The Birmingham Brief

The Birmingham Brief - intelligent thought on policy issues.

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Tuesday 22nd March 2011

Libya: A solution worse than the problem?

Libya: A solution worse than the problem?
Description
As the crisis in Libya unfolds and as the US, France and the UK get potentially sucked ever deeper into yet another disastrous military intervention, policy debates and decisions appear to be driven primarily by humanitarian concern. Unsurprisingly, supporters and opponents alike use the humanitarian argument—one side seeks to stop a murderous dictator from slaughtering his own people, the other is concerned about the inevitable civilian casualties and 'collateral damage' caused by airstrikes, no matter how sophisticated the military technology behind them might be.
Date:
Tuesday 22nd March 2011
Categories:
Research, Social Sciences
Friday 18th March 2011

What future for the nuclear industry?

What future for the nuclear industry?
Description
The tragic events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant constitute the worst nuclear disaster in more than two decades. Whilst the human cost is of paramount importance and rightly dominates the headlines there will also be significant implications for the future of the world wide nuclear industry, which suffered a 20 year decline after the partial core meltdown at Three Mile Island and the disaster at Chernobyl. Both events reinforced the negative public perception toward nuclear power that had emerged over the course of the 1970s.
Date:
Friday 18th March 2011
Categories:
Engineering and Physical Sciences, Life and Environmental Sciences, Research
Monday 14th March 2011

Counting the cost of neuroscience research

Counting the cost of neuroscience research
Description
The current demographic trends show that the UK's population is becoming older. As this happens the incidence of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's, dementia and Parkinson's disease is also increasing. This has huge social, economical and political implications – further evidence that understanding how the brain works both in health and disease is a challenge that we need to address urgently before the problem of neurodegeneration becomes more evident.
Date:
Monday 14th March 2011
Categories:
Medical and Dental Sciences, Research
Thursday 11th November 2010

Development of analytical instruments to detect explosives

Development of analytical instruments to detect explosives
Description
The recent terror plot to transport printers containing the explosive pentaerythritol tetranitrate, or PETN, from Yemen to Chicago synagogues has once again focused attention on the need to detect explosives reliably and in real-time. PETN is the same explosive that the so-called 'shoe-bomber' tried to set off on an American Airlines jet to Miami in 2001.
Date:
Thursday 11th November 2010
Categories:
Engineering and Physical Sciences, Research, Social Sciences
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