Everyone had his or her favorite drink in hand. There were bubbles and deep reds, and the sound of ice clinking in cocktail glasses underlay the hum of contented chatter. Gracing the room were slender women with long hair and men dressed in black suits, with glints of gold necklaces and cuff links. But it was no Gatsby affair. It was the annual Imperial College quantum gravity cocktail hour. The host was dressed down in black from head to toe--black turtleneck, jeans, and trench coat.
James Bay is about to pull off one of the most audacious bait-and-switch acts in recent pop history. Back in 2015, critics thought they had him figured out: a young man with an old soul, churning out earnest-but-catchy guitar ballads like the inescapable Hold Back The River. He was rather uncharitably branded "James Beige" - but that didn't put off fans. His album Chaos and the Calm was the biggest-selling debut of 2015, selling 345,000 copies and earning the star Brit and Grammy nominations. Yet, rather than sticking to a successful formula, his new single, which premiered on Radio 1 last night, is a revelation.
Mumford and Sons have just seven days to finish their fourth album, so they're squirreled away in a converted church, revising, reviewing and perfecting their new songs. The day before, a string orchestra dropped in to add cinematic flourishes to a track called If I Say. Today, the band's publicist gets locked out of the studio because no-one can hear the door bell over the cacophony of drumming (at least, that's what they tell him). Super-producer Paul Epworth (Adele, Coldplay, Rihanna) sits behind a vast mixing desk, illuminated by the light streaming through a stained glass window. A whiteboard in the corner lists 24 songs with titles like Chaos, See A Sign, In The Water, Blind Leading The Blind and Drunk; all marked up with a complicated series of symbols and glyphs denoting their state of readiness.
IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS 0. AND THEN THERE WAS 1. That 3-gigabyte genome sequence represents the prime coding information of a human body -- your life as numbers. Biology, that pulsating mass of plant and animal flesh, is conceived by science today as an information process. As computers keep shrinking, we can imagine our complex bodies being numerically condensed to the size of two tiny cells. These micro-memory devices are called the egg and sperm. They are packed with information. This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Contact email@example.com to report an issue. That life might be information, as biologists propose, is far more intuitive than the corresponding idea that hard matter is information as well.