25Nov

Lyme Bay

Lyme
A much needed trip to the coast at the weekend – at Lyme Regis. A fascinating place from a geological and literary perspective. Read books, sipped whisky with friends, and walked along the coast looking at skies like this. Two days wasn’t enough, but it was good for the soul.

22Nov

Hello World

In a close future, a private company developed a technology aimed at boosting our brain capacity. But it requires from its clients to store their memory data on one single server. In this highly controlled world, a young woman has the power to change things.

A short French language film (with English subtitles, which automatically makes it clever).

16Nov

Gentrification ‘Without the Negative’

Nearly a quarter of the homes in the Franklinton neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio are vacant. In 2011, an arts group moved into an abandoned factory in the area to create 400 West Rich Street, a community that now leases space to woodworkers, performance artists, a coffee shop, painters, sculptors, and others.

Hipsterisation is really a more accurate term, but it’s still nice to see.

14Nov

Retribution Reviews

Just a couple of reviews for Retribution, which have been floating around the web recently. The first is at Tor.com, which I like for its honesty:

Retribution is ultimately on a par with its predecessor, but it works for different reasons than Drakenfeld did. Given the ubiquity of the grim and the gritty, I was sorry to see Newton go back to the dark side after the refreshing lightness of his last. That Retribution’s plot revolves around an almost impenetrable pursuit rather than a gripping mystery is regrettable as well.

And the second over at the Hugo-nomiated Pornokistch:

This isn’t just revisionist epic fantasy, it is optimistic and, in its way, heart-warming escapism – fundamentally positing that ordinary people can make a difference. If traditional epic fantasy presents a character that the reader wants to be, the Drakenfeld series dares to present a hero that we can be: the inspirational, not aspirational. Lucan Drakenfeld battles against the worst villains in the world, and stops unspeakable horrors – and he does so by keeping his eyes open and doing the right thing. It is a fusion of the humanity of the modern crime novel with the scale of the epic fantasy. Mark Charan Newton’s hero might not be the most cinematic sort of swashbuckler, but he’s certainly one of the most fascinating to read.

10Nov

Latest Whisky Reviews

Craigellachie
Whilst things have been a little slower on this site, I have been full-speed ahead on my whisky site. The latest review is of a Craigellachie 13 Year Old, a good value whisky with a meaty edge. And I recently sampled a blend that came from the 1940s, which was fascinating.

But it’s not just about reviews. I interviewed one of the legends of the whisky industry, Charles MacLean; we talked about the art of blended Scotch, and that all serious whisky drinkers should enjoy blends as well.

And finally, I recently visited an English distillery in the Cotswolds. It was a rather lovely place that’s making some exciting whisky as well as gin.

7Nov

The Diatomist

“Diatoms are single cell algae that create jewel-like glass shells around themselves. Microscopists of the Victorian era would arrange them into complex patterns, invisible to the naked eye but spectacular when viewed under magnification.The best of these arrangements are stunning technical feats that reveal the hidden grandeur of some of the smallest organisms on Earth.”

I remember studying diatoms at university. They’re pretty fascinating things, and the different types of diatoms taken from, say, lake sediment can give an indicator as to what was happening to the land over time. They’re also rather pretty.

3Nov

We The Economy

We the Economy┬áis a pretty interesting concept. It’s a series of 20 short videos, and spells out difficult economic ideas and theories in very basic terms. They kind of reminds me of my old A-Level Economics course, in their elegant simplicity, but they’re certainly filmed very well.