Taxonomy term

ward chesworth

Geologic Column: Newspeak for kids

To make room for words from the brave new digital world, the editors of children’s dictionaries are culling words that describe the natural world. But if kids can’t put names to nature, how will they learn to love it enough to fight for its future?

13 Mar 2019

Geologic Column: Muinntir a' ghlinne so

The author examines the idea of lament — for humanity, Earth and the universe — through the lens of the “pibroch,” a Gaelic word meaning a Scottish bagpiper’s variations on a musical theme, and the title of a Ted Hughes poem.

18 Jan 2019

Geologic Column: The raw and the cooked

A humorous take on some paleoanthropological aspects of fire.

23 Jul 2018

Geologic Column: Rebranding Alexander

Alexander III of Macedon is a superhero of history, universally known as Alexander the Great, who was intent upon conquering a bigger chunk of the planet than anybody before him. But perhaps he wasn’t so great after all.

22 May 2018

Geologic Column: Over the hills and far away

English author G.K. Chesterton thought that “over the hills and far away” was the most poetic line in all of literature. The tune “Over the Hills and Far Away” mentioned in the nursery rhyme is a traditional British song from the late 17th or early 18th century. It was a siren’s song that promised wonder and adventure beyond the blue horizon. Gwyn Thomas, a fine though neglected Welsh writer, heard the song during his early-20th-century childhood in the Rhondda Valley, the heart of the south Wales coal region. Honeycombed by mines, the Rhondda’s spirit lay at the core of Thomas’ heart and imagination, and he distilled a mordant humor from the dark vibes of the life that he knew there.

10 Apr 2018

Geologic Column: A masochist hikes through the heather

A hike in the Scottish Highlands can be a delightful sojourn or a miserable plod in the rain.

06 Oct 2017

Geologic Column: Alternative history: Earth in a funhouse mirror

If a particular historical event had turned out differently, how might subsequent history have changed? 
18 Aug 2017

Geologic Column: Evolution of an ape-man

From Java Man to Piltdown Man to Nebraska Man to the many incarnations of Tarzan, our views on the “ape-man” have evolved.
12 Apr 2017

Geologic Column: Conscious landscapes: Thinking like a septic tank

Dogs, bats, septic tanks, mountains and lowlands can all be explored through philosophy. Can each have consciousness?
14 Dec 2016

Geologic Column: At the end of the Earth

A trip to Land’s End in Spain with some old friends spurs the author’s thinking about the tectonics of Iapetus, peat bogs that hold clues to ancient climate, and the futility of tilting at windmills.

13 Apr 2016

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