A Suggestion

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Kleist
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A Suggestion

Postby Kleist » Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:46 pm

Dear Tim—

It would seem that the number of subscribers to the BAS&NW Forum is rather low (four, including you?).

What about inviting each author whose article is selected, as well as each guest editor, to join the Forum? (I wouldn't go backwards in time, but perhaps you could start with the 2012 group.)

Often particular topics are pursued by particular writers over a substantial period. Therefore significant updates on topics that appeared in a specific edition of The Best American Science and Nature Writing might be added as hot-links by the authors themselves.

On a similar note, I was unfamiliar with the work of Dan Ariely and ordered three of his books from Amazon.com. The Forum might stimulate readers to not only discuss a given author's article but also to do what I did: increase sales!

For years, I have haphazardly reviewed items on Amazon.com. My understanding of their devil's pact is that yes, one's words appear in print and accessible to millions of Amazon.com buyers—but one retains no rights whatsoever over one's own review.

What has kept me writing now and again are the frequent times particular authors have responded directly to one of my reviews. For example, that's how I connected with Nicky Fox (It Was Probably Something You Ate).

Thus having the authors of the articles on the Forum might be a way to encourage readers of The Best American Science and Nature Writing to join the Forum as well.

I confess that after reading many of the articles about the effects of Storm Sandy, I feel an urgent need to find a way for people who are empiricists and who believe in the validity of the scientific method to band together and to form some sort of cohesive voice to stand up to the politicians and the corporations who clearly will do nothing about climate change until it is far too late.

I should reveal here that I have a bias for groups of like-minded individuals. As a teenager, from 1974-77, I founded and ran (in the days of communicating by mail) The Science-Fiction Correspondence Organization. At its peak, there were 150 members from all over the globe. Through this venture, I corresponded with Philip K. Dick, Andre (Alice) Norton, Isaac Asimov, and Alexei Panshin, and I came to understand that writers were not a species unto themselves but quirky individuals just like myself.

Scientists, readers, thinkers, writers, poets, and creative people in general often work in vacuums, or in little corners where they interact with only a few others.

If we are to survive as a species, scientists must become a powerful political force.

Fool that I am, I imagine that your Forum might be a place to help initiate such a process.

I believe it was Annie Dillard who wrote somewhere that when Einstein discovered the empirical verifiability of his equations, he must have said, "But God, I was only kidding!"

It's great fun to read science articles and learn about the incredible advances we are making each year—but science also has a planet to save.

After reading Natalie Angiers' "So Much More Than Plasma and Poison" (from the "Other Notable Science and Nature Writing of 2011" list), I am confident that jellyfish will survive the Sixth Great Extinction.

But I would so like—although I'm not certain why, sometimes—for homo sapiens to reverse its unleashing of forces that destroy and instead to stop this madness and begin nurturing instead.

Perhaps after reading Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational, I will give up all hope of this happening.

Forgive my rambling.

Thanks for your attention.

Sincerely,

David

tim
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Re: A Suggestion

Postby tim » Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:03 am

Hi David,

Yes, I'm afraid to say that the total membership of the forum--including me--is a not-so-astronomical four. We had 20 or so a few years ago, but while pruning spambots I accidentally deleted all the valid members, along with their posts. I recently upgraded the forum's software, which has significantly reduced the spam; it's also easier to register now.

I really like your idea of inviting the writers to the forum. I'll do that for the next edition of the anthology. (I'm gathering articles for next year's collection right now.) I'll also encourage the guest editors to sign up.

As for politics and science, I think we desperately need more politically engaged scientists like Jim Hansen, Michael Mann, and Sylvia Earle. It's shocking how little attention is given to climate change by either of the two major parties.

David6761
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Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:18 am

Re: A Suggestion

Postby David6761 » Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:38 am

I was in a near-fatal car accident in May.

I remembered this forum a few weeks ago, when I suddenly recovered much of my memory after suffering a concussion in that accident.

Did you by any chance follow up on my suggestion from last year?

Fondly,

David :D

tim
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Re: A Suggestion

Postby tim » Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:33 pm

Hi David,

I'm very sorry to hear about your accident--I just saw your post today (July 19, 2014!). I hope you've made a complete recovery.
Some guest editors and writers are willing to participate in these forums. We just need to drum up some more members who are interested in discussing the stories and posing questions to the writers and editors.

Thanks, David, for your interest in this anthology. You've spurred me to try to resurrect this forum.

Tim


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