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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RDN on BBC shows: Syrian refugees

I was asked onto BBC1's The Big Questions (7 February 2016, Episode 5, Series 9); on BBC Radio Scotland's Call Kaye phone-in (25 February 2016); and BBC Radio Scotland Good Morning Scotland (27 February 2016) to discuss whether Britain's stance on Syrian refugees was morally acceptable (TBQ) and whether one had a moral responsibility toward helping them (Call Kaye) or both (Good Morning Scotland). Read more...

Published

26 February 2016

EU obligations to Med-migrants

I have had a couple of recent outings on BBC Radio Scotland's Call Kaye phone-in show, on the UK's obligations - and Scotland's in particular - toward the "Med-migrants". My line, I am almost sorry to say, was that we will probably need to be cruel to be kind.... Read more...

Published

14 May 2015

Following Sachs’ advice to let go a bit

Oliver Sachs writes beautifully about growing old and, in particular, about his imminent death. The essence of his message in the New York Times is that he remains interested in life and quite cheerful about it, but.... Read more...

Published

20 February 2015

The Anthropocene, Prof Cox, and more

The idea of the Anthropocene has been gaining traction, not least in a spate of books (as exemplified in an FT books review roundup, "Masters of the Earth", 13/14 December 2014). Unfortunately, most takes on the Anthropocene seem misanthropic. Luckily, Professor Brian Cox makes a sort-of exception.  We are alone, and it is exciting. Read more...

Published

19 December 2014

Interstellar (vs Gravity)

There's a lot to like in Interstellar, and much of it has been caught by professional reviewers. I think there are several dimensions (oops) one needs to reckon with. One: is the story a convincing human - personal - drama? Two: is it a good morality tale? Three: is it a good cinematic theme park ride? Four: is its science robust? If you've the patience here's my unpick of some of those, below the fold. Read more...

Published

11 November 2014

War and art on BBC R4’s BH

I had an outing on this Sunday morning show as a paper reviewer (and squibbist on Strictly Come Dancing) and said one thing which may have seemed distasteful. Can I try to put things right here, below the fold? Read more...

Published

02 November 2014

Unique 1945 Hamburg book: the 79th and “Hobart’s Funnies”

In around 2013 I was given a unique, beautiful book, The Story of 79th Armoured Division: October 1942 - June 1945, published  by the unit's officers and men in July 1945 in the ruins of Hamburg, which they had just helped liberate. Since then, I have researched a fair bit and here is what I think I know, or can reasonably guess at.... Update: December 2017 brought a new hypothesis that Broschek of Hamburg may have produced the book (see below). Read more...

Published

17 October 2014
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