War and Peace in the global village by Marshall McLuhan & Quentin Fiore
Anyone reading War and Peace in the Global Village by Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore could be forgiven for not realising that it was written over fifty years ago in 1968. Perhaps the younger generation of now who are hyper switched-on to the world of technology having grown up with it since birth would not view this book as innovative. However, I wonder how many of them could predict what the world will be like fifty plus years from now, not many I would guess. In reality, bearing in mind just how little the world had advanced technologically in 1968 compared to today, McLuhan seems like an alien intelligence with superior knowledge (a bit like Thomas Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell to Earth). Even though one has to project back to the late 1960’s and imagine a world without personal computers, the internet, mobile phones and social media for example, the ideas in the book still seem fresh and readable today.
Spiral - a French TV Crime Drama
Spiral (Engrenages in French) is a long running French crime drama, first appearing on UK screens in 2006. The final, and eighth series, was aired in January 2020; a total of 86 episodes. Spiral tells the story of a Parisian CID team which operates in some of the more dubious parts of the city, dealing with everything from murder, drug dealing, money laundering, kidnap, prostitution, burglary, robbery and many other crimes driven by underworld activities.
Although the nature of the crimes is often fairly familiar, and you cannot miss the fact that behind many of the crimes are immigrant groups, perhaps what is most watchful is the behaviour of the CID team who often come close to the criminals themselves in their disregard for the law.
Einstein’s War charts the life of Albert Einstein from the years just before the first world war to 1919, when the first proof of his theory of General Relativity was achieved. Running almost parallel to Einstein’s story is that of English astronomer Arthur Eddington. The link between the two, is that it was Eddington who persuaded the British scientific institutions, The Royal Society and The Royal Astronomical Society, to provide the funds and resources needed to mount an exhibition in 1919 to view a complete solar eclipse. This was an opportunity to see if the positions of stars close to the eclipse would remain the same or else change due to the bending of their light as it passes close to the sun. The latter, if by an amount calculated by Einstein, would be one of the first proofs of his new theory.