Tag Archives: reading

Evolutional Irony: On Humans, Big Brains, and Wanderlust

Mr. Adrian Walther

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilisation, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints.”  –Robert Louis Stevenson

In a chair, a human being sits, flying through the air 35,000 feet above the ground, the shadow of the mechanical bird he temporarily inhabits skimming across the choppy waters of the Atlantic like a water borne wraith.  He is surrounded by dozens of other members of his species, none of them known to him, all of them in various states of boredom, excitement or repose.  For as much time as humans have sought the gift of flight, no one, particularly, seemed to be very impressed.

When this homo sapien can’t see through the skein of clouds outside his window, he reads about the very current catastrophic global failures in terms of biodiversity and the permanent disappearance of countless species in Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction.  All factors highlighted by this female human through years of research and interviews add up to one grotesque conclusion: their species (both the author’s and the reader’s) is causing, or at least massively accelerating, the sixth mass extinction in the half billion years of this beautiful planet’s existence.  The numbers of species, the man read, that have disappeared or are close to blinking out due directly to human interference with the natural status quo are staggering.  What have humans done to warrant such a dubious distinction?  Primarily things like burning fossil fuels egregiously, developing land, and bringing species of plants and animals across oceans and other geographical barriers they never otherwise would have crossed, importing and exporting organisms both purposefully and inadvertently, leading to invasive plant and animal takeovers of entire continents.

Continue reading

Give it a Try: Peter is really not that Strange

Mr. Peter Langella

When I started eighth grade, I wanted to play in the National Hockey League. That’s it. That’s honestly all I wanted to do. I was a pretty skilled defenseman, I’d just had a nice growth spurt, and I thought my hockey stock was on an infinite rise.

But, infinite rises, I’m guessing you know, are not very plausible.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 9.52.23 AM

My stock did continue to go up, though. I was a high school star, I was a key player and captain for a great college team, and I even got to spend a year on one of the New York Rangers’ low-level minor league clubs. I played hockey at a higher level than all but the very best of the sport. I’m both happy and proud when I think about the way it worked out. But, at the end of it all, I was still only twenty-four when I played my last competitive hockey game.

Twenty-four is very young.

I needed to do something. I needed to go places. I needed new passions to take over my now cavernous amounts of free time.

Continue reading