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In the instructions Joseph Gaimard copied into the diary before he left Toulon, there is a long section on field geology. Despite being written in 1817, it could very usefully be given as a guide to first-year geology students in our universities. Amongst other things, it has some very nice sketches and some wise words on the importance of context, but it also has comments on the importance of rocks that are not in situ

Witness statements: the wreck of the Uranie

On 14 February 1820, the French corvette Uranie, in the last stages of what was planned to be a science-based circumnavigation of the globe, was entering Berkeley Sound in East Falkland when it struck a rock and began to sink. Four of the people aboard the corvette left written records of the event that survive to this day.

Rand and reality

Ayn Rand hated communism, which had deprived her of what would have been a very sheltered and privileged life, and socialism, which she regarded as synonymous with it. However, the government she described with such scorn in Atlas Shrugged had far more in common with the right-wing, military-backed populist governments of the 1930s. Or indeed, with the UK’s increasingly  right-wing, Conservative Party.