Archives for writing

“Art + Science = Magic (Or Not?)” in Art Practical

In her brief introduction to the special “Art, Science, & Wonder” issue of Art Practical (7.2, October 30, 2015), Selene Foster notes, “It can be argued that every discipline carries with it the potential for great wonder, but the arts and sciences scream the value of not-knowing from the rooftops, and I believe this is the reason that they have been considered kin almost as long as civilization itself.” “The value of not-knowing,” indeed. While there are many significant differences between art and science, both are, as I write in my contribution to special issue, “realms of the question.” “Contrary
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Categories: art, BAASICS, science, wonder, and writing.

Recent writing for the BAASICS blog

Posts related to BAASICS‘ 2015-16 programming theme, Borderlands, and our upcoming production, BAASICS.6: The Edge Effect, are regularly appearing on the BAASICS blog. All of the posts are worth reading, but I’m highlighting four of my contributions here. “Border Gazing” — Looking at a photograph of the U.S.-Mexico border and pondering “the folly and dignity of our human constructs.” “Thriving In Dystopia” — Borders, climate change, dystopia, and E.O. Wilson. “Walking City Alleys” — How is a city alley a wilderness? Why should we explore them? “The Anthropocene, Conservation, & Paradox” — Considering one of the more significant Anthropocene-related scuffles.
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Categories: BAASICS, conservation, natural history, science, and writing.

Hopefully Skeptical: TED, Sci Foo, & A New(ish) Optimism

In “Super Excited,” an essay published in the consistently excellent Aeon, the British popular philosopher Julian Baggini considers “a highly contagious meme [that] is spreading around the world,” one that “takes serious ideas and turns them into play, packages big subjects into small parcels, and makes negativity the deadliest of sins.” According to Baggini, this meme is the zeitgeist of what he dubs “Generation TED,” and it is much on his mind following his recent participation in 2014’s Sci Foo “unconference” at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California. “In sunny Silicon Valley,” he writes, “[my] moderate British skepticism makes me
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Categories: California, eudaimonia, science, and writing.

A Santa Cruz Island weekend

On a Friday morning in early September, I was awakened by the hoarse calls of a great blue heron and the barking of a California sea lion. I found the juxtaposition disorienting. Great blues and sea lions aren’t animals I associate with one another. Half asleep, it took several seconds for me to recall that I was in the berth of a sailboat docked near Oxnard, California, where it’s perfectly natural for the two species to keep company in the predawn twilight. Because my formative years were spent in Tidewater Virginia and my 20s and early 30s in the boroughs
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Categories: California, conservation, fish, invasive species, mammals, natural history, photography, sharks, and writing.

“Wild Things”

The videos from the July BAASICS program, BAASICS.5: Monsters, are live on the BAASICS YouTube channel. Embedded below the fold, you’ll find my short “Wild Things” presentation, a 6-minute introduction to the role of “classical monsters” (which are representations of our socially injurious impulses) and an exploration of how Maurice Sendak‘s Where the Wild Things Are drew on our modern recognition that our “wild side” is a force that can “compel anti-social behavior, or the very best science and art.”
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Categories: BAASICS, presentations, and writing.