Monday, September 28, 2015

Link Log for September 28

Categories: Animals, Food (Fight), Global Warming, Phenology Links, Politics, Words, Youth Behaving Well


Youall probably saw the baby panda pictures before I did. Here's a note on Bei Bei's name:


During the War Between the States, a battle was technically won by high school boys. After the battle had raged all day within sight from Virginia Military Institute, the students wanted to go out and fight, and those over age sixteen were at last allowed to do so. After realizing that the last dozen or so bodies that had fallen belonged to "children," the Northern troops surrendered.

This was not, however, the oddest episode that decided a battle in U.S. history. Dan Lewis describes how a battle in 1943 was actually decided by a food fight.

Global Warming 

Was global warming theory, with inaccurate numbers and all, part of a strategic plan to reduce people's awareness of the fact of local warming? Not that this web site supports conspiracy theories, like the one suggested by this far-from-right-wing writer. But the possibility exists. While decrying (or denying) the hysteria about Florida or California being underwater in thirty years, people do, in fact, overlook the effect their driving two miles has on the local climate. In my part of the world they wail, for multiple minutes that can easily feel like hours, about the heat and the humidity, but don't like to think about how much they directly contribute to both.

Phenology Links 

Liz Klimas shares images of last night's lunar eclipse:

Does "blood on the moon" really portend that someone's going to die? Well, someone usually is, somewhere...and the reddish color of the moon is enhanced by air pollution.


Whom do you want to replace John Boehner? asks this National Review columnist. "Grassroots conservatives, here's your chance." I don't know. I like Congressman Griffith, so far; there are no perfect people and if there were they wouldn't be able to represent the Fightin' Ninth District, but I think the job he's been doing representing us is well above average. Many conservatives disapprove of their "Congress-critters." Do you? Or do you think yours should be Speaker? The National Review wants to know.

Do you ever wish Dave Barry really were a candidate?


The easiest way to get around gender issues is to violate grammar and use the plural "they," which can mean "both she and he," to mean "either he or she." How much cognitive-dissonance-as-pain would it cause to make "they" the formal substitute for either "he" or "she," saving "he" and "she" for descriptions of two-person exchanges, perhaps? Can "they" displace "he" and "she" the way "you" displaced "thou"? If it did, would "they" generate "theyall" or "those" forms, analogous to "youall" and "youse"?

Youth Behaving Well 

Here's a college freshman who doesn't want to read a graphic novel that contains drawings of women doing things it would be inappropriate for a young man they didn't know to watch them doing. On principle. Cheers for him. What I want to know is what kind of teacher, in what kind of course, assigns graphic novels instead of the classics of world literature. I happen to have read several of Alison Bechdel's graphic novels. They're cute and witty and, among educated adult feminists, they resold fast, partly because they are brain candy that offers no challenge to our minds. They're the kind of thing female baby boomers read to relax--Lifetime Channel Lite. For what class do students need to ignore the classics of literature and philosophy, and "study" cute, inane cartoons of the private lives of fictional lesbians? Why do they need to pay tuition to talk about popular works of fiction that need no historical background study and have yet to generate a body of critical scholarship? What does this teacher offer students that's worthy of the name of "university"?