Browsing Archives of Author »Aldo Matteucci«

287 – Massimo’s choice (actually, his pledge)

April 9, 2014


Massimo PIGLIUCCI , a professor of philosophy of science as well as ecology, has published a pledge in his blog Scientia Salon. Under the provocative title: The history of garbage is scholarship, he argues that i. a. part of the scientific output is, well, garbage, or as he puts it more politely: “I cannot begin […]

286 – Allow me a wry smile

March 31, 2014


It is not often one gets an unassailable chance to gloat and bask in the warmth of self-congratulation – to have an « I told you so » moment. I have just been handed one. But first reality check: this is my final destination: Meanwhile, this is how it feels The World Bank has […]

285 – Measuring sea-level change caused by ice-sheet melt

March 29, 2014


There is no question that sea levels change over millennia. This is how Northern Europe looked about 15’000 years ago.   Without going into the issue of what causes current sea-level change (or what to do about it – if anything), we can use satellite data to assess in unimpeachable fashion current sea-level changes induced […]

284 – Ephemera (II)

March 27, 2014


(Some reflections are not worth a full-throated blog, yet they contain small kernels for reflection – like plum kernels one rolls in one’s mouth while climbing a steep mountain on a hot day. I’ll post ephemera from time to time) A multi-ethnic Roman Empire We have internalized the (invented) idea of Europe consisting of “nations” […]

283 – of “vanity” and “interstitial” states

March 26, 2014


Diplomats nowadays like to speak of states, rogue states, failed states – but they hardly refer to “vanity” and “interstitial” states. Let me explore these categories: they may become more relevant or common than these currently fashionable labels. Admittedly, they have much in common with them, so mainly it is mostly a matter of perspective. […]

282 – The limits of the “subsidiarity principle”

March 16, 2014


“Subsidiarity is an organizing principle of decentralization, stating that a matter ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest, or least centralized authority capable of addressing that matter effectively.” Presently, subsidiarity is best known as a general principle of European Union law. According to this principle, the EU may only act (i.e. make laws) where […]

281 – Fun and games with animals (without forgetting plants)

March 2, 2014


Technology is precipitating a change in mentality towards animals. Being able to record animals’ antics undisturbed, we begin to understand how smart they are, and how they have fun – just like us. Gone are the days of Descartes, who opined that animals were instinct-driven automatons. Here we have a crow snowboarding in Russia: […]

280 – Video-games for diplomats?

March 2, 2014


Diplomacy is an art – where “art” may be described as applying rules in a complex – ever changing, and surprising – context. Diplomacy then is an exercise in discernment: an understanding of what can be agreed, what cannot be, and the wisdom to discriminate between the two. But this is not enough, or even […]


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