Nature can seem this pure and honorable only once we’re no longer afraid of it. We seem to be forever oscillating between demonizing and eradicating certain animals, and then, having beaten those creatures back, empathizing with them as underdogs and wanting to show them compassion. We exert our power, but are then unsettled by how powerful we are.
We’ve entered what some scientists are calling the Anthropocene—a new geologic epoch in which human activity, more than any other force, steers change on the planet. Just as we’re now causing the vast majority of extinctions, the vast majority of endangered species will survive only if we keep actively rigging the world around them in their favor. Scott and his colleagues gave those creatures’ condition a name: conservation reliance. It means that, from here on out, we will increasingly be forced to cultivate the species we want, in places we protect and police just for them, perpetually rejiggering some asymmetrical balance to keep each one from sliding into extinction. We are gardening the wilderness. The line between conservation and domestication has blurred.
Ice skating at the Natural History Museum rink was an unreserved success this morning. Lots of fun, and I didn’t fall over a single time.
If it wasn’t so expensive I’d go again soon.
Between 1850 and 2005 overfishing reduced the cod population in the northwestern Atlantic by 92 percent
Fit for the start of a new week: How to master your creative routine and the pace of productivity.
Habits make the world go round.
Everything you need to know about life can be learned from a genuine and ongoing attempt to write.
Stoner” is undeniably a great book, but I can also understand why it isn’t a sentimental favorite in its native land. You could almost describe it as an anti-“Gatsby.” I suspect one reason “Gatsby” is a classic is that, despite his delusions and his bad end, we all secretly think Gatsby’s pretty cool. Americans don’t really see him as an anti-hero or a tragic figure—not any more than they see the current breed of charismatic criminals on cable as villains. Gatsby’s a success story: he makes a ton of money, looks like a million bucks, owns a mansion, throws great parties, and even gets his dream girl, for a little while, at least. “Stoner” ’s protagonist is an unglamorous, hardworking academic who marries badly, is estranged from his child, drudges away in a dead-end career, dies, and is forgotten: a failure.