Lessons not learned

Europe over the last decade was confronted with the worrying development of uprisings by young people without any sort of apparent political goal. As we approach the 10-year anniversary of the 2005 Paris riots, we would like to ask whether lessons have been learned from these events. Considering the fast pace of today’s media, which barely allows for the consideration of a problem before covering us with a mountain of ‘newer’ issues, have politicians pushed through those promised measures, with which we were appeased in the immediate aftermath of each period of unrest? Did they tackle the actual causes, which include mostly a lack of opportunities and social inclusion of young disadvantaged people- or was the issue left to fade slowly from our memories? Too often do we forget pressing issues of the more recent past, and therefore fail to ask whether the problems that we were briefly so concerned with have actually been solved.

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Über das Archivische in der Photographie

Über das Archivische in der Photographie

Um sich des archivischen Charakters der Photographie bewusst zu werden, bedarf es einer klaren Definition des Begriffs Archivieren.

I

Archivieren bezeichnet das systematische Aufnehmen, Erfassen, Ordnen und Aufbewahren von Informationen (Archivalien). Der Begriff Archiv bezeichnet den Ort der Aufbewahrung, die archivierende Institution oder schlicht die Gesamtheit aller Archivalien.

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One last call for the legalisation of cannabis

Although considered acceptable on an individual basis by many, little has changed to the cannabis laws across most of Europe over the last few years. Not, actually, since its reclassification in Britain from Class C to Class B drug in May 2008[1], moving it up the scale away from ‘soft drugs’ like anabolic steroids, and towards the ‘harder drugs’ of the Class A crack and cocaine, amongst others.[2] In the aftermath of this change in policy, Professor David Nutt was sacked from his position as head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (the UK government’s official advisory body) for outing criticism against the decision in light of scientific evidence.[3] It is my belief that this is just one example of politicians refusing to reflect upon the state of cannabis legality from a neutral standpoint, and I will now attempt to bring some transparency into the picture.

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WMDs: Widespread Media Deception and the 2003 invasion of Iraq

BY ROSS MORAN

Air strikes on Iraq!’ Does this remind you of anything? The 1990 Gulf War? Or, maybe the 2003 invasion? Either-or, we’re here again.  Less than three years after the last convoy of British and American troops left Iraq following the humiliating 2003 invasion, the United States and its allies are beginning another intervention in Iraq – this time to combat the growing threat of the Islamic State (or IS, or ISIS, or ISIL, or whatever they liked to be called).

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An introduction to the defence against neurobiological reductionism

It was whilst studying neuroanatomy during my third semester at medical school that I first came across the problem of neurobiological reductionism. We had three weeks to prepare for this fourth and final part of the cadaver dissection course, and so I delved into the realms of our brain and spinal chord, the ‘central part’ of our nervous system, learning about the various lobes, the basal ganglia, the limbic system, the brain stem and so on. It wasn’t until learning about the frontal lobe, which includes the prefrontal cortex – a structure that’s widely held responsible for many of the characteristics that separate human beings from all other living things- that I began to think about the meaning of such understanding for the concepts about our own actions, and indeed for free will in itself. An often used example when explaining the functions of the prefrontal cortex is the tragic story of the young American railroad construction worker Phineas Gage. He was the head of a small unit of men within the rail company, described by those who knew him as extremely capable; an excellent worker as well as a respected leader. During an accidental explosion in 1848, an iron rod was knocked into Mr. Gage in such a way that it ‘entered on the side of his face, shattering the upper jaw, and passing back of the left eye, and out at the top of the head’1, cutting in its path through the connections between limbic system (held responsible for motivation and human drives) and the prefrontal cortex. It didn’t, however, damage his brain stem, and he was thus left alive. To the general astonishment of medics at the time, Phineas Gage recovered fully from the accident. He was able to see with his other eye, his vital organs worked normally, he was able to walk, talk, eat, drink and appear generally like a well-functioning human being. Yet emotionally, Mr. Gage changed. He became erratic and uninhibited in his behaviour. He lost his job and his friends. His post-accident behaviour was compared to that of a child. Anatomically, everything still worked the way that it should do, except for the damaged connections within his brain. The prefrontal cortex was cut off from the limbic system, and this showed in his behaviour. Interestingly, it has often been claimed that Mr. Gage later managed to relearn some of his social capacity- the changes were apparently not permanent.

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“Und jetzt Odessa” – Abends vor dem Fernseher

Ein etwas älterer Artikel zum Beginn der Ukraine-Krise, der trotz aller neuen Entwicklungen ein immer noch aktuelles Thema anspricht. (Zur Erläuterung: Der Autor leistet seit Anfang März 2014 einen Freiwilligendienst in Ufa, Russland ab)

Ich wohne jetzt seit knapp zwei Wochen bei einer Gastfamilie, das heißt, ich kam ein paar Tage vor dem Krim-Referendum an. Im Gegensatz zu Deutschland, ist das in Russland genug Zeit um eine Beziehung zueinander aufzubauen, die eine freie Meinungsäußerung zulässt. Meine Familie, das sind meine Gastgeberin, Elina Nurowna, ihr Ehemann Ilnur, der 9-jährige Sohn Davlad, und die Eltern von Elina; zum einen Teil tartarisch, zum anderen Teil baschkirisch. Nach meiner Einschätzung, die natürlich noch nicht von sehr vielen Russland Erfahrungen zehren kann, eine Familie des gehobenen Mittelstands. Ein komfortables, 3-geschossiges Haus am Ende der Straße einer Wohnsiedlung, im Garten ein Hund, eine Banja und im Sommer eigenes Gemüse. Alle studiert oder in angesehenen Berufen, Elina, Soziologin, Ilnur, Polizist, Elinas Mutter, ehemalige Chefärztin in Rente und Elinas Vater, Militär a.D. Ich wurde gastfreundlich, offen und herzlich empfangen und gleich, wie selbstverständlich, in den Alltag aufgenommen. Trotz meiner schlechten Russischkentnisse habe ich versucht, so viel wie möglich an russischer Berichterstattung zur politischen Situation in der Ukraine und an Reaktionen darauf, aufzuschnappen.

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Precipice

BY JOE BALSON

“…no more right to the information they requested than if they were being executed in the electric chair, they would have no right to know whether OG&E or PSO were providing the electricity; if they were being hanged, they would have no right to know whether it be cotton or nylon rope; or if they were being executed by firing squad, they would have no right to know whether it be by Winchester or Remington ammunition,”

Justice Taylor Steven

On 29th April 2014, Clayton Lockett was executed by the state of Oklahoma. Mr. Lockett was to be executed by lethal injection but in fact succumbed to a heart attack 43 minutes after the initial injection. During this time his lawyer, who was observing, stated that Clayton began to struggle and attempt to speak. This is not the first incidence of an inmate in America taking an inordinate amount of time to die by lethal injection. In Ohio in January 2014 Dennis McGuire took 26 minutes to pass from lethal injection, during which he is said to have struggled for air, made choking sounds and clutched his fists, the week before a judge granting the execution stated that “You’re not entitled to a pain-free execution”.

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Thoughts for a New Social Contract

download link and contents posted below

This is a project which Jonas and I worked on over the last few years, the first edition of which we completed last November.

The underlying idea is an expansion of the social contract developed in political philosophy, using it as a basis for solving many of the problems we have seen in the world we are growing up in.

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Thoughts for a New Social Contract

Contents:

1.      Opening thoughts on a new social contract

2.      Current distribution of wealth

3.      What is a maximum socially acceptable annual income?

4.      Capitalism and the economy

5.      Tax avoidance

6.      Benefits and return responsibility

7.      Where to invest under a new social contract?

               I. Benefits

               II. Education [by Theresa Ehler]

               III. Healthcare

               IV. Underpaid sectors of society

               V. Minimum wage

8.      Electoral content and structure

               I. Is there an ideal electoral system

               II. Election candidates: individual vs. policies

               III. Election promises

9.      Lobbyism

10.    Closing thoughts on a new social contract

 

nsc FINAL.pdf