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This week's editor

VM

Our guest editor, Valsamis Mitsilegas, director of the Criminal Justice Centre at Queen Mary University of London, introduces this week’s theme: Privacy and Surveillance in 2016.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Please mind the datachasm

They began to interpret things like him leaving the house without his mobile phone as indications that their suspicions were correct. Welcome to one half of the datachasm. Sleep safe.

Ebola and global health politics: an open letter

The human toll from the Ebola outbreak is all too evident. A more proactive global health policy is needed to avoid its repetition.

Turkish PM in conversation, Part 2: Old Turkey, New Turkey

Many observers fear Turkey is heading towards majoritarian tyranny. How does Turkey's 'representative democracy' contrast with General Sisi's claims that he represents the 'general will' of Egypt?

Brazil doubles down on cyber security



The out-sized military response risks compromising citizens’ fundamental rights. If Brazil is to build a cyber security system fit for purpose, an informed debate is imperative.

Scientism and free-market jihad

For the past forty years, our vision of life has shrunk to one based on a selfishness born of scientism. It is time to embrace different ways of seeing the world. 

Thoughts on autonomous weapons systems and meaningful human control of cyber

In cyber, borders, states, agencies – the traditional ways of organising international cooperation and communication no longer count. In cyber, everybody is a potential adversary.

The cooling wars of cyber space in a remote era

Hyperbolic language used to describe the potential consequences of cyber attacks has contributed to the ‘securitisation’ of the debate around cyber security issues. Increased transparency and accurate information is essential.

From the few to the many: swarm economics

With 3D printing, the distributed production economy can alleviate structural imbalances, injustices and diseconomies, if we manage with foresight.

Fossil addiction: is there a road to recovery?

There is no shortage of knowledge about global environmental and climate problems. Nor was there 40 years ago. So why is nothing happening?

Frozen progress: beyond the egg-freezing debate

Behind the headlines of Silicon Valley companies offering female employees the chance to freeze their eggs lie more fundamental unresolved questions of gender in the workplace – and the role of work in our lives.

The most important thing you‘ve never heard of

Introducing a secret trade deal which could affect everything from healthcare to banks to the air we breathe. Plus: find out what we're not being told about Ebola.

Could incapacitating chemical weapons start an arms race?

Chemical weapons are banned, aren't they? Well, maybe not quite all of them are ...

Responses to Ebola are still way too little, and may now be too late

The lack of ambulances, hospital beds, and even plastic gloves have all played a role in allowing the disease to get out of control, particularly in the slums of Freetown and Monrovia. 

Miscounting human trafficking and slavery

Two recent ‘studies’ have attracted a lot of international attention. Each presents incredibly flawed findings. And these studies matter.

The future of the climate debate

The cutting edge of the climate change debate was absent from recent events in New York City, including mass marches. It’s time to unlearn the deluded notions that keep us from exploring the real issues for the future.

Oil’s rekindled allure

America’s European allies are feeling somewhat less deferential to Moscow because of the growth in global supplies. In other words, the striking spurt in US domestic oil production has added a patriotic dimension to its already powerful allure.

In praise of family existentialism

Two enraged, thrilling epics of the everyday make the reader the equivalent of the algorithm, seeking patterns amidst the mess, but accepting that there's no causal grand theory. A review.

Crafting “smart cities”: India’s new urban vision

With a new government in Delhi, India’s urban agenda is now focused on the creation of “Smart Cities” in industrial corridors.  Such an initiative is driven by the demand of foreign investors to find sanitized spaces in developing countries in which they can operate easily – unhampered by politics. 

Modi's energy revolution

India's economy and business climates continue to be hindered by the inability to provide sustainable and reliable electricy. But Modi has the opportunity to finally power India.

Towards a standard open decisions API

In the coming months, we look forward to helping move toward shared principles or standards for open government decision-making APIs. This work is highly political; therefore, we welcome the participation of any interested individuals in this project.

A select #IndyRef glossary (for voters, bloggers, writers and tweeters)

"When it comes to 18 September we need to know whereof we speak. It helps us to see through the hyperbole and obfuscation that abounds in the debate."

We need more humans, not more heroes

Exaggerated by the growing celebrity culture of social change, hero worship is on the rise. In the process we risk rendering ourselves perpetually mediocre. 

Seeing true nature: Buddhism and the environment

In an age of increasing environmental destruction, Buddhism can inspire the ecological awareness that’s necessary for a more balanced existence. 

The embedded power of algorithms

The recent revelations surrounding the manipulation of Facebook news feeds to affect the emotional state of users should not be understood as an isolated social experiment, but rather as one point within a far broader setting in which algorithms are powerful forces in everyday life.

Women and Wikipedia: science and engineering’s forgotten labour

A Wikipedia Edit-a-thon for National Women in Engineering Day addresses both the underrepresentation of female editors of Wikipedia and the underrepresentation of women in science and engineering.  

Refugee Studies: No atonement for the failure of politics

Policy makers’ interests can be diametrically opposed to those of refugees. Academic research offers important space to step back from the emergency and think beyond the narrow confines of the politically possible, argues Katy Long for Refugee Week.

No surrender: responding to the new breed of climate change in-activists

Waiting for death in the planetary hospice is not a convincing response to climate change: a response to Carolyn Baker.

Sepideh – a stunning constellation

As a character Sepideh knows what she wants. She does not care for the manacles of custom or anything that may distract her from her true love, the Night Sky. Film review.

Welcome to the planetary hospice

Surrendering to the implications of climate change is an act of courage not cowardice. This is the first article in a new debate on Transformation. Shannon Biggs responds here.

Singing for sex, and other political anomalies

Our Sunday Comics columnist learns some human and political lessons from the frogfish and toadfish of Florida

Fraud fighters wanted in the Middle East

Rayna Stamboliyska

Egypt is just one of the places in the Arab world where scientific misconduct is tolerated. But the onus is global. What are research institutions waiting for to enforce policies? And what is the international community waiting for to stop the use of populations as guinea pigs?

Tunisia’s legacy of pollution confronts democratic politics

Oudhref’s response toward the government is, ‘You ignored us for twenty years, and now the first project you bring us is a waste dump?’

The three faces of drone war 


Now, with the unexpected support of a small but growing group of former drone pilots, a campaign against ‘targeted killings’ might well take on a new life in the US.

War and disease: the case of polio

The interrupted campaign to eradicate polio worldwide reflects the spread of conflict and insecurity since 2001.

What’s normal? The politics of psychiatric labeling

Psychiatrists are consistently expanding the boundaries of mental illness using scientific claims only weakly supported by the evidence. Are they mad? Part of Transformation's politics of mental health series.

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