Extinction Rebellion uses tactics that toppled dictators – but we live in a liberal democracy

XR protesters getting carried away. Image: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA.

Oscar Berglund, University of Bristol

After occupying parts of central London over two weeks in April, Extinction Rebellion’s (XR) summer uprising has now spread to Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds and Bristol. All these protests involve disruption, breaking the law and activists seeking arrest.

Emotions are running high, with many objecting to the disruption. At the same time, the protests have got people and the media talking about climate change. XR clearly represents something new and unusual, which has the power to annoy or enthuse people. But what led it to adopt such disruptive tactics in its efforts to demand action on climate change? Continue reading

Russian Twitter propaganda predicted 2016 US election polls

Trump’s poll numbers went up after high levels of Russian troll activity, though Clinton’s didn’t go down.
AP/Mary Altaffer, Chuck Burton

Damian Ruck, University of Bristol

When Robert Mueller completed his long-awaited investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, he left many questions unanswered.

But one conclusion was unequivocal: Russia unleashed an extensive campaign of fake news and disinformation on social media with the aim of distorting U.S. public opinion, sowing discord and swinging the election in favor of the Republican candidate Donald Trump. Continue reading

E-cigarettes: why I’m optimistic they will stub smoking out for good

Shutterstock/Lumen Photos

Jasmine Khouja, University of Bristol

There are over a billion smokers across the world – a habit which causes more than 7m deaths per year. We have known that smoking kills for decades, but this simple fact has not been enough to persuade every smoker to quit. Continue reading

Older and poorer communities are left behind by the decline of cash

File 20190515 60554 1gg9he7.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
An increasingly rare sight.
ShutterStockStudio / Shutterstock.com

Daniel Tischer, University of Bristol; Jamie Evans, University of Bristol, and Sara Davies, University of Bristol

A future without cash seems almost inevitable. Recent statistics paint a damning picture: while cash accounted for 62% of all payments by volume in 2006, this dropped to 40% in just a decade and is predicted to fall yet further to 21% by 2026. Continue reading

Climate change: sea level rise could displace millions of people within two generations

File 20190510 183093 1ageusy.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
A small boat in the Illulissat Icefjord is dwarfed by the icebergs that have calved from the floating tongue of Greenland’s largest glacier, Jacobshavn Isbrae.
Michael Bamber, Author provided

Jonathan Bamber, University of Bristol and Michael Oppenheimer, Princeton University

Antarctica is further from civilisation than any other place on Earth. The Greenland ice sheet is closer to home but around one tenth the size of its southern sibling. Together, these two ice masses hold enough frozen water to raise global mean sea level by 65 metres if they were to suddenly melt. But how likely is this to happen? Continue reading

Care under the Rainbow Launch Event on IDAHOT Day 17th May 2019

Introducing a new learning resource for creating inclusive care home environments for older LGBT+ residents.

By Dr Wenjing Zhang and Dr Paul Willis, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol.

17th May 2019 marks IDAHOT Day – International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. This is a significant day for a number of reasons. For LGBT+ groups and organisations it’s about recognising and speaking out against the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people and all other people who belong to sexual and gender minority groups around the world. Continue reading

Children with eczema: the link to food allergies is not clear cut

File 20190425 121224 d7dvpx.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
TassaneeT via Shutterstock

Matthew Ridd, University of Bristol and Robert Boyle, Imperial College London

Around one in five children have eczema – and even mild cases can have a big impact on both the child and their family. For many, symptoms will come and go before they start primary school, but for others it can indicate the beginning of a genetic tendency to develop allergic conditions such as hay fever or asthma (or both). Continue reading

The ‘5 Ts’ of policy engagement: PolicyBristol’s approach to supporting academics

Supporting academics across the University of Bristol to achieve policy impact from their research is a diverse and fascinating job. In the process of doing this, our team at PolicyBristol is constantly learning about new topics; from the value of NHS managers to refugee rightsenhancing peace processes to the role of universities. Continue reading

Women face enough barriers to breastfeeding — incorrect medication advice should not be one of them

File 20190411 44814 3ogeb0.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
New research has found that mothers may be forgoing medication they need in order to breastfeed their babies.
LightField Studios/Shutterstock

Amy Brown, Swansea University; Gretel Finch, University of Bristol, and Heather Trickey, Cardiff University

The challenges many new mothers overcome to breastfeed their babies are well documented. Despite a public health system in the UK that promotes breastfeeding, many do not have access to the support that enables them to do it. Every day, services are being cut, public attitudes are negative, and this is exacerbated by a culture that does not really understand how breastfeeding works and how best to support it. Continue reading