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This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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.

The high price of materialism

The good life is not the same as a life filled with goods. Wellbeing and materialism don’t fit together. (Animation, 5 minutes).

A different climate

Many new paths to climate action are being taken, with the global south in the forefront. Even modest support and publicity from their northern counterparts can bring huge benefits. 

Energy descent

These new value systems do not mean we will adapt to less, but rather we will return to core essentials, empowering individuals and local communities.

Why green growth won’t transform the economy

Green growth is a myth. Because it ignores the social, political and personal dimensions of sustainability, it can never cut deep enough into the structures of self and society to secure solutions to the crises that we face.

Politics makes biased fools of us all

With tapes of voice recordings of Erdogan being leaked, whether they are authentic or not, what we believe today is what we want to believe.

Science outreach in schools

There were so many questions that I had to stop taking them so that the children could finish school on time.

Voting for the climate?

Climate policy should be a major consideration for voters heading for the polls in May’s European parliamentary elections.

Introducing Bill McKibben: social movement creation today

Is one of America’s most prominent environmentalists, Bill McKibben, heading up a leaderless movement? If not, what kind of leader is he? Book review.

Climate politics: a melting glacier...

A new political tone on climate change in Britain is matched by a breakthrough in understanding the retreat of tropical glaciers.

The BRICS of collapse? Why emerging economies need a different development model

They have pursued GDP growth with little or no investment in human, social and natural capital. This does not bode well for the future of the world economy.

Nuclear disarmament: the case for engagement, not division

While understanding the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons are key to acheiving disarmament, efforts for a new convention outside the nuclear non-proliferation treaty will only fragment the nuclear debate further.

In the carbon wars, big oil is winning

We humans have a choice: we can succumb to carbon’s gravitational pull and so suffer from increasingly harsh planetary conditions, or resist and avoid the most deadly consequences of climate change.

The wild west of surveillance

Here we have an anatomy of a surveillance world that grows more, not less, powerful and full of itself with every passing moment and technological advance, a national security world whose global ambitions know no bounds.

Fukushima’s future

When communities are devastated by disasters like earthquakes and nuclear explosions, how can they recover? In Fukushima, Japan, transformation may be the only option.

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