Goodbye Covid, Hello Climate

by Thomas O’Dwyer Complicated international agreements on managing the planet’s many human and natural resources may seem essentially modern, a consequence of the interdependence between nations that has been growing since the 19th century. Such accords are as necessary as sewage pipes that underpin healthy societies and just as boring. However, we possess copies of…

Science Is Truth Until It Isn’t

by Thomas O’Dwyer “Trust the science; follow the scientists” has become a familiar refrain during our past year of living dangerously. It is the admonition of world health organisations to shifty politicians; it is good advice for all whose lives have been battered into disruption by Covid-19. But another insidious pandemic has been creeping up…

Voices Of Tyrants In A Tyranny of Voices

by Thomas O’Dwyer On 9 October 1990, President George H.W. Bush held a news conference about Iraqi-occupied Kuwait as the US was building an international coalition to liberate the emirate. He said: “I am very much concerned, not just about the physical dismantling but about some of the tales of brutality. It’s just unbelievable, some…

The Alexandria Quartet: Reflections In Broken Mirrors

by Thomas O’Dwyer The Nobel Prize season is almost upon us and writers who cover the events are poised as usual to see if the awards ride in on any juicy scandals. In particular, we’re watching you, Peace and Literature. This pandemic year’s winners will have no glitter to adorn their prizes, no lavish dinners,…

Death The Leveller

by Thomas O’Dwyer A book subtitled A Novel of the Plague might appear opportunistic at this time. But in Maggie O’Farrell’s new and much-praised Hamnet, the only opportunity the author seems to be taking advantage of is our ignorance of the life of William Shakespeare. “Miraculous,” The Guardian wrote, “a beautiful imagination of the short…

Reality Has Left The Building

by Thomas O’Dwyer Our world (made of atoms) is crammed with paradoxes. Particles act like waves, waves like particles And your cat can be dead and alive at the same time. Just step through your looking glass and welcome to the quantum world. “If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you haven’t understood quantum mechanics,” the…

Coffee At Eleven

by Thomas O’Dwyer After suffering the injury of pandemic isolation for most of the year, the pride of Dublin city had insult added in May when a national treasure, Bewley’s Café, announced that its doors would be closed not just for the lockdown, but forever. Public outrage rippled out of the city and across the…