The Birmingham Brief

The Birmingham Brief - intelligent thought on policy issues.

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Thursday 27th March 2014

Instruments of torture

Description
Recent reports of Ukrainian soldiers in a Crimean base blasting out songs by Cher to drown out amplified propaganda onslaughts by the besieging Russian army remind us again that playing music need be neither innocent nor benign. Of course, music and the sound of instruments have been used to military ends at least since Joshua's trumpets flattened the walls of Jericho; a modern parallel might be the US army's 2004 bombardment of Fallujah with high-volume songs by the heavy metal band Metallica.
Date:
Thursday 27th March 2014
Categories:
Arts and Law
Thursday 20th March 2014

Will limiting traffic access to Paris improve air quality?

Will limiting traffic access to Paris improve air quality?
Description
The French authorities are restricting individual vehicle use in Paris to alternate days in order to mitigate an air pollution episode caused by the recent anticyclonic weather which has given much of western Europe settled and sunny conditions over the past week.
Date:
Thursday 20th March 2014
Thursday 13th March 2014

A biomarker for Alzheimer's?

A biomarker for Alzheimer's?
Description
The media are always fascinated by medical 'breakthrough' stories: tales of hope that scientists have found cures for our most threatening diseases and tales of woe that our lifestyles are doing us harm. All too often these stories portray the underlying science as conclusive when at best, it is speculative.
Date:
Thursday 13th March 2014
Thursday 6th March 2014

Sochi Paralympics and Sport Politics

Sochi Paralympics and Sport Politics
Description
The founding fathers of the Paralympics must be turning in their graves. The Sochi Paralympics is the latest in a long list of sports events to be marred by politics.
Date:
Thursday 6th March 2014
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