Philippa Thomas Online

Occasional thoughts about life, books and news.


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Where do YOU stand on social media?

Journalists like nothing better than to talk about themselves. But this has gone beyond us. There’s a battle out there about the role of Social Media. It’s the evangelists v the sceptics. Right now, the sceptics are gaining ground. But I think they’ll concede it in the long run. Continue reading

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MIT celebrates 150 years of being “brilliant”, “bold” and “ridiculous”

 

The words of MIT president Susan Hockfield at this morning’s launch of the 150th anniversary celebration. We got a sneak preview of a dazzling exhibition which, it’s fair to say, has something for everyone. The world’s first ‘bionic’ arm? artificial skin? a wheelchair that can climb stairs? students earning credits for racecar design? The motto for this 150 years is “inventional wisdom”. I like it.

It’s also very much in the spirit of MIT culture that this is the result of open source curation – the entire MIT community was invited to nominate objects for inclusion. They say the real difficulty was deciding what to leave out since – as one of the professors put it – the intellectual experience here “is like drinking from a firehose”.  The Nieman experience feels that way too, for which I’m eternally grateful. I’ve put more photos up on my twitter feed. Continue reading


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A novel I can’t get out of my mind.

“The gun jammed on the last shot and the baby stood holding the crib rail, eyes wild, bawling. The man sat down in an upholstered chair and began taking his gun apart to see why it wouldn’t fire”.

“Nothing that happens, nothing, is not connected here by blood”.

“Old love, middle love, the kind of love that knows itself and knows that nothing lasts, is a desperate shared wilderness”.

Louise Erdrich published “The Plague of Doves” in 2008, and I’ve just come to it by way of the excellent “Shadowtag” – but it feels different and it feels deeper. Continue reading