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Geopolitics

Manchester, When Terrorism Aims At Teens

Near Manchester Arena on May 22
Near Manchester Arena on May 22
Jillian Deutsch

News broke shortly after 10:30 p.m. local time Monday night: an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in the northern British city of Manchester. At least 22 people were confirmed dead and 60 injured in an attack authorities are investigating as an act of terrorism. Islamic terror group ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack early Tuesday afternoon, according to AFP.

A lone male suicide attacker is believed to have set off the explosion, and the BBC is reporting that armed police have arrested a 23-year-old man in a town south Manchester early Tuesday in connection with the attack.

The bombing is the second major terror attack to hit Britons this year, after a car mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in March, killing five. As condemnation came in from leaders around the world, people in Manchester are banding together, offering beds and donating blood. EU flags are flying half-mast; and in Paris, the Eiffel Tower will turn off its lights, an act of solidarity for a city that is still grappling with its own trauma of terrorism.

manchester_arena_ariana_grande_terrorism

Manchester Evening News May 23 front page

The first victim has been named as 18-year-old student Georgina Callander. There will be others, no doubt, who are even younger — Grande, an American pop singer, is a favorite among teen and pre-teen girls.

The attack conjured memories of the November 2015 coordinated bombing and shooting attacks in Paris that killed 130. Eighty-nine of the victims were at the Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan concert hall, including many in their teens and twenties.

Until Monday night, Manchester, a city of half-a-million, was known best for its role in England's 19th-century industrial revolution and its celebrated football club. Now, like Paris and Beslan, Sandy Hook and Chibok, the city's history will also be marked by terrorism that specifically targets the most innocent among us.

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Society

Star Trek And The Journey From Science Fiction To Pseudoscience

Fans of Star Trek live in a Golden Age where old and new series are readily available. As one hardcore Trekkie points out, the franchise is a reminder of the similarities and differences between pseudoscience and science fiction.

Image of holographic bodies standing next to each other in an office

Holographic figures of the same person standing beside each other.

Carlos Orsi

-Essay-

For my Trekkie part, I'm still a fan of the old ones: I still remember the disappointment when a Brazilian TV channel stopped airing the original series, and then there was a wait (sometimes years) until someone else decided to show it.

Living deep in São Paulo, Brazil in the 1990s, it was also torturous for me when “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” premiered on a station whose signal was very bad in my city.

I don't remember when I saw the original cast for the first time, but I remember that when Star Trek made the transition to the cinema in 1979, in Robert Wise's film, the protagonists James Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Montgomery Scott (James Doohan) and the Starship Enterprise were already old acquaintances.

And I was only eight years old. Nowadays, given the scarcity of time and attention that are the hallmarks of the contemporary world, I limit myself to following spinoffs Picard and Strange New Worlds and reviewing films made for cinema, from time to time.

So, when a cinema close to my house decided to show the 40th anniversary of The Wrath of Khan (originally released in 1982), I rushed to secure a ticket. And there in the middle of the film, I had a small epiphany: the Star Trek Universe is pseudoscientific!

This realization does not necessarily represent a problem: contrary to what many imagine, science fiction exists to make you think and have fun, not to prepare for a national test).

Yet in a franchise that has always made a lot of effort to maintain an aura of scientific bona fides (Isaac Asimov was a consultant on the first film, and the book The Physics of Star Trek has a preface by Stephen Hawking!), the finding was a bit of a shock.

And what made me jump out of the chair?

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