Good book!

Thought experiments are a staple in philosophy. We all remember the unconscious violinist, the Thomson lamp, Galileo’s complex objects, People seeds, and Einstein’s elevator. These “experiments” are narratives designed to stimulate thought on some philosophical problem or other and to encourage discussion. Often challenging, they ask readers to reconsider long held beliefs and pay attention to the consequences of a position.

Jurassic?

Call for contributions: The Jurassic Park Book

Editors: I.Q. Hunter and Matthew Melia

Proposals are invited for contributions to a proposed edited collection of new essays on Jurassic Park (1993), its sequels, franchise, and spin offs.

Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993) took over $50 million dollars in its opening weekend and went on to gross over $1 billion worldwide at the box office.  One of the definitive Hollywood blockbusters, Jurassic Park met with almost universal critical and popular acclaim, broke new ground with its CGI recreation of dinosaurs, and started one of the most profitable of all movie franchises.

To mark the film’s 30th anniversary, this collection aims to interrogate the Jurassic Park phenomenon from a diverse range of critical, historical, and theoretical angles.  Proposals are especially sought for 6 – 7000 word chapters on gender, race, and colonialism; international distribution, marketing, reception and audiences; merchandising, toys, video games and other spin offs; CGI, SFX, film form and production design (cinematography, editing, sound, music etc.).

Please send proposals of 250 words with a short biography and note on institutional affiliation to Ian Hunter: iqhunter@dmu.ac.uk and Matt Melia: m.melia@kingston.ac.uk by 31 July 2020.

Bob Lane, Professor Emeritus

Bob Lane has taught literature and philosophy at the college level for thirty-three years. He has been a high school dropout, a marine, a service station attendant, a farm hand, a grocery clerk, a personnel supervisor, a junior accountant, an electronics technician, a small press editor, a construction laborer, a book reviewer, and a teacher. He is the author of Reading the Bible: Intention, Text, Interpretation and a book of short stories, Redneck.

He came to Malaspina College as one of the first faculty in 1969. He was an active participant in the recruitment and advising of high school students and the founding member of (and for years, the only member of) the Malaspina Philosophy department.

Lane was also the Founding Director of the Institute of Practical Philosophy, which is still an active player in community issues and contemporary moral issues.

Lane also founded the Vancouver Island Literary Society and brought up-and-coming poets, including Michael Ondaatje, to Malaspina. He was also the founder and managing editor of Island, a literary magazine. When Malaspina moved to Fifth Street, Lane was the Special Events Coordinator and responsible for activity in all the arts on campus.

“My proudest moments are those where students were involved in intellectual and artistic expressions while in the community,” he said.

Lane was also a great contributor to programming courses at Malaspina. He designed, supported, and coordinated new interdisciplinary courses while pursuing his interest in philosophy at the University of California-Santa Barbara and at Simon Fraser University. Subsequently, he founded the Philosophy department at Malaspina. In addition to his devotion to his students, he supported his colleagues in many administrative positions, including Area Chair (the equivalent of Dean) and President of the Faculty Association.

Since retiring Bob has served as a commissioner on the Nanaimo Parks, Recreation, and Culture Board. He has continued to read and review books and to write stories and poems as well as write for and edit Episyllogism, a philosophy Blog.

When asked about this award he replied, “June is an important month in my life. I first heard about Malaspina College in June, 1969; received an Outstanding Service Award in June, 2008; and will be celebrating 65 years of marriage with Karen Lane in June 2020!”

Virus

It is strange living in the pandemic. The news is almost all bad. The numbers, of cases, of deaths, just keep rising. Most everything is closed.

“Fauci warns that coronavirus could kill 200,000 Americans.”

Social distancing seems to be an effective method of slowing the transmission rate. On my morning walk the two people I saw respected the rule.

Justin Trudeau issues stern warning to Canadians: ‘Go home and stay home’

Driveways were filled with parked vehicles. The rain overnight gave everything a fresh look and made it hard to understand that danger lurks everywhere.

I am reminded of the polio pandemic of the 1950s.

I wrote about that once:

This is a solemn but a glorious hour. I only wish that Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to witness this day. General Eisenhower informs me that the forces of Germany have surrendered to the United Nations. The flags of freedom fly over all Europe.

For this victory, we join in offering our thanks to the Providence which has guided and sustained us through the dark days of adversity.

The radio crackled and the president’s voice faded for a moment. Bob looked at his parents. They were both straining to hear his words. The war was over for Virgil but not yet over for Bud. “I’ll pray tonight for an end to the war in the East,” he thought.

And now, I want to read to you my formal proclamation of this occasion:

A proclamation–The Allied armies, through sacrifice and devotion and with God’s help have wrung from Germany a final and unconditional surrender. The western world has been freed of the evil forces which for five years and longer have imprisoned the bodies and broken the lives of millions upon millions of free-born men. … give thanks to Almighty God, who has strengthened us and given us the victory.

Now, therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America, do hereby appoint Sunday, May 13, 1945, to be a day of prayer.

“I knew it! I knew it would work,” he thought.

“I can’t wait until the war is really over everywhere.” said his Mom, “Keep my boy safe, oh, Lord.”

After a bit they all went to bed. Bob climbed into his bed on the front porch and prayed. “Jesus, bring my brother home safe” and  “Jesus, please do something to help me with my pig. As you know I am supposed to show him at the Yuma County Fair at the end of July, but he is not ready, and I’ll be the joke of the whole county. Please help me.”

That summer the polio epidemic became so bad that state officials closed all public swimming pools. Pictures of people in iron lungs were showing up in the Rocky Mountain News. Bob studied the pictures. Only the head of the polio victim could be seen. Parents were warned not to let their children drink from public water fountains.

It was a bad summer. And finally the word came.

The state ordered all county fairs to be cancelled because of the polio epidemic. Bob heard about the cancellation on the radio on KOA Denver at breakfast one morning. He ran outside and went to the pig shed. He looked at New.

“Thank you, Jesus, for sending polio,” he prayed.

My step-father

My step-father was a small farmer. He worked with his hands all of his life. He worked with mules, horses, and later tractors. Otto was primarily a wheat farmer. He took pride in his farming. Straight rows, sowing at the right time, cultivating, knowing when to harvest. There was a German Lutheran toughness to him and a real pride in growing crops and beasts to feed the people. 

It was a real shock to him when he made his first trip to the east coast. He went up to the top of the Empire State Building and looked out over the city. He noticed barges in the Hudson River that were dumping their loads into the river. He asked what they were dumping. He was told they were dumping excess wheat and also milk. He could not believe it. 

Why would they do that,” he asked. For the futures market he was told. Too much wheat brings the prices down now and in the future. 

When he came back to the farm he was changed. Those barges had stolen his life’s purpose. 

At about the same time Camus was writing his Notebooks 1951 – 1959. He writes (35) : 

According to Melville, the remora, a fish of the South Seas, swims poorly. That is why their only chance to move forward consists of attaching themselves to the back of a big fish. They then plunge a kind of tube into the stomach of a shark, where they suck up their nourishment, and propagate without doing anything, living off the hunting and efforts of the beast. 

The remora reminds me of the Wall Street speculators of today. They do not produce any wheat or corn – they merely bet on its price in the future. And they don’t manufacture anything to use for anything – they specialize in gambling. 

Oh, yeah, and Otto paid his fair share of taxes. 

Greenland continues to melt

Yet we now know that the Greenland of today is different from the Greenland that Rink experienced. The ice sheet is melting more, and melting earlier in summer, and melting in ways that computer models suggest will ultimately threaten its long-term existence. A recent paper in Nature presented compelling evidence, gathered from cores extracted from the ice sheet, that demonstrated Greenland’s recent melt is “exceptional” over the past 350 years and that the ice sheet’s response to higher temperatures is now “nonlinear.” In the last two decades, melting rates of the ice are 33 percent higher than 20th century averages; the melting, moreover, is not only increasing but accelerating.

Read the article.