Bear Grylls, Bioluminescence, Mad Men, Marina Warner, Western Decline


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Bear Grylls, Action Man

Lucy Kellaway | Financial Times | 21st March 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

Bear Grylls thinks nothing of hauling a dead sheep out of a bog, cutting it open to eat its raw heart, and settling down to sleep in its bloody fleece. He has dined on maggots, fought with the SAS, broken his back, and climbed Everest. He is world-famous as a professional adventurer, a prolific author and a reality-TV star. Even so, he finds an interview with Lucy Kellaway hard going (2,400 words)

Luminous Life

Olivia Judson | National Geographic | 16th March 2015

Bioluminescence, the scientific name for the capacity which some creatures have to create their own light, fends off predators, lures prey and attracts mates. Generating a glow is such a useful talent that it has evolved independently at least 40 times. The natural light show mostly takes place in the sea where a collection of small creatures with names like ostracods, siphonophores and dinoflagellates shed light on the dark deep (2,470 words)

Will You Miss Mad Men?

James Delingpole | Spectator | 19th March 2015 | Metered paywall

As the seventh and final season of Mad Men comes to a close, James Delingpole argues that the show has been a triumph at the level of style, but unsatisfying as human drama. Every suit lapel, every shirt collar, every cigarette, every square inch of tan, every piece of fruit is a perfect recreation of the period. "But the odd effect of all this perfectionism, rather than enhance the series’ realism, is to draw attention to its artifice” (950 words)

Learning My Lesson ( )

Marina Warner | London Review Of Books | 19th March 2015

Marina Warner wrote of being forced out of her job at the University of Essex (http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n17/marina-warner/diary) . The response to her article revealed to her that the state of universities – places where things that cannot be measured must somehow be quantified - was far worse than she had imagined. “I had thought Essex was a monstrous manifestation, but it turns out that its rulers’ ideas are ‘the new normal’, as the Chinese government calls its present economic plan” (5,040 words)

A New Dark Age?

Joergen Oerstroem Moeller | Huffington | 16th March 2015

A world system based on Western Enlightenment values has stood for the past 500 years. Many forces and changes are now dismantling – or at least eroding - that system. Extremism, economic nationalism, illiberal states, dehumanising technology and xenophobia are making Western societies less of an example as economic power shifts to Asia. The time is right for China and Japan to collaborate in resurrecting Asian values (4,780 words)

Video of the day: At Home With Roz Chast

What to expect: The New Yorker cartoonist talks about her art, her house and her parrots (4'50")

Thought for the day

Provability is a weaker notion than truth
Douglas Hofstadter

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