Mind & body.

I am interested in the idea and practice of spirituality: but it may all be nonsense, and I may be venially corporeal. This category is a bit of a catch-all for posts on subjects ranging from the intellectual (I should be so lucky), to the spiritual (likewise) via the psychological and the creative.

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#10 BBC Horizon: radiation risk and Chernobyl

This was a note written by Paul Seaman (www.paulseaman.com) as a July 2006  account by the BBC's leading science programme of the different ways of thinking about and accounting for the death-doll from cancer caused by radiation. It helps show why different experts come to very different predictions of the scale of, for instance, the Chernobyl disaster. Trouble is (for those who'd like a simple life) it debunks "LNT" which is the underpinning theory of the low estimates of people like the Chernobyl Forum, and does so by arguing that these are way too high. Read more...

Published

02 December 2010

Andrew Marr bans dodgy facial hair

Andrew Marr seems so obviously nice and clever that it seems odd to find some of what he says very irritating. Last Sunday, for instance, he announced on his BBC1 Sunday show that he thought that there ought to be a crackdown on dodgy facial hair.... Where would would this end? Read more...

Published

14 September 2010

Rational Optimist: RDN’s still one

It's not often a good ploy to whinge, and this isn't exactly a moan. Well, only a bit of one. I want to stand up for my Life On a Modern Planet (1995) and Rich Is Beautiful (2005) as works of "rational optimism". Read more...

Published

20 June 2010

I Am Love: Flawed masterpiece

For long stretches of I Am Love, I was bowled over in much the way I imagine the movie-makers intended. It had risible patches which didn't quite shake the wheels off the wagon. Read more...

Published

28 April 2010

“Welcome To Lagos”: They can keep it

There is an enormous amount to be said for Africa. Stoicism and good humour would be right up there as attributes which abound. Famously, Nigerians have all that in spades. Last night's BBC film concentrated on a Lagos rubbish dump and its scavengers. Read more...

Published

16 April 2010

Big girls’ blouses: the new brave wimps

Did you watch the Boat Race coverage? I was struck by the way Dan Snow (who rowed in several) went on and on about how winning it was lovely but losing it marked you for life. I forget the details, but it all left a powerful impression of a generation of athletes for whom winning is a graceless necessity whilst losing is a psychological catastrophe. This is bizarre and applies to other butch moderns. Read more...

Published

04 April 2010

Casting around in “Fishing In Utopia”

Note: If this were a review, it could have been much shorter and just said: “Buy this book. It’s lovely, sharp and beguiling”. I wanted to write something which drew on the experiences Andrew Brown and I shared, not least but not only at the Independent in the late 1980s. I also wanted to touch on the whole business of memoir- and nature-writing. Read more...

Published

01 January 2010
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