Introducing Sceptical Scot

Over the past few weeks I’ve been glad to help with the development of a new current affairs website, Sceptical Scot, which launched this week.

The site hopes to bring more light than heat to the ongoing, intense discussion over the future of Scotland in the wake of last year’s referendum. It will range widely, covering political, economic and cultural issues.

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10 books for 2015

There will be many others I don’t yet know about. And I’m sure I will not read everything listed below. But here are 10 books to be published in 2015 I’m looking forward to, summarised in alphabetical order.

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Battle Beyond the Sun movie poster

Engineering utopia

Francis Spufford’s Red Plenty is not just any old history of post-war Soviet cybernetic mathematical modelling. This is an account of centrally administered resource allocation quite unlike any other.

Part fiction, part historical narrative, Red Plenty is a brilliant imaginative reconstruction of a moment in time when it seemed an alternative to capitalism as a method of economic organisation might be possible. The book’s subject matter is undoubtedly esoteric, but it does have a contemporary resonance.

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