Articles on MIT Press

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Understanding how the world works as a system is vital. Rigmarole

Does science literacy matter? Yes, and here’s why

When the email notice for The Weekend Conversation landed on Saturday, I was intrigued and slightly startled by the opening teaser from the site’s Science + Technology editor, Paul Dalgarno. He got one…
The urban civilisation drawn to cities innovates and enriches. Even in Melbourne. melburnian/Flickr

In search of a formula with which to build better cities

When Isaac Newton produced his Laws of Motion in 1687, it led to speculation that his new gravitational force could explain the social forces between people. Thinkers put forward various arguments for…
Technology such as the iPad has been found to affect our wellbeing both positively and negatively. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

We could be superheroes: the era of positive computing

Digital technologies have made their way into all aspects of our lives that influence our wellbeing - affecting everything from social relationships and curiosity to engagement and learning. Psychologists…
Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones as psychiatrists discussing the treatment of Side Effects’ protagonist Emily Taylor. Village Roadshow

Side effects of the Hollywood treatment: pharma ethics dumped for thriller plot

When a drug returns more than a billion dollars in sales, it hits blockbuster status. So, notching up over US$11 billion in 2011 antidepressants are bona fide showstoppers. But these little pills have…
Drugs treat symptoms but do nothing to help people navigate depression. Shutterstock

Treating depression ethically requires more than drugs

Spot the problem in this scenario. Richard* is stressed. While he’s a high-flyer (a Rhodes Scholar no less), he’s under the pump at work and has just moved his family across nations. The job is taking…
From hot property to unwanted waste: it’s time to rethink the way we design, produce and reuse new products. Obsolete computer image from

A cooler planet by design

Many of us get frustrated with the slow pace of international action on climate change. But powerless as we feel, we can still make a difference by rethinking the way we design our lives. Design is rarely…
Worrying about the future is bad for your survival - have we evolved to prefer optimism? Vassilis Galanos

How we evolved to reject climate science

Is it any wonder so many people turn their back on climate science? Who wants to hear - as the World Bank told us today - we’re heading for a four-degree-warmer world, with more heatwave deaths and life-threatening…
Lance Armstong listens to the national anthem on the podium after winning the 2005 Tour de France. EPA/SRDJAN SUKI

The Lance Armstrong paradox: how saving lives can be wrong

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has officially upended the Elysian podium that held Lance Armstrong aloft as victor of seven Tours de France. Its ruling comes in the wake of the damning judgement…
If saving lives is the goal, a ban on tobacco looms large to anyone who cares to look. David Hegarty

Why banning cigarettes is the next step in tobacco control

The Federal government’s High Court win on cigarette plain packaging is another sign that the carcinogenic mist is dispersing to finally reveal the smoking elephant in our collective lounge room. The pachyderm…

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