In New York today, they will hold the first meeting of the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development, which is intended to help turn the summit's principles into reality. The summit's long-term impact is hard to judge, because recession has pushed the environment down the political agenda in many countries. The past year has, however, justified the warning of Mr Maurice Strong, Rio's organiser, that 'we simply cannot save the world in a one-shot quick-fix conference'. Progress towards many of the specific targets set by the summit has been slow, although Rio has won credit for changing attitudes in both developing and industrialised countries.
Not one of the famous ones. I spend a certain amount of time thinking about stuff.
New Titles Digital July (arrived in June ) Downloadable audiobooks; Heiress Gwennelyn of Segrave falls in love with landless knight Rhys de Piaget when she is a child of 10 and he's only Unfortunately, her father has already betrothed her to Alain of Ayre, the spoiled, mean-natured son of a neighbour. oddities & astounding. Adekeye Adebajo focuses on Africa's quest for security, leadership and unity, with chapters on Africa's security institutions, the roles played by South Africa, Nigeria, China, France and the USA, and the significance of Nelson Mandela, Cecil Rhodes, Thabo Mbeki, Kwame Nkrumah, Barack Obama, and Mahatma Ghandi. It's in the same vein as Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, a story of a man hopeless in love, and throws in a good wallopping dash of Manchild (with the protagonist at 30ish instead of 50ish). Tom Farrell is a low-grade almost-editor at a trashy New York tabloid who falls for Julia in what he calls "doses" of her.
Rather than let my thoughts languish in obscurity in my head, or on my hard drive, I've decided to let them languish in obscurity on Google. Liars in Love -- Richard Yates A collection of stories about unpleasant people being unpleasant. The writing is splendid but not worth the price of associating with the awful characters.
Backroom Boys -- Francis Spufford A very good history of a half-dozen British engineering projects, such as the Concorde supersonic jet and the human genome research effort. The subtitle is "The Return of the British Boffins"; boffin is a British term for a technical expert, someone who knows how things work.
Some great stories of how researchers had to pit budget concerns and bureaucratic inertia against the very real British respect for learning and desire to get things done. The book would have been better without them.
The author did something really unusual: The first half of the book is very good, telling the story of growing up with vast backyard sheep roasts, being abandoned by her hippie parents as a young teenager and left to fend for herself, lying about her age to get her first restaurant jobs.
Lifted -- Andreas Bernard A history of the elevator. Could have been better written, but still interesting. Perhaps not surprisingly, actually inventing the elevator was almost easier than persuading people to use it.
Elevators might have kept on being used for nothing but freight had it not been that improved steel production around the same time made much taller buildings possible, so always taking the stairs became impractical except for fitness enthusiasts.
Infinitesimal -- Amir Alexander An excellent book on the development of calculus and how it threatened the way seventeenth-century thinkers looked at the world. The basic issue is this: According to Euclid's geometry, line AB is made up of an infinite number of points.
This raises a question: If it does, then no matter how small the length, an infinite number of points must add up to more than the length of line AB; but if a point's length is zero, then even an infinite number of points cannot add up to the finite length of line AB.
Calculus solves this paradox by using infinitesimals, which is a method that regards points as having nonzero but infinitely small length; so that each point on the line segment has a length of "one infinitieth", so to speak. This approach seemed to discredit Euclid, who defined a point as "that which has no part", so it was threatening to the powerful classes of the time, who used the beautiful, eternal consistency and provability of Euclid's geometry as an analogy for the hierarchy of a stratified society, which they considered as equally consistent and eternal as a geometric proof; they used Euclid's Elements as the intellectual justification for their whole worldview.
The Jesuits forbade the teaching or even mentioning of infinitesimals, which is one reason mathematics flourished in Protestant countries but not Catholic ones. There's also a lot about Thomas Hobbes, who thought that infinitesimals challenged his doctrine that absolutism was the only proper government, and who spent his last years publishing ever more complex mathematical papers purporting to prove calculus couldn't work.
When he got fed up with readers pointing out all the errors in his calculations, he just published a final edition in which he proclaimed no one was capable of understanding his calculations but himself.
It reads rather like a guy on the internet explaining why peer-reviewed journals are too jealous to admit that he's proved the Riemann Hypothesis.
It really held my attention. The Siege -- Arturo Perez-Reverte A mystery and thriller set against the backdrop of the siege of Cadiz, which lasted two and a half years during the Napoleonic Wars. The siege was largely a stalemate, since the French army held all the land approaches but the British fleet kept the French fleet penned up so Cadiz could be supplied by sea.
Of the two main plot lines, one follows Cadiz's chief of police as he investigates a series of brutal murders, suspecting -- though he can't say how -- that the pattern of the killings is connected with the timing and aim of the artillery barrages from the French.
The other follows the fortunes of the head of one of the great merchant families of Cadiz, whose risky and dangerous trading voyages are tangled up with her undeclared platonic romance with the only captain reckless enough to command them for her.
I thought it was great. Blandings Castle -- P. Wodehouse A fantastic collection of short stories.
The first half-dozen are set at rustic Blandings, where the amiably eccentric Lord Emsworth tends his flowers and prize pig and is kind to children in an absent-minded sort of way. The stories show off Wodehouse's exceptional skill with a phrase; among the highlights is "It is never difficult to tell the difference between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.Chapters further discuss the importance of forming positive relationships through hospitality as sure as good business, and lessons that can be learned from other's mistakes and difficulties just trying to .
Stephen Griffith's Journal Multiple blogs became difficult to maintain, so this journal combines all my interests--reading, writing, China, being a stay-at-home Dad, theology, politics, movies, etc.
1 A01 Lindsay-Abaire, David 06 96 03 DD 02 Becca and Howie Corbett are a happy suburban couple whose lives are changed forever when their young son Danny is killed in an accident. Eight months on, they are drifting perilously apart.
Becca wants to start afresh in a new home and give away their son's possessions, but Howie wants to keep the memory of Danny alive.
Jan 31, · And this is a more personal thing but I picked up this book hoping it would discuss more about being and in college. (pg. 10) HA!
Teenie's father and her descriptions of her family will have you laughing, but much of the humor also comes from Teenie's relationship with Cherise. Maybe one will end up in a young girl's room. Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. Comics and Commentary Scott R. Kurtz's recent run of comic strips at PvPonline takes alternative comics publishers and creators to task.
It's a giggle-ridden tirade about talent, production values, self-publishing motivation, intentional obscurity, comics journalism, sales, and readers.