Obituaries editors probably belong by the sea. The cries of seagulls are their music, fading into infinity, and the light-filled sky bursts open like a gateway out of the world. The elderly gravitate there, shuffling in cheerful pairs along Marine Parade or jogging in slow motion past the Sea Gull Café, intent on some distant goal. Their skin is weathered and tanned, as if they have fossilised themselves in ozone to keep death at bay. They wear bright trainers, young clothes. But they have shifted to the shore here, or in Bexhill, or in Eastbourne, as if to the edge of life, and each flapping deck-chair reserves a waiting-place.Ann Wroe, obituaries editor of The Economist, muses on mortality and the sea in the latest correspondent's diary, a series of articles by various Economist writers. You can read the magazine's obituaries here, including a recent one of former obituaries editor Keith Colquhoun. [Ann Wroe previously]
Two articles from The Economist's Intelligent Life magazine about changes in knowledge production and acquisition, The Last Days of the Polymath by Edward Carr and Is Google Killing General Knowledge? by Brian Cathcart. The first deals with the implications of increasing specialization in all field of human activity and the second with whether people are not committing facts to memory because they are so easy to look up on the internet.
I don't know what other people’s first thoughts may be on Monday mornings; but mine, as the jabber of my husband’s radio crawls into my dreams, is “Has anyone died today?” So began a week-long diary by The Economist's obituaries editor, Ann Wroe, which she completed today.