This island Earth

island planet

by Geoff Olson

• More of a tourist than a traveller, I’m standing on an outcropping of volcanic rock in the Caribbean, scratching away at my archipelago of bug bites. My guide Calvin, a relaxed fellow with dark skin and blue eyes, notices my agitation and stoops to pluck leaves from a nearby plant used as a local medicine for wounds. He shows me how to apply sap from the leaf’s stem. Using my other bites as a control group, I wait to see if the itching stops in the applied area. It seems to work.

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Whatever happened to the promise of leisure time?

Marx and Mechanics

Art and text by Geoff Olson

• You might see one or two at a collector’s fair or antiquarian bookshop: dog-eared copies of Popular Science magazines from decades past, with covers promising a sunny future of expanded leisure time. There might be, for example, an illustration of a beaming Caucasian family in a hovercraft, weaving past city spires on a technicolour holiday.

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Time to revolt

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead

• Rob Stewart is the underwater filmmaker who, with Sharkwater, showed everyone it’s safe to go back in the water; what’s more, he opened our eyes to the barbaric practice of shark-finning. The film’s impact came from gorgeous, up-close footage of different species of sharks combined with hard-hitting sequences of finned sharks being tossed back into the ocean still alive and writhing. The film was an urgent message to take action. Revolution, Stewart’s latest documentary, is similar in its approach, but raises the stakes. This time, he’s out to “save the human.”

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