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Lara Williams – Ssshhh! How the cult of quiet can change your life

Once the preserve of monastic retreats and hardcore meditators, simply being quiet is growing in appeal. Whole businesses have sprung up to meet a rising demand for quiet time, from silent weekend getaways to silent dining, silent reading parties and even silent dating. This month sees the release of documentary In Pursuit of Silence, a “meditative film” about our relationship …

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Nitrogen fertiliser magically transformed agriculture. Today we need a new spell to clear up the results

THE MOST IMPORTANT thing about Mark Sutton is his contribution to the world’s efforts to clean up nitro­gen pollution, but that is not the most striking thing about him. With the earnest air of an English schoolboy of yesteryear, an ability to get into great detail about his enthusiasms very quickly and, on occasion, socks with his sandals, he is, give …