Raves, rants and reviews
Raves, Rants & Reviews

Does pot make you dumb? Probably a tiny bit.

15/08/2017. Category: Raves & Rants. Topic: .

smoking weed

For years, the image of the silly, spaced-out stoner seemed to embody marijuana use in popular culture. But with new, relaxed marijuana policies becoming law in many states, the picture is changing. High-functioning executives, government officials and even grandparents are openly discussing smoking pot.

Still, the question remains: Does marijuana negatively impact intelligence? Researchers have long disagreed. A new study using many years of data tries to settle the debate. Read more…

Is the world really sleepwalking to war? Systems thinking can provide an answer

16/07/2017. Category: Raves & Rants. Topic: , .

By Roger Bradbury, Australian National University; Chris Barrie, Australian National University, and Dmitry Brizhinev, Australian National University.

The idea the world is sleepwalking to war, much like Europe did in the early years of the 20th century, deserves to be taken seriously. One of us (Chris Barrie) set the hares running recently when he said that, as in 1914, political leaders today are doing just that. Read more…

Spring Storm: U.S. and Romania practice storming Black Sea shores

25/03/2017. Category: Raves & Rants. Topic: .

The United States and Romanian navies practiced storming the beaches of the Black Sea, a relatively rare example of practicing an attack in the region that Russia considers its own and where it increasingly feels under siege.

The USS Carter Hall, an amphibious dock landing ship, exited the Black Sea on March 22 after taking part in the exercises, Spring Storm 2017. U.S. or NATO exercises in the Black Sea have become fairly dog-bites-man news – and NATO has promised to conduct them even more frequently – but these are novel in that they are practicing an explicitly offensive scenario. Read more…

Impossible things

07/12/2016. Category: Raves & Rants. Topic: .

Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

– Lewis Carroll, 1872, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

University of Cambridge Open Access making research freely available

11/10/2016. Category: Raves & Rants. Topic: .

The University of Cambridge has received its 10,000th Open Access submission – highlighting its commitment to making research freely available to anybody who wants to access it, without publisher paywalls or expensive journal subscriptions.

The Open Access movement has been growing in strength in academia for many years, and it is increasingly being mandated by funding bodies and government. Read more…

Why we shouldn’t dismiss Bilderberg conspiracies so lightly

14/06/2016. Category: Raves & Rants. Topic: , .

We live in an age of conspiracies about a world shaped by shadowy plots, secret organisations and deals made behind closed doors. And while they are often viewed as the fictions of sad people wearing anoraks and tin foil hats, they can relate to the real business of global politics. Conspiracy theories surround the likes of TTIP, Davos, the CIA, and this week, the Bilderberg meeting.

Haven’t heard of Bilderberg? That’s because security is very heavy, journalists are not invited, and all participants are forbidden from talking about the discussions. The 2016 took place in the rather pleasant looking Taschenbergpalais in Dresden. Other details, however, are kept under wraps. Read more…

Cyberwar is here to stay

25/02/2016. Category: Raves & Rants. Topic: , .

By Paul Rosenzweig, Professorial Lecturer in Law, George Washington University.

On February 16, 2016, The New York Times revealed that the Obama administration had prepared a cyberattack plan to be carried out against Iran in the event diplomatic negotiations failed to limit that country’s nuclear weapons development.

The plan, code-named Nitro Zeus, was said to be capable of disabling Iran’s air defenses, communications system and parts of its electric grid. It also included an option to introduce a computer worm into the Iranian uranium enrichment facility at Fordow, to disrupt the creation of nuclear weapons. In anticipation of the need, U.S. Cyber Command placed hidden computer code in Iranian computer networks. According to The New York Times, President Obama saw Nitro Zeus as an option for confronting Iran that was “short of a full-scale war.” Read more…

The year of standoffs – 2016

05/01/2016. Category: Raves & Rants. Topic: , , , , .

2015 paved the way for a year of standoffs in 2016. There just might be a showdown in the patent wars between Apple and Samsung and Microsoft and Kyocera. The EU might draw the final line in the privacy battle with Google and Facebook.

Countries are fighting Big Pharma while the pharmaceutical companies are, at the same time, battling each other over patents. Read more…

We must prepare for a 30-year war in the Middle East

25/11/2015. Category: Raves & Rants. Topic: .

Twelve years ago, George W Bush gave his “Mission Accomplished” speech from the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, confident that the Saddam Hussein regime had been consigned to the dustbin of history, the Taliban regime had been terminated, al-Qaeda was dispersed, if not destroyed, and the desperately needed New American Century was back on track.

That’s what he thought. Instead, over the following decade, hundreds of thousands died in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Read more…

Azerbaijan’s Second Satellite and First Bicycle

08/10/2015. Category: Raves & Rants. Topic: , .

Ever eager to use its underground energy riches to fuel its above-ground ambitions, Azerbaijan has selected an unnamed manufacturer to produce a second satellite. But along with developing a space industry, the South Caucasus country has now forayed into another, far more down-to-earth business, too — producing bicycles. Read more…

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