Climate Change

We have good reasons to believe that Climate Change is real. And yet, in spite of the projected disaster, we do very little. Why?

The interview here sheds some light on the problem of communicating the nature of the problem.

Two days after the 2016 presidential election I found myself eavesdropping on Paul Lussier and a group of students at the Yale School of Forestry and the Environment as they discussed the future of climate science. The students feared that the things they held dear—renewable energy, sustainable development, ecological conservation (and no doubt their careers)—would be derailed by Donald Trump, who has expressed skepticism about climate change.

I listened as Lussier, who directs the Yale Science Communications with Impact Network, reminded them how researchers, businesspeople, policymakers, and media can work together to inspire action around climate change, regardless of the government’s stance on the issue.

The following is an edited version of our conversation.

Catherine Halley: You’re a literary critic by training and spent a long time as a journalist. Where does your affinity for science come from?

Paul Lussier: Through media. I was both a producer and a buyer of programming, as well as a writer. My experience with the Discovery Channel really prompted me to see that the media world was stuck in a single-issue, literal-minded, planetary care and responsibility and stewardship ethos. We were trying essentially to activate people around the science and activate planetary concern. The bottom line is, it doesn’t work.

RIP, Dr. Homer Swander

One of the world’s greatest Shakespeare teachers dies at 96. I was a student of his at UCSB. Great experience.

Dear Bob,

This is Murph’s daughter, Susan, writing to tell you that Dad passed away at 3:40 a.m. the morning of February 15, 2018. He died peacefully at 96 years of age.
You may know that his beloved wife, Laura, died a little over a year ago at the age 0f 93. They had been married for 73 years.
Neither of them wanted memorial services or any big fanfare. They didn’t even want obits published. I may ignore that one and submit obits anyway. Their ashes will be laid to rest together at Calvary Cemetery in Santa Barbara.
If you wish to honor them in some way, donations can be made in their names to a non-profit organization that they supported over the years and that they deeply believed in. It is Project Aurora, P.O. Box 193, Cottage Grove, OR 97424 (501C3 corporation). They had a very personal connection to this group.  
If you have any questions or want more information, please let me know. Feel free to pass this email & news on to whomever would want the info.
Susan Swander
An earlier post here.

Some things never change

So far I haven’t had a dream like Gregor Samsa has in the famous Kafka story. I thank the dream gods for that!

But while I was still teaching I always had “teacher dreams” – Back in the day – when I was teaching – I usually had at least one teacher dream before each semester began. These dreams had certain features: I walk in to the classroom and everyone gets up and leaves or everyone is turned with their back to the podium or I am in the wrong room or….and like that.

I will be at the downtown library on February 21, 2018 to talk with a group about Fake News. And the dreams have started already. First one: I walk in to the assigned room, look around, and all of the book laden shelves tip over with books falling everywhere. Everyone rushes out. I stand there knee high in books. (over prepared??)

Second one: After wandering around for what seems like hours I finally see the Philosophy Chair. Relief. I ask her where the correct room is. She tells me and then reminds me that I am one day early. (anxious?)



Celebrate Women’s History Month


Join us for VIU Library’s Wikipedia Edit-a-thon in celebration of Women’s History Month! Come to VIU Library for an afternoon of editing and improving Wikipedia content focused on notable women.


Attendance is free, and refreshments will be provided. 


Register here! 

Date: Friday, March 9, 2018
Time: 1:30-4:30pm
Location: Room 507, VIU Library (Building 305)

More info:

Meet-up afterwards at VIUSU Pub. 


Wikipedia is one of the largest websites on the internet, with more than 40 million articles in more than 250 different languages. But women make up less than 10% of editors. This means women’s stories aren’t being told. Let’s help fix that!


A Wikipedia Edit-a-thon is an event where a group of people come together to edit and improve content on the Wikipedia platform. They often involve meetups, facilitators to guide the event, and crunchy snacks.


This is an inclusive event, and everyone is welcome. No previous editing skills or Wikipedia knowledge required — all skill levels from novice, to more experienced Wikipedians, are encouraged to take part. We’ll cover the basics of editing on the platform, explore women’s underrepresentation, and get to work editing live content on Wikipedia.


Hope to see you there! Questions? E-mail


Looking back – Way Back

Shot above is from the Way Back Machine – here. 

You can still access those chapbooks! Stuff on the internet is there forever . . . or for a long time.

Looking online for free books? Old pages from your institution? Stuff from the past?

Are you familiar with the Internet Archive? You just might find what you are looking for. For example, several years ago there was a society called the Vancouver Island Society for Practical Philosophy at Mal-U (now VIU) and searching the archives yields several pages including this one.

Evaluation. Still alive at VIU?

Back in 2010 I wrote this letter for the local paper. Perhaps someone can bring us up to date?

Comments welcome. What is happening at VIU?

My research:

Calvin: “Here’s the latest poll on your performance as dad. Your approval rating is pretty low, I’m afraid.”

Dad: “That’s because there’s not necessarily any connection between what’s good and what’s popular. I do what’s right, not what gets approval.”

Calvin: “You’ll never keep the job with that attitude.”

Dad: “If someone else offers to do it, let me know.”

–Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson, February 13, 1994

And some other research  here.