Turned Out Nice: How the British Isles will Change as the World Heats Up. Science writer Marek Kohn takes a look at how the climate change will affect Britain, taking a few sample locations as examples: London, the South Downs, the Scottish Highlands for example.
According to this, we'll be relatively well-off compared with the rest of the world. Continental Europe will be hard hit, but the Atlantic will moderate the heat rise to some degree. We'll lose a bit due to flooding in winter, drought in summer; but crop cultivation in Northern Britain might even gain with warmth and more carbon dioxide.
However, this is a fairly optimistic portrayal. First, Kohn mostly assumes the mid-range of the climate change predictions, with only a little attention to scenarios like the collapse of the Gulf Stream. Second, he assumes a strong response from the authorities, with energy efficient building codes and extensive flood works. With denialism on the rise, I'm not so sure this will happen. Third, he assumes continuing economic prosperity, but if the global economy is hit hard, trade links mean we'll suffer too.
The book's pretty interesting, and seems to be thoroughly researched. I found the ideas about the future cities more interesting than the discussion of changing ecologies, but other may disagree.
Does have a couple of flaws. While there are masses of notes at the end, there are no superscripted numbers indicating what they refer to, which is a nuisance. Also his use of the present tense makes it unclear sometimes what's happening now, and what's going to happen in the future.
Overall though, an interesting and well-researched look at where we're heading.
What I'm Watching
The Damned United is an adaptation of the excellent novel by David Peace. This strips out all the elements of tragic psychological self-destruction though, and turns it into a lightweight nostalgic comedy.
The triumphalist, feelgood ending is a bit hard to take; and the motivation given to make Clough look less psychopathic is pretty weak.
Still, amusing at times.
What I'm Watching 2
Finally got around to watching 1959 French classic A Bout de Souffle, where a minor criminal tries to persuade a girl to accompany him as he flees the country. Can see how it must have been very influential with its jumpy cutting and jerky, mobile, camerawork.
Couldn't really get into it as a movie though: I'm probably not romantic enough, and insufficiently sympathetic to pretty people's formless angst.
Went to Tate Britain. In the main hall Fiona Banner has displayed two real fighter planes: a Harrier suspended from the ceiling, and a polished aluminium Jaguar upturned on the floor. Hasn't got very good reviews as art, but it's a great spectacle to see: the Jaguar is one of the most beautiful things I've seen in an art gallery in ages.
Was mainly there to see the Rude Britannia: British Comic Art exhibition though. That's another very good one. The different rooms have been curated by Gerald Scarfe, Steve Bell, "the cartoonists from Viz", Sarah Lucas and so on. You get a very good tour, from the familiar satirical cartoons of the Seventeenth Century on to a hideous Spitting Image Margaret Thatcher. Worth seeing.
What did happen to Herring and BlueOregon?
Socioeconomics. The strange economics of cable TV. Risk panic: when markets crash for no apparent reason. Ashley Mears, a model turned sociologist, explains Contrasting Aesthetics for "High End" and "Commercial" Models
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