Re: Who are we?

Question: How has Irish identity changed?

Mary Robinson: I would say that the traditional Catholic Ireland that I grew up in was very much focused on the male hierarchical structure starting with the church itself. But women on the whole didn’t work outside the home, and women couldn’t serve on juries. There were all kinds of discriminations, and many of those I went into public life early to tackle. So I was trying to change those circumstances from a very early stage. I think it was a combination of an inner sense of justice, and that sense that women had just as much potential, and that I had the same potential as my brothers which, in fact, my parents very much encouraged.

 

We got our values for the world at a time when the world was extraordinarily anxious.

Are lab–grown embryos and human hybrids ethical?

This spring, a U.S. and Chinese team announced that it had successfully grown, for the first time, embryos that included both human and monkey cells.

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Surprising Science
In Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel “Brave New World," people aren't born from a mother's womb. Instead, embryos are grown in artificial wombs until they are brought into the world, a process called ectogenesis.
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A big lesson from the ‘Oumuamua alienware controversy

Scientists should be cautious when expressing an opinion based on little more than speculation.

Credit: European Southern Observatory/M. Kornmesser
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  • In October 2017, a strange celestial object was detected, soon to be declared our first recognized interstellar visitor.
  • The press exploded when a leading Harvard astronomer suggested the object to have been engineered by an alien civilization.
  • This is an extraordinary conclusion that was based on a faulty line of scientific reasoning. Ruling out competing hypotheses doesn't make your hypothesis right.
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From 1.8 million years ago, earliest evidence of human activity found

Scientists discover what our human ancestors were making inside the Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa 1.8 million years ago.

Credit: Michael Chazan / Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Surprising Science
  • Researchers find evidence of early tool-making and fire use inside the Wonderwerk Cave in Africa.
  • The scientists date the human activity in the cave to 1.8 million years ago.
  • The evidence is the earliest found yet and advances our understanding of human evolution.
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Asteroid impact: NASA simulation shows we are sitting ducks

Even with six months' notice, we can't stop an incoming asteroid.

Credit: NASA/JPL
Surprising Science
  • At an international space conference, attendees took part in an exercise that imagined an asteroid crashing into Earth.
  • With the object first spotted six months before impact, attendees concluded that there was insufficient time for a meaningful response.
  • There are an estimated 25,000 near-Earth objects potentially threatening our planet.
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