Russell Brand, Death & Medicine, Gravity, Curiosity

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Lunch With Russell Brand

Lucy Kellaway | Financial Times | 24th October 2014

He talks and writes nonsense about capitalism and politics. His book, Revolution, is a dud. But in person it scarcely matters. His presence is electrifying. Everyone he touches glows with pleasure. "The only person I can think of who comes close to Brand in terms of the effect he has on others is Bill Clinton; if the two were together, I suspect the comedian would make the former US president look gauche by comparison" (2,760 words)

Growing Old Disgracefully

Henry Marsh | New Statesman | 23rd October 2014

Brain surgeon reviews Atul Gawande's Being Mortal, about death and medicine. "My juniors ring me at night about emergency cases. A decision is needed on whether to operate and possibly save the patient’s life – though if the patient survives he will be left profoundly disabled. If I tell them to operate I get back to sleep, but if I tell them to let the patient die I lie awake for a long time. It is so much easier to treat than not to treat" (2,100 words)

One Year Later: Gravity

Matt Singer | The Dissolve | 24th October 2014

Alfonso Cuarón's space drama consolidates its reputation as the best science-fiction film since 2001. "When chaos and frenetic editing have become blockbusters’ stock-in-trade, Gravity stands alone as a tribute to the power of coherent, fluid images." The computer-generated special effects may age; "Movies that were considered high-tech in the 1950s sometimes look laughable today". But that certainly hasn't happened yet (2,660 words)

I Don’t Know. What Do You Think?

Ian Leslie | Salon | 12th October 2014

Google can make us feel omniscient. But it’s the feeling of not knowing which inspires us to learn. Young children ask tens of thousands of questions as they build up their knowledge of the world. Great works of art and great scientific breakthroughs are voyages into the unknown. The job of machines is to give us answers, and they do it almost too well — but our job as humans is to keep finding new questions (1,830 words)

Video of the day: Air New Zealand Safety Video

What to expect: For Hobbits and humans, from the official airline of Middle Earth

Thought for the day

Progress means bad things happen faster
Terry Pratchett (

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