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If you could teach the world one thing

28 April 2005

Apparently, 2005 is Einstein Year and on that occasion Sandy Starr & co at Spiked! have surveyed 250 scientists and educators (including 11 Nobel winners) about what they believe is the most important thing to teach/learn about science.

The theory of evolution is way up there, as are methods of science and relations between humans and nature. Some point blank refused to answer like, Gerardus 't Hooft from Utrecht who, contends "spiked's question sounds exactly like the question often asked by students - 'what parts of the text in this book should I learn, to pass my test, and which parts may I skip?' I refuse to answer that."

The whole survey is attractively summarised by Sandy Starr, and it's quite fun to browse through what these opionion-movers and shakers feel is worthy braintertainment today.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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