In the year 1990, Peru seemed a country in the brink of collapse. The Andean nation had gone through decades of successive ideologically-opposed governments that enacted incoherent social and economic policies. The country was battling with one of the world’s highest hyperinflations (7,650%). It also faced a crisis of representation: political parties had lost the trust of the majority of the population. Democracy was also threated by an internal armed conflict, in which the state was battling two sanguinary terrorist groups. The Peruvian Truth Commission estimates the death toll of this conflict at approximately 70,000 people.
The term therapeutic has gained a lot of momentum within the state’s child protection and family welfare services over the past decade, particularly within the provision and practice of foster care placements for teenagers in the UK. The proliferation of this term is due perhaps to a deepening in our understandings of the prevalence of developmental trauma/complex PTSD (Frogley, 2018) throughout the population of young people who are removed from their birth families due to abuse or neglect. Many of these young people may have been exposed to multiple traumas in childhood, as well as the experience of loss and displacement that being taken into state care can create. There is also a growing awareness of impact that these negative past experiences can have on an individual’s level of disadvantage in the personal, social, and economic spheres across one’s lifespan if left unaddressed.
In Guatemala, social protection coverage is marred by significant challenges, particularly in the realm of pensions and healthcare. The inequalities within the pension system are glaring, with only a privileged few, consisting of formal workers from the private and public sectors, enjoying its benefits. Guatemala’s social protection system corresponds to a Global South model where poverty is high (54% below the poverty line, according to the WB) and the high informality (71%) causes a weak collection of taxes. The allocation of resources for social protection is influenced more by political considerations than by a fair distribution of resources. This piece aims to shed light on the main challenges faced by Guatemala’s social protection system and explore potential political changes and reforms that could enhance coverage.
In 1961, a group of architects gathered in a Soho loft to gripe about the inequalities of the world. As they looked around London, they wondered: if they could imagine a better city, would they imagine a better world? My research investigates how 1960s-1970s architects and theoreticians used emerging technology to revolutionize city, and even country, planning.
The 19th century witnessed a growing interest in the visual arts, particularly in the relationships between pictures and text. During this period, two significant debates emerged: the truthful representation of nature and the interplay of line and colour. Scientific advancements in colour pigmentation and dyes revolutionised artistic practices, challenging traditional notions of colour usage and meaning. My research explores the impact of these developments on the works of renowned artists such as J.M.W. Turner and John Ruskin, as well as their integration into the literary landscape through the writings of Thomas Hardy.
Punishing fluorescent lights cast a synthetic glow across the corridors of the high-security facility. Armed guards shuffle nervously at their posts. The eerie quiet is broken intermittently by muffled orders on crackly walkie-talkies. Suddenly, a piercing siren fills the silence. Panicked guards march hurriedly to join the search team. But it’s too late. The prisoner is gone. The guards are terrified – this inmate was bad news.
Exploring the vast and unknown Universe is one of the grandest challenges of humanity. Astronomy, a discipline appearing from ancient times, studies celestial objects and phenomena such as galaxies and cosmic background radiation.
Picture the map room scene from Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark. The titular hero, armed with the recently liberated headpiece of the Staff of Ra, fixes it to long stick and places it within a broad beam of diffuse sunlight penetrating into the underground chamber – revealing a map holding the location of the Well of Souls. The burnished ruby jewel held within the headpiece acts to focus the sunlight into a narrow beam of electromagnetic energy that Indy steers over the map until the white light phase-shifts to red and reveals the location of the Ark of the Covenant.
In 2019, a tech journalist from the US conducted a six-week experiment wherein she lived without using the services of major tech giants – Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple. She summarized her experience as nothing less than ‘hellish.’ Such detox means no more ‘how to’ videos from YouTube, missing out on your friends’ stories and events posted on your Facebook groups, and being unable to participate in conferences hosted on Teams. And forget the convenience of ordering last-minute gifts from Amazon (if you are lucky enough to hear about the occasion in the first place without the built-in channels of these tech giants).
A subway extension is delayed 18 months. The Olympic Games run 800 million over budget. A hydroelectric dam burst causes 100,000 acres of environmental damage.
What does it say that such headlines are greeted with sarcastic shrugs? ‘Wow, what a surprise,’ we muse.
Even with a wealth of historical data, modern technology, and the brightest minds at our disposal, major programmes always seem to run over time, over budget, and underdeliver on their promises. But why?