( Originally airing on Channel 4 )
The hilarity of Derry Girls is so powerful that it transcends language. The Irish sitcom, currently streaming on Netflix, follows four girls (and their teen guy accomplice) who are growing up in Northern Ireland during the last years of the Troubles. A good 74 percent of any given episode is likely unintelligible to anyone who didn’t grow up hearing an Irish accent; it took me a few episodes to admit defeat and finally switch on the subtitles. But subtitles or not, and my cursory knowledge of the Troubles notwithstanding, I still found myself cackling at one of my favorite new shows and falling in love with Erin, Orla, Clare, Michelle, and James.
On geological timescales, human civilization is an event, not an epoch
Humans are now living in a new geological epoch of our own making: the Anthropocene. Or so we’re told. Whereas some epochs in Earth history stretch more than 40 million years, this new chapter started maybe 400 years ago, when carbon dioxide dipped by a few parts per million in the atmosphere. Or perhaps, as a panel of scientists voted earlier this year, the epoch started as recently as 75 years ago, when atomic weapons began to dust the planet with an evanescence of strange radioisotopes.