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In the grim days of the Cold War with the threat of global nuclear war hanging over us who could have imagined that Communism would undergo a total collapse that the Soviet Union would disintegrate and that Russia would rapidly become a poor country controlled by gangsters Our world now has an immediacy of contact never experienced before Technology has brought all of humanity together and nearly everything can be watched live--war in the Middle East ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and people dying of starvation and disease in Africa Whereas it once took days or weeks for news to travel and a year for an influenza epidemic to spread news can now be transmitted instantaneously and a new virus can spread all over the world in 24 hours All around there is evidence of the impact of science on society This is so obvious and so well known that little more remains to be said about it Science and the technologies it has spawned form the basis of all human activity from the houses that we live in the food that we eat the cars that we drive to the electronic gadgetry in almost every home that we use to remain informed and entertained Yet despite these technological innovations there are many paradoxes that still exist In advanced societies an increasing proportion of national wealth is now spent on health and recreation and large sums of money are devoted to military enterprises while in the underdeveloped world famine and pointless wars still claim a terrible toll of human lives malnutrition and disease are still rife and even the basic necessities of life such as food and shelter cannot be provided for all There is no doubt that great advances could be made in the treatment of malaria and other parasitic diseases that afflict more than half of the worlds population but the people who have
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