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Monthly Archives: December 2019

A globe is worth a thousand maps

North America at sunset in New York, winter solstice. Click here for high-resolution version. Maps are fascinating. But maps also are highly deceptive. That’s because there is no way to represent the surface of a sphere on a flat piece of paper without distortion. Today is the winter solstice, when the earth’s northern hemisphere is […]

The center of the universe at 3 p.m. GMT on Dec. 24

The opening of the 2015 broadcast It’s a saying of mine that the center of the universe is not a fixed place. It moves constantly. Young Luke Skywalker touches on this in Star Wars episode IV, when the says, “Well, if there’s a bright center of the universe, you’re on the planet that it’s farthest […]

Running cedar

Running cedar, as far as I know, has no legal protection, and that’s a shame. It’s not nearly as common as it used to be. I see it often while walking in the woods, but never in the large patches that I often saw as a child in the Carolina woodlands. Its ideal habitat is […]

Now I miss Mrs. Squirrel

Click here for high resolution version. I’ve posted a couple of times about Mrs. Squirrel, who gnawed her way into the attic through a ventilation grill, built a nest, and gave birth to four baby squirrels thirty feet up in the abbey’s attic. I quarreled with her often for not staying in the woods where […]

A video for the 39th anniversary of John Lennon’s death

Needed: An honorable calculus of civility and incivility

Rosa Parks is fingerprinted after she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person, 1956, Montgomery, Alabama. Wikipedia photo. Here are some sample problems to solve with a calculus of civility and incivility. What do you think?: 1. If a friend of a friend on Facebook trolls […]

Hastening their own demise

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, now a museum. Wikipedia photo. The Economist has an article today with the headline “Arabs are losing faith in religious parties and leaders.” The article reports not only a sharply declining trust of religion in politics in the Arab world, but also that Arab young people are losing their religious […]

Battlestar Galactica

My shortlist of the best television ever made would include Battlestar Galactica, which ran on the Syfy channel from 2003 until 2009. And guess what: It’s coming back. In September, the Hollywood Reporter and other news outlets reported that NBCUniversal will produce a new take on Battlestar Galactica for its Peacock streaming service. The new […]