No Good Reasons

Brian Eno and Grayson Perry have a chat. Perry’s recent Reith Lectures were great listening for this inveterate gallery-goer and son of an art school lecturer.

Der Speigel investigates the Munich art find. Also, some useful context on Nazi views about “Degenerate Art”.

Competition is killing the NHS for no good reason (unlike the Guardian’s headline writers, I wouldn’t suggest that ideology is a good reason).

UK police are about to get sweeping new powers for no good reason.

Life without parole for non-violent crimes for no good reason.

Murder by Craigslist. A story of an awful crime that draws some surprisingly hopeful conclusions.

Great story on the criminal legacy of leaded petrol, which left me glad I spent my 1970s childhood in the countryside.

There is no pause: global warming may have been dramatically underestimated because there aren’t enough weather stations at the poles. I’m slightly stunned that this realisation didn’t dawn sooner.

Of all the heart-breaking coverage of Typhoon Haiyan, the aerial photos of “Anibong town near Tacloban city” taken before and after the storm got to me the most. Look at where the road inland from the coast went in 2012... and where it is now.

What it’s like on the boats to Christmas Island. Open ocean, open boats.

This round-up of what’s happening at Fukushima is terrifying. The evacuation of Japan scarcely bears thinking about... but...

Oh man, this is fantastic [via Dara O’Briain]. This isn’t too shabby either.

16 November 2013 · Weblog

Skua, Shetland

In our early years in Scotland, before the kids came along, we worked our way around the islands, visiting Orkney, Islay, Skye and the Outer Hebrides. But one group of islands always seemed just that bit too far away. Even from Edinburgh, it costs a fortune to travel to Shetland, either by plane or by ferry—as much as it would cost to fly to Canada or Greece. With two extra tickets to buy, it costs even more, and there’s always been more need to put the money towards trips home to visit family. It seemed like one of those trips that would never quite happen.

Read More · 14 November 2013 · Travel

You Already Know

I suppose anyone at all interested in Arcade Fire has already heard Reflektor, but after two weeks of listening to little else I thought I’d note a few impressions here anyway. I also thought about gathering up a list of links to all the reviews I’ve read during my obsession with it, but too many are far too dismissive. A year from now they’re going to look as wrong-footed as any number of Robert Christgau’s old C- reviews of now-classic albums.

Read More · 10 November 2013 · Music

It’s the Polymath Singularity, Innit?

The case for tall wooden buildings (also in TED form).

The decline phase of Wikipedia.

The hidden technology behind Twitter.

What Snowden’s revelations mean.

Robert Twigger on learning to be a polymath.

The Singularity has already happened. More Terry Bisson.

“A full-frontal assault on democracy.”

Diplomatic reactions to Kristallnacht.

The Nazis’ grey anatomy.

Ayn Rand’s grim inspiration.

“Basically” is basically fine, yeah?

Steve Coogan interviewed.

Mitchell and Webb interviewed.

Clash of the Coogan and Mitchell.

It’s good when your invention takes on a life you never expected.

8 November 2013 · Weblog

October 2013