Where’s the military industrial complex when you need it?

US president Dwight Eisenhower warned in 1961 ‘we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex’ (MIC). The idea that there is a grouping of lobbyists and industry desperate to suborn public money for their agenda is a persistent one in Western …

How to use ontology and epistemology for fun and profit

Research has its own language which reflects different theories – abstract ways of thinking about what research is, based on ideas of what reality we are examining, what the world is ‘really like’ (ontology) and how much we can know about it (epistemology). Ontology (‘what is’) is a topic students …

What have you stopped teaching because it turns out not to be true?

I am thinking of those too-perfect cases that illustrate what we want students to know but which turn out to be overblown or plain wrong. My case is Maines’ (2001) The Technology of Orgasm, which used to be a central example in a lecture I delivered in intoxication, technology and …

When was the last time research really shook your thinking up?

Drones have had a bit of a moment with Ukraine, where they are presented as evening up the fight, providing a cheap way of countering Ukraine’s disadvantages in remote strike capability. I was thinking of the shift in how drones are normally seen in liberal Western circles, as weapons that …

Diseases of affluence, without the affluence

One of the predictions made in global health was that as low/mid income countries became wealthier, their populations would adopt the illnesses characteristic of high income counties. Causes of death would shift away from neonatal conditions, violence and communicable disease to obesity, heart disease, stroke, cancer and other what are …