From the monthly archives:

February 2024

Sunday photoblogging: Rust

by Chris Bertram on February 4, 2024


Ethics Lab Yaoundé Fundraiser

by Ingrid Robeyns on February 2, 2024

One source of the Global Academic Gap is that many universities and academic resources in the Global South are underresourced (sometimes massively so). If there is no money to pay for a generator to deal with electricity blackouts, or in case there is no money to hire scholars, then it’s hard to even start doing research. And if we want to strengthen entire fields in a resource-poor country, we will also need resources for people to build the academic networks that we take so much for granted in (most) of the Global North (even when acknowledging that within the Global North there are also significant inequalities in budgets).

About 9 or 10 years ago, my institute hosted a visiting researcher – Thierry Ngosso. Thierry is from Cameroon, but did his PhD in Louvain-la-Neuve and held post-doc positions in Harvard and Sankt Gallen. For years, he tiredlessly prepared the launch of the EthicsLab in Yaoundé, now 5 years ago. Many political philosophers and ethicists from the global North and Africa met there, and discussed ethical and philosophical questions for several days. And of course, over tea-breaks and meals, we also discussed the many challanges that building an EthicsLab in Cameroon entailed.

Thierry and his friends are putting together another conference, to mark the fifth aniversary of the EthicsLab, and to strenghten the activities and networks of the EthicsLab. But they need financial support – for the conference, and for the EthicsLab more generally. It would be very ironic that they would end up with a scenario whereby there would be many more well-funded scholars from the US and Europe than from neighbouring African countries at this conference, only because of the global maldistribution of money. That’s why Thierry and his friends have started a fundraiser for the EthicsLab.

I just donated, and feel it’s a privilege to be able to make a small contribution to this fantastic initiative. Please join me in making a donation, if you are so inclined. Thank you!

Occasional Article: Cats Are Perfect

by Doug Muir on February 1, 2024

RIPLEY: How do we kill it, Ash? There’s gotta be a way of killing it – how, how do we do it?

ASH: You can’t.

PARKER: That’s bullshit!

ASH: You still don’t understand what you’re dealing with, do you? A perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.

LAMBERT: You admire it…

ASH: I admire its purity. A survivor. Unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.

* * *
Okay, this one is short.  In an interview, an evolutionary biologist explains why cats are, in an evolutionary sense, perfect.  There are big cats and little cats, but otherwise they vary surprisingly little in shape, diet and behavior.  They’re all doing one thing and they’re all doing it superbly well.
[click to continue…]