Nov 16, 2010

Consumers should demand diamond clarity

PRINCETON, New Jersey — Diamonds have an image of purity and light. They are given as a pledge of love and worn as a symbol of commitment. Yet diamonds have led to gruesome murders, rapes and amputations. Charles Taylor, a former president of Liberia ...

Oct 9, 2010

Leaders' broken promises are costing lives

PRINCETON, N.J. — In 2000, the world’s leaders met in New York and issued a ringing Millennium Declaration, promising to halve the proportion of people suffering from extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. They also pledged to halve the proportion of people without safe ...

Sep 16, 2010

If wild fish could only scream

PRINCETON, N.J. — When I was a child, my father used to take me for walks, often along a river or by the sea. We would pass people fishing, perhaps reeling in their lines with struggling fish hooked at the end of them. Once ...

Aug 17, 2010

When does transparency start eating its tail?

PRINCETON, N.J. — Transparency seems to be the word of the day in a wide array of policy domains. But is greater transparency always good? Ever since the financial crisis erupted in 2008, there has been a call for “greater transparency” in financial services. ...

Jul 1, 2010

Why is it OK to cheat in professional soccer?

MELBOURNE — Shortly before half-time in the World Cup elimination match between England and Germany on Sunday, English midfielder Frank Lampard had a shot at goal that struck the crossbar and bounced down onto the ground, clearly over the goal line. German goalkeeper Manuel ...

Jun 16, 2010

Synthetic biology's promise outweighs its risks

MELBOURNE — In the 16th century, the alchemist Paracelsus offered a recipe for creating a living being that began with putting sperm into putrefying “venter equinus.” This is usually translated as “horse manure,” but the Latin “venter” means abdomen or uterus. So occultists now ...

Apr 30, 2010

A cloud over airplane safety

PRINCETON, N.J. — When airports across Europe reopened after the closure caused by the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano, it was not because the amount of ash in the atmosphere had dropped, but because the risk that the ash posed to airplane safety had ...

Apr 5, 2010

The unknown promise of Internet freedom

MELBOURNE, Australia — Google has withdrawn from China, arguing that it is no longer willing to design its search engine to block information that the Chinese government does not wish its citizens to have. In liberal democracies around the world, this decision has generally ...

Mar 11, 2010

Free Tilly and other circus animals

MELBOURNE, Australia — Last month, at the Sea World amusement park in Florida, a whale grabbed a trainer, Dawn Brancheau, pulled her under water, and thrashed about with her. By the time rescuers arrived, Brancheau was dead. The death of the trainer is a ...

Feb 23, 2010

Needs of Haiti and the limits of generosity

MELBOURNE, Australia — All over the world, people have responded generously to the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti. In just three days, more than a million Americans had donated $10 by sending text messages from their cell phones. People with very little themselves, like ...