Is cancel culture silencing open debate? There are risks to shutting down opinions we disagree with

Is cancel culture silencing open debate? There are risks to shutting down opinions we disagree with
Recently, 150 high-profile authors, commentators and scholars signed an open letter in Harper's magazine claiming that "open debate and toleration of differences" are under attack. Signatories included JK Rowling, Margaret Atwood, Gloria Steinem and Noam Chomsky. While prefacing their comments with support for current racial and social justice movements, the signatories argue there has been a weakening of the norms of open debate in favour of dog...
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‘Death by a thousand cuts’: women of colour in science face a subtly hostile work environment

Women in science lab
It's hard for women to succeed in science. Our research shows it's even harder for women of colour. We interviewed women of colour working in scientific and technical organisations across Australia about their experiences. As well as direct discrimination, they face a barrage of brief, everyday racial slights and indignities that one described as "death by a thousand cuts". In addition, we found women of colour often hesitate to tackle these affr...
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Climate crisis could reverse progress in achieving gender equality

Women Carry Cotton
People who directly depend on the natural world for their livelihoods, like farmers and fishers, will be among the greatest victims of the climate crisis. In vulnerable hotspots, such as the arid lands of Kenya and Ethiopia, farming communities are already struggling with droughts and water scarcity that kill their cattle and threaten their very survival. The glacial-fed river basins of the Himalayan mountains, or the deltas of Bangladesh, India ...
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Screen time: Conclusions about the effects of digital media are often incomplete, irrelevant or wrong

Screen Time
There's a lot of talk about digital media. Increasing screen time has created worries about media's impacts on democracy, addiction, depression, relationships, learning, health, privacy and much more. The effects are frequently assumed to be huge, even apocalyptic. Scientific data, however, often fail to confirm what seems true based on everyday experiences. In study after study, screen time is often not correlated with important effects at a mag...
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Despite defeats, the Islamic State remains unbroken and defiant around the world

Islamic State
In a series of bloody campaigns from 2014 to 2019, a multinational military coalition drove the Islamic State group, often known as ISIS, out of much of the Iraqi and Syrian territory that the strict militant theocracy had brutally governed. But the Pentagon and the United Nations both estimate that the group still has as many as 30,000 active insurgents in the region. Thousands more IS-aligned fighters are spread across Africa and Asia, from the...
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Yes, microlending reduces extreme poverty

Micro Loans
A small boost in microlending to the developing world could lift more than 10.5 million people out of extreme poverty. That's one conclusion of my study, published last month in The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, which found that microfinance not only reduces how many households live in poverty but also how poor they are. Currently, 836 million people – or 12% of the world's population – experience extreme poverty, living off less than US$1.25 a...
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Understanding the root causes of natural disasters

Sichuan Province Earthquake 2008
Every year disasters take lives, cause significant damage, inhibit development and contribute to conflict and forced migration. Unfortunately, the trend is an upward one. In May 2017, policy-makers and disaster management experts from over 180 countries gathered in Cancun, Mexico, to discuss ways to counter this trend. In the middle of the Cancun summit, news arrived that large parts of Sri Lanka were devastated by floods and landslides, killing ...
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Achieving gender equality in India: what works, and what doesn’t

Indian Women
Discrimination against women and girls is a pervasive and long-running phenomenon that characterises Indian society at every level. India's progress towards gender equality, measured by its position on rankings such as the Gender Development Index has been disappointing, despite fairly rapid rates of economic growth. In the past decade, while Indian GDP has grown by around 6%, there has been a large decline in female labour force participation fr...
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