Loretta Napoleoni is an expert on terrorist financing and money laundering, and advises several governments and international organizations on counter-terrorism. Her new book: North Korea The Country We Love to Hate exposes a nuclear chess game of leverage and politics in which, the threat of war between power players is fuelled by economic needs and ego.

People love to take sides, good vs evil—this predilection creates an addiction to war. Loretta suggests a third option…PEACE between North and South Korea.

Deft strategies and an appetite for power have kept us at a stalemate but could this creative solution nullify the nuclear threat?

Loretta Napoleoni asks: ‘Are we Addicted to War?’

In 2017, North Korea attempted to prove to it is a nuclear power and has the capability to threaten the United Stated. The US response has been mixed: while at times Donald Trump has used a strong belligerent language against Kim Jong-un, including threatening military intervention, the White House adopted a peaceful approach, it mobilised the international community to impose economic sanctions. So far this policy has not being effective for several reasons, among which the peculiarity of the North Korean regime and the impossibility to force Pyongyang to end its nuclear programme.

To many, North Korea is an aberration, the antithesis of democracy: a totalitarian regime, ruled by a dictatorial dynasty that successfully reinvented feudalism. Nicknamed the hermit state, it is so secretive that separating fact from fiction is often problematic. Indeed, the mystery that surrounds it has proven advantageous to depict it as the ultimate dystopian society, an evil benchmark against which the spreading of democracy always appears positive. Even Iraq or Libya are perceived as better regimes than North Korea!

North Korea is the enemy we all love to hate.

Yet, for all the comfort this statement may bring, it fails to comprehensively describe the Pyongyang regime or to address the fundamental question: how do we deal with a nuclear North Korea?

From a more accurate analysis it emerges that the DPRK is a unique and resilient nation. It has survived the implosion of the Soviet Union and the modernization of Chinese communism – its northern neighbours and historical sponsors – without even the slightest attempt to open up to the West. Because of that, it does not fit neatly into any political classifications even if at the same time, it displays features of several of them.

The failure to fully understand North Korea has played in the hands of its regime and in particular of its nuclear programme. Donald Trump is the fourth president of the United States who has unsuccessfully promised to end it. Bill Clinton signed a deal in which North Korea agreed to freeze its nuclear development in exchange for oil and a civilian reactor, but neither side fulfilled its commitments and Pyongyang outsmarted Washington. Why? Clinton convinced Congress to ratify the agreement because he was sure the regime would fall before the delivery of the reactor.

George W. Bush initially refused bilateral negotiations but then changed his mind and joined the Six-Party Talks. Barack Obama first appeared conciliatory then retreated into a stonewalling policy called ‘strategic patience’. Finally, during his first year at the White House, Donald Trump led the UN Security Council to pass several rounds of additional sanctions against North Korea, which made Kim Jong-un more determined to show off North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

The young dictator is using the same strategy employed by his father. In the second half of the 1990s, Kim Jong-il used the nuclear program as a bargaining chip to get food, oil and other forms of assistance from the West. He succeeded in stringing along the US administration by playing the deterrence game. In the ultimate analysis, deterrence is a confidence game; to be effective, you need to convince people that, if they step over the line, you really will do the things you say you would do. Washington has to believe that Pyongyang will do to Tokyo or Seoul what it has said it would and Pyongyang has to believe that Washington will use the bomb.

How do we get out of this stalemate? Thinking outside the box. It is clear that becoming a nuclear power has been a game changer for Pyongyang, the regime has finally relaxed and is showing a conciliatory attitude towards South Korea, a nation with whom the DPRK is technically still at war. This confirms that nations seek nuclear capability not to use it but as the best form of détente against old and new foes, as proven by Pakistan, India, Israel and very soon Iran, countries that like North Korea have ignored the non-proliferation ban.

Against this scenario a revision of the international agreements is badly needed. By encouraging a peace treaty between North and South Korea, the United States and China could use such a diplomatic victory as a launching pad for a new nuclear protocol, one that allows proliferation, but only within very well defined parameters, and whose primary aim would be to empower the international community to contain and control nuclear weapons worldwide, including, of course, the US and China.

About the Book: In North Korea, The Country We Love to Hate, political analyst and bestselling author Loretta Napoleni challenges our Western preconceptions of North Korea. Napoleoni situates North Korea in context – historical and ideological – and answers questions central to our global future. This informative book is an account of a country central to world politics and yet little understood. Further, it presents insider narratives of its people, whose self-image is radically different to the image we have in the West. Released in Australia by UWA Publishing.

About the Author: Loretta Napoleoni is the best-selling author of Maonomics, Rogue Economics, Terror Incorporated and Insurgent Iraq. She is an expert on terrorist financing and money laundering, and advises several governments and international organisations on counter terrorism and money laundering. She is a regular media commentator for CNN, Sky News and the BBC, and writes for El Paris, The Guardian and Le Monde. Visit her @

Science has shrugged off it’s serpentine grasp of academic rigour and embraced a simpler language—speaking to a new generation with interactive, DIY science experiments. Now we have Popular Science, an official category covering a genre that includes all fields of scientific investigation: neuroscience, bioscience, astrophysics, robotics…with more emerging variants trending at lightening pace. Today, the formerly impenetrable lofts of science are reimagined as Youtube videos, sci-fi talkshows, interactive museums and theme parks. This opens avenues to create new career paths into science, welcoming more diverse methods of exploration which can shape how we learn and engage with science.

Self-made science guy, Jacob Strickling, shares his unconventional career path and the experiments which make science fun!

I love Science… Always have!

Exploring how things work, marvelling at the creation around me. Intrigued and blown away by the bombardier beetle and the firefly. I just had to be a science teacher and so pursued this career path and satisfied my cravings for how things work by taking the engineering pathway.

I love building things, especially equipment that helps explain scientific principles. Fun stuff as well, rides and games with a science twist. Four years ago, I started filming and uploading myself doing science and building my projects. Make Science Fun was born, so named to remind me and others, that science should be enjoyable and engaging.

A big break happened one year into the life of the YouTube channel. I was off to Japan with some students for a science competition and we had to produce a video about where we live. Whale watching is a regular past time of mine, and so to help film them from my boat and bring them a little closer, I made a device to ‘talk’ to the whales. Surprisingly we soon had whales swimming all around us and the video was pretty exciting. A video distribution company made contact with me and since then I’ve sold hundreds of videos world wide. One of the video’s went seriously viral on FaceBook (we’re talking 50 million views). A TV producer saw the video and made contact, so I ended up doing fun science experiments on the morning news.

A book publisher saw me on TV and so, I wrote my first book ‘Make Science Fun’. It’s filled with childhood memories of the science projects and adventures I got up-to as a kid. One of the nature memories I’ve captured in the book is hunting antlions. When I was young I would catch ants and drop them into the sandy pit-trap of a hungry antlion, watching the hunter catch its prey was always exciting to a 6yr old.

It’s been a privilege being able to help parents have the confidence to do science with their children at home. ‘Make Science Fun’ the book has gone so well it’s even been translated into a Chinese edition.To cater for the next age group up I’ve written a second book ‘Make Science Fun Experiments’. Released early December 2017, its aim is to help young people, ages 8 -15, to do real science experiments at home, following the scientific method.

My favourite project… A DIY Sewage System!

15 years ago my family was fortunate enough to move onto a beautiful property on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Like my neighbouring properties, our sewage was ‘treated’ by a pretty basic septic system. This was fine during sunny weather, but when it rained, the smelly, soapy overflow ran pretty much straight into the local creek which was a vital habitat for frogs, eels, small fish and plenty of other critters. I felt terrible polluting the beautiful environment like I was. At the time, I couldn’t afford the $15,000 for a new aerated waste water treated system which would have guaranteed complete sewage treatment.

Through some research, innovation and (might I say) a stroke of genius, I came up with a design for a home-made sewage system which would only cost $1,200 and perform the same function. The system is based on 7 Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC’s)—these are 1 metre cubed plastic tanks, inside a metal cage. They are used to import detergents into the country and become a waste product themselves and so can be purchased for incredibly low prices ($100 each).

With the IBC’s, a series of pipes, air diffusers and a blower it only took me a day to build, and the system has been working wonderfully for the past 15 years. In fact, I’ve done some YouTube videos on it, and I’m proud to say that the system has been built many times over in many different countries by like minded people who want to minimise their impact on the local environment.

Make Science Fun Experiments, New Holland Publishers RRP $19.99 available from all good bookstores or online

Jacob Strickling YouTuber and school Science Co-ordinator, has a passion for making science education fun, relevant and accessible via his You Tube channel Make Science Fun. With regular appearances on the Today Show, he uses science to entertain and inspire people of all ages but specifically children from ages 5–15.

The modern world is a fascinating study in innovation and unseen mechanics—millions of micro processes underpinning the structure and function of a city go largely un-noticed by many of us.

Science is secretly at work behind the scenes of major cities of the world and will continue to be so. Technological advances in fields as diverse as quantum mechanics, electronics, and nanotechnology are proving increasingly important to city life, and the urban world will turn to science to deliver solutions to the problems of the future; more than 50 percent of the world’s population now lives in cities, and that proportion is growing fast. Can engineering provide the answer to a viable megacity future?

Physicist and sci-comm consultant, Laurie Winkless, translates science and engineering to the digestible joy of every person in her first book ‘Science and the City’.

Science and the City starts at your front door and guides you through the technology of everyday city life: how new approaches to building materials help to construct the tallest skyscrapers in Dubai, how New Yorkers use light to treat their drinking water, how Tokyo commuters’ footsteps power gates in train stations. Uncovering the science and engineering that shapes our cities, Laurie reveals how technology will help us meet the challenges of a soaring world population—from an ever-increasing demand for power, water, and internet access, to simply how to get about in a megacity of tens of millions of people.

Q/A with Laurie

Which innovations driving our cities have the greatest impact on our future?

For me, I think the way we manage ‘waste’ will have the greatest impact on our future. Technologies like greywater recycling and vehicle fuel from organic waste (e.g. faeces, cow dung) are already established in many cities, but we’ll see many more adopting them in future. Our obsession with plastic is causing huge issues for our environment, both in therms of landfills and the cleanliness of the oceans. But cities like Bogota are using waste plastic as the main ingredient for a new building material, while engineers in India use it to build better roads. Other waste streams too are finding uses—for example, scientists in the UK are using chicken feathers to produce insulation panels for homes. We (as a society) need to over the idea that we can throw stuff away—there is no ‘away’, everything we discard ends up somewhere, and if we want our cities to be more sustainable, we need to redefine the waste cycle.

Another thing that will have a huge impact on our cities will be the removal of fuel-belching vehicles from our roads. Poor air quality kills millions of city-dwellers, and the most dangerous components of air pollution (e.g. particulate matter) come from the exhaust pipes of vehicles. There are some technologies that can help ‘clean’ the air, but the easiest solution is to move away from the burning of fossil fuels.

There are many other innovations that might have a role to play—self-healing materials that increases the lifetime of infrastructure (e.g. roads, water pipes), a wholesale move towards renewable energy (e.g wind turbines, solar panels and tidal energy), urban farms, etc!

Where can we explore science in the city?

Trees and parks: add colour and interest, offering us health benefits via science—they remove some of the CO2 in the air, and they help cool cities, which reduces their otherwise considerable energy footprint.

Walkability: shops close to home and business offer a more ‘European’ scale to cities that make it easy to get around on foot or by bike. Thoughtful infrastructure which provides accessibility and supports expansion.

Buildings: from many different eras give urban explorers the chance to see their city as a living, changing thing. In London, you can see structures that date from the Medieval era, right up to the sleekest, tallest skyscraper currently under construction. This reminds us that cities are in a constant state of flux, and that new modes of engineering, new materials, and changing tastes have a significant impact on the landscape.

Traffic lights: traffic is a constant in the life of a city-dweller, and as a pedestrian trying to cross the road, it can be a frustrating experience. But the science and maths behind managing traffic is fascinating, and the road network is a central artery of a city. If we get to a stage that all cars are driverless, street infrastructure (like traffic lights) may well disappear.

Metro: tunnels and the machines that dig them, are an engineering marvel, and in many cases they’re being constructed while the city above ground just keeps moving. Their construction can also uncover secrets of the city that existed in the ancient past—when we dig underground, we dig through history. Watch Laurie’s video on floating track slabs.

Laurie insists, science is not just for scientists! Through her book ‘Science and the City’ unlocks this branch of knowledge giving us all the tools and sight for science.

Visit Laurie @

Words when chosen wisely, have profound impact and can lead to authentic insights—yet prose just as easily lends itself to pointless rant and even diatribe should we write without restraint. Of course, the extreme opposite of this is also subject to imprecise drivel—texting with auto-correct for one, and writing with emoji’s rather than letters for another. But like an athlete, writers can sharpen their skills and transform their words into lean, mean(ingful) tools of exploration, expression and even persuasion. We asked locution expert and author of ‘The Writer’s Diet’, Helen Sword, to reveal how.

Like any guide to diet and fitness, The Writer’s Diet offers advice and exercises designed to help you become stronger and leaner without sacrificing your pleasure and well-being. Here, however, the focus is on your sentences, not your body. Just as athletes build up their strength and agility by eating nutritious food and performing targeted exercises, good writers build strong sentences by nourishing them with high-quality ingredients and then putting them through a workout.

A core feature of the book is the WritersDiet Test, a diagnostic exercise that you can perform manually using paper and coloured pencils or electronically via the Writer’s Diet website ( Simply cut and paste a passage of between 100 and 1,000 words into the online text box, click the Run the Test button and find out whether your writing sample is ‘flabby or fit’. Whatever your diagnosis, I advise you take the test with a sense of humour and a grain of salt: it offers recommendations, not a prescription; a set of core principles, not a one-size-fits-all formula. Remember, too, that the online test is intended to supplement the book, not to replace it. The book explores all the stylistic subtleties and exceptions that the test cannot.

Chapter One, ‘Verbal verve’, focuses on verbs, which power our sentences as surely as muscles propel our bodies. Robust action verbs infuse your writing with vigour and metaphorical zing; they put legs on your prose. As a rule of thumb, I like to make sure that every paragraph I write contains at least two or three vivid verbs (here, I’ve used power, propel and infuse) to move things along.

If verbs function as the muscles of language, nouns are its bones. Chapter Two, ‘Noun density’, teaches you to anchor complex ideas in concrete nouns. Sentences with ‘strong bones’ convey meaning and emotion through objects that we can visualise: muscles and bones. Sentences with ‘weak bones’ rely mostly on abstract nouns, which express intangible ideas remote from the world of the human senses. In particular, I caution readers against lumbering multi-syllabic monsters that I call ‘zombie nouns’, which can suck the life-blood and energy from your prose.

The remaining chapters of the book explore how other types of words can help or hinder clear communication. For example, prepositions supply our sentences with directional thrust; when used in excess, however, they can slow things down instead. Adjectives and adverbs lend colour and flavour to our writing, but they may also end up sugar-coating weak sentences that would benefit from more active verbs and concrete nouns. And the four little inkblots that I call the ‘waste words’—it, this, that and there—can clog up your prose as surely as cholesterol clogs your arteries.

I wrote The Writer’s Diet because I got tired of reading long-winded, stodgy sentences that I had to work hard to decipher. Whether you write for a general audience or a highly specialised one, this book can help you do so more clearly, energetically and persuasively—with sleek prose your readers will remember.

Kate Forsyth explores the visual language of fairy-tales from art to architecture—storytelling is a medium for innovation and imagination.

Fairy-tales are as old as language itself.

Indeed, many linguistic scholars believe that language was invented simply so that humans could tell each other stories. Non-verbal communication is surprisingly effective, as anyone who has observed chimpanzees at the zoo can confirm. However, for humans to express more sophisticated ideas they needed a more subtle and complex form of communication. And so, about sixty thousand years ago, humans began telling each other stories.

‘‘With the invention of narrative, planning, storytelling … and the cultural transmission of knowledge all became possible,’ Professor Arnold Lewis Glass writes in Cognition: A Neuroscience Approach. 

The purpose of these stories was manifold. On the one hand, they amused and entertained and brought comfort and consolation. On the other, they warned and enlightened and taught what was needed to be known.

In the beginning, the tales were told by a storyteller to an audience of listeners crouched around a campfire in the dark of the night. Then our ancestors began to document the stories by drawing on the walls of their caves, or by carving their images in stone. Later, they scratched shapes on to the skin of animals with styluses, or drew on paper made from leaves with ink made from oak galls.

So the visual language of fairy-tales is as deeply embedded into our collective unconscious as the tales themselves. Often we do not need to know the tale to recognise the trope. Some recent examples include an advertisement for Chanel No 5 that shows a young woman heading out into Paris at night in a red hood, while her dog howls for her to come home safe.¹

A political cartoon that features the President of the United States standing naked before a crowd that loudly admires his new clothes.²

And a famous shoe designer who creates a high-heeled slipper embedded with sparkling crystals.³

Each of the creators of these artefacts expected its audience to recognise the fairy-tale it references. Yet the ways that a fairy-tale can be used in a visual medium can be astonishingly different.

For example, the French-British artist Alice Anderson draws upon the ‘Rapunzel’ tale with her strange, unsettling work with masses of red dolls’ hair. Her installations choke whole buildings with waterfalls of hair cascading down walls and out windows, or vast shrouds of hair that threaten to choke the delicate human spun within.⁴

GHD, the popular hair-straightening brand, ran a very successful advertising campaign a few years ago in which they subverted the expected outcome of the ‘Rapunzel’ fairy-tale – at the end of the clip, Rapunzel shears off her hair and escapes on the prince’s motorbike.⁵

Annie Liebovitz took a more conventional approach with her portrait of Taylor Swift as Rapunzel (thought as she was commissioned to do the shoot by Disney Studios that is not, perhaps, surprising).⁶

While the London-based photographer Sarah Ann Wright looks at the darker aspects of the fairy-tale for inspiration.⁷

Fairy-tales do not just inspire artists, photographers and advertising companies. The New-York-based architects Guy Nordenson & Associates were more interested in the challenge of building a tower without any doors or stairs.

Invited to submit a design for “Fairy Tale Architecture”, a series in Places Journal which celebrates the intersection between design and imagination, the architects chose ‘Rapunzel’ as their inspiration, writing, ‘We were able to meet the Grimms’ strict design requirements by employing a slender tower design of vertical cylindrical stems that are joined by intermittent outrigger beams with a reinforced space at the very top for Rapunzel’s long captivity.’⁸

This design was meant to be whimsical and humourous, yet the work of some architects directly engages with fairy-tale motifs in a far more serious manner.

At nearly 180 meters tall, the Tour Triangle – designed by Herzog & De Meuron—will be the third tallest building in Paris. To me, it has echoes of the famous fairy tale ‘The Glass Mountain’. It is meant to have that fairy-tale feel of wonder and peril, what Tolkien called a quality of ‘arresting strangeness’.⁹

Many of the gravity-defying skyscrapers being built all over the world share this wondrous sense of magical beauty.

The Mode-Gakuen Spiral Towers in Nagoya, Japan, were designed by architectural group Nikken Sekkei and seem to contain numerous fairy-tale motifs—the use of the number three, for example, and the sense of spiral staircases leading upwards into impossibly high towers.¹⁰

It is not just buildings that can draw upon the visual tropes of fairy-tales. Gardens have long been filled with magical and whimsical designs that create an otherworldly place for dreaming and imagining, such as these massive plant sculpture at the Montréal Botanic Gardens.

Finally, fashion has long drawn its inspiration from fairy-tales, which are filled with descriptions of glass slippers, dresses that burn as bright as the sun, and magical cloaks that conceal.

Most of us have grown up with these stories ‘as old as time’, and their strong, dramatic motifs and metaphors feed our dreams and our imaginations. Sigmund Freud called such images the ‘archaic remnants’ of primordial experience. Heavily freighted with symbolic meaning, they help us grapple with, and express, some of our most universal fears and desires.

About the Author: Kate Forsyth has been called ‘one of the finest writers of this generation’. She has a BA in literature, a MA in creative writing and a doctorate in fairy tale studies, and is also an accredited master storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers. Read more about her at

On 3rd of July, Penguin Random House will release Kate’s latest book Beauty in Thorns, a spellbinding reimagining of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ set amongst the passions and tragedies of the Pre-Raphaelite circle of artists and poets. RRP: $32.99 AU

¹ CHANEL N°5 advertising film from 1998 
”Le loup,” by Luc Besson, with Estella Warren
² Cartoon by Steven Sack in The Star Tribune, May 17, 2016
³ Jimmy Choo’s ‘Cinderella’ show –
⁵ The Print Ad titled RAPUNZEL was done by Y&R London advertising agency for product: GHD HAIR STRAIGHTENERS (brand: Ghd) in United Kingdom. It was released in Oct 2009.
⁷ ‘Rapunzel Forgotten’, Sarah Ann Wright
⁸ Kate and Andrew Bernheimer, “Fairy Tale Architecture: Rapunzel,” Places Journal, December 2011. Accessed 07 Jun 2017.