Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Scienceblogs continues to implode. By my count, 19 bloggers have left. (Carl Zimmer has regularly updated information here, and you can follow the events on Twitter - #SbFail.) Pharyngula is on strike and may be packing up and moving on, and Orac and others are contemplating leaving as well.

One aspect of these situations that often gets lost is the emotional hardship. It's difficult to lose income and to leave a stable situation (even when it's become intolerable). But beyond that, it seems a bit like they're having to pull up stakes and relocate their town. Even if it can be rebuilt in a new, hopefully better, location, leaving behind a familiar home and history is stressful.

Best wishes to all, and I hope the community can remain intact and even grow to include some new voices (a few radicals would be great) from around the world.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I write like...

So this is going around. Mel Gibson rants in the style of Margaret Atwood, and most bloggers apparently sound like David Foster Wallace.

I entered one of my comments from a recent thread at Butterflies & Wheels, and was informed that I write like Daniel Defoe.

I'd like to think it's my potent pamphleteering pointedness, but it may have quite a bit to do with the content - my comment concerned religion and accomodationism, for instance, and Atwood's splendid work and Gibson's frothing attack both deal with gender.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Poem: City of Ships

The other day, people working at the WTC site uncovered a boat. This was the first or second article I read about it. I made a poem entirely from words and phrases I found in the comment thread. (I'm reading Walt Whitman, so the title was also a found object.)



Nine years, a billion dollars later,
a murder scene.
History is unearthed -
an old ship.
Shabby, derelict vessel,
what one calls junk.
Just a little distraction.

The site, the site of the ship,
was part of the Hudson River.
It is sad, going to deteriorate,
to dry and rot (and warp).
Aerobic microbes
need oxygen to live,
just like people
need a history lesson.

Did they find dinosaur bones, burial grounds,
towers, treasures, slave ships,
the ships that bring in supplies, salaries, corpses?
A bone fragment of those hijackers?
Feed it to the dog.

I just hope
we buried it again.
Archaeologists, 200 years from now,
saddest days,
will search the internet, our landfills
to discover it all
about us.
How we once lived -
self centered and wasteful,
millions wasted,
afraid of our government.
Things that are not that important,
remnants, excavated and documented.
Think of the Roman Empire,
maybe just give up.

Great news!
The internet is only
stored on various computers.
The content disappears
It's not like internet sites fossilize!

Time to rebuild.
Freedom Tower is rising as I type.
We will stand tall again.
So Manhattan is built
on a big junk pile.
An old boat -
wasn't worth writing about then,
not worth writing about it now.
Junk to us too.
Move it and keep building.
On to the next story.


Interlude - Society