Monday, November 15, 2010

Chan Davis gets attention in the leftstream blogosphere & NASA announces exciting news

It's Monday! And I feel as though I've finally kicked the bug that's been plaguing me for so long. And so here are a few hot links:

--In his weekly column for, Chris Hedges draws on the life and work of Chandler Davis to discuss The Origin of America's Intellectual Vacuum. He begins by quoting Chan:

"You must welcome dissent; you must welcome serious, systematic, proselytizing dissent-not only the playful, the fitful, or the eclectic; you must value it enough, not merely to refrain from expelling it yourselves, but to refuse to have it torn from you by outsiders," he wrote in his 1959 essay "...From an Exile." "You must welcome dissent not in a whisper when alone, but publicly so potential dissenters can hear you. What potential dissenters see now is that you accept an academic world from which we are excluded for our thoughts. This is a manifest signpost over all your arches, telling them: Think at your peril. You must not let it stand. You must (defying outside power; gritting your teeth as we grit ours) take us back."

Though Hedges doesn't mention it, the essay is among those reprinted in Aqueduct Press's It Walks in Beauty: Selected Prose of Chander Davis, edited by Josh Lukin.

ETA-- The Truthout version of Hedge's column, unlike the version I linked to above, has a photo of Chan. You can find it here.

--And speaking of It Walks in Beauty, piper_of_dawn blogs about the book here. "This is an absolutely brilliant, stunningly moving book, by probably one of the most underrated science-fiction writers I have had the good luck to chance upon," begins the post.

-- And then there's NASA's exciting news: "Astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have found evidence of the youngest black hole known to exist in our cosmic neighborhood. The 30-year-old black hole provides a unique opportunity to watch this type of object develop from infancy." The black hole, the astrophysicists think, is likely a remnant of a supernova only 50 million light years from Earth that was discovered in 1979-- although NASA's press release says that "another intriguing possibility is that a young, rapidly spinning neutron star with a powerful wind of high energy particles could be responsible for the X-ray emission. This would make the object in SN 1979C the youngest and brightest example of such a "pulsar wind nebula" and the youngest known neutron star. The Crab pulsar, the best-known example of a bright pulsar wind nebula, is about 950 years old." Both possibilities excite my sense of wonder, but I suspect that because science ficiton has made the whole idea of black holes so very familiar, it's harder to grok a "pulsar wind nebula."

1 comment:

Eleanor said...

It's wonderful that Chan Davis is getting this attention.