To Shape the Future

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Does the world of science offer us a view of human society in the future?

Russian astronomer Nikolai Kardashev proposed a scale to rank the development of civilizations going from 1, to 2, to 3. Type 1 civilizations utilise energy from the star at the centre of their solar system; type 2 civilizations can harness the entire energy of output of that star; type 3 civilizations can tap into cosmic sources of power, probably the black holes at the centre of their host galaxy.

Everyone agrees that human civilization is currently type 0 (don’t be downhearted!), but may attain type 1 status in around 200 years if we’re still going. What might that type 1 civilization be like though? Continue reading

To have and to hold…and then to go back to work

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It’s fairly well accepted that in the biological sciences roughly 50% of undergraduates are female, with a 50:50 sex ratio also continuing to postgraduate level (see HERE for US data). At postdoc there’s either parity or a slight skew towards men, and thereafter a steadily climbing rate of male occupancy as one climbs up the higher echelons of academia (LINK). (It’s even more male-biased in the physical sciences)

There has been much hand-wringing about this. Continue reading