I usually get quickly bored by the partisan simplicities engendered by some of the more political posts on Inside Higher Ed, but the exchanges following Scott McLemee's thoughtful (agree with it or not) discussion of violent radicalism in Islam and the reaction thereto are well worth a close read for some reasoned arguments around one of the core problematics of our time. Yes, it will eat 30 minutes of your time--which could have been spent on something more meaningful like Colbert or shopping--but it repays the effort, methinks.

(Less rewarding but good background is McLemee's original piece and the commentary that follows it, and a special treat is one respondent's inclusion of a link to this hilarious snarkfest on Wonkette. The apology for the Bush-Caesar piece on its original website makes a nice coda, too.)

Fundamentalist religious terrorists, anti-intellectuals, proto-fascism in Norman Rockwell guise, hypernationalist capitalism, peak oil, climate change--what's a nice kid like you doing in a place like this, anyway?

Poet Robinson Jeffers wrote the following in 1935; I read it 40 years later and thought it chilling then:

Ave Caesar

No bitterness: our ancestors did it.
They were only ignorant and hopeful, they wanted freedom but wealth too.
Their children will learn to hope for a Caesar.
Or rather--for we are not aquiline Romans but soft mixed colonists--
Some kindly Sicilian tyrant who'll keep
Poverty and Carthage off until the Romans arrive,
We are easy to manage, a gregarious people,
Full of sentiment, clever at mechanics, and we love our luxuries.


Estuary Boy

IMG_4682_tempHad a gorgeous weekend at Dog Island but didn't get as much hiking in as I wanted to, due to a pesky foot injury. But I still managed to visit my favorite tidal estuary on the bay side for a little communing with the fishies. The doomed pine has met its doom, but the rest of the area looks healthy and is resplendent in fall colors.

Adding a layer of meaning to this visit were my recent studies in the Marine Environmental Issues course I'm taking this term. While I've long known much of the mechanics of barrier island movement and beach dynamics, it's always nice to learn more. For example, barrier islands are a feature of "trailing edge margins" -- the lee side of a drifting continent. That's why there are none off the west coast of the Americas.

Something new. Always a treat.

There was some rather alarming erosion on the Gulf side of the island that may have more ephemeral causes but still reminds one that the island itself is fleeting, tumbling shoreward ahead of rising seas like a ship desperately seeking port. Plentiful stumps offshore testify to where the island used to be, if we didn't have the evidence of the Co-op's own history as well.

Which just makes this scenery all the more breathtaking. See more photos.