Longitude #56

January, 2016


Science deniers

The war on science
by Lanfranco Vaccari­­

When scientific evidence gets in the way of a given political agenda, then an insidious mechanism of denial sets into motion. These days, science denial may be one of the few aspects of political debate that are truly bipartisan.

Science, civilization and the aboriginal impulse
by Paolo Bianco

Modern man’s restless longing to know the world is the driving force of science. The benefits of our accumulated knowledge have fostered a sense of freedom. Paradoxically, that freedom is too easily confused with a free market contingent on ignorance, which would have us desire an impossible return to a pre-scientific state.

Is the world’s economy safe?

The mysteries of money, oil and war
by Stefano Cingolani

The new year promises even more uncertainty than we saw in 2015. It seems our standard economic and political models are becoming outdated. Perhaps a new understanding is in order.

World economy ups and downs
Map by Marie Joveneau
Yes, you’re the yuan
by Fabrizio Franciosi

As China’s economic strength has grown, its government has cautiously eased its money toward full convertibility. The recent addition of the yuan to the IMF currency basket will have many ramifications, especially in China.


France and the National Front: what now?
by Michele Marchi

The French are now looking at a tri-polar political scenario. The National Front Party, which once made waves at the fringes, is responding to many mainstream concerns. What does that mean for the future of French politics?

Islamic terrorism

Jihadists in America
by Lorenzo Vidino, Seamus Hughes

The Islamic State is now attacking beyond the Muslim world. How they manage to hit the United States will depend on the degree to which American Muslims buy into their message and on law enforcers’ ability to thwart them.

Syrian conflict

No one’s war, everyone’s war
by Maurizio Melani

The nature of the Syrian Civil War is such that external actors have a significant stake, yet they are at cross-purposes. And they don’t wish to overly commit thus far against the supposed common enemy, lest they get tangled into an intractable free-for-all.


by Stash Luczkiw

Ukraine is making slow tumultuous progress in its quest for European integration. While the post-revolution government is generally viewed as more of the same, many people recognize that it is probably better than the alternatives.

Latin America

Latin America’s pink tide
by Maurizio Stefanini

In the past decade many Latin American countries have veered leftward. But there are distinct varieties of leftist governments, and the entire continent offers a wide range of possibilities in contrasting decades of predominately rights leaders.

The Orientalist

No easy fix for Libya
by Ugo Tramballi

With much of the country split between two parliaments, and the rest contested by militias and extremists, there is no easy solution for Libya’s ills. Lack of commitment on the West’s part doesn’t help either.

Inside business

The delayed revolution
by Hermann Simon, Danilo Zatta

So much of our lives are consumed by activities that can now be done more conveniently online. From shopping for gifts to buying books, our daily routines are experiencing a major upheaval.

Warming bloopers

Feat or fraud?
by Carlo Clini

The climate agreement signed in Paris has been hailed as a great achievement by leaders and participants at the Climate Change Conference. Some important critics, however, see it as an outright fraud.