Many years ago, I read what should have been a cheery, bite-size Q&A with the writer and academic Slavoj Zizek, on the Guardian website. Question: What makes you depressed? Answer: Seeing stupid people happy.

Bandar Mahshahr is no stranger to heat. It is not uncommon for this northern Iranian hamlet to experience consistent highs above 45 degrees Celsius during the summer. But, when the heat index topped 74 degrees Celsius (165 degrees Fahrenheit), which was the second highest heat index ever recorded globally, the world took notice.

Each year the world’s shakers and movers descend on Davos for shop-talks at the World Economic Forum about trends affecting the state of happiness of mankind in general and, coincidentally, of their own in particular. For the global elite, taking time out from their busy lives to muse about the future is time well spent, since they, after all, have a great deal more at stake than most of us.

The idea of a fundamentalist atheist seems a contradiction in terms. Fundamentalists, at least since the emergence of the term in the early twentieth century, are people committed to a particular interpretation of a text: at least that’s what they claim to be. Atheism has no sacred text, although there are atheist cults.

Intellectual meanness procures satisfaction to the minds of those who enjoy inflicting emotional pain with the intention of causing feelings of inadequacy in a victim. Intellectual meanness requires a double talent: that of aiming correctly, and that of fittingly expressing meanness in a visual or verbal medium.