The World Outside

A weekly column exploring issues relating to the environment, the future of our planet and that of mankind.

The World Outside

Gulags in the Land of the Free

— Filed under: Politics & Government, Opinion
The prisoner's dilemma is an example of game t...

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"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever" - from George Orwell's 1984

For millions of Americans this is their future. How else can you describe a person's future as a prisoner of the American Prison Industrial complex? Take a look at the facts and figures and what you will find is incredibly frightening and something needs to be done about it.

I'm not saying that people who commit horrible crimes shouldn't be locked up but when one in every 18 men are either behind bars or being monitored there is something wrong in society. As of June 2009[update], 2,297,400 were incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails  This means America, the land of the free, has the worlds largest prison population. The worst part is that although crime rates have declined by about 25 percent from 1988-2008 the Prison population has increased dramatically in same period. This cost the states $47 billion dollars in 2008.… Continues …

Afghanistan Is A Lost Cause

— Filed under: Politics & Government, Opinion
President Barack Obama with Afghanistan Presid...

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Today in the News US President Obama said progress was sufficient to permit a "responsible reduction" of US forces to begin in July.

I'd like to ask what progress? Afghanistan still is by far the worlds largest producer of opium and has the 2nd most corrupt government in the world. Transparency International rates only one country, Somalia, as worse.

The cornerstone of the coalition strategy in Afghanistan calls for the Afghan government to eventually take over security and to provide stronger government institutions and services. How can this happen though in a country where the police set up checkpoints and stop cars demanding payment for permission to pass. In 2009, Afghan citizens had to pay approximately US$ 2.5 billion in bribes, which is equivalent to 23 per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).… Continues …

Do You Want Safety or Freedom?

— Filed under: Politics & Government, Science & Technology, Opinion

A mobile closed-circuit TV van monitoring a st...

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It seems to me almost everyday there is something in the news about new security measures being taken in a western country to "combat crime and terrorism". It really makes me wonder how many of our freedoms and civil rights we willing to give up in order to feel safe. Are we on our way to a 1984 like society? Are all these new measures as necessary as the governments would have us believe?… Continues …

The Growing Threat From Alien Species

— Filed under: Science & Technology
The bullfrogs taking over Australia in the epi...

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In my life I have been unfortunate enough to witness many shocking things in relation to the state of earth's ecosystems. Shortly after moving to the town of Katherine in the northern territory the cane toads also arrived like a biblical plague. One could hardly even drive on the road without running them over. Their poisonous glands also spelt doom for many native predators such as the Goanna and northern Quoll. Now the Cane toad has reached the borders of Western Australia. Introduced to Queensland in 1935 in hopes it would control the cane beetle it has since steadily spread across the continent leaving a trail of destruction.… Continues …

Either we go into Space or we go extinct

— Filed under: Science & Technology, Opinion

Texas Tech alumnus Rick Husband was the final ...

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A couple of months ago world renowned Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking said "It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species, Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of."

This did get some media attention however it seems to me that people in general could not care less about looking at the long term future of man and space exploration. We have not even been to the moon since the 70's and now the Space shuttle program is closing down with nothing yet developed to replace it. Going to the moon and then losing the will to plant a colony will almost certainly be remembered as the moment our civilization failed. It would be like Moses leading his people to the Promised Land, them looking over the mountain and saying, "Nah, too hard we are going back to Egypt."… Continues …

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