The outgoing US ambassador in Beijing (Trump’s new man hadn’t arrived yet) had to tell the Chinese that Trump was pulling out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Morally, he couldn’t. He said so. He packed his bags, was sent home, was of course vilified by the Trump crew. A lifetime of service and then this. Hats off to you, I say. (Another fine Evan Osnos article in the New Yorker.)
Another clearly written article from Chris Mooney in the Washington Post, this time on a sobering technical article (Mooney’s article can point you to the source but it is behind a pay wall) by eight researchers, five of them from Hobart or Sydney. Before the 90s, sea level was creeping up at one millimeter a year but now, mainly due to the Greenland ice sheet beginning its inexorable meltdown, the annual global sea rise is over three millimeters a year. We’re talking over 3 cms a decade, which might not sound like much, but ally that to more hot wet air slopping around the world and bringing extreme weather events, and suddenly (so it seems) we know we’ll witness towns washing away in our lifetimes. Chris Harig, one of the coauthors of this study (Mooney says this is the third independent study confirming the same thing already this year), puts it baldly: “We understand why the sea level is accelerating . . . It’s no longer a projection, it’s now an observation.”
(Image from the article.)
I’m inspired! Ben Hoyle (in the Weekend Australian Magazine) takes a look at, and interviews, a writer I can never get enough of, Michael Lewis. All his books captivate, inform, thrill.
(Image from that Australian article)
The Big Decade ends December 31, 2025. Five hundred days swept past me a month ago. Quick, Andres, off the top of your head, name three emotions from those 532 days . . .
Peter Craven’s reviews in The Australian Review remain a highlight of that wonderful weekly. Last weekend he crowned Richard Ford’s memoir, Between Them: Remembering My Parents, with this final phrase: “But this is, in the end, a memoir beyond praise.”
Haven’t we all in us a memoir yet unwritten? We might label it a “life history” or a biography, but I’m forever meeting people who tell me they have a book in them, as the phrase goes. Memoir encapsulates our need to explain ourselves to ourselves. I’m no different. My gestational, ill-defined memoir pops into my mind every week or so, and I keep buying landmark memoirs to peruse (how do they do it?) but rarely find the needed time. After reading Craven’s glorifying review, I snap up the Kindle version of Between Them and chuck it on my (imaginary Kindle) bedside table.
(Image from The Australian)
After a quarter century of tech reporting, Walt Mossberg’s column in The Verge offers parting generalities. What he describes as “ambient computing” convinces me yet again that we should embrace the full force of the modern tech age and reshape/shape it to fit our vision of the “better world,” rather than decrying our anxieties. For those interested, Kevin Kelley offers a fuller picture, elegantly told, in “The Inevitable.” I tell you, brewing over this kind of thing makes me yearn to write sci-fi. (iPhoto from The Verge website)
In this New Yorker review, Anthony Lane nails my discomfort with a film (Alien: Covenant) that ticked boxes for me but left me puzzlingly disenchanted. In a nutshell, Ridley Scott, master in so many ways, has lost the plot with the Alien saga. The plot is naff. When I grow up, I aspire to write reviews as good as this one! (Image from the New Yorker)
Too many obsessions that can be converted into the big year notion of daily focus . . . fortunately, some possibilities are off limits.
Never, ever take a dapper website for granted. In today’s increasingly sophisticated online environment, even small changes require craftsmanship. I take my hat off to all the web developers! I’m moving my website and making cosmetic changes, and guess what? It’s not easy and missteps are common.
Patience . . . patience . . . I whisper to myself.
Check out the doppelganger. One of the pair is the intense one, attending to a big year. The other is the relaxing one, enjoying birding in northwest Victoria. Which is which? How would I know?
It felt decidedly strange to do no writing, not even journaling, for five full days. Sleeps were full of dreams. I would have said it was a welcome respite, but the transition back to real life has been a jolt.