Saturday, 24 September 2011

Moving Planet Now!

Featuring 2000 events in 175 countries, Moving Planet is part of the worldwide campaign to move beyond fossil fuels and tackle climate change.  Check out some of the photos and events at Moving Planet and also the growing grassroots movement

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Genetic variation down 80% by 2080

ScienceDaily (Aug. 24, 2011) — If global warming continues as expected, it is estimated that almost a third of all flora and fauna species worldwide could become extinct. Scientists from the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum, BiK-F) and the SENCKENBERG Gesellschaft für Naturkunde discovered that the proportion of actual biodiversity loss should quite clearly be revised upwards: by 2080, more than 80 % of genetic diversity within species may disappear in certain groups of organisms, according to researchers in the title story of the journal Nature Climate Change. The study is the first world-wide to quantify the loss of biological diversity on the basis of genetic diversity.
This is the news release from ScienceDaily outlining one of the latest studies and projections for species extinctions due to climate change, this time drawing attention to the loss of genetic variation within species.  Further details from Joe Romm's Climate Progress here.  Time and again, studies are appearing that point towards the IPCC worst case scenarios either being the most likely to occur, or else rather understated.  Romm quotes from a report in the Royal Society special issue on 'Biological Diversity in a Changing World' (November 27, 2010, 365) that usefully captures the tone, put simply, '[t]here are very strong indications that the current rate of species extinctions far exceeds anything in the fossil record.'

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Teaching Ahoy!

Nearly finished writing and updating my undergraduate modules for the coming year. I co-ordinate and teach the bulk of three modules, deliver lecture spots on four others, and also supervise projects and dissertations. So, twenty six weeks of teaching makes for a rather busy schedule. That said, I very much enjoy the relative freedom to teach what I want and the strange combinations of topics that are thrown up by teaching both philosophy and religious studies.

Truth and Value: Introduction to Philosophical and Ethical Enquiry (year one)
What is Philosophy?; Deduction, Induction and Logic; Determinism and Free Will; Philosophy of Mind; Personal Identity; Philosophy of Language; Moral Realism; Moral Relativism; Consequentialism; Deontology; and Contractualism.

Spiritual Revolution: Pagan, New and Alternative Religions in the Twenty First Century (year two/three)
The Spiritual Revolution; New Age; The Pagan Revival; Authenticity; Commodification; Apocalypticism; Wicca and the Craft; The Goddess; Heathenism; Shamanism; New Religions and Conversion; New Religions and the Media; Satanism; Scientology; Alternative Histories and 2012.

Life and Meaning: Philosophy and the Human Condition (year three)
The Meaning of Life as a Philosophical Question; the Purpose of Life; the Absurdity of Life; Self-Fulfilment; Mortality; Immortality; Extinction; Flourishing; Suffering; Value; Identity and several weeks of Sartre.

One can add to this guest lectures on Christianity and the media; Christian militancy and fundamentalism; cyberfeminism; Daoism; feminist methodologies in the study of religions; feminist theology and queer theology; the insider-outsider problem; psychology of religion; and UFO religions.

Busy, busy, busy ... now to find time to write.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Democracy of Objects

Levi Bryant's Democracy of Objects is now available in .html version here, with pdf and print versions to follow soon.  I had the pleasure of seeing an earlier draft version and I am now looking forwards to immersing myself in the finished product.  A wonderful contribution to the evolution of Object-Oriented Ontology. 

Add to this the fact that the Third Object-Oriented Ontology Symposium also kicks off today, with livestreaming at Tim Morton's blog here, and this is an important couple of days for OOO.  Now, where is Alien Phenomenology?