Science

White House plan for FBI Internet spying

By Martin McLaughlin, 10 August 1999

A vast new computer monitoring system, controlled by the FBI, would be established under a plan being discussed with the Clinton administration, it was reported last week. According to a draft document obtained by a civil liberties group opposed to the plan, and leaked to the New York Times, the FBI would be given sweeping new powers to spy on all computer-related activities by federal government employees.

The Moon landings in historical perspective

By Martin McLaughlin, 20 July 1999

Thirty years ago--at 4:17 p.m., American Eastern Daylight Time, July 20, 1969--Neil Armstrong and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin became the first men to land on the Moon. The astronauts of Apollo XI were followed by ten more, in the series of six Apollo missions that made successful landings on the Moon.

New techniques to boost the Internet's capacities

By Luciano Fernandez, 16 July 1999

The rapidly increasing demands being placed on international communications networks are fueling some remarkable technical developments in the field of fibre optics.

Huge pollution cloud discovered over Indian Ocean

By Perla Astudillo, 30 June 1999

A recent scientific investigation has identified a huge cloud of atmospheric pollution covering some 10 million square kilometres of the Indian Ocean—an area approximately the size of the United States. The unusual haze was discovered as part of the Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX), which is investigating how pollutants are carried through the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean.

Censorship in the Information Age

How the British government failed to suppress list of MI6 agents

By Mike Ingram, 18 May 1999

The speed with which a list of purported MI6 agents spread across the Internet last week confirmed the worst fears of the powers-that-be regarding the development of the Internet as a medium of mass communication.

A postmodernist attack on science

The End of Science, Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age by John Horgan, Little Brown and Company, 1996

By Chris Talbot, 18 May 1999

John Horgan is a science journalist who writes for Scientific American. His book was originally published in 1996, updated in 1997 and recently brought out as a paperback. It is a collection of interviews with dozens of leading scientists, to which Horgan has added also his own reflections and opinions on the state of modern science. Whilst many of the interviews are interesting in their own right, the book's main significance is Horgan's attack on science from a postmodernist standpoint. It is symptomatic of an anti-science trend which has emerged in the last decade or so.

New fossil find provides important clues to man's prehistory

By Frank Gaglioti, 5 May 1999

The April 23 issue of the Science magazine announced the discovery of the fossilised remains of a new species of hominid [human ancestor], which provides important clues into the early history of human beings. The find was made by a multinational team of scientists headed by Ethiopian anthropologist Dr. Berhane Asfaw.

First extra-solar planetary system discovered

By Chris Talbot, 22 April 1999

The first discovery of a planetary system around a star similar to our sun was announced on April 15. Three planets the size of Jupiter are now known to be circling around the star Upsilon Andromedae, which lies in the Milky Way galaxy. Because of the unusual size and orbits of the planets, one of the researchers involved, Debra Fischer of San Francisco State University (SFSU), said, "It implies that planets can form more easily than we ever imagined, and that our Milky Way is teeming with planetary systems."

UK Internet libel case could set dangerous precedent

By Mike Ingram, 16 April 1999

Demon Internet, one of the oldest UK Internet Service Providers (ISP), is currently fighting a legal battle against a libel case brought by scientist Laurence Godfrey. Its origins lie in a previous action brought by Godfrey against Michael Dolenga, a Canadian citizen who is reported to have posted libelous messages in a Usenet discussion group. Godfrey claimed to have asked Demon to remove this and another offending material posted in groups hosted by Demon. He claims the present action stems from the ISP's refusal to do so.

New findings present theoretical challenge

Universe expanding faster than expected

By Peter Symonds, 17 March 1999

"There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Hamlet, Act 1, Scene V

Privacy rights threatened by Intel's new computer chip

By James Brookfield, 5 March 1999

Electronic privacy advocates have filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and launched a boycott campaign against Intel over the company's introduction of a new computer chip that threatens to compromise the privacy and democratic rights of computer users.

Hackers shut down East Timor Internet addresses

By Mike Ingram, 3 March 1999

A concerted attack involving simultaneous hacking from five countries caused an Irish Internet Service Provider (ISP) to switch off its systems last month. Connect-Ireland, the company affected, believes the Indonesian government is behind the attack.

Free Internet providers boost UK access

By Mike Ingram, 19 February 1999

A proliferation of free Internet access availability over the past six months has had a significant impact on Internet usage in the United Kingdom.

A materialist examination of human consciousness

Nancy Russell reviews Consciousness Explained by Daniel C. Dennett

20 January 1999

Daniel C. Dennett's book Consciousness Explained, published in 1991, has been at the center of a large body of debate. Aimed at both the lay person and the scientist, the book became a bestseller and was described by the New York Times as one of the 10 best books of that year.

The joy of science

A review of Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins

By Barry Mason, 8 January 1999

Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins, published by Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, £20, ISBN 0-713-99214-X

Breakthrough in theoretical math

After 300 years, computers facilitate solution to Kepler Stacking Problem

By Trevor Johnson, 6 January 1999

Professor Thomas Hales of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced last year that he had posted on the Internet the solution to a seemingly simple problem that has taxed the brains of some of the finest mathematicians for 300 years. If the proof is accepted as complete (which now seems likely), Kepler's Stacking Problem will have been solved through a combination of human ingenuity and the power of modern computers. The solution, posted by Professor Hales at http://www.math.lsa.umich.edu/~hales/countdown contains 250 pages of logic, and the use of mathematical programs requiring huge amounts of storage space.

An attack on democratic rights

Former CompuServe executive convicted in Internet censorship case

By James Brookfield, 2 June 1998

The May 28 conviction of a former CompuServe executive in Munich, Germany highlights growing attempts to bring the Internet under government control and to restrict the exchange of information and opinion on the computer network. While the executive, Felix Somm, was officially tried for fostering the dissemination of pornography, this charge was groundless and served simply as a smokescreen for an attack on democratic rights.

Netscape highlights World Socialist Web Site

25 March 1998

Netscape browser highlights World Socialist Web Site

Carl Sagan (1934-1996): An appreciation

By Joseph Bradshaw, 13 January 1997

Detailed discussion of his work and materialist outlook, and includes a focus on his attitude to Trotsky.

The fate of Soviet genetics

By Frank Gaglioti, 4 October 1996

The intellectual heritage of the Russian Revolution in the arena of science as in other fields is largely unknown and buried. It has suited the purposes of the ideologues of capitalism to equate Soviet science with the limited and sometimes bizarre scientific results produced in the stifling intellectual atmosphere engendered by Stalinism.

Fermat's last theorem

A seventeenth century puzzle solved

By Peter Symonds, 31 December 1969

The following article was first published on July 23, 1993 in Workers News, the newspaper of the Socialist Labour League, the forerunner to the Socialist Equality Party (Australia).