Friday, June 23, 2006

Al Gore - RSA lecture / An Inconvenient truth

Former US Vice-President Al Gore presented a lecture entitled "Earth in the Balance Sheet" to a full house in the Great Room of the RSA on June 21st. His influential book Earth in the balance is available to borrow from the RSA Fellows' Library, and has now been followed up with a new film and book - An Inconvenient truth (book published in the UK September 06 - reserve a copy now from the RSA Fellows' Library).

The film has had a high impact pushing the environment to the forefront of the US social and political agenda. The current unwillingness of the USA to ratify the Kyoto Protocol is seen by
many as a massive barrier to uniform action on climate change.

Trailer for
An Inconvenient truth ......

Gore proved to be both a charismatic and powerful speaker during his RSA performance, indulging in self mockery during his introduction in which he conceded that "yes, I was the next president of the United States", but also describing the need to tackle climate change as "a moral imperative" and speaking with great passion when comparing the kind of united action required to effectively reduce carbon emissions with the bravery and determination displayed by the Allies in their commitment to overthrowing fascism during the Second World War. A podcast of the lecture is available

However support for Al Gore has not been universal. The
Competitive Enterprise Institute, a lobbying group that stresses limited government regulation and a free-market approach to environmental issues, has created two "Pro-Carbon" television advertisements aimed at countering the effect of what they call the "alarmist" media presentation of worldwide climate change. And before you ask, they are for real......

However, Gore's film has also attracted some more measured criticism. In a
recent piece in The Guardian newspaper, John Pilger criticized Gore's role as an environmentalist by pointing out that when Gore was Vice-President under the Clinton administration, the US had an even worse record on carbon emissions than at present.

Such a high profile speaker clearly illustrates the high quality of the
RSA lecture program and it's commitment to stimulating discussion and debate of the most crucial issues of the day. Mr Gore's presence at the RSA received significant media attention, including a feature on Radio 4's The Today Program.

A further RSA lecture relating to environmentalism is planned for September (not yet announced). It is due to feature Bjorn Lomborg and be broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
Lomborg, author of The Skeptical environmentalist and Global crises, global solutions (a 2nd edition to be published in July renamed How to Spend $50 Billion to Make the World a Better Place ), is renowned for his controversial views and opposition to the majority of the environmental lobby movement.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

New Book - On the Corinthian spirit.

D. J. Taylor
On the Corinthian spirit: the decline of amateurism in sport
Yellow Jersey, 2006, 306.483 TAY

England will be represented by a team of millionaire professional footballers at the 2006 World Cup this summer, but is the increasingly high profile and big money nature of sport good for British society? The subjects of On the Corinthian spirit are 'Charlie Bam', the Corinthian defender who once played with a broken leg, the boys' school story hero Strickland of the Sixth, and the 14th Norwich Cub Scout XI. In this nostalgic book D.J. Taylor provides a fond account of many amateur sports heroes, as well as describing a changing moral universe with profound consequences both for sport and the world beyond it. Tackling a question much pondered over in recent years (including within our own RSA Journal), On the Corinthian spirit seeks to uncover what has been lost and what gained by the advances of professionalism in sport?

Read a review of On the Corinthian spirit by Lincoln Allison, author of Amateurism in sport: an analysis and a defense.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Festival of innovative moving image - onedotzero_10.

Onedotzero is a state of the art annual digital creativity festival and digital production company. Now in it's tenth year, the festival Onedotzero_10 is currently running at the Institute of Contemporary Arts(ICA) in London until June 11 2006, and involves screenings, features, exhibitions, live av performances, club nights, presentations and panel discussions from internationally acclaimed artists and creatives.

A selection of short films on show at the festival are available to view online through the BBC Film Network. For more background, take a look at an interview with Shane Walter director of Onedotzero in Digit Magazine. The films featured in the festival lineup are full of substance as well as style - the schedule includes a cartoon look at stem cell research and young director Jes Benstock employs animation to examine the dark industry of tourism that has grown up around the Holocaust. Similarly, the Japanese programme features hi-tech horror Jinniku No Umarekawar [Rebirth Of Human Meat] using contemporary anime to ponder Oriental philosophy. So, rather than undermining the art of storytelling, Walter insists, "it's just about telling stories in a different way."

"Motion blur" the latest book and accompanying DVD publication from Onedotzero is available to borrow from the RSA library. It charts the rapid developement of the moving image over the last decade and features the work of numerous film makers and audio visual experts associated with the Onedotzero project,

For a quick taste, here's a link to the short advert version of Tim Hope's incredibly imaginative contribution, The Wolfman, which is also featured in detail (and full length) in another RSA Library book and DVD : Animation unlimited: innovative short films since 1940.

Shane RJ Walter and Matt Hanson.
Motion blur: onedotzero - graphic moving imagemakers.
Laurence King, 2005. 778.53 WAL

Liz faber and Helen Walters.
Animation unlimited: innovative short films since 1940.
Laurence King, 2006. 791.433 FAB

Available to borrow by RSA Fellows - contact the Library for details. Ask about our Freepost service.