Friday High Five: Global Warming on Trial, Naming Your Book After Hitler

YouTube to start music streaming, block artists

In a matter of days, YouTube will start blocking videos by artists from labels who’ve refused to sign on to new licensing terms of service, as YouTube enters the music streaming business. Is YouTube set to be the new Amazon, in terms of its relationships with suppliers?

Why Name Your Book After Hitler’s?

Karl Ove Knausgaard is a worldwide literary sensation; his six-part series of autobiographical fiction (or fictional memoirs), My Struggle, has been described by the New Yorker as ‘a ruminative account that treats no detail of middle-class life as too banal to recount’. Knausgaard originally believed his project would have no literary appeal; asked why he named the series after Hitler’s memoir, he says it was ‘a way of saying “fuck you” to the reader, a way of claiming that his allegiance was to the work as he chose to write it rather than to an intended readership. 'If it was boring, I wanted it boring.… No compromises were made in this book. The title kind of makes that statement.’

When global warming kills your god

The Atlantic shows the effects of global warming on one indigenous Alaskan village, which may be two years away from the first of its houses falling into the sea. The village was not originally a permanent settlement for the once-nomadic villagers, who were forced into settlements by missionaries and the government; some of them are currently on trial for fishing for salmon, as they’ve always done. Thanks to climate change, numbers are dangerously low. ‘This is momentous. This is climate change on trial.’

Almost half of Europe’s water threatened by pollution

Researchers have just released the results of the broadest-ever analysis of organic chemicals in Europe’s freshwater. The findings show ‘strong evidence that chemicals threaten the ecological integrity and consequently the biodiversity of almost half of the water bodies on a continental scale’. Those chemicals were prevalent enough to cause chronic health effects at 42 per cent of the sites.

In this week’s Lunchbox/Soapbox, Julian Cribb described the unprecedented deluge of chemicals in our everyday lives as a bigger and more urgent disaster than global warming. Watch out for the published text of his talk on Monday.

What’s the point of editors?

In the New York Times, select staff members tell why editors are important - and how they make their work better. (Sorry, can you tell Friday High Five is compiled by an editor? Interest declared.)

Reporter Amy Harmon says, ‘Great editors engage in your story, conceptually but also in the details, suffer through multiple bad drafts and know your characters almost as well as you do. Only then can they talk you back from the brink — and persuade you that you better file the damn thing and get on with your life.’