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Viewing entries posted in December 2010

29
Dec
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Robert Rowland Smith on Milestones

 It's arguable that life's two greatest milestones, life and death, are both ones we don't experience. The first because we're not properly conscious; the second because we're not properly conscious. You can't experience your own death, by definition. Both being born and dying prove elusive,...
Posted by Robert Rowland Smith
27
Dec
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Mark Vernon on Gratitude

It's the time of year for gifts. Which means the time of year for gratitude too, though many Christmas presents the cheap scent, the plastic toy will evoke the opposite feeling: despair.  As Socrates put it one day, when he walked into the bustling...
Posted by Mark Vernon
22
Dec
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Mark Vernon on Sex

There's a chilling moment in Michel Houellebecq's novel, Atomised. Bruno met Christiane on the 'orgy circuit'. They'd embarked on a wild journey of porn and drugs. Then, one day, Christiane reveals something to Bruno. She suffers from a degenerative condition. It puts her in...
Posted by Mark Vernon
20
Dec
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Simon Garfield on Type

The question type designers get asked more than any other is probably 'why?' (or perhaps 'y?') Why do we need so many typefaces? Why can't we stick to about 50, which would obviously include the biggies like Helvetica, Baskerville, Caslon, Gill Sans and Arial....
Posted by Simon Garfield
17
Dec
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Mark Vernon on Food

Whatever else Christmas may be about, it is definitely about food. Turkey is as emblematic of the festive season as tinsel; Christmas pudding as Christmas presents. Hence supermarkets and celebrity chefs alike go into overdrive at this time of year. Even non-foodies will obsess...
Posted by Mark Vernon
15
Dec
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Mark Vernon on Secrets

The drip-drip from the recent Wikileaks expos's often felt like a case of 'tell us something we didn't know.' Prince Andrew's opinion of the French. Gordon Brown's qualities as a prime minister. The undiplomatic dispatches have presumably been raising smiles, alongside frowns, because they confirm...
Posted by Mark Vernon
14
Dec
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Robert Rowland Smith on Christmas Shopping

I am now a philosopher, but once I was one of the three wise men. Aged four, topped in a gold paper crown, I edged onto the stage where Joseph and Mary (it was an all boys school) stood woodenly by a crib...
Posted by Robert Rowland Smith
13
Dec
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John Armstrong on Grandeur

 The other evening we had a few people I don't know terribly well round for  dinner. While we were having a drink my son, who is thirteen, put on some music: Land of Hope and Glory.  Deep down I absolutely love it. But...
Posted by John Armstrong
10
Dec
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Nick Southgate on Wrapping Presents

December is upon us. Present buying needs to step up a gear if we are to avoid a last-minute flurry of panicked purchase decisions made in a marathon length relay between overwhelmed and under-stocked retailers. The other advantage of getting one's shopping done (relatively) early...
Posted by Nick Southgate
09
Dec
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Mark Vernon on Individuality

We live in an individualistic age, and many suspect it does not serve us that well, what with it's delusions of self-sufficiency that breeds loneliness, and selfishness that fosters alienation. But our attention to the individual is far from all bad. Self-esteem, self-knowledge and self-interest...
Posted by Mark Vernon
07
Dec
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John Lanchester on Enough

Between 1989 and 2010, the economy of China grew at an average rate of 8.9 per cent a year. Growth figures of that sort are normally only achievable in small countries; but China has 1.3 billion people, a fifth of the world's population. The...
Posted by John Lanchester

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