriously.

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  • MEDIA

    The ills and thrills of talking about science

    • Ketan Joshi
    • 05 April 2016
    7 Comments

    When Alan Alda was 11, he threw a simple inquiry to his teacher. What's a flame? The response he received was less than satisfying. 'All I heard from the teacher was "it's oxidation". That didn't explain anything to me.' It's a neat illustration of a modern problem. Merely presenting over-simplified factoids is no longer sufficient in a world filled with phenomena like climate denial and the anti-vaccination lobby. For science to be communicated effectively, it needs to spark passion and excitement.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Today won't be her eternity

    • N. N. Trakakis and Oscar Roos
    • 22 February 2016

    She said she'll never write a book, and she hasn't: that's no book, it's a drop of experience Infused with the spirit of Sabi ... alcoholically she soils God with sour tears. The last time I saw her was in the obituary column: golden as always walking barefoot, cigarette in hand reflecting the sun's anonymity.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Why Australia is missing the revolution

    • J. R. Hennessy
    • 18 February 2016
    23 Comments

    The aftershocks of the late-century push for liberalisation and the GFC have bred generations of dislocated voters who seek answers outside of the limited solutions of centrist governance. This provides ample opportunity for true progressive change, as seen in Europe and Latin America, and now the US and UK. Where's Australia? Nowhere to be seen. It is hard to imagine a truly progressive candidate emerging from our ossified political structures. There are a few reasons for this.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Turnbull's techno-optimism is a tad hasty

    • Ketan Joshi
    • 16 February 2016
    7 Comments

    A government campaign declares 'we've always been good at having ideas. Now we need to get better at innovation: turning ideas into successful products and services.' The message is that we are on the brink of a technological revolution, driven by government. But really we've some way to go. As we have seen with wind turbines, the communities that host new technologies can react with anger and fear. If they are left out of the process, visions of grand, sweeping change can be undermined.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Nuclear waste danger knows no state borders

    • Michele Madigan
    • 09 February 2016
    8 Comments

    The South Australia Royal Commission into the nuclear fuel cycle will give its interim report at the Adelaide Town Hall next Monday. It is likely the Commission will recommend that the South Australian Premier's plan to import international high-level radioactive waste proceed, despite obvious risks and clear dangers. It would be a mistake for anyone living outside of South Australia to think that this is just a South Australian problem. Transport and containment risks are hugely significant.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Friendlier Ghosts of Australia Days Future

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 27 January 2016
    4 Comments

    The two major challenges facing the world have to do with kindness to strangers and care for the natural world. If the image of the beginnings of Australia is of a boatload of powerful Europeans coming to exploit the land occupied by a primitive people, a better image of future Australia Days might be of Australia sending parties to Indigenous settlements and other nations to discover how to cooperate in the great projects of reconciliation between people and people with nature.

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  • MEDIA

    2015 in review: The roots of troll culture

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 11 January 2016

    The common perception of internet trolls is that they are outsiders descending on a particular platform in order to wreck it. But there is a close relationship between trolls and the culture in which they operate. If you're a publisher seeking virality, you need to foster the strong emotions in which social media trades. Getting people to love your content is great, but outrage, incredulity and even hatred also work.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Funding our own surveillance

    • Leanne O'Donnell
    • 11 January 2016

    Back in March Malcolm Turnbull told ABC radio: 'The only thing the data retention law is requiring is that types of metadata which are currently retained will be retained ... for at least two years.' In fact the laws, which come into effect next week, include an obligation on service providers to 'create' data that falls within the data set to be retained, if they don't already collect it. This isn't nitpicking. The more data that is created, the more the scheme will cost, and the greater the risk of privacy breach.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Vulnerable countries leave mark on Paris agreement

    • Fatima Measham
    • 17 December 2015
    5 Comments

    It has been an exercise in managing optimism and reality in the week after the Paris Agreement on climate change. One thing that can be certain is that COP21 is pivotal in terms of the model it offers for solutions to global problems. The Paris summit departed from a top-down approach, enabling the 43-member Climate Vulnerable Forum, led by current country-chair the Philippines, to work persuasively. 'We were more united,' says Tony La Viña, dean of the Ateneo School of Government in Manila.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Fragile earth will not be saved by Sunday

    • Bronwyn Lay
    • 09 December 2015
    3 Comments

    Located in Paris in the aftermath of the attacks, COP21 spookily mirrors how climate change politics occurs within complex and pre-existing power structures that determine its effectiveness. Social and environmental wars merge with increasing intensity: from Syria to the Arctic, from Indonesia to Paris. Climate change complexity matches the complexity of terrorism. Causal chains of social conflict are as complicated as carbon movements that result in environmental distress.

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  • RELIGION

    How do we navigate medico-legal questions without a bill of rights?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 02 December 2015

    The consideration of medico-legal problems in the public square of a pluralistic democratic society keeping pace with profound technological change is often marked by simplistic assertions, precluding considerations of comprehensive world views, whether religious or philosophical. It is now commonplace for doctors to be told to leave their consciences at the door, as their patients are consumers and they are suppliers and of course the market decides. Debates about law and policy are often resolved with simplistic assertions about individual rights and autonomy, with little consideration for the public interest, the common good, and the doctor-patient relationship. Even conscience is said to be a matter for contracting out. This evening I ask whether there are more compelling ways to resolve medico-legal dilemmas, while conceding a limited role for law in determining the range of acceptable answers.

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