The Conversation

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The most powerful space telescope ever built will look back in time to the Dark Ages of the universe

Some have called NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope the “telescope that ate astronomy.” It is the most powerful space telescope ever built and a complex piece of mechanical origami that has pushed the limits of human engineering. On Dec. 18, 2021, after…

Why blasphemy is a capital offense in some Muslim countries

By Ahmet T. Kuru Junaid Hafeez, a university lecturer in Pakistan, had been imprisoned for six years when he was sentenced to death in December 2019. The charge: blasphemy, specifically insulting Prophet Muhammad on Facebook. Pakistan has the world’s second strictest blasphemy…

Taliban’s religious ideology – Deobandi Islam – has roots in colonial India

Following the Taliban’s rapid taking of power in what it describes as a reestablished “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” fears of a certain kind of Islamist ideology being brought back have led a large number of Afghans to flee, or fear…

Jerusalem: the politics behind the latest explosion of violence in the Holy City

The recent violence at the al-Aqsa mosque/Temple Mount area and in the Old City of Jerusalem has spiralled into something bigger and more dangerous. Clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters at the weekend have left hundreds injured. Tensions…

Two classes of trans kids are emerging – those who have access to puberty blockers, and those who don’t

For people who have never thought about it before, it might sound reasonable to require trans kids to wait until they’re adults before they can receive certain forms of care known as gender-affirming treatment – which is what legislation that…

The Chinese Mars lander: how Zhurong will attempt to touch down on the red planet

For the first few months of 2021, the Martian atmosphere was buzzing with new visitors from Earth. First, it was the UAE Space Agency’s Hope probe, followed by the Chinese Tianwen-1 entering orbit. More recently Nasa landed the biggest-ever rover…

Alexei Navalny: protesters defy state crackdown to support hunger-striking Russian dissident

Tens of thousands of protesters have gathered in the streets of Russia’s cities to support the dissident politician Alexei Navalny, who is currently on hunger strike in a prison hospital. The fact that those numbers were down on the crowds…

How children are taking European states to court over the climate crisis – and changing the law

Even before Greta Thunberg launched her school strike for climate at age 15, youth activists have been key players in public action on the climate crisis. Now they’re breaking new ground in court. On November 30, six Portuguese children and…

Scientists invent home COVID-19 test using coffee machine capsules

Transitioning to home working had its challenges for us all, but when your job involves researching biological applications for nanotechnology, those trials are a little more complicated than juggling the household’s broadband usage. So barred from his lab, you might…

The story of the Iranian new year, Nowruz, and why its themes of renewal and healing matter

ANCESTRAL CULTURE         by Pardis Mahdavi As the days grow longer and the flowers start to bloom, my 5-year-old gets excited and exclaims, “Nowruz is coming.” Nowruz – or “new day” in English – is the Iranian…

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