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Arsenical Pesticides in Early Francoist Spain: Fascism, Autarky, Agricultural Engineers and the Invisibility of Toxic Risks

Abstract

Lead arsenate was introduced on a massive scale in agriculture in Spain in the early 1940s. With the support of a network of agricultural engineers, the new Francoist state encouraged the production and use of lead arsenate as the main weapon against a newly arrived pest, the Colorado potato beetle. In this paper I discuss arsenical pesticides as sociotechnological products which played a pivotal role in the joint production of both chemical-based agriculture and the emerging Francoist regime in Spain during the 1940s. I review the campaigns organized by agriculture engineers and the making of the new National Register for Phytosanitary Products in 1942. The new regulations promoted research in pesticide quality control but also contributed to concealing the health hazards. This invisibilization of the risks took shape in the confluence of interests of the emerging Francoist state, the new pesticide industry, and the large network of agricultural engineers.

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Being “completely half afraid to think”: Confronting the Absurd in Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman

Abstract

In order to demonstrate an aspect in which the novel is relatable to the canon of absurdism and enrich the view of dimensions in which it functions, the purpose of the following article is a reading of Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman in relation to the Absurd as an ontological category of existentialism and absurdism. Firstly, some assumptions already made on account of the novel are introduced. Secondly, the relevant and chosen characteristics of the Absurd are summarized in relation to Kierkegaard’s and Camus’s conceptions of the Absurd. Then, the novel is interpreted in relation to the insufficiency of human knowledge and rational thought in terms of achieving comprehension transcending existence. Lastly, the novel is interpreted in relation to the narrator’s fear of death, with death as an element transcending existence and adding to its irrationality. Overall, the way in which the novel depicts a specific contraction resulting in the Absurd is illustrated.

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Communicating Science and Technology. Gradiva’s Books of Popularization of Science and Technology and the Portuguese Public

Abstract

By focusing on the books of popularization of science and technology published by Gradiva this research aims at understanding the mechanisms and strategies to bring science and technology to a broader audience in Portugal, after 1974, the year of the Carnation Revolution that put an end to a long half century dictatorship. I use a mix conceptual framework: on the one hand, I use the scientific literacy and public understanding of science and technology main references to explore the public’s behavior and opinion concerning scientific and technological knowledge; on the other hand, I analyze Gradiva’s choices concerning the collections aimed at popularizing science and technology. So, I hope to contribute to map the perception of the Portuguese public about techno-scientific themes that influence their life and decisions, to understand how scientists relate to scientific and technological popularization literature and to assess scientific literacy in the Portuguese population.

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The concept of happiness in Night Zoo

Abstract

This paper deals with a psychoanalytic interpretation of the titular story. It is part of the first volume in the Hungarian anthology series entitled Night Zoo – An Anthology of Women’s Sexuality (‘Éjszakai Állatkert – Antológia a női szexualitásról’). The analysis focuses on the story Night Zoo (‘Éjszakai Állatkert’) written by Zsófia Bán according to Freud’s personality theory. The theory regards our psyche as divided into three parts. The id is the instinctual part of our mind that represents our sexual and hidden desires, the superego contains the moral conscience and the norms, and the ego mediates between the wishes of the id and the rules of the superego. The chosen short story seems to revolve around unfulfilled love between two people. But after critical reading, it is obvious that this is not a love story of two people, but the relationship lies between the narrator and her unfulfilled desires. There is an immense conflict between instincts and social expectations. The narrator’s id has a desire; she just wants to be happy and have harmony in her life. But the superego does not allow her to fulfill the desire. The ego is therefore instrumental in deciding what the correct decision is.

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Confronting the International Order: Changes in US Foreign Policy from the Perspective of American Power Elites

Abstract

The aim of this article is to present the most important voices on the role of the US in the international order during Donald Trump’s presidency in the debate held in the Foreign Affairs. The authors assume that Foreign Affairs expresses the opinions of the most crucial organisation bringing together the elites of American foreign affairs – the Council on Foreign Relations. The paper proposes a hypothesis according to which there is a difference of opinion due to the adopted theoretical perspective regarding Trump’s role in the destruction of the liberal international order among the American power elites, even though they agree that the ideological conflict between democratic and authoritarian countries around the world is escalating.

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Does China’s Aid in Africa Affect Traditional Donors?

Abstract

China’s role as an emerging aid provider and the concept of a social plan in Africa has led to polarised responses in the West. Several say that this “productivist” strategy is much less determined by the concepts of citizenship, legal, social rights, and much more regarding building functions. The purpose of this study is to examine whether the welfare and social policy ideas that characterize Chinese aid in Africa are influencing traditional donors and becoming global. The article utilised a qualitative study that has two main components. First, a comprehensive content analysis of over 50 key Sino-African, Chinese and Western policy documents from 2000 (since cooperation between Beijing and African countries first became institutionalised). Second, there were semi-structured interviews with Chinese, African and Western stakeholders in Addis Ababa, (Ethiopia), who was directly involved in the relationship between China and Africa and related development issues. The result of documentation and interview analyses show that there are currently significant differences between Chinese and Western approaches. China has made much stronger and more explicit links between development aid and economic activity than most Western donors. The aid is usually implemented through specific projects rather than broader programs or policies.

Open access
Dominance of the Digital (1990–2016)

Abstract

This talk presents the theme that anchors the new third edition of Leonardo to the Internet: Technology and Culture from the Renaissance to the Present, which is organized around technical-economic-political “eras” spotlighting the long-term interactions of technology and culture. The book’s first edition (2004) concluded with an optimistic assessment of global culture, then added a pessimistic assessment of systemic risk (2011). The eras point to socio-economic structures that foster and channel the development of certain technologies (and not others). This approach steers for a middle ground between social constructivism and technological determinism. This talk analyzes Moore’s Law (1975–2005), widely hailed to explain, well, everything. By 1975 Gordon Moore appeared to accurately “predict” the doubling every 18 months of the number components on each integrated circuit. During these years chips expanded from roughly 2,000 to 600 million transistors; more important the “law” guided a technical revolution and an industry transformation. At first national and then international cooperative “roadmapping” exercises predicted the exact dimensions of chips in the future, and semiconductor companies all aimed exactly where their peers were aiming. So Moore’s Law is a self-fulfilling prophecy supported for three decades by inter-firm cooperation and synchronized R&D.

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Donald Trump’s Administration Confronting Missile Defence: Key Challenges and Probabilistic Overview

Abstract

The text describes main US missile defence efforts in the first years of D. Trump’s administration. The analysis of current aspects of BMD (Ballistic Missile Defence) deployments is enhanced by probability analysis examining missile defence reliability. Donald Trump took office in the time of increased military competition between the West and Russia and a dangerous regional crisis related to North Korean nuclear arsenal and its ballistic tests. BMD appeared to bring additional chances to US deterrence options in regional scale, allowing more successful first strike or active defence posture. Notably, D. Trump’s administration managed to raise defence expenditures including BMD spending.

Open access