Reading Research Blog

How will technology shape the future of humanity?

What will the future of humanity look like? Ahead of tonight’s Albert Wolters annual lecture on consciousness, autonomy and responsibility by philosopher Daniel Dennett, we asked five Reading academics what big changes to technology are going to do for us in the coming decades.

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Palm oil: an EU ban won’t save Asian rainforests, but here’s what might help

Banning palm oil may do more harm than good by diverting its sale to markets with fewer environmental checks and balances, says Reading environmental economist Professor Elizabeth Robinson, in a new post co-authored for The Conversation. Instead, she writes, supporting sustainable palm oil grown on degraded land might help save tropical forests.

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Net Zero: how do we get there?

The UK could cut greenhouse gas emissions to nearly zero by 2050 and lead the way in tackling global warming, according to a new report released today by the government’s independent adviser on climate change. Environmental economist Professor Liz Robinson looks at the changes that we can make to meet this goal – many of which will have little effect on our current lifestyles.

When we hear presidents or radio presenters asking if we all need to stop flying tomorrow, stop driving our cars tomorrow, or become vegan overnight, it is all somewhat frustrating and tedious. Achieving “net zero” emissions in the next few decades is an exciting and realistic prospect, an opportunity, not an inconvenience, and we can all be part of the solution.

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Nuclear weapons might save the world from an asteroid strike – but we need to change the law first

If an asteroid were to head on a collision course towards earth, an Armageddon-style nuclear explosion may well be our best line of defence. But would doing so open us up to a potential space-based nuclear apocalypse instead? Reading Law Professor James A. Green explores the legal issues surrounding the ‘nuclear option’ in a recent post for The Conversation.

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Three lessons for leadership from the Brexit mess

What can political and business leaders learn from the mess that is Brexit? Listen to people, spend time with customers, don’t make assumptions and be as transparent as possible say Henley Business School’s Professor Ben Laker and the University of Cambridge’s Dr Thomas Roulet in a recent post for The Conversation.

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Populism, imperial insects and Cold War era children’s books – new University Research Fellowships awarded in arts, humanities and social sciences

Five Reading academics at the top of their game have been awarded University Research Fellowships  to develop their work in the arts, humanities and social sciences over the next year. Continue reading “Populism, imperial insects and Cold War era children’s books – new University Research Fellowships awarded in arts, humanities and social sciences”

Flood forecasting science informing relief efforts

Scientists at the University of Reading are working with the UK government and aid agencies to provide the latest flood forecasting information for Mozambique. The University’s FATHUM (Forecasts for Anticipatory Humanitarian Aid) project uses the Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS) – part of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service – to inform decisions on where and when to mobilise relief and aid efforts in East Africa. Professor Hannah Cloke writes about the ongoing work in Mozambique, and Siobhan Dolan and Louise Arnal explain the current situations in Canada and Italy, where similar forecasts could be the difference between life and death.

Flooding has occurred in Mozambique, Italy and Canada

Floods of the scale that are currently ravaging Mozambique are devastating for communities. The huge amount of rain that has been dumped by Cyclone Kenneth on already wet ground has nowhere to go other than to run straight down slopes, tearing apart buildings, roads, crops and anything else in its way.

Stories are emerging from aid agencies about the difficulty in reaching remote and vulnerable communities that have been cut off by rising waters and roads that are impassable.

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Parkinson’s: four unusual signs you may be at risk

Do you move around a lot during your sleep? Or have you lost your sense of smell? In a new post for The Conversation, Dr Patrick Lewis (Pharmacy) and collaborator Dr Alistair Noyce, explain how research into Parkinson’s disease is shedding light on changes in the brain that cause such symptoms and could increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s.

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Human agency: are we really in control of what we do?

Are our actions truly under our control? Or are they actually the result of hidden forces that shape our decisions? Professor Emma Borg explores the philosophy of human agency ahead of next month’s Albert Wolters Public Lecture by distinguished American philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett.

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