Browsing Archives of Author »Aldo Matteucci«

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

April 9, 2014

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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

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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: http://bit.ly/1moTInz Meanwhile, this is how it feels The World Bank has […]

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

March 29, 2014

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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

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(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

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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

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“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

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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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=n7hiuXjXJEw […]

280 – Video-games for diplomats?

March 2, 2014

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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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