“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations if you live near one.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien
If you live near one, a live dragon, please don’t lock up that dragon just because he looks, walks, smells or eats like a dragon. Dragons may not like potato crisps and pickled eggs and sausages and breakfast cereals and tea but prefer cookies and pancakes with orange juice and roast potatoes with haddock and turnips. That’s no reason to lock them up or push them out of society in any other way. And please don’t pretend that dragons don’t exist either. People who are, say, autistic of who have Downs are as worthy of life as everyone else. Accept them as part of diversity.
I live near a live dragon. That dragon appears to be… Portsmouth? What does it take to drive someone crazy? Make someone fall apart? As someone once wrote, some people fall apart if the wrong pizza is delivered to them while others have to lose their home and everything they had and were before they their natural happiness and contentedness disappear forever, while yet others apparently cannot be broken at all, manage to keep their inner core intact and will thrive again at some point, no matter how hard other people try to break them.
There are no brownie points for not falling apart, however. We are all merely human. Even the people who see themselves as invincible and superior “slayers of others” are as fallible and as human as the people they aim to destroy so that they can feel better about their secretly oh so fragile selves.
Yes, there are free downloads on this site. These downloads are PDF files, usually print proofs, so they are not true e-books but free content that I decided to make available for who wants it. Why I don’t charge a fee for these PDFs? One reason is that I would have to register for VAT in each of the EU countries in which people purchase a PDF.
You can purchase all of my books as proper e-books and some of them are also available in print. You can find some of my books at Barnes & Noble. You can access my books on Amazon via my Amazon author profile: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angelina-Souren/e/B005MN5IU2
These are two of my recent books:
You can download each individual chapter of the third edition of “We need to talk about this” (about the new eugenics, non-fiction) as a PDF file here:
- Chapter 1 – A provocative introduction
- Chapter 2 – Utilitarian reasoning
- Chapter 3 – Eugenics, old and new
- Chapter 4 – Why we need to talk about this
- Chapter 5 – Bias
- Chapter 6 – Brain-based conditions
- Chapter 7 – Lives not worth living
- Chapter 8 – A guideline for the new eugenics
- Chapter 9 – The bioethical imperative
- Chapter 10 – Consequences
You can download the 27 August 2020 print proof (PDF) of “Is cruelty cool?” here:
Whitepaper: “Solutions for dealing with stalking and harassment”. Also available on ResearchGate and Academia.edu
Before I moved from Amsterdam to Britain at the end of 2004, I was part of the team of Elements, a print magazine published by the company Arcadis (@ 55 euros per hour, excl. of VAT) as part of my business activities.
At around the same time, I was also editor-in-chief of the newsletter and scientific yearbook and a board member of the Environmental Chemistry (and Toxicology) Section of the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society.
For eleven years, I served as associate editor for the international newsletter of the Geochemical Society, which is based in the US.
I have interviewed people all over the world, on location as well as by phone and e-mail, from China to Chile and from Amsterdam to Paris and Oxford. I particularly remember finally being able to catch up with a very busy person (Herb Dempsey, who is still one of my LinkedIn connections) on his mobile phone at an airport somewhere in the US where he was waiting for a connecting flight.
I also remember speaking with two highly sympathetic people who were based in China at the time, working for Arcadis: Thomas Kustusch who is German and Theo Tombeur who’s Belgian. Talking with Wim Verheugt and Ties van Kempen about the Black Sea particularly stands out as well, of course, in view of my professional background.
Of course, I remember my interview with Keith O’Nions, who had just been knighted as well as been appointed to become the next Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK’s Ministry of Defence. He is a kind and highly entertaining person. I had a heck of a sinus headache when I interviewed him and I am sure that it affected my conversational skills badly, but Keith patiently remained enthusiastic. I was still based in Amsterdam then and combined this interview in Oxford with giving a talk in Plymouth afterwards, at PICOIII.
Interviewing Claude Allègre was an interesting experience as well.
Much later, while I was living in the UK, I wrote some flash fiction that is somewhat reminiscent of the work of Spike Milligan, an Englishman who lives in Belgium told me. I looked into it and think that it only applies to some of it. Some of it is probably closer to Donald Barthelme’s quirky style, some of it is plain simple and some of it is like a zen koan. My flash fiction is available from various online retailers.
Later, I translated one of Richard Bintanja’s books into “The Ultimate Brainchild” of which the topic suits nicely within the context of the new eugenics. It is a well-crafted novel with a Gattaca-style theme though it is very different from Gattaca. It highlights abilities that people like Anna Breytenbach use consciously.
I have also contributed considerably to more than a handful of popular science books in the Dutch “For Dummies” series. My first academic publication, in marine biogeochemistry (in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta), had only me as author and was published as a tripartite discussion with a contribution from Jim Moffett, on whose work my article was a comment, and another one from Brad Tebo. It was accepted without any revisions. In part, it was a rewrite of a shorter article that I had submitted to Science in 1996 and after resubmission was deemed more suitable for a specialised journal.
At around the same time, I convened an AGU conference session in Boston on the role of fungi in the marine environment, supported by a grant from the Dr. Catharine van Tussenbroek Fonds. That got me invited to a conference in Hong Kong, but I only submitted an abstract as I was unable to travel to Hong Kong at the time. Fortunately, I was able to participate in the PICO-III symposium in Plymouth later that year, which I combined with a trip to Oxford where I did the O’Nions interview.
(Lay people are quick to assume that scientists get paid to talk at conferences. Nope! Instead, they have to pay to be allowed to participate and present. Something similar goes for publishing. That does not mean that your work is accepted as long as you pay! Science is a very expensive profession. Thankfully, some scientific journals no longer charge scientists for publishing.)
In 2000, I wrote a review on the environmental chemistry of cyanide, which was cited all over the world. I also contributed a quote about the Mariana Trench for a book in Canada.
Other than that, I have written so many bits and pieces here and there (mostly on geochemistry and environmental chemistry, occasionally including health issues, and also on feminism and on women in science), that it’s impossible to list or even remember them all.
I had already started writing stories and articles when I was in primary school. I was on my school’s first newspaper team, went on a typewriting course when I was 18 and purchased my own typewriter shortly after. As a teenager, I sent a letter to a national weekly – more or less a Dutch counterpart of RadioTimes – about a play by G.B. Shaw that had been aired. They published it.
In the early 1980s, I sent a letter to Tineke Beishuizen (a Dutch writer and columnist) about my mother’s illness and death in response to the passing of someone in Tineke’s vicinity (her mother in law, if I recall correctly). I received a letter back from Tineke, asking me for permission to use the letter as a column (adapted, of course) in the women’s magazine Libelle, as well as a lot of encouragement to write more. We spoke on the phone; I called her from a phone booth in Hilversum or Baarn as I didn’t have a landline in those days when we weren’t as connected yet as we all are today.
I also submitted an item to women’s weekly Viva, about my cat Tim who I’d adopted from the shelter around the time when I began working on my Master’s. Viva published the item and sent me a voucher in return. (I think it was for 25 guilders’ worth of flowers.)
A bit later in the 1980s, I sent about a dozen letters to the editor of Dutch national daily De Volkskrant, responding to articles in the newspaper. Almost all were published and all or almost all in the Saturday edition. Most were about violence against women and children. I wrote these letters after I had been raped by an intruder who had climbed onto the balcony of my student flat while I was asleep. Writing the letters was part of my process of working through what had happened. I also signed up for a self-defence course for women at Vrouwencentrum Kenau in Amsterdam and I read books like Susan Brownmiller’s Against Our Will to try to understand what had happened to me. Right after it happened, my friend Juul Everaars – who was a geology student as well – hopped on her bicycle to be with me to support me and my two siblings drove up from the south. (I called Juul first, the police next.) The rapist returned half a year later. I woke up, walked to the door in combat stance, but I grabbed a knife along the way and it hit a glass. The sound alerted the guy. When I moved the curtain slightly to be able to look onto the balcony, I found him crouched right there in front of me, at the glass door. He jumped up and disappeared over the balustrade. (The police officers who showed up after that told me I should have grabbed my geologist’s hammer instead of the knife as the knife was too dull according to them.) Building management then helped me move to a different flat in the complex after that. I later threw a party to celebrate that I was leaving it all behind me and moving on.
As eight or nine out of ten of my letters to De Volkskrant were published, and usually in the Saturday edition, I did not realise at all that it was quite hard to get letters published in that particular newspaper. I discovered that later, during an evening course at the Netherlands School for Journalism, when the instructor specifically mentioned it as part of the class one evening, to try this as a way of assessing one’s writing skills and as a challenge to set ourselves. In those days, newspapers were still print-only so editors had to be highly selective. Sadly, I no longer have any of these letters as I had to leave them behind in the US.
I also did a lot of writing for the NIMF foundation in those days and took some time out from my Master’s to focus on my work for it, including symposium organisation and PR, some of that with the amazing Hélène van Pinxteren (RIP) and the brilliant Kine Sittig as well as with Nanne Weber (RIP), Martje Roessing (RIP), Hadass Eviatar, Rineke Verbrugge, Elly Jeurissen and many others who are all super women in their own way.
(I took two evening courses at the Netherlands’ School for Journalism in Utrecht while I was completing my Master’s.)
In the mid-1990s, when I was living in the US, I wrote a letter to the editor of an American newspaper (the St. Peterburg Times, which won twelve Pulitzer Prizes since 1964, but later merged into a larger regional newspaper). That too was published, but its content wasn’t spectacular. It expressed enthusiasm about my experiences at the university there. Its title was something like “Sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side”.