How Science Fills Its Gaps With Old Stories


“Before science had the means to explore that realm, we had to make do with stories that became enshrined in myth and folklore. Those stories aren’t banished as science advances; they are simply reinvented.”

‘Inherent Dullness’? Pah! How About ‘Soul-Searing Passion’? A Sports Journalist Goes to the Symphony

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“I heard drama; I saw drama, great swaying, soaring playing full of determination and vigour, its pace never letting up. (I’m stunned how still the rest of the audience appeared to manage to sit. My head had gone a bit I think.)” Soccer writer Neil Atkinson visits the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

The World’s Rarest Jazz 78s Were Found Here


“In the 1940s, the Jazz Record Center became the default clubhouse for a cabal of distinctive gentlemen: exiles, recluses, characters so outsize in their eccentricities that they felt invented, except better. Here there was not a sense—as with the archetypal Outsider—that a choice had been made. Here, the earliest collectors of 78 rpm records found each other.”

What Happened To The Memorials For The Fall Of The Berlin Wall?

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“The 25th anniversary the fall of the Berlin Wall is approaching this autumn, and the anniversary is set to be marked by the unveiling of two major memorials in central Leipzig and Berlin. But their ceremonial inauguration is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future — there are just too many problems with the schedules and the budgets of both.”

Writers Aren’t Required To Envision A Perfect World


“I am so sick of being exhorted, as a writer, to improve the world by representing it in a more hopeful way. And the pressure, I feel, is growing, not just from provincial academics such as Friess but from my own peers, whom I witness daily lacerating themselves – perhaps under the influence of the academics who are the only people now able to give them employment – for their moral failings.”

The New World Trade Center – A Panoramic View From The Top Of The World

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“No doubt the new building’s official dedication will open the way to a necessary debate over its merits as architecture and urbanism, its turbulent design history and the compromises made over the long years it took to get the thing built. But in one important respect, One World Trade Center has already succeeded. It has reclaimed the sky. And this is the view from there.”

The Power Of Music: For Good AND For Bad


Music is power. In his 2010 book on noise and silence, George Prochnik asked a series of provocative questions that began with this one: “Is it really true that all our reactions to sound are dictated by simple equations: loud, low sounds equal something powerful, so be scared or be prepared to mate; soft, little sounds equals something small, so be calm, be prepared to mate, or both?”