Archive for April, 2021


Word of the day: synesthesia

April 23rd, 2021 by Roger Darlington

Synesthesia is an anomalous blending of the senses in which the stimulation of one modality simultaneously produces sensation in a different modality. Synesthetes hear colours, feel sounds and taste shapes. What makes synesthesia different from drug-induced hallucinations is that synesthetic sensations are highly consistent: for particular synesthetes, the note F is always a reddish shade of rust, […]

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A review of the novel “Moonstone” by Sjón

April 17th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

This novella – it runs to a mere 100 pages of actual text – is the product of Icelandic writer Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson (Sjón is his pen name). The setting (the Icelandic capital Reykjavík) and the period (October-December 1918) are unusual and the central character – 16 year old Máni Steinn or the titular Moonstone […]

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Who is the most powerful man in the United States?

April 17th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

This is not a trick question, but a serious one. Let’s start with the answer: Joe Manchin, Democratic senator for West Virginia. You could have been forgiven for thinking that the answer to the question is President Joe Biden. But Biden can achieve nothing substantial without getting legislation through Congress. That requires a majority in […]

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Word of the day: ecocide

April 16th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

International lawyers are drafting plans for a legally enforceable crime of ecocide – criminalising destruction of the world’s ecosystems – that is already attracting support from European countries and island nations at risk from rising sea levels. The panel coordinating the initiative is chaired by Professor Philippe Sands QC, of University College London, and Florence […]

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Word of the day: Anthropocene

April 15th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

The ‘Anthropocene’ is a term increasingly used to define a new planetary era: one in which humans have become the dominant force shaping Earth’s bio-geophysical composition and processes. Initially emerging in the earth sciences as the name for a proposed new geological epoch, the Anthropocene has been widely adopted across academia as a catch-all description […]

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A review of the new biography “Walter Citrine” by Dr Jim Moher

April 14th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

The subtitle of this book is “Forgotten Statesman of the Trades Union Congress”. Now most books and programmes that use the words ‘forgotten’ or ‘unknown’ in their title are usually something of an exaggeration, but not this one. In spite of over 50 years of Labour movement activism (including half of that time as a […]

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Word of the day: fungibility

April 12th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

In economics, fungibility is the property of a good or a commodity whose individual units are essentially interchangeable, and each of its parts is indistinguishable from another part. For example, gold is fungible since a specified amount of pure gold is equivalent to that same amount of pure gold, whether in the form of coins, ingots, or in other states. Other fungible commodities include sweet crude […]

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The Duke of Edinburgh and I

April 9th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

I understand that the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme has invited particants to share their stories on social media. I achieved the Bronze Award in the early 1960s but never took it further. As a bright lad, I found most of the stages of the award something of a doddle. The problem was the requirement […]

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Has physics found a fifth force?

April 8th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

In physics today, there is something called “the core theory” which asserts that everything consists of particles (such as electrons, protons and neutrons) and forces (namely, the strong and weak nuclear forces, electromagnetism and gravity) that arise out of fields (such as the Higgs field).  Now, for decades, scientists have sought to reconcile the general […]

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A review of the 2018 film “BacKkKlansman”

April 6th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

Nobody makes movies like African-American director Spike Lee who has chronicled much of the black experience in the USA. This film was actually nominated for Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture although the one of the six nominations that the work received went to Best Adapted Screenplay. The adaptation is from the memoir […]

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