Archive

Plants Under Stress: Why Should We Worry?

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'The green revolution of the 1970s reduced chronic hunger from 40% to 20% of the world population while the population has doubled, but 840 million people are still chronically undernourished. Environmental stress accounts for up to an 80% loss in crop yields which translates into a massive loss of food worldwide. Since plants cannot move, they have developed a complex network of responses to stress that help them survive. Some of these strategies are not necessarily geared to crop productivity though, but rather are the product of evolutionary pressures for individual survival.

The Importance of Social Class Analysis for Sustainability: Reflections on 'The 'Garden'

This documentary – ‘The Garden’ - judiciously follows the journey embarked upon by a community of farmers in South Central Los Angeles as they battle notices of eviction issued by the city council on behalf of a powerful developer.

Hearing Our Voice: The Stigma of Stammering

My contribution to this debate comes from two directions:First I want to give my reactions to the film based on my own experiences of stammering, and receiving speech therapy. Second, I want to talk about how this film might help to change public attitudes towards stammering. This is perhaps the first major film that has treated stammering as the frustrating and painful disability it is, rather than as a source of amusement.

A Churchillian view of the 1930s? Cinematic representations of politics and monarchy in 'The King's Speech'

‘The King’s Speech’ focuses mainly on the relationship between King George VI and his speech therapist Lionel Logue, but the film also introduces audiences to other important historical characters, namely Stanley Baldwin, Neville Chamberlain, and Winston Churchill, and the influential role of the new mass media (radio, film, and the popular press) in Britain.

Stammering and The King's Speech

The film illustrates that there’s just so far you can go with silence, before people start to feel awkward. This seems to be one of the dominant features of stammering, certainly as presented in the film. It is unlike many other disorders of communication where there is typically something going on that the listener is able to work with. In trying to understand the communication disruption of stuttering, it is probably useful to consider the experience of the listener as well as that of the person who stammers.

The Future Is Behind Us: Tissue Engineering, the State of the Art

Human ingenuity knows no bounds, if we consider even just casually the achievements of mankind and the depth of understanding we have acquired of the nature of being in this universe, it beggars the mind to comprehend. The last man who could rightfully claim ‘all knowledge as his domain’ was the polymath Athanasius Kircher who died in 1680. To cope with the avalanche of new knowledge generated since, science and technology has fragmented to such an extent that separate fields of specialised study have emerged in order to facilitate advancement.

The Relationship Between Art and the Soul

Art offers an insight into the soul; indeed, art is proof that we have souls.

How can we account for voluntary servitude? Some sociological thoughts on Never Let Me Go

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When we watch Never Let Me Go, we might be left with a question hanging uncomfortably in the air. It might go something like this: Why didn’t the donors just run away instead of accepting their fate? A central theme within the film might well be that at some point we all have to turn from life and face the inevitability of our own death.

Recognising the relationships between donors and their recipients: The missing ‘others’ in Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go followed the lives of a group of ‘donors’ as they carried out their everyday, routine and mundane existence. Whether one thought the film dull or harrowing, it certainly prompted reflection of one’s own mortality and for me this meant thinking about my personal experience of being a recipient of a transplanted organ. From this position, my main criticism of the film was that it ignored any relationship between donor and recipient, and the value that this relationship might have for both parties.

Black Swan: From the sublime to the...

This was a film I was hoping to enjoy – a female protagonist, ballet, wonderful music, madness and melodrama! Unfortunately, I was on the whole disappointed - it is far more conventional and (for want of a better word) ‘patriarchal’ than this. Within postmodern discourse there is much about the ‘return to the body’, subjectivity, intersubjectivity and agency as well as looking at ideas of abjection, subjection and monstrosity. And there are elements of all of these in this film as well as an impressive performance from Portman etc.