sun 24/06/2018

science

Robbie Thomson XFRMR, Brighton Festival review - lightning strikes out

The welcome to Glasgow audio-visual artist Robbie Thomson’s performance engenders a hefty sense of anticipation. It’s almost nervousness-inducing as we’re handed ear-plugs and warned about how very loud it’s going to be. Then, walking into the main...

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Barbara Ehrenreich: Natural Causes review - counterintuitive wisdom on the big issues

“Wham bam, thank you, ma’am” might be one response to this polemical, wry, hilarious and affecting series of counterintuitive essays by one of the most original and unexpected thinkers around. Barbara Ehrenreich has described herself as a “myth-...

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Victorian Giants, National Portrait Gallery review - pioneers of photography

It is a very human crowd at Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography. There are the slightly melancholic portraits of authoritative and bearded male Victorian eminences, among them Darwin, Tennyson, Carlyle and Sir John Herschel. The...

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Judi Dench: My Passion for Trees, BBC One review - an arboreal delight

“I am going to find out how much my trees live, breath, and even communicate. I am Judi Dench, and I have been an actor for 60 years – but I have had another passion ever since I was a little girl: I have adored trees. My six acres are a secret...

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Jaron Lanier: Dawn of the New Everything review - pioneer of virtual reality tells his story

Jaron Lanier has quite a story to tell. From a teenage flute-playing goat-herd in New Mexico to an “intense dreamer”, and a maths student capable of arguing, about films for example, with “supremacist. Borgesian flair”, then onwards and upwards,...

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The Farthest: Voyager's Interstellar Journey, BBC Four review - awe-inspiring and life-affirming space odyssey

Long before Barack Obama spoke about the audacity of hope, the Voyager mission left the Earth driven by something else: the audacity of curiosity. What do the outer planets look like? What are they comprised of? And what’s beyond that?Storyville:...

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The Machines of Steven Pippin, The Edge, University of Bath review - technology as poetry

Our universe seems to be in a state of equilibrium, neither collapsing in on itself nor expanding ad infinitum. The metaphor used by physicists to represent the delicate balance of forces needed to maintain this happy state of affairs is a pencil...

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Oliver Sacks: The River of Consciousness review - a luminous final collection of essays

Oliver Sacks was the neurologist – and historian of science, and naturalist – whose exceptionally elegant, clear and accessible prose has captivated that almost mythical creature, the general audience, through more than a dozen books as well as many...

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The 'self-experimenter': Howard Brenton on Strindberg in crisis

I wrote The Blinding Light to try to understand the mental and spiritual crisis that August Strindberg suffered in February 1896. Deeply disturbed, plagued by hallucinations, he holed up in various hotel rooms in Paris, most famously in the Hotel...

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Mosquitoes, National Theatre review - Olivias Colman and Williams dazzle amid dramatic excess

There's enough plot for a dozen plays buzzing its way through Mosquitoes, Lucy Kirkwood's play that uses the backdrop of the Large Hadron Collidor (LHC) to chronicle the multiple collisions within a family. Veering off now and then into discussion...

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Brenda Maddox: Reading the Rocks review - revelations of geology

Reading the Rocks has a provocative subtitle, “How Victorian Geologists Discovered the Secret of Life”, indicating the role of geology in paving the way to an understanding of the evolution of our planet as a changing physical entity that was to...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Minute Bodies - The Intimate World of F Percy Smith

F Percy Smith was a maverick film-maker whose most important work was created in a house in suburban Southgate, North London. Born in Islington in 1880, he joined the Quekett Microscopical Club as a teenager, all the better to pursue a healthy...

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