Marzouki and McDonnell: ‘Us’ and the ‘Other’: How populists continue to hijack religion

“I think Islam hates us. There’s a tremendous hatred there. There’s an unbelievable hatred of us”. So said presidential candidate Donald Trump in a March 2016 interview. “Us” and “Them”. Right-wing populists like Trump base their appeals on these antagonistic pillars. There is “the good people”. And, aligned against them, there are the corrupt elites and dangerous “others”. Who and… Read more
Definition of populism

Mary K Feeney: Why more women don’t win science Nobels

One of the 2018 Nobel Prizes in physics went to Donna Strickland, a major accomplishment for any scientist. Yet much of the news coverage has focused on the fact that she’s only the third female physicist to receive the award, after Marie Curie in 1903 and Maria Goeppert-Mayer 60 years later. Though biochemical engineer Frances Arnold also won this year, for chemistry, the rarity of female Nobel laureates… Read more
Nobel Prize winner Donna Strickland

Rachel Pells: No winners in universities as Brazil edges towards the right

It was destined to be a presidential election campaign of dramatic outcomes. Celebrating 30 years of democracy, Brazilians took to the polls this week in their millions. But set against a background of economic crisis, mass unemployment and political scandal – not to mention anger, which culminated in the frontrunner being stabbed – the results of the first round of voting left the Brazilian population more divided… Read more
Bolsonaro at the Brazil 2018 elections

Where we’re going, we will need road safety: Commonwealth gets into future transport

The federal government has taken a deliberate step into the realm of driverless cars and mobility-as-a-service apps with the establishment of an Office of Future Transport Technologies in the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Cities. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said his department’s newest appendage, funded with $9.7 million, would “help prepare for the… Read more
driverless car

Andrew Steane: Humanities and scientific explanation: the need for change

For too long, presentations of science for the general public, and education in schools, has suggested that science wields a sort of hegemonic power, as if its terms and methods gradually replace and make redundant all other discourse; the only reason it has not yet completed its conquest is that the world is complicated—but it is only a matter of time… I think this way of understanding science is utterly misleading… Read more
Infographic of science and humanities images shaped into a graduation mortar

Apelu Tielu: Don’t go down into the gutter with them

I’m beginning to wonder if New Zealand has overtaken Australia in racism. Or is it just the case that the racists in New Zealand have become bolder and are more visible now? Australia set the racist bar fairly high with its White Australia immigration policy, which was in place from 1901 all the way to 1973. And it wasn’t until 1967 that they voted to include Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in the census — which… Read more
Taika Waititi image from his anti-racism campaign

Marcel Knöchelmann: Knowledge Unlatched, failed transparency, and the commercialisation of open access book publishing

Note from the author: the developments specified in this post are based on publicly available information. By putting the pieces together, I was worried about the progress of Knowledge Unlatched and its owner’s potential conflict of interest in shaping UK higher education policy. As a former employee of Knowledge Unlatched, from 2016 to 2017, I was unsure of how to deal with the information. After contacting former… Read more
Open Access logo

Tony Ward: Equality: our secret weapon to fight corruption

“We look after our mates,” Australia’s new prime minister, Scott Morrison, has declared. He’s said it on several occasions, in fact. So it must be a value he thinks important. Meanwhile the man he defeated for the top job, Peter Dutton, has been embroiled in controversy over allegedly using his powers as immigration minister to do favours for “mates”. Where do we draw the line between looking after… Read more
Set of balanced scales

Dr. Lindsay Robertson: Making tobacco less available is both necessary and feasible – New NZ study

In our recently published work, we studied the impact of the NZ Government preventing new retail outlets from selling tobacco from 2020, while allowing existing retail outlets to continue selling it until they closed or relocated. The estimated outcome would be a 50% decrease in the total number of tobacco retail outlets by 2032. This blog puts these results into the context of tobacco control options for NZ. Across… Read more
Tobacco plant

Sarah Foxen: The academic conference is an underexploited space for stimulating policy impact

A few weeks ago, my office, the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), received an email invitation to a conference entitled “[academic discipline] policy after Brexit”. The title looked interesting, and also potentially relevant to our work and to that of our colleagues in Parliament’s libraries and select committees. So, I clicked on the link to the conference page. That’s when things… Read more
Policy makers at an academic impact conference