March 2014

Weapons of Mass Destruction

  This week we’re thinking about the ethics of Weapons of Mass Destruction — a massive topic. But for once, at least we don’t have to search for a definition.  It comes straight from a United Nations commission in 1947: Weapons of mass destruction “include atomic explosive weapons, radioactive material weapons, lethal chemical and biological weapons, and any weapons developed in the future which have characteristics comparable in destructive effect to those of the atomic bomb or other weapons mentioned above.”

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Acting Together

The great English philosopher Thomas Hobbes famously said that in the state of nature, life is solitary, brutish and short -- as if nature designed people to act alone, rather than together. But acting together, this week's topic, is one of the most natural things in the world. If we never acted together, there would be no families, no teams, no countries. But what exactly is it to act together?

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Science and Gender

Science used to be seen as a thing for boys only. Back in the 1980’s when students were asked to draw what a scientist looks like… forty eight percent drew a scientist with facial hair; twenty-five percent gave their scientist a pencil protector. Only eight percent drew a woman. Of course, back then the perception that science was a boy thing, pretty much matched the reality.

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