THE DEATH OF GOD

  ‘Never resist a sentence you like,’ wrote Baudrillard in Cool Memories (1990), and his incandescent style overflows with irresistible sentences. If you interrogate them, however — which is perhaps to ‘misread’ Baudrillard — you find that his beautiful paradoxes mask assumptions and transitions which must be explicit in a valid argument.  Take, for example, […]

PASSENGERS

  CONSTELLATIONS, TELEVISION, AND THE SADNESS OF ASTRONAUTS   “We set out to explore the moon and instead discovered the Earth.” — William Anders, Apollo 8 astronaut. Television — or at least, the image dissection technology at the core of it —was invented by Philo T Farnsworth II in 1927, but it did not bring […]

RED

    The boys had gone swimming and Red wanted to go too, but her mother wouldn’t let her. She was too young and didn’t know how to swim. So she waited for a while and then sneaked away, following the path to the pond. As she approached through the trees, she could see their […]

WARRIOR, MERCHANT, SAGE

    When I was looking after my father, I read a lot of books, at night or in the afternoon while he was sleeping. One of them was Merchant, Soldier, Sage by the Oxford historian David Priestland. The paperback came out in 2014 and I’d picked it up fresh off the presses at the […]

REFUGE

So I’m turning into this strange old hermit, this solitary farang living alone at the bottom of Lion Rock, waylaying tourists like the Guardian of the Valley of Death in Monty Python.  “Thou shalt not pass unto the sea  Until you answer answer questions three — What — is your name? What — is your […]

THE STRANGE CASE OF DOCTOR LOVELOCK

OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE CO2   James Lovelock is the much honoured British scientist famous for a beautiful and irresistible idea known as the Gaia hypothesis. Lovelock is a self-made man in the best tradition of scientists of a previous age. His parents were poor, and he financed his own […]

THE CARBON EPIPHANY

Whirl up, sea — whirl your pointed pines, splash your great pines on our rocks, hurl your green over us, cover us with your pools of fir. (Oread, by H. D.) Carbon is the element of life, common to all known life-forms. Its unique and astonishing properties make life possible. With four electrons available for covalent […]