Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bookworming: The World Without Us

The World Without Us, Alan Weisman, ****
The central premise of this non-fiction work is: what happens if all humans suddenly disappeared from the planet? It is great marketing for sure, but the book really is not about what will happen to the vast infrastructure that people have created. That material is in the book, and just as evocative as it sounds. But the larger narrative, the real power of it, is an overview of the impact that people have had and are having on nature.

For those expecting politics to creep in, it does not. This is a scientific look at a "what if" that simply shakes out certain viewpoints that could be considered political. If anything, you can take whatever political view you want from the text, because it's ultimately about how nature and life win. No matter what impact we have, it will all eventually be gone. And yet, what an impact we do have. Ultimately, what won me over was the surprisingly optimistic tone throughout what could be an extremely bleak subject. It takes a hard heart to begrudge something that imagines the Korean DMZ becoming a wildlife refuge, and that is just one example.

Light reading, this is not. But it is an exceedingly well done series of tales of humanity's might and how ephemeral our works really are in a world without us.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tune of the Moment

I'm in hard-core beat-the-deadline mode at work, with most of the day spent coding at top speed.  This may or may not have been running in the background of my brain all day...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Seeing the Wisdom of a Turkey

On the highway home this afternoon, a couple hundred yards out from the overhead sign proclaiming my imminent relief from high speed traffic, there in the grass between the edge of the road and the treeline, stood a wild turkey. She was still and calm, reminding me for all the world of any other southerner on a spring afternoon, out on the front porch watching the cars roll by quickly and the storm clouds roll by slowly. I must admit that for a moment I was a little envious, not having so much serenity in my life these days. But you know, them storm clouds move how they will, and all the worrying and fretting in the world don't change when they pass by. But they always do eventually, and the colors of the world are never brighter than in that first ray of sun after a rain.