Category Archives: views

Against Certainty

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I have lots of friends who are very committed to either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, and their zeal has me feeling optimistic about the future of the Democratic party. Whoever wins the nomination is going to have an army of near-fanatics at their service, and I’m excited about the possible VPs each might select. I’m also looking forward to the next meaningful primary cycle four or eight years from now, when I suspect we’ll have even better candidates to choose from — Hello, Elizabeth Warren!… [more]

My thoughts on “A Birthday Cake For George Washington”

This is my review of the recently recalled picture book, A Birthday Cake For George Washington. For those who haven’t seen it and will now be unable to obtain it, here’s my page by page synopsis of the book with excerpts from the text and tiny, super low resolution thumbnails of the interior pages.

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Objects in Space

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photo by Bill Young (CC BY 2.0)

I went out to see the full lunar eclipse tonight. Here on the West coast, the Moon was suppose to rise in time for us to see the whole nearly hour and a half of its full eclipse, but where I was, the Oakland hills and a thin layer of hazy cloud cover kept it out of sight for over an hour.  … [more]

Pink Elephant Tusks?

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This image, and the idea of dyeing elephant tusks to destroy their value to poachers, has been floating around the Internet lately, sometimes presented as an idea that we should pursue, but more often being presented as something already being done. I looked into this and, unfortunately, it’s not something that’s being done right now, and worse, it might not be feasible at all.… [more]

One small step

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I spent an afternoon at the Museum of Modern Art when I was in New York earlier this week and almost literally stumbled on a new way of looking at paintings that had a remarkable effect on my experience with many of the paintings I saw that day.

Here’s what you do:

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Inventing a New Color

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“Blue is the Warmest Color” is a groundbreaking movie that should be seen by anyone with an interest in new ways of telling stories through film.

The movie’s primary innovation is its absolute commitment to the faces of its characters. I’ve read reviews criticizing this as a “preoccupation with closeups,” as if this were a lack of directorial balance, but that’s ridiculous.… [more]

A Strong Song: Basil Bunting’s “Briggflatts”

When I was in high school, I memorized “The Waste Land” and recited it to my English class over the course of two class periods. It was my favorite long poem until I discovered Eliot’s “Four Quartets” in college. Shortly after that, however, I was introduced to Basil Bunting’s “Briggflatts,” and it quickly became – and has remained – my new favorite.… [more]

Dazzling

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Review: The Dazzle of Day, by Molly Gloss

This is my Favorite Science Fiction Novel, no contest, but it’s an odd creation. It’s like a historical fiction about a Quaker farming community, except that the community exists inside a multi-generational colony ship many centuries into a journey to a possible habitable world in a distant solar system. Oh, and each chapter begins with a quote from Walt Whitman!… [more]

On the Norway attacks

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First, read this courageous comment on the bombing and shooting in Norway.

We had our own “Oslo moment” here in the U.S., of course: the 9/11 attacks. In the aftermath, there was a lot of talk about tightening national security even at the cost of compromising our freedoms. A point that was often made in defense of more, and more extreme, measures was that no matter how strong our security was already, the terrorists would only need to find one crack in the wall, and they’d be in again.… [more]