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Nashville Tennessee

 

Our next stop was Nashville to the north-east.  To say we were taken aback would be an understatement. The main music street is Broadway.  It's like a continuous 'schoolies' for twenty-somethings  At every door conflicting music screams out in competition.  At points the combined noise pressure is almost unbearable. There was a football game in town that boasts two huge stadia and we imagined that this was unusual, a special racket for the fans, but we were assured by a waitress, in a relatively quiet and pleasant restaurant off the main strip: "It's the same every day, including Sundays".  We were there again the following day, Sunday, and can confirm that this is so.

Among the partygoers were numerous 'hens parties' and our informant told us that almost everyone on Broadway were out-of-towners.  Unlike Memphis, they were almost all white, the few black faces obviously locally employed staff. We got a big dose of that 'Disneyland feeling' of artificiality that's not far from many US tourist venues.

 

 


Nashville - Click on this picture to see more
 

 

I don't know what I expected: maybe hopeful country stars busking on street corners. Indeed we did see one busker who wasn't too bad. I didn't have high hopes so was not let down. But Wendy confessed herself disappointed.

 

 

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Travel

Cuba

 

 

 

What can I say about Cuba? 

In the late ‘70s I lived on the boundary of Paddington in Sydney and walked to and from work in the city.  Between my home and work there was an area of terrace housing in Darlinghurst that had been resumed by the State for the construction of a road tunnel and traffic interchanges.  Squatters had moved into some of the ‘DMR affected’ houses.  Most of these were young people, students, rock bands and radically unemployed alternative culture advocates; hippies. 

Those houses in this socially vibrant area that were not condemned by the road building were rented to people who were happy with these neighbours: artists; writers; musicians; even some younger professionals; and a number were brothels.  

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Fiction, Recollections & News

More on Technology and Evolution

 

 

 

 

 

I recently read and commented on Dan Brown's latest novel 'Origin' in which the question 'where are we going?' is answered in suggesting an ever greater human symbiosis with technology.  But what if that's not all?

Regular readers will know that I have an artificial heart valve.  Indeed many people have implanted prosthesis, from metal joints or tooth fillings to heart pacemakers and implanted cochlear hearing aides, or just eye glasses or dentures.   Some are kept alive by drugs.  All of these are ways in which our individual survival has become progressively more dependent on technology.  So that should it fail many would suffer.  Indeed some today feel bereft without their mobile phone that now substitutes for skills, like simple mathematics, that people once had to have themselves.  But while we may be increasingly transformed by tools and implants, the underlying genes, conferred by reproduction, remain human.

The possibility of accelerated genetic evolution through technology was brought nearer last week when, on 28 November 2018, a young scientist, He Jiankui, announced, at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong, that he had successfully used the powerful gene-editing tool CRISPR to edit a gene in several children.

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Opinions and Philosophy

The reputation of nuclear power

 

 

One night of at the end of March in 1979 we went to a party in Queens.  Brenda, my first wife, is an artist and was painting and studying in New York.  Our friends included many of the younger artists working in New York at the time.  That day it had just been announced that there was a possible meltdown at a nuclear reactor at a place called a Three Mile Island , near Harrisburg Pennsylvania. 

I was amazed that some people at the party were excitedly imagining that the scenario in the just released film ‘The China Syndrome’  was about to be realised; and thousands of people would be killed. 

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