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For Rory MacLean, Berlin has always been ‘in the process of becoming, never being.’ Over long centuries, planners and politicians, ranging from the well-intentioned to the diabolical, have attempted to tame the city. They were destined to fail
Unlike the Inca sites of Ecuador and Peru, the great cities and temples of the ancient Mayan civilisation of Central America are not on the bucket list of every gap year back-packer or middle-aged culture vulture
If human beings hadn’t recruited an impressive array of animals to do their bidding, history would have been very different. With horses, pigs, sheep, cows, and camels on our side we stood a better chance of taking over the planet
Thomas Machell (1824–1864), indigo planter (among other things), left five volumes of diaries behind him, covering all but the final six years of his life
We humans are adrift, needing to cling to things throughout our lives to counteract currents that would otherwise sweep us to oblivion. This is understood instinctively at a very early age, as babies cling to their parents
The Dark Mountain Project, whose latest publication this is, comprises a network of writers and artists whose stated intent is to provide an honest response to ecological collapse, and the unravelling of civilisation that will follow
Even when ‘in the field’, aid workers are remote from the hardships they are dedicated to alleviating: ‘they visit project sites in air-conditioned Land Cruisers… and rarely move beyond a small number of hotels, restaurants, offices and compounds’
It’s cheesy, unrealistic, and predictable. But the plot’s underlying geography means Hollywood’s latest disaster blockbuster offers more than just fast-paced, adrenaline-fuelled excitement

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