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King Canute, Imperial Beach, CA, and rising tides

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — a coastal California town has learned the lesson King Canute either taught his nobles or learned the hard way himself — but what can anyone do about it? ]
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Okay, here’s the first para of Can a California town move back from the sea? Imperial Beach considers the unthinkable: a retreat from nature:

At the start of each year, Southern California gets a glimpse into a future of rising seas, through an annual event called the king tide. On that day, the sun, moon and Earth align to create a heavy gravitational pull, leading to the highest tides of the year. If “king tide” sounds ominous, that’s because it is, particularly for a city like Imperial Beach, a small coastal town near the Mexican border surrounded by water on three sides: San Diego Bay to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Tijuana River Delta to the south.

It doesn’t hurt that there’s a king reference there either, from my POV — because?

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Because King Canute.

As a Brit, I was introduced to King Canute at an early age, along with every last one of the other Kings and Queens of England — and their dates — memorize them! Americans, however, have shaken off the dust of kings and queens, and may not know the tale of King Canute and the waves. Was he, as my gold-embossed, colour-plated richly patriotic children’s book had it, an imperious royal who set his chair in the sand before the incoming tide, and not about to lose one inch of English sovereign soil to the waves, dared the Atlantic to encroach on his royal prerogative?

Or was he, as Henry of Huntingdon, the original chronicler of the tale has it, a humble and wise, one might say ecologically sound king, who set his chair in the sand to demonstrate to his fawning and flattering courtiers that look, not even my royal command can overrule the laws of God — or Nature?

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So, back to the humbling question — rising tides?

Currently an anomaly, the king tide is a portent of things to come. Researchers warn that, due to myriad factors including the Earth’s rotation, California will deal with even higher sea-level rise than other locations, as the atmosphere and oceans warm. The oceans are now rising at a faster rate than any time since the last Ice Age, about half an inch or more per decade. While much of this is understood by researchers and informed readers, very little has been done by coastal cities to confront this slow-moving catastrophe.

And Imperial Beach in particular?

That is what makes Imperial Beach so interesting. Here, at the southernmost beach town in California, in an obscure corner of the United States, one small city is asking: What if we just got out of nature’s way?

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Sources and readings:

  • High Country News, Can a California town move back from the sea?
  • The Sun, You Canute be Serious

  • Wikipedia, King Canute and the tide
  • New York Times, Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040
  • ipcc, Global Warming of 1.5°C
  • The Trojan War, revisited

    Saturday, June 30th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — a feminist reading — The Trojan wars resemble ISIS among the Yazidi ]
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    Rebecca Solnit is an acute, insightful writer, who first noted the genre of unlistening overtalk that came to be known as mansplaining — her example being men who praise and explain the brilliance of a book for fifteen or twenty minutes, based on having read a review, without pausing to find out they are addressing the author in question.

    During my research for incels (for an Incels & Rajneeshis post that I still hope to complete one of these days), I ran across her Guardian post, A broken idea of sex is flourishing. Blame capitalism.

    Her key expositional para, IMO, is this one:

    Feminism and capitalism are at odds, if under the one women are people and under the other they are property. Despite half a century of feminist reform and revolution, sex is still often understood through the models capitalism provides. Sex is a transaction; men’s status is enhanced by racking up transactions, as though they were poker chips.

    s

    That struck me, besides its meaning, for its poker chip metaphor. But it was the para immediately precesing it that I wanted to bring here to ZP, since it described the Trojan War in a way I had not seen before:

    The Trojan war begins when Trojan Paris kidnaps Helen and keeps her as a sex slave. During the war to get Helen back, Achilles captures Queen Briseis and keeps her as a sex slave after slaying her husband and brothers (and slaying someone’s whole family is generally pretty anti-aphrodisiac). His comrade in arms Agamemnon has some sex slaves of his own, including the prophetess Cassandra, cursed by Apollo for refusing to have sex with him. Read from the point of view of the women, the Trojan wars resemble ISIS among the Yazidi.

    That really brings things classical and venerable home to us, occupied as we are with the contemporary and terrible:

    The Trojan wars resemble ISIS among the Yazidi.

    **

    This is one of those posts where I expose my own ignorance, and pray for a lively comments section.

    What say you? Is this a misreading? Truth, already widely known? Or an original and useful, perhaps provocative, insight?

    Hanuman’s ID — and a Landsat view of Sita’s Bridge

    Monday, January 15th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — how do you check the biomeetric data for a god? ]
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    India’s ID system, run by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), issues ID cards linked to biometric data, and containing in each case a twelve-digit Aadhaar number that uniquely identifies the individual in question. More than 1.19 billion Indians have registered for Aadhaar numbers, over 99% of Indians aged 18 and above. That’s pretty impressive.

    **

    Even more impressive — the god Hanuman was issued an Aadhaar number, and the card itself records Hanuman’s number as 209470519541 and his date of birth, improbably, as January 1st, 1959.

    **

    Hanuman is no ordinary Indian. He is the monkey god who met lord Rama, the avatar of Vishnu, and became his best friend and faithful ddevotee:


    Lord Rama is always held close in Hanuman’s heart
    and the constant focus of his meditation.

    When Rama’s beloved wife, Sita, was abducted by the demon (rakshasa) king Ravana and taken by him to his palace in Sri Lanka, Hanuman crossed the strait between India and Sri Lanka to rescue her.

    Secularists doubted this story was history, until a Landsat-5 photo of the straits revealed a series of now-sunken mini-islands passing from India to Sri Lanka, the stepping-stones of Hanuman:

    It is almost impossible for secularists to deny the reality of Hanuman’s epic crossing in light of this satellite evidence, surely?

    Surely.

    **

    Methinks I do protest too much.

    **

    Bob McKerrow, wayfarer, wrote:

    “Imagine being on one of those legendary islands of ‘Adam’s Bridge’ or ‘Rama Setu’ of the Ramayana fame! Many centuries ago, this 30 km stretch was a natural bridge connecting Sri Lanka to the southern tip of India; now, the ocean has reclaimed its own, leaving only a chain of sprinkled islands. On December 9, 2011, I was standing on the second island of the chain of limestone shoals between the Rameshwaran Island, off the south-eastern coast of India’s Tamil Nadu and Mannar Island, off the north-western coast of Sri Lanka. If the legends and folklore regarding Rama, Seetha, Ravana and Hanuman are to be believed, this ‘bridge’ is a critical part of the Sri Lanka’s past.

    His map shows how the “bridge” — known recently as Adam’s Bridge, but traditionally as Sita’s Bridge, for obvious reasons — bridges the India-Sri Lankan gap:

    “If the legends and folklore regarding Rama, Seetha, Ravana and Hanuman are to be believed..” the wayfarer writes.

    If indeed. And with an ID card and Aadhaar number to match, maybe?

    Scripture in defense of a flat earth

    Sunday, January 14th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — an antique KJV quote with modern relevance ]
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    An assistant and friend in my recovery unit is a Flat Earther. I’m always eager to learn more about non-conventional worldviews, so I was glad when he offered me a video in proof of his worldview — and stunned when, a couple of minutes into the video, I found this verse from Timothy 6.20:

    O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

    Scripture mocking science in service of the flat-earthers?

    It’s a popular message, apparently, in some literalist circles, whereas others note that the word translates the Greek of Timothy’s original “gnosis” — elsewhere always rendered “knowledge”.

    No matter, false is false, whether it be science or knowledge.

    **

    If science is false — and we know that individual claims within scienve are falsifiable –the lunar and martian surfaces are probably in sound stages in Burbank, and Armstrong took only a very short walk for mankind.

    For what it’s worth, the Hare Krishnas are sure about the moon landing being a hoax, too. But they say the moon is beyond the sun, so if the landing were real, it would probably have beeen on the Rahu planet, which most of us haven’t heard of, but which is responsible for eating the sun during eclipses:

    In Hindu tradition, Rahu is the severed head of an asura called Svarbh?nu, that swallows the sun causing eclipses.

    To my mind, that’s a more complex business than NASA’s explanation.

    **

    But back to the flat-earth, non-Rahu idea, all I can say is:

    http://theworldisflatcomics.com/

    The hunter hunted

    Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

    [ by Charles CameronDoubleTweet — the self-reference and enantiodromia of the hunt ]
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    This clever illustration of the hunter(s) hunted.. reminded me inevitably of the hunter Actaeon, who saw the goddess Artemis / Diana naked, bathing in a pool. She turned him into a stag, and his own hounds then tore him to pieces..

    These two tweets, one following fairly closely on the other though from different sources, just about made my day!


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