Hackers. Hacktivists. Who are they? What do they want? Radio 4’s Simon Cox explores. There seem to be a few Scots voices in there. One interesting phrase caught my ear: Transnational Global Cyber Insurgency.


The Divided Brain

One of the reasons I started this blog was to share interesting links easily with pals overseas. Countries tend to be less proprietorial about radio than TV. Perhaps it’s a legal thing. Perhaps they simply value it less.

My good friend, Dudley Cole, in Australia returned the favour with a link to this fascinating interview which debunks many myths about left brain-right brain, without throwing out the whole notion.

The interviewee is Dr. Iain McGilchrist, author of The Master and his Emissary.

It is one of many great chats on Late Night Live, which is on Australia’s RadioNational

Dudley also sent me this unusual radio heads’ link

Home, James and don’t spare the horsepower

Would you get in a driverless car? Who would want to own such a thing? Perhaps the man with only 5% vision using the Google Car in this film?

I always fascinated by new tech but had overlooked the uses of this for many people currently forbidden to drive.

Scroll to 35:21 of this episode of Broadcasting House to find out more. The piece features Paul Newman – no the other one…

Civilian Drones

What is the connection between John Napier, Thomas de Quincey, Charles Darwin (the uncle), St. Cuthbert’s Church, Edinburgh and civilian drones? Scroll to 25.00 of this episode of Material World to find out.

The Self

I was enlightened to discover that David Hume didn’t believe in the self. He thought more in terms of bundles of experience but no constant or continuing self. Heady stuff for 18th century Edinburgh. Nevertheless, ‘the self’ made three radio appearances in as many days.

Biographer Martin Goodman knows all about putting others before himself; or himself in their shoes; or even conjecturing on what historical characters would have made of our times. Where his Free Thinking talk became interesting was his description of time spent studying Zen in Japan. The self he had set out to diminish put up quite a fight. His talk is here.

Low self-esteem can stunt growth and potential. Are there dangers in inflated self-esteem? Scroll to 9:40 of this edition of All in the Mind to hear some opinions.

Can there be any more self-orientated quest than the search for happiness Might there be a better approach to life? Scroll to 1:45:34 of this to hear about recent research.

Moeran’s Last Symphony

While I like the idea of radio drama, I often find the reality a little overwrought. Often the prosody of the self-consciously melodramatic delivery is enough to put me off. However, Moeran’s Last Symphony reeled me in on two counts. Firstly I stumbled upon it in the car. It had already started and, not knowing who the play featured kept me guessing.

I have to be honest and say I knew nothing of Earnest John Moeran – not even that his quintessentially English music masked his 50% Irish generic inheritance.

When I got home, I sought out his Symphony No 1 on Spotify and took to it immediately. Great brass writing towards the end of the first movement – even if the rhythm put me in mind of The Flintstones. Anyway, joking aside, the play tells the tragic story of war injuries, depression, alcoholism, delusion and self-doubt.

Moeran’s friend Philip Heseltine aka Peter Warlock, makes an appearance.

Alan Bennett

Does treasure have an antonym? Debt? Horror? Perhaps we should ask Alan Bennett, who bridles at the term when directed at him. His latest play, ‘People’ at the National Theatre is discussed at the beginning of this edition of Front Row. The National Trust comes in for some stick in this work which stars the love interest from the seriously dated 70s comedy, Rising Damp, Frances de la Tour.

Last Word

Amazing to think that a composer who was a contemporary of Gershwin and Copland has just died. Elliot Carter died this week aged 103. He wrote his first opera aged 90. I’ll bear this in mind the next time I think it’s possibly too late in life to start something.

You can hear about his life on Last Word. It’s the second article. The first is about Clive Dunn. There are a few surprises. Herbie Flowers, who penned the highly successful anthem to sentimentality, ‘Grandad’ tells with fetching modesty how the song was put together.

Also, Brian Cobby aka The Speaking Clock appears. Does the speaking clock still exist?

Matthew Bannister presents.


How important is the survival of foodstuffs grown in the wild to their more factory farmed relations? Quentin Cooper and guests discuss this with regard to the world’s first and now most endangered species of coffee, Arabica.

Scroll forward to 13:30 here.


As the world’s largest democratic and non-democratic countries set about the process of selecting new leadership, Martin Jacques, author of When China Rules the World, compares the systems.