“Terrorists are much rarer than we think, and launching a terrorist plot is much more difficult than we think. I understand this conclusion is counterintuitive, and contrary to the fearmongering we hear every day from our political leaders. But it’s what the data shows.” Bruce Schneier does not want to do away with airport security altogether, but neither does he want to waste any more money at the expense of better strategies to prevent terrorism.
“We fear the arrival of immigrants that we have drawn here with the wealth we stole from them. For much of the rest of the world we must be the focus of bitter amusement, characters in a satire we don’t understand.” Frankie Boyle is not even trying to be funny.
“We must also tackle the scandal of the unwillingness of the pharmaceutical industry to invest in research to produce treatments and vaccines, something they refuse to do because the numbers involved are, in their terms, so small and don’t justify the investment. This is the moral bankruptcy of capitalism acting in the absence of an ethical and social framework.” Dr John Ashton asks us to respond to the current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa as if it took place in Kensington, Chelsea, and Westminster.
Also see Face to face with Ebola, a report by Anja Wolz on working for Médecins sans Frontières in Sierra Leone.
“Our options, he argues, can be divided into three general categories: austerity, stimulus and doing nothing. He, like an increasing number of mainstream economists, believes we can now scratch austerity off the list.” Adam Davidson talks to Adam Posen, until recently a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, about ways to fix the UK’s economy.
“‘We went through the paper line by line, figure by figure,’ said Begley. ‘I explained that we re-did their experiment 50 times and never got their result. He said they’d done it six times and got this result once, but put it in the paper because it made the best story. It’s very disillusioning.’” Sharon Begley talks to former head of global cancer research at Amgen, Glenn Begley.
“Think Tanks surround politics today and are the very things that are supposed to generate new ideas. But if you go back and look at how they rose up—at who invented them and why—you discover they are not quite what they seem.” Adam Curtis looks at the history of the Think Tank in the UK and asks why modern politics, for all its Think Tanks, seems so paradoxically short of new ideas.
“The war on drugs has been a disaster, creating failed states in the developing world even as addiction has flourished in the rich world. By any sensible measure, this 100-year struggle has been illiberal, murderous and pointless. That is why The Economist continues to believe that the least bad policy is to legalise drugs.”
“It is the intersection of several underlying trends that have brought us to this point, not a breakdown in any specific part of the financial sector.” Michael Flynn looks at the underlying reasons for the current Wall Street crisis.
“Last week, my laptop died a sudden, spectacular death-by-drowning, as a full cup of coffee poured into its keyboard.” John Locke reflects on the importance of having an effective backup strategy.
“Many users and system administrators don’t know that SMART systems are built into most modern ATA and SCSI hard disks.” Bruce Allen explains how to use Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART) to monitor the health of your hard disks and preempt catastrophic failures.