The Conversation

The Conversation

The Conversation is an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community and delivered direct to the public.

22.06.2020

Slavery reparations: there’s little legal basis to make companies pay for historic actions

Slavery reparations: there’s little legal basis to make companies pay for historic actions

Two major British businesses have said they will make undisclosed payments to black and minority ethnic groups to atone for their past owners’ involvement in the transatlantic slave trade. Pub group Greene King and insurance broker Lloyd’s of London have both apologised for what they respectively call “inexcusable” actions and “indefensible… »

18.06.2020

One metre or two? The science behind social distancing

One metre or two? The science behind social distancing

What constitutes a safe distance when it comes to the spread of COVID-19? The answer depends on where you live. China, Denmark and France recommend social distancing of one metre; Australia, Germany and Italy recommend 1.5 metres, and the US recommends six feet, or 1.8 metres. The UK, meanwhile, is… »

17.06.2020

China’s quantum satellite enables first totally secure long-range messages

China’s quantum satellite enables first totally secure long-range messages

In the middle of the night, invisible to anyone but special telescopes in two Chinese observatories, satellite Micius sends particles of light to Earth to establish the world’s most secure communication link. Named after the ancient Chinese philosopher also known as Mozi, Micius is the world’s first quantum communications satellite… »

13.06.2020

Charles Dickens and the push for literacy in Victorian Britain

Charles Dickens and the push for literacy in Victorian Britain

Such is the aura still surrounding Charles Dickens that it is no surprise readers want to mark the 150th anniversary of his death in June 1870, even in the middle of a desperate global public health crisis. While this impulse to show one’s admiration of – and gratitude to – deceased… »

10.06.2020

Neoliberalism is in critical condition

Neoliberalism is in critical condition

Now is the moment to transition away from an economic system that thrives on exploitation. The Covid-19 pandemic is tearing the neoliberal playbook apart as politicians and citizens realise that, in times of pandemic, markets won’t save the day. The privatisation-deregulation-austerity recipe is becoming obsolete, leaving ways for a diversity of interventionist… »

08.06.2020

Minneapolis’ ‘long, hot summer’ of ‘67 – and the parallels to today’s protests over police brutality

Minneapolis’ ‘long, hot summer’ of ‘67 – and the parallels to today’s protests over police brutality

The scene was intense. Black residents of Minneapolis angered over an incident of police brutality fought with officers in the streets and set buildings ablaze. Many were injured; dozens were arrested. Eventually the National Guard, called in to patrol the streets, ordered black citizens back into their homes. This may sound… »

04.06.2020

How pandemics past and present fuel the rise of mega-corporations

How pandemics past and present fuel the rise of mega-corporations

In June 1348, people in England began reporting mysterious symptoms. They started off as mild and vague: headaches, aches, and nausea. This was followed by painful black lumps, or buboes, growing in the armpits and groin, which gave the disease its name: bubonic plague. The last stage was a high… »

31.05.2020

Five ways online university learning can be better than face-to-face teaching

Five ways online university learning can be better than face-to-face teaching

The University of Cambridge has announced that all lectures will be offered online for the academic year beginning in October 2020. Other UK universities are expected to adopt similar policies, adopting a format which blends online learning with more traditional teaching. The announcement has disappointed and worried some students, who are… »

27.05.2020

School reopenings will not necessarily help protect vulnerable children

School reopenings will not necessarily help protect vulnerable children

One part of widespread measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has been the temporary closure of schools. In the UK, they have been closed since March, but the government has recently announced plans for the phased reopening of schools in England from June 1. This has prompted fierce criticism… »

24.05.2020

I’m a bit of a modern-day alchemist, recovering gold from old mobile phones

I’m a bit of a modern-day alchemist, recovering gold from old mobile phones

In the kitchen drawer, most of us have a few old mobile phones and tablets. But few probably realise just how much precious metal they contain. Did you know, for example, that it only takes around 41 mobile phones to recover 1g of gold? The price of gold is currently… »

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