June 5, 2013
A Miscellany of Science
I suppose many here have already read what follows. Nevertheless, each article in its own way merits, and more than merely merits, what my merest sketches might hopefully supply: a meager few new readers.
First is last month’s Atlantic with a lengthy treatment by Charles C. Mann of the astounding transformations in the world of fossil fuel extraction, refinement, distribution, and perpetuity. One might according to several precepts read, in bald summary, the meaning and importance of this article: the precept that moderate liberals have at last awakened to what’s going on and no longer stand athwart science and engineering and economic development; the precept that human projections and predictions are, in the industrial enterprise of the cleverest animal on this planet, the creature called man, an amusing but usually idle pastime; or merely the precept that, by golly, man is a clever creature.
Speaking of earthly creatures, who can match on the level of majesty and mystery, on the level of defiance and generosity, the elephant? It appears to me, having taken my time (read: lollygagged) through this small book of an essay by The New Atlantis Managing Editor Caitrin Nicol, that the answer to that question is None. The elephant is a source of unending fascination, ably adumbrated here. If you thought this subject could not support sixty pages of careful elaboration, you thought wrong.