The One Where I Talk Too Much About Maps

The fact that the discipline of geography is classified solely as a science is one that I find to be problematic. The interactions I have had with modern geography tend more towards the hard science end of things, as physical geography especially involves a fusion of climate science, chemistry, biology, geology and more, but to classify the discipline as purely a science ignores its origins as a subject that once was more artistic than scientific in its endeavours. Continue reading “The One Where I Talk Too Much About Maps”

“As Now Printed”

I find myself to be continually intrigued by the phrase “as now printed,” found in “The Forethought” chapter of Souls of Black Folk (6). The edition we have says that this note was written at the same time as the original release of the book in 1903, indicating that DuBois anticipated that Souls of Black Folk would not only be re-released but also that the text itself would be edited. I don’t claim to know what DuBois was thinking when he added those words to the introduction to the text, but to me, it feels as though he was both reserving the right to edit and release different editions to his own work (which we know he did) and also acknowledging that future reprintings might be out of his own hands and things that he wanted to be included might not be there. This prediction has come true; for example, we don’t have the bars of music talked about in that same sentence in our edition and the most commonly released edition of Souls of Black Folk isn’t the most recently updated version but instead the first edition, which contains anti-Semitic language that DuBois later removed. Continue reading ““As Now Printed””

Cycling Back to New Beginnings

The first time I came across the work of Steve Prince was completely by accident. At the time, I was writing for the Lamron and I was assigned to cover the final event of the community art project he did for Cultural Harmony Week (the article linked is one that I technically wrote, but it does not reflect my style of writing as it was heavily edited to meet journalistic conventions). I found him to be a fascinating interview, but one that I immediately put out of mind as soon as I was done writing. Completely by chance, I signed up for my first class with Professor McCoy shortly thereafter and found myself face-to-face with his artwork once again in the context of New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. In fact, the very first blog post I ever wrote was on his work Katrina’s Veil: Stand at the Gretna Bridge. Looking back at this post is wonderfully nostalgic for me – it both reminds me how far I’ve come in terms of writing since then, but it also calls back to a more innocent version of myself. I specifically remember that Professor McCoy used the word naive in the feedback for this post, and a full year later, I now (kind of) realize what she meant by that. Thus, it makes me extremely happy that 20 blog posts and two semesters later, I get to come back to the art of Steve Prince with a new perspective and new tools at my disposal. Continue reading “Cycling Back to New Beginnings”

Positive (?) Obsession*

I have an obsessive personality.  My dad attributes it to the ADHD that runs in our family; I am not sure if I believe him (though our work patterns are similar), but when focused, I can work at 110%, ignoring my own needs to accomplish my goal. On the other hand, if I am not focused, nothing can possibly get done, at least not in an efficient, timely manner, and it feels like torture. I have gotten very good at regulating this behavior after a while; my days are very regulated and task-oriented so that I can more easily redirect this obsession from, for example, spending hours upon hours playing Pokemon Soul Silver on an old DS to actually doing something that is productive and helpful (this is also the reason why I absolutely cannot have any games on my phone).  I think that’s why blog posts are easy for me – I can just find something I am interested in and let my brain do its thing. A prime example of this is the very first blog post I wrote for this class on Immanuel Velikovsky. I googled the term “Veliskovskyan,” as is written in the introduction to Apocalypse by Amos Nur, and immediately needed to know more. In this case, my obsession seized upon how outlandish his theories were and at that point, it was easy to sit down and not move from my desk until three hours and 1200 words were done. Other examples of these include the ones I wrote on geophagia and the uncanny valley. In these cases, Octavia Butler’s “Positive Obsession” is spot-on in its analysis of the better side of obsessive mindsets: “I saw positive obsession as a way of aiming yourself,  your life, at your chosen target” (129). In this way, obsession works very well for me in terms of productivity. Of course, perfectionism likes to intervene, so I never feel good about this work, but that is beside the point. Obsession rules my life to an extent that is perhaps more than I’d like to admit, and it certainly has affected my experience with this course and with the Broken Earth trilogy. Continue reading “Positive (?) Obsession*”

This Volcano Erupted in 1991: You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!

By: Kristopher Bangsil, Xavier Bodensieck, Sabrina Chan, Andrew Cook, Abigail Ritz, and Helen Warfle

The story of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption began several months before the actual explosion. On April 2, 1991, a series of small explosions caused a fissure to open up on the side of the mountain, alerting geologists to the volcano’s reawakening. Because of this, scientists from the USGS Volcano Hazards Program along with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) began a joint operation with the US military to create a seismic map and observatory to monitor the volcano. Using technology developed in 1981 to monitor the Mount St. Helens eruption, the scientists were able to predict that the volcano would erupt around June 15, and they were surprisingly accurate. On June 6, a series of volcano-tectonic earthquakes began to “puff up” the volcano – that is to say that the volcano was preparing itself for the eruption. Thus, on June 10, 15,000 people were evacuated from the area. On June 12, the first eruption occurred, spewing a twelve-mile high ash column and convincing the scientists the evacuation had been warranted. On June 15, exactly as the scientists predicted, the volcano exploded. The eruption was so large that a new, 1.6-mile wide caldera was formed at the top of the volcano. Valleys in the area were filled with volcanic flows of magma and rock, layered as thick as 660 feet and the ash column grew to reach as far as twenty-eight miles into the atmosphere.

Continue reading “This Volcano Erupted in 1991: You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!”

Back to Profanity

In one of my previous posts, I discussed the profanity found in The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate. In that post, I didn’t talk about “rogga” or “still” as slurs, mostly because the real world parallel to rogga is both obvious and something I don’t feel qualified to talk about. However, I would like to return to profanity by discussing still as a slur.

Continue reading “Back to Profanity”