A set of traffic lights near Leeds Bus Station breaks down with alarming regularity. It is a busy crossroads, with hundreds of cars passing every hour. Nevertheless, as a driver, it seems to me that the passage of traffic, if anything, speeds up when the lights are out. Drivers, who would normally robotically plough through green and slam the brakes on at red, suddenly wake up. They slow down, look around and even allow pedestrians to cross before traversing the junction themselves. Other vehicles flash their lights, cede passage and behave as if road rage was a thing of the past. Despite hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of spending, the traffic flows just as well with no intervention. It is necessary to be able to cope with this kind of counterintuitive realisation before reading Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the Twenty-First Century-City by Anna Minton, because much of what she says goes against accepted theory.
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While you're waiting for the March issue of Literary Review to pop through your letterbox, have another read of February's cover piece: Richard Davenport-Hines on the stormy letters Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Hardwick wrote to one another.
What's the worth of being zen when the icecaps are melting and populism looms? The world's leading thinkers including @ronpurser will assess the 'mindfulness' craze at the world's largest philosophy and music festival, @HTLGIFestival, this May. Learn more: http://ow.ly/STu650ywARQ
'Feminists have been caricatured so often that it’s worth recalling the many obstacles placed in the path of women campaigning for equal rights.'
@polblonde on @helenlewis's new book about difficult women throughout history.