Top Harvard Astronomer: The evidence for extraterrestrial life
Professor Avi Loeb on why he risked his reputation to study UFOs
UnHerd’s Florence Read speaks to former Chair of Astronomy at Harvard Prof. Avi Loeb about his most recent report on UFOs.
Marianne Williamson: America needs a Philosopher King
The Democratic challenger talks to Flo Read about her personal crusade for peace
Marianne Williamson, the bestselling self-help author and former Democratic primary candidate, is back in the race to become US President. She is due to announce officially tomorrow, which will make her the first Democrat to put their name in the ring for 2024, before even Joe Biden. In 2020, Williamson (a total political unknown at the time) vied for the progressive vote, but lost out to the better-known Senator Bernie Sanders. Yet since then she has grown a loyal following of young voters who call themselves the ‘Orb Gang’ in reference to her New Age spiritualism. Can a new generation of American voters take her to the White House? I spoke to her from the UnHerd studio to find out. ...
Why vintage conspiracies are back in fashion
The tech-inflected nature of a dystopian pandemic might be to blame
If ever there was a week to be conspiratorial, it was this one. First, four ‘unidentified flying objects’ were shot down in American airspace. Then there was the release of a dossier by veteran Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh claiming to prove America’s part in the Nord Stream pipeline sabotage. And finally, a freight train derailed in Ohio, causing a toxic plume of vinyl chloride to hang over the village of East Palestine. The exact area of the spill had been used just last year as the setting of White Noise, a Netflix adaptation of Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel about an ‘Airborne Toxic Event’. ...
San Francisco considers slave reparations at $5 million each
A member of the city's Reparations Committee defends his proposal
A new policy proposal has demanded $5 million payouts for the descendants of slaves and the victims of ‘historical marginalisation’ in San Francisco. But is the West Coast’s cathedral of hyper-liberal politics ready to put its money where its mouth is? The recent launch of a guaranteed income programme for trans San Franciscans suggests it might be just the place to take up such a radical proposal.
Professor James Lance Taylor teaches African American studies at the University of San Francisco and is one of 15 members of the San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee that wrote the proposal. I spoke to him to discuss the case for reparations. ...
Freddie deBoer: We should forgive Kanye West
What lessons can we take from the public's treatment of the rapper?
In the space of a few months Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, has gone from world-famous rapper to appearing on Alex Jones’s InfoWars praising Hitler. It’s not clear if he will ever recover reputationally from the stigma of this episode.
Here’s the problem: it’s no secret that West has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a condition that could lead to periods of mania and strange or anti-social behaviour. Mental health awareness, as it’s often called, has never been more prominent in public discourse. But does awareness equate to understanding? And are we reserving it for only the most palatable cases? ...
The healing humiliation of Matt Hancock
The MP's stint in the jungle was his most successful embarrassment yet
With Matt Hancock’s departure from the Australian jungle in third place, his reputation (we are informed by YouGov) has been enhanced among British voters. He’s not suddenly a popular figure, but 14% of the population have a more favourable view of him now than they did before, which when you’re Matt Hancock is a welcome move in the right direction. The ritual humiliation of his stint on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here seems to have done the trick.
Six nights a week we were treated to a carnival of social and corporeal mortification. The other contestants gleefully participated in the flogging. They hated Hancock and they didn’t hide it. Even Boy George, a man jailed for chaining an escort to a radiator, didn’t accept him: “I find him slimy, I find him slippery.” He had to shower next to a Hollyoaks hunk and wear spandex shorts beside Mike Tindall. When he wasn’t being bitten by snakes in the challenges, Hancock was being stung by a wild scorpion that had wandered into the camp. The producers hardly had to try. Every flora and fauna in that jungle was out to get him. Evidently the British public would, even in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, spend their wages on votes to torture him. Some trials were biblical (swarms of flies and plagues of rats), some visceral (vats of rotting meat and a camel’s anus) and some downright cruel (chatting to Chris Moyles). ...
Former Russian mercenary: the truth about the Wagner Group
Marat Gabidullin speaks out about the dark inner workings of the military company
In 2015, Marat Gabidullin, a Russian airborne forces veteran and former bodyguard, joined the Wagner Group. The private military company (PMC), infamous for their ruthless military tactics and elite soldiers, is funded by oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin. It first emerged in the Donbas region of Ukraine, stirring up separatist action after the Maidan Revolution of 2014.
Then it spread across the world, propping up military regimes in Africa and the Middle East. Marat was sent to fight in Syria alongside the Russian army supporting President Bashar al-Assad and soon rose to command one of Wagner’s five units there. After being seriously injured on the battlefield, Marat returned to Moscow where he worked for Prigozhin personally as a strategist and assistant. ...
In search of optimism on Hampstead Heath
Not everyone is depressed at the state of things, as I found out last weekend
This year’s HowTheLightGetsIn festival gathered thinkers at Kenwood House, at the top of Hampstead Heath in North London. In between the panels and the discussions, we thought it would be a chance to look for some optimism. The news is full of bleakness and anxiety… would anyone make the case for a positive vision of the next year?