CONVERSATIONS WITH EUROPE
28 August 2017
In which I talk about what's behind my current writing
'I've committed myself to doing what I can for
openness, inclusion and diversity in the face of the
threats that these now face. That is a worldwide
struggle, but its European theatre is the one I'm most
aware of, and feel most deeply about.'
(subscription required) of Daniel Dennett's From
Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of
Minds, Literary Review February 2017
In which I argue, with particular reference to
language, that Dennett's focus on the interests of
memes draws attention from the more important
interests of the humans who spread them.
WHEN POLITICS FILLS THE LANGUAGE GAP, CAN SCIENCE
New Scientist 2 November 2016
Language is human; language is political. That's a
challenge for scientists such as the ones who argue
that bilingualism is good for the brain.
The 100-year life: how to make longevity a
blessing, not a curse
review, New Scientist 6 July
Planning and forethought; flexibility and
openness to new experiences: 100-year lifespans will
require the young to be old and the old young.
choosing europe, choosing hope
This is a text written from the heart about how
to vote Remain with your heart, not just your
head, in Britain's referendum on whether to remain
in the European Union.
facts and values
Book review: Race Rerun
Trends in Ecology and Evolution November 2015
Writing this book review provided an interesting
opportunity to reflect upon writing about race and
science twenty years after my book The Race Gallery
came out. New claims, new critiques; same angst
about what must and must not be said.
the near abroad
I'm working on a new book, of which more to follow;
the research took me to Latvia in May 2015. Some of
the images I brought back from the Victory Day
celebrations in Riga, an occasion that unites Latvia's
Russians and divides Latvia, feature in this talk:
lingo, my train'. The free movement of languages and
Territoriality conference 26 May 2015 (YouTube
On May 8, Russians commemorate Victory Day in the
Great Patriotic War - the Soviet World War 2. For
Latvia's Russian speakers, it is an affirmation of
national and family history. For ethnic Latvians, it
is a glorification of the army that occupied their
Singers from a folk choir take refreshment at a replica
field kitchen. Period uniforms, as worn by the men
behind the jeep, are popular - especially with young
In the 'Immortals March', people carry images of family
members who served during the war.
The centre of the Riga commemorations is the Victory
Monument in Victory Park.