Archive for July, 2018

The life and legacy of President Ronald Reagan

July 19th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

This summer, as usual, I’m attending some short courses at the City Literary Institute in central London. The first one was a two and a hall hour session on US President Ronald Reagan delivered by college principal Mark Malcolmson who is incredibly knowledgeable and very fluent. These are some of my notes: Presidents tend to […]

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Commemorating the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela

July 18th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

Nelson Mandela was born 100 years ago today on 18 July 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Umtata, then part of South Africa’s Cape Province. So today is a good time to remember this remarkable man and his wonderful achievements. You can learn a lot more about Mandeal’s life from his excellent biography “Long […]

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A review of the new movie “Sicario 2: Soldado”

July 17th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

In the taut and exciting original movie, the action began with FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), but slowly and inexorably shifted to Columbian ‘adviser” Alejandro Gillick (Benicio Del Toro) who – with support from CIA black ops expert Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) – emerged as the ‘sicario’ (hitman) of the title. In this accomplished […]

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Perhaps we are alone in the universe after all – the outcome of the Fermi paradox and the Drake equation

July 15th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

So many science fiction books, films and television series involve other life forms – often lots of of them – but what are the scientific chances that we are, or we are not, alone in this huge (and expanding) universe? Two of the greatest thinkers on this subject have been the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi […]

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A review of the recent film “Fences”

July 13th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

This is the film adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning 1983 stage play written by August Wilson who refused to have the work made for the big screen unless there was an African-American director helming it. It tells the poignant tale of Troy Maxson, a black waste collector in 1950s Pittsburgh who received no love from his […]

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The Royal Air Force’s 100th anniversary flypast

July 10th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

The wonderful flypast over Buckingham Palace at 1 pm today consisted of 100 aircraft of 23 types with nearly 200 aircrew from 25 different squadrons operating from 14 RAF stations and three civilian airfields. The highlight was a formation 22 Typhoons making out the number 100.

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What’s happening in Ethiopia? – and do you care?

July 10th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

Two important books which I’ve read recently – “Enlightenment Now” [my review here] and “Factfulness” [my review here] – both make the fundamental point that most of the progress which is being made by humankind is not reported by the media ┬ábecause it is gradual and undramatic and therefore unnewsworthy. ┬áThis is especially true of […]

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A review of the independent film “The Butterfly Tree”

July 9th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

I saw this very low budget film last weekend at the Oz Film Festival in London when it was followed by a Q & A with first-time Australian writer and director Priscilla Cameron. It tells the tangled story of how widower Al (Ewen Leslie) and his emotionally damaged son Fin (Ed Oxenbould) are both attracted […]

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My review of “Factfulness” by Hans Rosling – or 10 reasons we’re wrong about the world

July 9th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

I read this important book by Swedish professor of international health Hans Rosling shortly after reading “Enlightenment Now” by American professor of psychology Steven Pinker which was published just a few months earlier [my review here]. Both works essentially have the same message: if you look at the facts, on most measures humankind is making […]

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Is Britain’s National Health Service the best healthcare system in the world?

July 6th, 2018 by Roger Darlington

In the week that the NHS celebrated its 70th birthday, this is a good question to ask. On the one hand, the British are immensely proud of the NHS; on the other hand, there is a widespread view that the system is now underfunded and failing to deliver consistent service. Some relevant facts and figures […]

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