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Technology enabling the business of government

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The mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) is an atypical nuclear receptor. In principle, it may seem a mere receptor with a specific ligand and an evident role: […] Read more

Invited Researcher

Author: Tomás Ruiz-Lara is a researcher at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias It is commonly said that Astronomy is an observational science. We cannot […] Read more

Invited Researcher

Author: Pablo Ranea is a postdoctoral scientist at Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute – IDIBELL Sometimes, scientists give very good news, and in 2017 we have […] Read more

Author: Iván Rivera is an engineer working in Spanish and European RD projects, conceiving and bringing to market innovative products and services for the […] Read more

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Author: Jaume Navarro is an Ikerbasque Research Professor at the University of the Basque Country In 1951, the physicist Paul A.M. Dirac called for […] Read more

Invited Researcher

Author: Adrián Matencio is pursuing a PhD at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – A, Faculty of Biology, University of Murcia, where […] Read more

Sir Humphy Davy, in a discourse delivered at the Royal Society in 1825 said:

Fortunately science, like that nature to which it belongs, is neither limited by time nor by space. It belongs to the world, and is of no country and of no age. The more we know, the more we feel our ignorance; the more we feel how much remains unknown; and in philosophy, the sentiment of the Macedonian hero can never apply, — there are always new worlds to conquer.

Every time we make a new scientific discovery we sense where the limit of knowledge is, we feel where ignorance begins. Science is, for certain, what we think we know, but more precisely, it is being aware of the boundaries of the unknown.

In another layer, much of what we know about Donald Trump has been gleaned through images. He is a master of branding, a reality TV star who has long been a tabloid favorite. By choosing not to shoot Trump head on, the Time cover almost offers us a “behind the scenes” glimpse of the man who has spent so much of his time in front of the camera –heightening the conspiratorial tone and complicity of the viewer. The highly posed and processed nature of the photograph offers yet another level of irony.

Finally, we must note the ominous shadow lurking on the backdrop. It’s a small, but important and clever detail. Just as this image provides us with two theoretical points of view, it also provides us with two Trumps —Trump the president-elect, and the specter of Trump the president, haunting in the wings, waiting to take form.

The Chair

Nadav Kander / Time Magazine

The masterstroke, the single detail that completes the entire image, is the chair. Trump is seated in what looks to be a vintage “Louis XV” chair (so named because it was designed in France under the reign of King Louis XV in the mid 18th century). The chair not only suggests the blindly ostentatious reigns of the French kings just before the revolution, but also, more specifically, the reign of Louis XV who, according to historian Norman Davies, “paid more attention to hunting women and stags than to governing the country” and whose reign was marked by “debilitating stagnation,” “recurrent wars,” and “perpetual financial crisis” (sound familiar?).

The brilliance of the chair however, is visual rather than historical. It’s a gaudy symbol of wealth and status, but if you look at the top right corner, you can see a rip in the upholstery, signifying Trump’s own cracked image. Behind the bluster, behind the glowing displays of wealth, behind the glittering promises, we have the debt , the tastelessness, the demagoguery, the racism, the lack of government experience or knowledge (all of which we unfortunately know too well already). Once we notice the rip, the splotches on the wood come into focus, the cracks in Trump’s makeup, the thinness of his hair, the stain on the bottom left corner of the seat — the entire illusion of grandeur begins to collapse. The cover is less an image of a man in power than the freeze frame of a leader, and his country, in a state of decay. The ghostly shadow works overtime here — suggesting a splendor that has already passed, if it ever existed at all.

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