Feeds

NuLab's fave boffin claims phallocentric conspiracy

Baronness Greenfield discovered to be redundant

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

New Labour's favourite boffin has lost her job - for a very New Labour reason - and has responded with a classically New Labour riposte.

Oxford neuroscientist Susan Greenfield was made redundant from her post as the Director of the Royal Institution after failing to balance the books. The full-time post itself is being abolished. In return, the Life Peer and WiReD magazine UK star is the suing the science charity for sex discrimination.

Greenfield's £22m refurbishment of the Institution's HQ saw it go into the red by £3m, and it had to sell property to balance the books. The refurbishment saw a new cafe bar and restaurant open at Albemarle Street.

The RI (or Ri as it prefers) was founded in 1799, and its Christmas Lectures introduced generations of schoolchildren to science. Greenfield was appointed Director in 1999 and made a life peer in 2001, as one of Tony Blair's "People's Peers" in 2001. Her gender and willingness to offer an opinion made her a high profile choice - she was the Observer newspaper's "Woman of the Year" in 2001.

But was Greenfield the best advertisement for science? You have to wonder, given some of her judgements. One of her first choices of Christmas Lecturer was Captain Cyborg, Kevin Warwick, in 2000.

Meanwhile, Greenfield showed a doggedly deterministic view of humans. Our brains would become irretrievably warped by using social networking websites and Twitter, she said this year. While she once described the urban poor as little more than crude, sensate animals:

"If you're trapped on a sink estate and you don't even know the capital of France because you've been excluded from school, you're stuck in a literal world where all your stimulation comes from your sensations… So is it surprising that you will eat strong, greasy, salty food to stimulate the tastebuds? Or kick down doors, or take drugs? The only way you can drive your brain is by grabbing strong sensations."

That's a good approximation of how New Labour likes to think of the urban poor: irredeemable, menacing, and ripe for a bureaucratic 'behaviour change' programme. You can hear the ghost of Eugenics whistling through that paragraph; the 'remedy' may be different now, but the view of the Morlocks hasn't changed much since Wells' day.

Here's Eric Laithwaite's famously controversial 1974 Christmas lecture on gyroscopes - just because we can:

Cracking stuff. ®

Bootnote You can still buy the Greenfield-endorsed MindFit CDs at £88 a pop.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.