Opinion

The AI Road to Serfdom?

Estimates of job losses in the near future due to automation range from 9% to 47%, and jobs themselves are becoming ever more precarious. Robert Skidelsky Project Syndicate Should we trust the conventional economic narrative according to which machines inevitably raise workers’ living standards? LONDON – Surveys from round the world show that people want secure jobs. At the same time, they have always dreamed of a life free from toil. The “rise of the robots” has made the tension between these ... Read More »

Ireland’s new abortion service is the envy of many healthcare systems

I am incredibly proud as a GP to be part of something so worthwhile and rewarding Mark Murphy The Irish Times I never thought I would be a provider of abortion services. It’s not that surprising really. Abortion was not mentioned once in the medical curriculum when I qualified 14 years ago. It was an unspoken phenomenon, a secret reality. Before I became a GP, I never had a real conversation about abortion. It’s astonishing to consider that fact now, knowing that 25 ... Read More »

US deficit suggests impending economic avalanche

As many of the world economies teeter on the brink of a recession, the richest economy in the world is flirting with stagflation — growing inflation without economic growth — and a trillion-dollar national debt that threatens the… Fred Shoaff The Daily Illini Due to recent tax cuts, military spending and budget conflicts between Democrats and Republicans, Donald Trump’s American economy is heading toward an “extremely imbalanced” path… The tax cuts that were supposed to reignite the economy and create ... Read More »

Estonia is running its country like a tech company

Estonia is often described as a genuinely digital society. Today a majority of government services are offered 24/7 online, and data integrity is ensured by blockchain technology. By Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia Quartz You can use medical e-prescriptions, file taxes, or even buy a car online without needing to go to the vehicle registration office. There are only a few things that you still need to do in the analog world, such as get married or buy property. Why spend ... Read More »

Victories for human rights highlight Australia’s tarnished reputation

On February 13, 26-year-old Sudanese refugee, Aziz Muhamat, won a prestigious international human rights prize, the Martin Ennals Award, in Geneva, Switzerland. Elaine Pearson Brisbane Times Winners are selected because of their deep commitment to human rights, often working under threat of detention, torture, or worse. Last month, a Kurdish refugee from Iran, Behrouz Boochani, won Australia’s richest literary prize, the Victorian Prize for Literature. Both men achieved this recognition despite Australian government efforts to hide them away on Manus ... Read More »

Much like the UK, Spain’s broken politics are fraught with anxiety and boredom

Locked in a cycle of political infighting and pervasive uncertainty, the Spanish people are now facing their third general election in three-and-a-half years. Dan Hancox The National The UK’s politicians are advancing towards Brexit like wounded beasts – charging ahead falteringly, blindly and panicked. Last week, though, the academic and political writer William Davies summed up the national mood as a “mixture of anxiety and boredom”. It’s a confusing feeling, worrying about the chaos many believe will ensue after the ... Read More »

Irish butterfly monitoring scheme detects decline above global average

Almost 20% of insects are in decline and 13% are threatened while 7% have conservation status Kevin O’Sullivan The Irish Times The decline of butterflies and bumblebees in Ireland is matching a global trend, indicating insect populations are collapsing, according to the National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC). Commenting on its latest figures, senior ecologist Dr Tomás Murray said Irish butterfly and bumblebee monitoring schemes have revealed rates of decline in these important insects in line with a… The global scientific review confirmed ... Read More »

What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food

A study helps answer a question many of us ask when deciding whether to buy organic food: does it really make a difference? Kendra Klein and Anna Lappé The Guardian When Andreina Febres, a mother of two living in Oakland, California, signed up for a study evaluating whether an organic diet could make a difference in the amount of pesticides found in her body, she didn’t know what researchers would find. But her family, and the three others across the country that participated, ... Read More »

Must the president be a moral leader?

The best presidents – including figures such as Abraham Lincoln and George Washington – are celebrated not only as good leaders, but as good men. They embody not simply political skill, but… Michael Blake The Conversation Why, though, should anyone expect a president to demonstrate that sort of virtue? If someone is good at the difficult job of political leadership, must they demonstrate exceptional moral character as well? Character and democracy Voters disagree about the extent to which the president ... Read More »

Is Nancy Pelosi a Climate Skeptic?

It’s time to reckon with the internal contradictions of climate policy. Bret Stephens The New York Times Is Nancy Pelosi a climate skeptic? Of course not — and I would know. But you might be excused for thinking so, given the curt wave-off the House speaker delivered to the liberally ballyhooed, legislatively stillborn Green New Deal. “The green dream, or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it, right?” That was Pelosi talking about the deal as ... Read More »

Europe, Please Wake Up

The first step to defending Europe from its enemies, both internal and external, is to recognize the magnitude of the threat they present. George Soros The Project Syndicate The second is to awaken the sleeping pro-European majority and mobilize it to defend the values on which the EU was founded. MUNICH – Europe is sleepwalking into oblivion, and the people of Europe need to wake up before it is too late. If they don’t, the European Union will go the ... Read More »

Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’

Exclusive: Insects could vanish within a century at current rate of decline, says global review Why are insects in decline, and can we do anything about it? The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review. Damian Carrington The Guardian More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than ... Read More »

We can balance compassion and safety as a country

Last December, we were both in Parliament with the hope of seeing Urgent Medical Treatment amendments pass both the Senate and lower house. By Kon Karapanagiotidis and Jana Favero Brisbane Times A groundswell of support mobilised behind a call to get all kids and their families of Nauru – rural Australians, 7000 doctors, unions, lawyers, schoolchildren, artists, nurses and teachers; 170,000 people signed a petition and 400 organisations rallied. The trigger was media exposure of medical neglect and the risk ... Read More »

Scenes From the Borderland

“Everyone here knows Trump hates brown people.” Roger Cohen The New York Times EL PASO — I have a suggestion for President Trump. Instead of fanning fear during your visit to this city on Monday night, stroll across the Paso del Norte Bridge into Ciudad Júarez. Join the 70,000 people crossing four bridges who daily form the human tissue linking the United States and Mexico. They work, they study, they eat, they shop, all part of what Dee Margo, the mayor of El Paso, calls ... Read More »

Terrorism is rare, but intimate partner violence is an everyday event

Last week newsfeeds started filling up with stories about a bomb scare at Brisbane airport. Police were quick to reassure the public that it “was not terror related” and the incident quickly dropped out of the news cycle. Jane Gilmore Brisbane Times It was widely reported that the man chased a woman (a family member) through the food court with two large knives and a device he claimed was a bomb. Another woman and two young girls, also thought to ... Read More »

Why so many young women don’t call themselves feminist

In recent years, feminist movements have attracted significant attention in Europe and North America. So why do so many young women still say they do not identify with the term? By Dr Christina Scharff, King’s College London BBC Fewer than one in five young women would call themselves a feminist, polling in the UK and US suggests. That might come as a surprise as feminism – the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of equality of the sexes – has been in the ... Read More »