The Bog:
sphagnum moss, dark water, and politics
Thursday, February 06, 2003
What with my new job and some (very welcome) part time scraps from my old job, I'm working 10hr/day 7 days/week . . . so I haven't had much time to add things here, not to mention that the last few days I haven't felt much like watching the news or reading the paper or anything of that sort. Just hang on for a day or two and there will be brillant and insightful new stuff. Well, new stuff, anyway. Till then, a brief thought or two:

1)Thanks, Mike!

2) In a Wednesday NY Times op-ed, Thomas Mallon argued for manned interplanetary and interstellar travel and (presumably) colonization:
This should be a time to remind ourselves that we did not venture into space only so that we could return safely home. As Michael Collins, the Apollo 11 astronaut, once observed, the giant national enterprise that sent him to the moon was fundamentally "about leaving." And maybe for good.
Now, I'd love to see us taking the first steps towards a terraformed Mars bustling with life, to live at the faint beginning of an age that might spread a web of settlements across unimaginable distances. If nothing else, the thought that life might have (with no evidence yet to the contrary) put all its eggs in one tiny basket is abstractly quite worrying. . .

But. The idea that "the world is our lanchpad," I can't help but feel that it subtly undermines that other idea of the Space Age, that other iconic image alongside the domed space colony and shining rocket ship. You know - that blue jewel hanging in the blackness, very alone and, suddenly, very fragile. Very precious. The first image is a myth, a dream - albeit a powerful and hauntingly beautiful one. Who knows - it might even come true. The second - well, all we see and imagine is shaped by need and hope and fear; yet this one is based on something real.

One could argue that this view is simply the product of too narrow a perspective; indeed, Mallon argues against what he perceives as a similar narrowness of metaphorical vision:
Nor should we let a new self-hating strain of thought — one that sees man as merely an incorrigible polluter of nature — to keep us from venturing off this overcrowded, overwired planet.
Instead, this just makes me worry more that the launchpad view skews us away from other - especially environmental - concerns.

V arious "limited good" arguments vis-a-vis space travel are downright old by now, but reading Mallon's piece while thinking about those brave people who died so close to home has really made it new for me. Thinking of the Earth as a place to leave, maybe for good doesn't just carry a tragic, quite unintentional undertone - it seems fundamently misguided.

posted by Dan S. on 12:28 AM | | link

what is a bog?
Definitions, definitions
1. ". . . one of North America's most distinctive kinds of wetlands . . . characterized by spongy peat deposits, acidic waters, and a floor covered by a thick carpet of spagnum moss." *
2. A relentless, hard-driving mix of political commentary, recipes, idle ramblings, and so on.

More about bogs here.

why "the bog"?
Something about the blog format made me think of spagnum moss slowly growing, forming layer after layer of peat deposits many feet thick, sometimes preserving (in Europe) ancient bodies . . . Also, it rhymes.

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Songs currently stuck in my head
despite all my best efforts

"My Happy Ending," by {yech} Avril Lavigne:
"Let's talk this over,
It's not like we're dead . . "

and "Laiska" by Varttina:
Laiska luotu laulmann
oikosormi soittamaan
yskin oita viettelen
unetonna laulelen

Toppling off the bedside book-pile:
Classroom Management for Middle-Grades Teachers , C.M. Charles & Marilyn G. Charles
Teaching U.S. History as Mystery, David Gerwin & Jack Zevin
Crossroads of Continents: Cultures of Siberia and Alaska, William W. Fitzhugh & Aron Crowell
Arctic Crossing: A Journey Through the Northwest Passage and Inuit Culture, Jonathan Waterman
Northern Tales: Stories from the Native People of the Arctic and Subarctic Regions, Howard Norman (ed.)
Life in the Cold, Peter J. Marchand
Wandering Through Winter, Edwin Way Teale
The Winter Vegetarian, Darra Goldstein

Teas of the week:
Tea of Good Tidings: Winter Fruit Blend,
The Republic of Tea
Russian Caravan,
Jacksons of Piccailly

on the web:
Land of links:
The American Prospect
Common Dreams
FAIR: Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
The Nation
The Progressive
Washington Monthly

Organic Consumers Association
Eat Wild (pasture-based farming)
NOFA: Northeast Organic Farming Association
Consumer Supported Agriculture
Edible Wild Kitchen


Blogging away:
Vassar blogs
And yes, we've been co-ed since '69...
E's Den
Useless! Worthless! Insipid!

Other blogs
Alas, A Blog
Atrios' Eschaton
Body and Soul
Daily Kos
Digby's Hullabaloo
Dispatches From the Culture Wars
Echidne of the Snakes
Feminist Blogs
Interesting Times
Late Night Thoughts asleep?
Long story; short pier
Making Light
Mouse Words
One Good Thing
The Panda's Thumb
Respectful of Otters
The Sideshow
Sisyphus Shrugged
Matthew Yglesias

old peat (archives):
December 22, 2002
December 29, 2002
January 12, 2003
January 19, 2003
February 2, 2003
February 16, 2003
February 23, 2003
March 2, 2003
March 9, 2003
March 16, 2003
March 23, 2003
March 30, 2003
April 6, 2003
June 8, 2003
October 5, 2003
January 16, 2005
October 22, 2006
November 5, 2006
November 12, 2006
November 19, 2006
November 26, 2006
September 16, 2012
December 23, 2012

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