By Simon Ings For a while now, I have been barracking my betters (and with a quite spectacular lack of success) to send me to cover the science and technology of the Middle East. True, it’s a region abuzz with boosterism and drowning in vapourware, but big issues do get addressed here, in a bullish, technocratic sort of way. Is the planet in trouble? Certainly. The scale of the problem is easier to accept if you live in a climate and an ecosystem that was barely habitable to begin with. Is this state of affairs a consequence of human action?