Nobel Prize Winners Name Trump and His ‘Ignorance’ as Top Threats to World Population

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Laureates have grave concerns about Trump’s anti-science agenda as well as his recent rhetoric on nuclear war

Trump's brand of populism was named as a major threat to scientific advances in a survey of 50 Nobel Laureates.

Trump’s brand of populism was named as a major threat to scientific advances in a survey of 50 Nobel Laureates. (Photo: Michael Vadon/Flickr/cc)

Along with nuclear war and climate change, President Donald Trump has made the list of what Nobel Laureates consider to be major risks to the world population.

In a survey of 50 Nobel Prize winners in the sciences, medicine, and economics, more than a third of the respondents said damage to the environment brought about by issues like over-population and climate change, was the biggest threat to mankind. Twenty-three percent said nuclear war was their top concern, while six percent said theirs was “the ignorance of political leaders”—with two of the winners naming Trump specifically.

Peter Agre, winner of the chemistry Prize in 2003, told the Times Higher Education, which conducted the poll and released the results Thursday, that “Trump could play a villain in a Batman movie—everything he does is wicked or selfish.” He also called the president “extraordinarily uninformed.”

The survey also found serious concerns among the respondents about the brand of populism pushed by Trump as well as right-wing European leaders. Forty percent of the Nobel winners called Trump-style populism, characterized by his distrust of climate science and the media, and political polarization “a grave threat to scientific progress, while 30 percent say that they are a serious threat.”

“Today, facts seem to be questioned by many people who prefer to believe rumors rather than well-established scientific facts,” said Jean-Pierre Sauvage, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry last year.

Another laureate added, “it is a disaster when people start believing things that are false and, even worse, when governments induce them to believe facts that are evidently wrong and ignore all evidence-based, scientifically proven data.”

The Times Higher Education noted that “Agre is particularly worried by how Trump ‘flaunts his ignorance’ to appeal to a group of Americans who are happy to dismiss the opinions of scientists.”

It’s not the first time some of the world’s top scientists and doctors have publicly expressed disapproval of the president. Earlier this year, 62 Nobel Laureates signed a petition denouncing Trump’s executive order directing U.S. agencies to ban travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/08/31/nobel-prize-winners-name-trump-and-his-ignorance-top-threats-world-population
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An all-women “Lord of the Flies” reboot is a contradiction in terms

Two male directors are slated for the all-girl remake and, besides Warner Bros., few are excited

 

An all-women "Lord of the Flies" reboot is a contradiction in terms
“Lord of the Flies”(Credit: Columbia Pictures)

It was announced Wednesday that Warner Bros. will remake “Lord of the Flies” with an all-female cast directed by two men.

Scott McGehee and David Siegel will write and direct the new version, based on the original novel by Noble-prize winning author William Golding, Deadline reported.

“We want to do a very faithful but contemporized adaptation of the book, but our idea was to do it with all girls rather than boys,” Siegel told Deadline. “It is a timeless story that is especially relevant today, with the interpersonal conflicts and bullying, and the idea of children forming a society and replicating the behavior they saw in grownups before they were marooned.”

McGhee added that he hopes the spin will break “away from some of the conventions, the ways we think of boys and aggression. People still talk about the movie and the book from the standpoint of pure storytelling,” he told Deadline. “It is a great adventure story, real entertainment, but it has a lot of meaning embedded in it as well. We’ve gotten to think about this awhile as the rights were worked out, and we’re super eager to put pen to paper.”

People on Twitter were quick to point out why this concept may be inherently flawed:

[flies into frame on a broom]
the thing about lord of the flies is that it’s about systemic male violence + how it replicates
[flies away]

uhm lord of the flies is about the replication of systemic masculine toxicity
every 9th grader knows this
u can read about it on sparknotes https://twitter.com/deadline/status/903002462394527744 

GOOD: A female-centric Lord of the Flies!
BAD: A female-centric Lord of the Flies written by… two men.http://deadline.com/2017/08/lord-of-the-flies-scott-mcgehee-david-siegel-female-cast-warner-bros-william-golding-novel-1202158421/ 

Photo published for Scott McGehee & David Siegel Plan Female-Centric ‘Lord Of The Flies’ At Warner Bros

Scott McGehee & David Siegel Plan Female-Centric ‘Lord Of The Flies’ At Warner Bros

Scott McGehee & David Siegel Plan Female-Centric ‘Lord Of The Flies’ At Warner Bros

deadline.com

Lord of the Flies, but with women, and also written and directed by two men! This couldn’t POSSIBLY miss the mark! http://www.vulture.com/2017/08/looks-like-were-getting-a-female-lord-of-the-flies-remake.html 

We’re literally living an all-male “Lord of the Flies” right now, but sure, let’s see two male writers describe how women would be worse.

As Twitter users explained, McGehee and Siegel — the creators behind the quite brilliant, quite enlightened “What Maisie Knew” — might need a refresh on the nuance of the classic novel and how women actually work together before they actually “put pen to paper.”

Yes, people will talk of “Mean Girls,” “Heathers” and the often self-destructive behaviors of women and girls in cliques both in youth and in adulthood when it comes to this remake. Yet, at its core, Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” is an intensely malenarrative rooted in male group dynamics. The vocal turn-taking gambit that requires the passing of the famous “conch” and so many other aspects of the source material constitutes a sharp critique of how men and boys listen to and interact with each other both in personal and political situations. Women, as we have learned, do things very, very differently.

As writer Roxane Gay said, “An all women remake of Lord of the Flies makes no sense because . . . the plot of that book wouldn’t happen with all women.”

Why We Need the Liberal Arts Now More Than Ever

trump-liberal-arts-bowdoin-college-colleges-back-school
Bowdoin College Michele Stapleton
Rose is the 15th president of Bowdoin College

As I prepared to welcome Bowdoin College’s students back to campus this week, I couldn’t help pondering where we are today in the worlds of politics, of government and of the media — imperfect but essential institutions for a healthy democracy. We have evolved to a most distressing place — to a place in our society and world where intellectual engagement is too often mocked.

Facts are willfully ignored or conveniently dismissed. Data is curated or manipulated for short-term gain rather than to test or illuminate aspects of the truth. Hypocrisy runs rampant and character appears to no longer be a requirement for leadership. Instant gratification and personal aggrandizement are celebrated as virtues over the work of tackling hard problems that ultimately serve the public interest and common good.

Too often, respectful and thoughtful discourse about the tough issues and efforts to find common language for a conversation — let alone common ground for solving problems — are among the rarest of commodities.

This is decidedly a nonpartisan problem. We have evolved to this place over a long period, and there is more than enough blame to go around to all sides. Whatever one’s political and world views, we should all be alarmed. A system where skill, expertise, data, judgement, discourse, respect and character are in short supply is a system in trouble.

liberal arts education can play an important role in correcting this problem. At Bowdoin, we work hard to create an environment where students can be intellectually fearless, where they can consider ideas and material that challenge their points of view, may run counter to deeply held beliefs, unsettles them or may make them uncomfortable. We do this to prepare our graduates to effectively tackle climate change, economic inequality, race relations and so many other issues that polarize us today.

In a liberal arts setting, intellectual fearlessness is achieved through the development and enhancement of competence, community and character.

Competence comes through a rigorous education — one that builds and sharpens the skills of critical thinking and analysis; the ability to understand the political, social, natural, ethical, cultural and economic aspects of the world we inhabit; the ability to continue to learn; and the disposition to be intellectually nimble, to exercise judgment and to communicate effectively.

We don’t tell students what to think. We strive to teach them how to think, to give them the knowledge and skills to develop the courage to think for themselves and shape their own principles, perspectives, beliefs and solutions to problems.

We also provide students with seemingly endless ways to serve the common good — the notion that we have an obligation to something bigger than ourselves. This serves to strengthen our community and to make our students part of other communities, helping them better understand what binds each of us together.

We want our students to understand and celebrate their wonderfully diverse identities, experiences and backgrounds, while also enjoying and appreciating the deep bonds of being a part of our college community. Being part of a strong and diverse community requires an ability to talk honestly with one another about the real issues. That’s why we push our students to develop skills and an ability to engage in thoughtful and respectful ways with those who have varying perspectives, and with whom they may disagree — sometimes profoundly.

We also seek to promote character — principled lives, work and play that have integrity, an acknowledgment of the gifts we have been given and respect for others and ourselves. Liberal arts colleges are steeped in opportunities to engage intellectually and to reflect deeply across all disciplines about what character means, why it matters and how one might live it. And there are many chances over four years for students to actually engage in challenges that test and develop their character.

At this challenging moment in our society and world, it would be easy to despair. But I do not. I am optimistic because I know the power of competence, community and character. The liberal arts matter now more than ever.

Your Race and Zip Code Will Determine How Much Devastation You’ll Face After Hurricane Harvey

NEWS & POLITICS
Stranded communities are “literally getting gassed by these chemicals.”

Flood Rescue: Texas National Guard soldiers assist residents affected by flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Aug. 27, 2017.
Photo Credit: National Guard photo by Lt. Zachary West

Concern continues to grow over the environmental impact of Hurricane Harvey on the Houston area, home to more than a dozen oil refineries. The group Air Alliance Houston is warning the shutdown of the petrochemical plants will send more than 1 million pounds of harmful pollution into the air. Residents of Houston’s industrial communities have reported unbearable chemical-like smells coming from the many plants nearby. Stranded communities are “literally getting gassed by these chemicals,” according to Bryan Parras, an activist at the environmental justice group t.e.j.a.s. Those closest to these sites in Houston are disproportionately low-income and minority communities. We speak with Dr. Robert Bullard, known as the “father of environmental justice.” He is currently a distinguished professor at Texas Southern University. Dr. Bullard speaks to us from his home in Houston, which he needs to evacuate later this morning due to the rising Brazos River.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Bullard, I want to talk about this issue of justice. You live in the fourth-largest city in the country, Houston. The most diverse city in the country, Houston. And it is the “petro metro.” That’s right, the Houston area home to more than a dozen oil refineries. The group Air Alliance Houston warning the shutdown of the petrochemical plants will send more than a million pounds of harmful pollution into the air. Residents of Houston’s industrial communities already reporting unbearable chemical-like smells coming from the many plants nearby.

Yesterday, we interviewed Bryan Parras with the group t.e.j.a.s., the environmental justice group, who said, “Fenceline communities can’t leave or evacuate, so they are literally getting gassed by these chemicals.” This is an issue you have dealt with for a long time, from New Orleans to Baton Rouge to Houston, Professor Bullard. The communities closest to these petrochemical sites in Houston, disproportionately low income and minority.

You have Saturday, as we reported in the lead, a massive fuel storage at Kinder Morgan’s Pasadena terminal, spilling after being toppled in the storm. The tank held 6.3 million gallons of gasoline, but unclear how much gas leaked. Can you talk about the significance of where people live and the disproportionate impact of climate change on communities of color and poorer communities?

DR. ROBERT BULLARD: Well, the best predictor of health and well-being in our society, and including Houston, is ZIP Code. You tell me your ZIP Code, I can tell you how healthy you are. And one of the best predictors of environmental vulnerability is ZIP Code and race. And all communities are not created equal. Houston’s people of color communities historically have borne the burden for environmental pollution, and also the impact of flooding and other kinds of natural and man-made disasters.

When we talk about the impact of sea level rise and we talk about the impacts of climate change, you’re talking about a disproportionate impact on communities of color, on poor people, on people who don’t have health insurance, communities that don’t have access to food and grocery stores. So you talk about mapping vulnerability and mapping this disaster and the impact, not just the loss of housing and loss of jobs, but also the impact of having pollution and these spills, and the oil and chemicals going into the water, and who is living closest to these hazards?

Historically, even before Harvey, before this storm, before this flood, people of color in Houston bore a disproportionate burden of having to live next to, surrounded by, these very dangerous chemicals. And so you talk about these chemical hotspots, these sacrifice zones. Those are the communities that are people of color.

Houston is the fourth-largest city, but it’s the only city that does not have zoning. And what it has is—communities of color and poor communities have been unofficially zoned as compatible with pollution. And we say that is—we have a name for it. We call that environmental injustice and environmental racism. It is that plain and it’s just that simple.

And so this flood in Houston is exacerbating existing disparities, so that is why I say we have to talk about—when we talk about moving past the flooding part, and moving to cleanup and recovery and rebuilding, we have to build in environmental and economic justice into that formula. Otherwise, we will be rebuilding on inequity. We say that’s unacceptable.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Bullock, we only have 30 seconds. But your own situation now, you are being forced to move?

DR. ROBERT BULLARD: I am being forced to move because of the rising Brazos River. It is supposed to crest at 59 feet. And so I live in an area where we have been told we have to evacuate. And so I am packing up right now and getting ready to leave out of here. And so, it doesn’t—there is nobody in this town that this flood has not touched. And so, that is the nature of and the horrific—how this has touched so many people. And we have to do the right thing.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Robert Bullard, we want to thank you for being with us. Father of environmental justice movement, as he talks about environmental racism. Currently Distinguished Professor at Texas Southern University. This is Democracy Now!. When we come back, how is this affecting undocumented immigrants? As President Trump heads to Texas today, it is also said he is threatening to end DACAimminently. 85,000 residents in Houston are under DACA, meaning they can live and work legally in Houston. What does this mean for them right now?
Stay with us.

 

https://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2017/8/29/hurricane_harvey_zip_code_race_determine

Amy Goodman is the host of Democracy Now!, a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 1,200 stations in North America. She is the co-author of The Silenced Majority, a New York Times best-seller.

 http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/zip-code-race-determine-who-will-bear-burden-climate-change?akid=16028.265072.FxN8Os&rd=1&src=newsletter1081784&t=10

Everyone’s a Socialist After a Natural Disaster

Ted Cruz’s hypocrisy won’t stop government from helping in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, but Texas will be needing help for a long time.