Category: Science

Brave New Wild: Why ‘Resurrecting’ the Thylacine is a Dangerous Idea

Brave New Wild: Why ‘Resurrecting’ the Thylacine is a Dangerous Idea

In 2021 the National Film and Sound Archive released new footage of the last known thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger.

Read more ›
Zero Gravity: Floating Towards Posthumanism

Zero Gravity: Floating Towards Posthumanism

‘They say it got smart, a new order of intelligence’, rasps Kyle Reese in The Terminator, referring to the Skynet computer system that launched a nuclear attack against humanity in the catastrophe known as Judgment Day. The trope is as old as science fiction itself, and shadows the genre with all of the tenacity of an Uzi-toting T-800.

Read more ›
Review of Who’s Black and Why?

Review of Who’s Black and Why?

In 1741, the exalted members of the Bordeaux Royal Academy of Sciences met to consider sixteen essays written in response to the following question: ‘What is the physical cause of the Negro’s color, the quality of [the Negro’s] hair, and the degeneration of both [Negro hair and skin]?’

Read more ›
Review of The First Astronomers

Review of The First Astronomers

‘When profound ideas are introduced to the world for the first time,’ writes Professor Marcia Langton, in her foreword to The First Astronomers, ‘our world is fundamentally changed and the previous understandings consigned to history. There are those who continue to deny the intelligence and scientific traditions of Indigenous people. The idea that the only true science is that of Western thinking must be consigned to history.’

Read more ›
Suture Shock: Humanity goes under the knife

Suture Shock: Humanity goes under the knife

As we become ever more remote from ‘meatspace’, it’s worth considering the role the scalpel and the needle may play in that development.

Read more ›
Not the debate we need: On mitochondrial donation

Not the debate we need: On mitochondrial donation

If a society consisted of human beings who had been partly engineered or edited, would we think about human life in the same way or would we lose a sense of reciprocity with others?

Read more ›
It’s the stupidity, stupid! On technocratic populism

It’s the stupidity, stupid! On technocratic populism

Even as it grows more menacing in point of imagery and political polemic, the Australian iteration of the anti-lockdown/anti-vaccination movement (if indeed it is a movement) still has the air of cosplay about it.

Read more ›
Identity Crisis: Radical Gender Theory and the Left

Identity Crisis: Radical Gender Theory and the Left

In his latest series of documentaries Can’t Get You Out of My Head (reviewed by Guy Rundle in Arena Quarterly No. 6), sociologist and filmmaker Adam Curtis focuses on a number of individuals who sit at the uneasy intersection of modern individualism, an increasingly technologised vision of the human mind and human behaviour, and a liberatory politics denuded of grand historical narratives.

Read more ›
Go Slow and Break Things

Go Slow and Break Things

The short decade between the global debt crisis and the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency was a time of great excitement on the Left. Like the devil in Baudelaire’s The Generous Gambler, capitalism’s power had been based on its ability to convince the world that it didn’t exist; but in the months and years after the financial meltdown, its tail and trotters were distinctly visible to anyone who cared to look.

Read more ›
‘The First Cry of a Newborn World’: The Trinity Test at 75

‘The First Cry of a Newborn World’: The Trinity Test at 75

The footage is black and white, and silent, but it still has the power to shock: the sudden violent flash of light, so bright that for a second or two the horizon is invisible; the massive pyrocumulus cloud rising up over the arid valley; the way the night sky seems to quiver and throb as the light from the explosion fades.

Read more ›