The Shape of Water offers a clever allegory to Donald’s Trump’s presidency, with Michael Shannon’s character (on the left) representing some of the president’s worst qualities. (Kerry Hayes/Fox Searchlight Pictures)

The Shape of Water: An allegorical critique of Trump

Not everyone can escape to the ocean's depths to avoid the Trump presidency, but we can escape to the movies. 'The Shape of Water' reminds audiences of the humanity of those who are marginalized.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been described as a Byzantine Emperor in style, positioning Russia as the “third Rome.” In western history books, on the other hand, the Bzyantine Empire is all but ignored, pointing as it does to the east. AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

The Byzantine history of Putin’s Russian empire

Russian president Vladimir Putin draws upon the imperial symbols of the Byzantine Empire to position Russia as the "third Rome." Meanwhile, Byzantium is erased by western history books.
Chadwick Boseman (T'Challa ) and Lupita Nyong'o (Nakia) in Black Panther (2018). In the film, natural hair is used as a social identifier. Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Pictures

The politics of black hair: an Australian perspective

Stigma about black or African hair reflects deep-seated politics around race and history.
Blood has always been a symbol of life and has been thought to counteract the ageing process. Mai Lam/The Conversation NY-BD-CC

Young blood: magic or medicine?

Recent scientific studies have claimed that transfusions of blood from teenagers can help delay or reverse the ageing process. Do they stack up?
The newly nominated secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, is a foreign policy hawk who opposes the Iran nuclear deal. Scrapping it could unleash a chain reaction of violence across the Middle East. AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Pompeo’s rise will make Mideast war more likely

Trump's pick to lead the State Department believes Iran is 'intent on destroying America.' But ending the Iran nuclear deal could unleash a violent chain reaction, a Mideast scholar says.
Jakarta’s traffic system is one of many facets of the city that could be improved by smart cities technologies, but at what cost? Vasenka Photography/Flickr

Three scenarios show we have to think carefully about ethics in designing smart cities

Governments are using Big Data to design improvements and upgrades of cities. But ethical questions need to be considered, lest we end up jeopardising citizens' privacy or deepen social inequalities.
Aung San Suu Kyi has lost much of her goodwill since the 2017 Rohingya crisis. Hein Htet/AAP

After the Rohingya crisis, Aung San Suu Kyi will come to the ASEAN summit with her reputation tarnished

When Aung San Suu Kyi led her party to victory in 2015, many hoped Myanmar's worst days were behind them. But the government's complicity in the Rohingya crisis has tarnished her reputation.

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