There is no way to offset the fact that a gigantic dose of hydrocarbon wealth is being used to stage an immensely carbon-intensive spectacle, in a place that is already getting hotter faster than almost anywhere else on the planet. In the narrowing window of opportunity that remains, can we justify burning this much of our carbon budget on international football?
Act of Oblivion, the title of Robert Harris’s novel, refers to the Act of Free and General Pardon, Indemnity and Oblivion, introduced to the Convention Parliament in May 1660 and given royal assent on 29 August.
Iceland, island country located in the North Atlantic Ocean. Lying on the constantly active geologic border between North America and Europe, Iceland is a land of vivid contrasts of climate, geography, and culture. Sparkling glaciers, such as Vatna Glacier (Vatnajökull), Europe’s largest, lie across its ruggedly beautiful mountain ranges; abundant hot geysers provide heat for many of the country’s homes and buildings and allow for hothouse agriculture year-round; and the offshore Gulf Stream provides a surprisingly mild climate for what is one of the northernmost inhabited places on the planet.
Stockholm Walks – Massive amounts of snow covered Stockholm this Monday morning late in November, 2022. Temperatures around +1 Celsius.
Södermalm – also called Söder – has developed into one of Stockholm’s hottest neighborhoods. The atmosphere is relaxed, creative and trendy, and the neighborhood offers a myriad of vintage, fashion and design shops.
Financial Times – The FT’s global business columnist Rana Foroohar looks at why the US should bring manufacturing jobs back home. In the second of three films based on her new book, ‘Homecoming: the path to prosperity in a post-global world’, she follows the all-American supply chain of clothing company American Giant, to see how it impacts jobs, businesses and communities
Video timeline: 00:00 Made in America, Again 01:20 An all-American supply chain starts here 03:17 What went wrong with globalization? 07:00 The cotton gin – a risky business 09:53 Automation at a high-tech mill 13:16 Why manufacturing is important 19:59 The family-run finishing factory 23:21 Worker innovation at the sewing factory 27:33 Education, training and community 29:07 A moment for change?
California is having more and more wildfires because of climate change, poor tree management creating fire hazards, and antiquated power lines. In 2018, the failure of a 100-year-old rusted electrical hook sparked the Camp Fire, the world’s most expensive natural disaster that year. The blaze forced Pacific Gas and Electric into temporary bankruptcy. Journalist Katherine Blunt’s disturbing history of California’s environmental calamity ends in 2021, with the company’s new chief executive announcing costly underground power lines.
The Biggest Ideas in the Universe
Sean Carroll Oneworld (2022)
Theoretical physicist and philosopher Sean Carroll specializes in quantum mechanics, gravity and cosmology. He aims to create a world in which “most people have informed views and passionate opinions” about modern physics. His skilful book, the first of a planned trilogy, covers space, time and motion. Unlike most introductory physics books for the interested amateur, it includes mathematical equations, cogently explained but not solved, as well as the expected metaphorical language.
Cancer Virus Hunters
Gregory J. Morgan Johns Hopkins Univ. Press (2022)
One-fifth of cancers in people worldwide are caused by tumour viruses such as hepatitis B. Work stemming from these pathogens won seven Nobel prizes between 1966 and 2020, notes historian Gregory Morgan in his authoritative but accessible chronicle. Yet tumour virology is rarely mentioned in discussions of how molecular biology opened our understanding of cancer. As Morgan observes in his path-breaking history, this inhibits a complete understanding of this field as a technoscientific force.
Paco Calvo with Natalie Lawrence Bridge Street (2022)
Humans are so focused on “brain-centric consciousness”, says philosopher of science Paco Calvo, “that we find it difficult to imagine other kinds of internal experience”. Might plants be intelligent (‘sapiens’)? His challenging book is aimed at both believers in this possibility and non-believers. His experiments, such as putting the touch-sensitive plant Mimosa pudica to ‘sleep’ with anaesthetic, provoke thought, as does his note that Charles Darwin requested burial under an ancient village yew, rather than in Westminster Abbey.
Dimitris Xygalatas Profile (2022)
Just before anthropologist Dimitris Xygalatas’s university went into COVID-19 lockdown, his students had one main concern: would there be a graduation ceremony? We care deeply about rituals, he notes in his wide-ranging and well-written survey, because they help us to “cope with many of life’s challenges”, even if we do not understand how — the “ritual paradox”. Scientific investigation has been tricky, because rituals do not flourish in a laboratory, but wearable sensors and brain-imaging technology help.
A selection of three essential articles read aloud from the latest issue of The Economist. This week, is this the end of crypto? Also, why Indonesia matters (11:00) and Glenn Youngkin’s unique approach to Trumpism (19:40).