James Lovelock, Intuition, Cars, Elena Ferrante, Neville Mariner

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James Lovelock: Fracking Is Great

Decca Aitkenhead | Guardian | 30th September 2016

Interview with the Gaia theorist and prophet of climate-change. Not quite what you might expect. “CO2 is going up, but nowhere near as fast as they thought it would. The computer models just weren’t reliable. In fact, I’m not sure the whole thing isn’t crazy, this climate change. You’ve only got to look at Singapore. It’s two-and-a-half times higher than the worst-case scenario for climate change, and it’s one of the most desirable cities in the world to live in” (2,200 words)

Chemical Intuition

Ashutosh Jogalekar | Curious Wavefunction | 12th September 2016

Intuition is the key to discovery in chemistry. “Most chemical systems are too complex for the kind of first-principles approaches that yield predictions in physics. No chemist can design a zeolite or predict the ultimate product of a complex polymer synthesis by working through the math. Chemistry, much more than physics, is an experimental science built on a foundation of rigorous and empirical models. It is chemical intuition that can separate the good models from the bad ones” (1,650 words)

Cars Will Never Be Sexy Again

Ian Bogost | Atlantic | 30th September 2016

A few years ago cars symbolised progress and pleasure; now they are enemies of progress, and a guilty pleasure. We will still want cars in the future but we will not want to own them. “Autonomous cars are destined to become fleet cars. Services like Uber and Lyft depend on the idea that riders don’t want to own cars, but only to rent them when needed. Making the cars drive themselves removes the need for people to operate them — snuffing out the human pleasure associated with driving” (1,500 words)

Elena Ferrante: An Answer?

Claudio Gatti | New York Review of Books | 2nd October 2016

“After a months-long investigation it is now possible to make a powerful case for Ferrante’s true identity. New revelations from real estate and financial records point to Anita Raja, a Rome-based translator whose German-born mother fled the Holocaust and later married a Neapolitan magistrate. Raja, who is married to the Neapolitan writer Domenico Starnone, is known to have had a relationship with Ferrante’s publishing house for many years as a translator of German literature” (2,555 words)

RIP Neville Mariner

Norman Lebrecht | Slipped Disc | 2nd October 2016

Remembering the great conductor. Recommended for the comments as well as the post. “Once we got talking, the food could wait. He might remember trying to get Elisabeth Schwarzkopf to follow his beat, or how he joined the Philharmonia intifada against Herbert von Karajan, or something that Alfed Brendel had just showed him in a Mozart manuscript. He was an irrepressible fount of memory, both modest in his own part in the story and deeply interested in the person he was talking to” (600 words)

Video of the day: The Slap

What to expect:

Preview. For Opéra Nationale de Paris, by Loren Denis at Rattling Stick (2’46”)

Thought for the day

The happiest part of life is lying awake in bed in the morning
Samuel Johnson

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