Posts by :

Contactless but tactile

Technologies like automatic doors, sensor-controlled escalators and even contactless payments all allow us to glide through London without touching it—with our hands, that is.We feel the city with our feet. Through the soles of our shoes we learn the texture of London’s uneven paving, lumpy tarmac and slippery cobbles. We also read the city with our(…)

The benefits of unlearning

To navigate our way through life we most often apply a kind of internal filter that organises the world into priority, inessential and junk. It’s a useful tool. But how much of the richness of experience does it blank out? How far does it hamper our powers of perception and imagination? Sometimes what we think we already know(…)

Slow growth and ancient roots

Now that London’s trees have all outed themselves with their new foliage, it’s a great time to go tree spotting. The Natural History Museum’s Leafsnap UK app is a handy tool for identifying species from their leaves. Of all the city’s trees, the London plane (pictured left) gives the capital its arboreal character. But it hasn’t(…)

Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed

So wrote the French chemist Antoine Lavoisier in 1774, summing up his discovery that although matter can change its state in a chemical reaction, the total mass of matter remains the same.‘Everything is transformed’ could also serve as the motto for the Circular Economy: the idea that we can produce stuff without waste or pollution(…)

London’s birds and the global sound wave

International Dawn Chorus Day on Sunday 1 May is a prompt to connect with birds as they herald a new day. Do London’s birds sing differently from their country cousins? Studies have found that great tits chirp higher. This is thought to be so as better to project above the rumble of traffic and other(…)