Thursday, 19 April 2007

One reason I love the LRB

There is an excellent article on the science of global warming (on the excuse of speaking to books on the subject) in the publicly-available section of the London Review of Books: look for Warmer, Warmer on the RHS. With a little more effort, one can also navigate to a public article on The Political Economy of Carbon Trading from the subsequent edition. As a scientist, I have less of a feel for this second subject, but the article does seem eminently sensible.

I present these as Exhibits A and B for the case that one can write an accessible article on a technical subject, and still write for grown-ups. The LRB includes this sort of piece from time to time, usually to a very high standard. Medical/epidemiological articles tend to be written by tame experts (and the articles are superb), but those on general scientific subjects seem to be written by informed layfolk (scientifically speaking) who go off and swot. Maybe the Two Cultures are finally drawing together again.

The few times I've dipped into The Economist, I've also found the science and technology section to be of an excellent standard --- to my pleasant surprise --- and less uncritical than some of the science press. So let's give credit where credit is due.

P.S. If you plan to read the new Ian McEwan novel On Chesil Beach, best not to first read Colm Tóibín's review (also on the LRB website). Word to the wise.


Eb said...

For a moment I thought this article was referring to a different LRB

Bruce Yabsley said...

It never even occurred to me. Perhaps I was suppressing a traumatic memory ...