Migrants, Greece’s Varoufakis, GMOs and Ashley Madison: F&O this week

Migrants, hoping to cross into Hungary, walk along a railway track outside the village of Horgos in Serbia, towards the border it shares with Hungary, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
Migrants, hoping to cross into Hungary, walk along a railway track outside the village of Horgos in Serbia, towards the border it shares with Hungary, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

Alan and Ghalib Kurdi. Photo from Facebook page In Memory of Kurdi Family
Alan and Ghalib Kurdi. Photo from Facebook, In Memory of Kurdi Family

We focus first this week on Europe’s refugee crisis. The migration of desperate people did not begin overnight, and as always F&O’s line up includes recent news, deep context, and some opinion:

In F&O’s other sections:

Yanis-Varoufakis Photo by Jörg Rüger, Creative Commons
Yanis-Varoufakis Photo by Jörg Rüger, Creative Commons

 Yanis Varoufakis in conversation, as Syriza splinters and Greek election beckons. By Yanis Varoufakis et al

The Conversation asked nine leading academics what their questions were for former Greek finance minister Dr. Yanis Varoufakis, a man who describes himself as an “accidental economist.” His answers reveal regrets about his own approach during a dramatic 2015, a withering assessment of France’s power in Europe, fears for the future of Syriza, a view that Syriza is now finished, and doubts over how effective Jeremy Corbyn could be as leader of Britain’s Labour party. 

Nice Guys Don’t Go Looking, by Penney Kome (*unlocked)

Big news! The Ashley Madison website lied, and 35 million men  fell for it. Married men who told themselves they were willing to risk everything for a quick guilt-free fling, now find out just how much they’ve risked. Two suicides might be linked to the hack! That’s dramatic. That bleeds, so that story leads. But there’s another story here too. Women avoided Ashley Madison like the plague. They not only spotted the duplicity, they rejected the premise. 

Facts, or fictions? How PR flacks exploit Wikipedia. By Taha Yasseri

If you heard that a group of people were creating, editing, and maintaining Wikipedia articles related to brands, firms and individuals, you could point out, correctly, that this is the entire point of Wikipedia. It is, after all, the “encyclopedia that anyone can edit”. But a group has been creating and editing articles for money. Wikipedia administrators banned more than 300 suspect accounts involved, but those behind the ring are still unknown.

Can we use genetic engineering to save species? Should we? By Greg Breining (*unlocked)

To some, GMOs are the antithesis of green. Greenpeace calls them “genetic pollution,” warning on its website that “GMOs should not be released into the environment since there is not an adequate scientific understanding of their impact on the environment and human health.” But scientists — still a minority — are beginning to wonder if genetic engineering can be used to help organisms adapt to change and actually increase the biodiversity of the planet. 

 WILFRED BURCHETT: A journalist’s “warning to the world,” By Tom Heenan

On September 5, 1945, Wilfred Burchett was the first Western journalist to enter Hiroshima after the bombing and was shocked by the devastation.  Under the banner “I write this as a warning to the world”, Burchett described a city reduced to “reddish rubble” and people dying from an unknown “atomic plague”. Burchett’s report has been dubbed the “scoop of the century”. At the time it was ignored.

Wes Craven in 2010. Photo by Bob Bekian  Creative Commons
Wes Craven, in 2010. Bob Bekian, Creative Commons

 In Arts:

 Physician Heal Thyself: Sharon Pollock, a Brief Encounters column by Brian Brennan (*subscription)

Canadian playwright Sharon Pollock didn’t know what to expect when she wrote a play called Doc about her workaholic physician father. Her father’s reaction surprised her. 

WES CRAVEN: the scream of our times. By Jane Witherspoon (video) and Lance Duerfahrd (essay) (*unlocked)

Only an obituary as messy as an autopsy could honor the passing of Wes Craven, the slasher-film maven who  died on August 30 at age 76. Blood flows generously in Craven’s films, which tread a delicate line between visceral impact and franchise-worthy digestibility.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. proves spy spoofs are back in business. By James Smith (*unlocked)

The hammy spy spoof is back in the game. And now Guy Ritchie has jumped on the bandwagon. With the release of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a remake of the popular 1960s television series of the same name, he joins a long line of authors and filmmakers who have satirised spying or spoofed the conventions of the spy thriller.

Note to readers: Jonathan Manthorpe is travelling. His column will return on September 18. 


In case you missed them, our recent stories include:



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