This wonderful life

I've just read a review by David Quammen of Dutch biologist Menno Schilthuizen's Darwin Comes To Town. Apparently, rapid speciation is happening in our cities because of the peculiarities of urban environments: there are now at least three distinct species of mosquito - each descended from the same common above-ground species - living their separate, …

R.I.P Mary Midgley, 1919-2018

The excellent and hugely underrated philosopher Mary Midgley has died at the age of 99, shortly after completing yet another book. She was a subtle, scientifically literate scourge of scientism - career highlights included high-temperature roastings of what she saw as the presumption and intellectual laziness in Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene and E.O. Wilson's …

Fascism for beginners

There's so much being written about threats to democracy that it's hard to keep up. On the 1936 v 2018 question, the most recent New York Review of Books has a thoughtful, nuanced piece by historian Christopher R. Browning, The Suffocation of Democracy. And there's an earlier piece by Browning, reviewing Volker Ullrich's book on Hitler, …