The Hungry Empire

This post is just a quick recommendation to listen to an audiobook currently available on the BBC Radio iPlayer. It’s called The Hungry Empire, by British food historian Lizzie Collingham, and in five 15-minute episodes charts the history of the British Empire, from the 1500s to the 1960s through the lens of food. It turns out that the history of food in the Empire has some really important things to tell us about how ordinary life was lived in that period and how it has shaped much of our modern world.

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The Egg by Andy Weir

My philosophy of life

Andy Weir is the author of the acclaimed book and film The Martian. Like I’m sure many authors, he has written a number of short stories. Unlike most, however, he has published them openly on his website for our appreciation.

I recommend first reading the short story The Egg, which can be found on Weir’s website here, mulling over what you understand from it, then returning to read my comments.

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Accidental Anarchist

This is a short post recommending a BBC Four documentary  – Accidental Anarchist: Life Without Government.

I agree wholeheartedly with Carne Ross’ mistrust of the state and deeply sceptical view of the structure of international relations. Unlike him, however, I’m less hopeful about of our ability to make any meaningful changes to either.

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Photographic Interlude

This month’s first photo album comes courtesy of a trip home in June. Mum’s garden is in fact in even fuller bloom now, but in the late afternoon light that day I got some nice shots. Summer really is a relentlessly green month, so I’ve been more creative with the colour correction in these to try and accentuate different shades and moods.

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Hopes and fears of an AI future

In these summer months, lunchtime walks have become a near-daily event for me. Even when it isn’t sunny it’s at least warm. While I walk I tend to listen to something stimulating – a radio 4 program or podcast – but I’m fast exhausting my familiar listening material.

This week I’m giving Sinica a go. It’s a podcast broadly about China, where the hosts invite a special guest to help them cover one specific issue each episode. Yesterday lunchtime I listened to an episode from June, Kai-Fu Lee on Artificial Intelligence in China, and I include below a ~6 minute segment from the end of the episode, which is the focus of this post.

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