Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. Account of a disastrous expedition to Everest in 1996 by a former climber turned journalist.
Though he was on the expedition, Krakauer tries hard to be objective, so the book keeps a fairly cool tone despite the events it describes. Everest's status attracts amateur climbers who pay to be guided to the summit, who usually have some climbing experience, but are not elite mountaineers and who probably couldn't make it alone, leading to traffic jams on good days.
In this case, the weather turned bad, and one party continued past the turnaround time when they should have headed back. Eight people died, and the public was shocked at accounts of how other climbers refused to help those in trouble. Krakauer points out rescue would have been difficult, and that the lack of oxygen makes it hard for everyone to think: people seem to climb in a kind of semi-drunken mental fug.
Overall, an interesting book. But I wouldn't say it's quite a classic like "The Worst Journey in the World".
Saw Our New Girl at the new Bush Theatre.
They've moved from their tiny space over the O'Neills pub to an old library building round the corner. The legendary old one was really good for creating an intense atmosphere. The new one is slightly larger though still small by normal standards. I'm not sure if they'll move the set around as creatively as in the last one: it's a bit of an awkward setup like the Greenwich Playhouse, with the stage on the longer wall of a rectangular space, so the large audiences at the wings must struggle to get a good angle.
The play is about an apparently successful couple: the pregnant mother finds her often-absent husband has hired a nanny without consulting her.
It's actually a good play, well acted by everyone. Kate Fleetwood does a great job as the brittle mother. The plot's pretty good as things are set up and revealed, with some tense moments. There's also one really good subtle effect.
A couple of weaknesses: some of the dialogue gets a bit ostentatiously speechy, and the plot goes over some pretty well-mined territory for middle-class drama, without really subverting it.
Overall though, a good solid play, worth seeing.
Socioeconomics. Shame influences teen sexual behaviour. Britain is not following the Japanese script. Why can't Apple make stuff in the US? Markets move from under- to over-estimating sovereign risk.
De Botton's School of Life, by contrast, does not offer people a particular ethics for them to commit to. That's why it is so far from a church, despite its 'Sunday sermons'. It is a philosophy shop - people pay to listen to various ideas, without having to commit to any of them.Politics. Credit Ratings agencies are pretty great, let's put them in control of hospital finances. NHS reorg is killing efficiency.
A genuine 'religion for atheists' would have to decide: what does it demand from its members? It would have to go beyond the rather easy market liberalism of the School of Life, and actually ask its members to make ethical sacrifices and commitments. Without that shared ethics and commitment, the community you end up with is inevitably going to be shallow, with much weaker ties than a genuine religion or philosophical movement. Not really a community at all, more a loose collection of strangers.
Video. Boardwalk Empire effects shots. Animation of Fallingwater house. Channel 4 announcers pronounce "Simpsons". Russian press conference invaded by flying dildo . Star Wars uncut: full length movie compiled from fan clips.
Pics. 1890s exotic dancers.
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