Exploring the Unknown

Heart Map Oronce Fine 1534

The Untold Story of Exploration This is a book by Lowell Thomas, published in 1937. Its various chapters outline the stories of explorers who are not the most widely known. One chapter traces the career of Ulrich Schmiedel von Straubing (aka Ulrico Schmidl) who accompanied the Spanish expedition headed by Pedro de Mendoza to South… Continue reading Exploring the Unknown

KFO, Time Traveler

Mosaic depicting Roman hunting party and banquet from Late Roman Villa in Sicily

I have had a recurring fantasy that I am transported through time and space and find myself in what appears to be ancient Rome (or some other town in Roman Italy). My first thought is “How cool is this! I have so much to learn here and I can tell them about world geography, technology,… Continue reading KFO, Time Traveler

In Search of Truth

It is with sincere sorrow that I note the passing of John Polkinghorne, on Tuesday last, March 9.  Many years ago, when I was first putting together the  Scholars Online Natural Science course, I ran across a discussion of the possible relationships of science and religion. The author broke them down into four options: irreconcilable… Continue reading In Search of Truth

Pondering the Past

Harappan site - Wikipedia Commons (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en)

Several years ago, we replaced the roof of our house. Among other improvements and repairs, we rebuilt the red-brick chimney stack, since most of the stack had yielded to moss eating into the mortar, and some of the bricks themselves had chipped into pieces, though the house was only about forty-five years old. Segue to… Continue reading Pondering the Past

Models and Heroes

Our movies and literature are full of heroes these days. They often have superpowers that lift them out of the ordinary mold, and their challenges are equally out of the ordinary, with circumstances or cosmic karma pitting them against world-destroying  cosmic evils. It’s all very exciting, but it isn’t very useful when what I really… Continue reading Models and Heroes

A Rhetorical Superhero

I’ve learned many useful things from my students through the years. Last fall, Peter Jackson from my Senior English class drew my attention to the the term “Steel Man”. I’d understood the concept it represented, but not encountered the term; as often, however, having a name for something makes it easier to handle and promote.… Continue reading A Rhetorical Superhero

The Politics of Perplexity in Twenty-First Century America

In the context of twenty-first century America, “politics” is perhaps one of the most curiously irritating words in the English language. I know from personal experience – whether from observing others, or from paying attention to myself – that there is a visceral reflex to feel something between annoyance and disgust upon hearing the word.… Continue reading The Politics of Perplexity in Twenty-First Century America

To teach, or not to teach….to the test

In the last few weeks, I’ve spent considerable time updating my course websites for the 2020 summer session and academic year. This has been more complicated than usual, since I’ve decided, after considerable thought and inward turmoil, not to seek Advanced Placement recertification for the biology, chemistry, and physics courses I’ve taught for the last… Continue reading To teach, or not to teach….to the test