SGR Newsletter No 39

Winter 2011

Feature articles cover: UK defence and security review; arms conversion; new nuclear power; accountability in research investment; climate science; the Atomic Weapons Establishment; data security in the UK census; armed robotic aircraft; transport and land-use; synthetic biology; renewable energy funding in the UK; commercialism at universities; and international energy and climate policy.
 

Feature articles

  • A new era for arms conversion?
    Dr Stuart Parkinson argues that recently announced military cuts coupled with an expanding ‘green’ economy suggest the start of major shift in the UK economy.
  • The Strategic Defence and Security Review – missing the point?
    Prof Paul Rogers argues that only with a fundamental change in approach will the UK’s defence and security strategies be ‘fit for purpose’.
  • Nuclear adventures in Finland
    Prof Claus Montonen reveals disturbing evidence of shortcuts, overspending and commercial infighting during the construction of Olkiluoto 3 – the first of a planned new generation of nuclear power stations in Europe.
  • Research investment decisions: time for change
    Dr Helen Wallace highlights the failure of the biotech economy and argues that decisions on R&D investments should be made more democratic and accountable.
  • Energy and climate change – time for hope or concern?
    Some recent developments in the energy and climate change fields, both in the UK and internationally, have given rise to optimism while others are major cause for concern. Martin Quick CEng investigates.
  • Census 2011 – who will have access to the data?
    With a subsidiary of major arms company, Lockheed Martin, being a lead contractor for the UK’s 2011 census, Dr Geoff Meaden asks if the data collected will really be secure.
  • Beyond Trident: AWE prepares for the future
    Dr Peter Burt examines the major redevelopment of the Atomic Weapons Establishment, and points out how new facilities could allow the UK to sidestep international controls on nuclear weapons development.
  • Climate change – are we still sure?
    Climate scientists have had a poor press in recent months. Dr Stuart Parkinson investigates whether this is a sign that the scientific evidence of climate change is less robust, or just media misrepresentation.
  • Transport and land-use: time for a rethink?
    Prof Hugh Barton reports on the results of a major academic research project into future urban form and transport, which throws uncomfortable light on some of the government strategies for tackling climate change.
  • Armed drones: how remote-controlled, high-tech weapons are used against the poor
    Dr David Hookes explores the ethical and legal implications of the growing use of armed, unmanned planes in the ‘war against terrorism’.
  • Challenging commercialism in research assessment
    Sally Hunt describes the campaign by the University and College Union challenging proposals that aim to assess the quality of university research on the basis of ‘economic impact’.
  • Synthetic life – too much, too soon?
    Dr Michael Reinsborough asks whether synthetic biologists are rushing ahead with development of associated technologies before the science is properly understood.
  • FiT for purpose? Renewable energy funding in the UK
    Prof David Elliot critically assesses the financial mechanisms offered by the UK government to stimulate growth in renewable energy technologies.

 

SGR News

  • A few words from the Director... Dr Stuart Parkinson examines the government’s spending cuts.
  • Details of SGR’s activities challenging large-scale military and corporate involvement in science and technology
  • Updates on SGR activities covering issues such as climate change and energy, ethical careers, and security and disarmament
  • Details of the redevelopment of the SGR website

 

Publication and event reviews

  • The strangest dream (DVD)
  • The spirit level – why equality is better for everyone
  • Green economics – an introduction to theory, policy and practice
  • Newspeak in the 21st century
  • Creating your own peace garden
  • Disarmament forum – ideas for peace and security
  • A tale of two spuds: the tasty alternative to GM potatoes
  • Westminster energy, environment and transport forum on aviation and shipping

 

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