photo credit: Unhindered by Talent
In catching up on a bunch of old podcasts (I’m as behind there as I am on posting here), I ran across a very interesting Science Talk podcast from July 30 featuring “an interview with IEEE Spectrum editor in chief, Glenn Zorpette, talks about high-tech attempts to battle improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq as well as the state of reconstruction of Iraq’s electricity grid”. There’s lots of cool geeky stuff about blowing things up, and the high-tech ways people are developing to stop them. Perhaps the most interesting (and significant) bit, though, is at the end, where “journalist John Horgan talks about the possibility of eliminating war”. His position is that war isn’t an inevitable consequence of human nature, and that we might be able to construct a world where we’re much less likely to want to blow each other up. Two key points he mentioned were:
- Democracies are very unlikely to attack other democracies. So more democracies for the win?
- Countries that educate girls and women tend to greatly reduce the risk of conflict.
On a vaguely related point, a SciAm 60 Second Science podcast from way back in late May looks (briefly) at some of the significant problems that researchers are having getting women, especially older women, involved in medical trials.
Women were also more likely than men to say that they’re too old or not healthy enough [to participate in a trial] … But women over 65 are one of the fasted growing segments of the population. … our ability to improve care, develop new treatments and find cures depends on research and educating aging women about their role in medical breakthroughs.
Damn – women are apparently important! Treating half the population like dirt is not only ethically dodgy – it has negative practical consequences as well!