Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Tropical neptunia

with 23 comments

On July 5th I found some Neptunia pubescens crawling out onto the sidewalk along the busy Capital of Texas Highway. The plant had produced several flower “globes,” of which this was one. The whole cluster might have been an inch long, so the individual flowers in it were tiny. Below you see one of the plant’s drying seed pods.


Here’s another passage from Douglas Murray’s The Madness of Crowds.

Until the last decade or so, sex (or gender) and chromosomes were recognized to be among the most fundamental hardware issues in our species. Whether we were born as a man or a woman was one of the main, unchangeable hardware issues of our lives. Having accepted this hardware we then all found ways — both men and women — to learn how to operate the relevant aspects of our lives. So absolutely everything not just within the sexes but between them became scrambled when the argument became entrenched that this most fundamental hardware issue of all was in fact a matter of software. The claim was made, and a couple of decades later it was embedded and suddenly everybody was meant to believe that sex was not biologically fixed but merely a matter of ‘reiterated social performances’.

The claim put a bomb under the feminist cause…. It left feminism with almost no defences against men arguing that they could become women. But the whole attempt to turn hardware into software has caused — and is continuing to cause — more pain than almost any other issue for men and women alike. It is at the foundation of the current madness. For it asks us all to believe that women are different from the beings they have always been. It suggests that everything women and men saw — and knew — until yesterday was a mirage and that our inherited knowledge about our differences (and how to get along) is all invalid knowledge. All the rage — including the wild, destructive misandry, the double-think and the self-delusion — stem from this fact: that we are being not just asked, but expected, to radically alter our lives and societies on the basis of claims that our instincts all tell us cannot possibly be true.

Douglas Murray’s book came out in 2019. The cognitive dissonance has increased since then. For example, you may have heard about a recent incident at a spa in Los Angeles.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 15, 2021 at 4:34 AM

23 Responses

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  1. I had to look up this author, which was revealing in itself (conservative accused of touting conspiracy theories and being an Islamophobe).

    Without having read the book, this passage reveals a fundamental flaw: the thought that there’s simply more versions of “hardware” than he’d like, and that humans who are running on “non binary hardware” are obviously struggling with it, doesn’t seem to have occurred to him? But again, I haven’t read the book.

    Beautiful flower photo though.

    Alexander S. Kunz

    July 15, 2021 at 7:43 AM

    • We unfortunately live in an era when activists often sling the insult “conspiracy theory” at people who hold an opinion they disagree with, even if that opinion is backed up by facts. A prominent recent example is that for much of 2020, scientists who made the argument that Covid-19 might well have leaked from the Institute of Virology in Wuhan were accused by many in the media of spreading a “conspiracy theory” that had been “debunked”—in spite of the fact that the conjecture had not and still has not been disproved. In fact it now seems to have become the leading hypothesis. With regard to Douglas Murray, it shouldn’t matter, but I’ll add that he happens to be gay himself. As for Islamophobia, even someone who grew up in Islam, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, gets smeared as an “Islamophobe” for disagreeing with some widespread beliefs and practices in Islam.

      For the first nine of the ten years I’ve had this blog, I devoted it primarily to nature photography and native plants, with smatterings of language and math, which are other interests of mine. Every post still offers at least one nature photograph, but when so many in our country seemed to go crazy last year, I felt I had no choice but to begin speaking out against the mania.

      I’m glad you commented, because it made me aware of your beautiful nature photographs. I hope other people who see this comment will take a look at it, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 15, 2021 at 8:28 AM

      • “…in spite of the fact that the conjecture had not and still has not been disproved.”

        Is that the bar? It is very hard to prove something did not happen and it doesn’t make sense to use that as logic to support a supposed occurrence.

        I might say that Santa Claus gave us COVID and this has not been disproven.

        Jason Frels

        July 15, 2021 at 9:17 AM

        • Of course, but the point is that the critics of the lab-leak hypothesis falsely claimed that it had been debunked, when it hadn’t, and most of the media parroted that false claim. The scientists who supported the lab-leak hypothesis brought forth evidence to support it. I’ll grant, and they themselves granted, that the evidence wasn’t conclusive. How could it have been, when the Chinese government refused to give outside investigators unfettered access to the lab; when the Chinese government refused to let outside investigators speak privately with scientists who worked in the lab; when the Chinese government destroyed relevant evidence; when some knowledgeable scientists in China mysteriously disappeared?

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 15, 2021 at 10:17 AM

      • Sure. If your readers accept the mixture, you can do whatever you want – it’s your site! 🙂

        I too mix my observations and thoughts into my blog posts of course, but I try to keep them focused on nature conservation and the environment because I thought that people who appreciate nature through my photos would be “naturally” 😉 aligned with these topics.

        Thanks for the friendly words about my photos!

        Alexander S. Kunz

        July 15, 2021 at 9:55 AM

        • I’ve angered a few readers, and based on a modest drop in the average number of likes on posts in recent months, I’ve probably driven away some other people. That’s a price I’ve paid for saying things I think need to be said. I didn’t and don’t want to be among the people about whom future historians will ask: why didn’t they speak out against the madness? History offers many examples of civilizations that went awry. World War II was still going on in the first couple of months of my life; I remember that the guy who ran a candy store in my town when I was a little kid had a number on his arm.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 15, 2021 at 10:27 AM

  2. I ordered a sample of the book: Madness of Crowds. The excerpt you published prompted me to do so.

    Peter Klopp

    July 15, 2021 at 8:44 AM

  3. Amazing and succinct commentary! Thanks for sharing!


    July 15, 2021 at 10:32 AM

    • Douglas Murray is a good analyst of recent trends in our civilization. Based on your comment, you’ll probably be happy reading his books.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 15, 2021 at 10:35 AM

  4. Beautiful flower and seedpod photos!

    Alessandra Chaves

    July 15, 2021 at 10:40 AM

  5. This one could be fireworks as well.

    Steve Gingold

    July 16, 2021 at 2:23 AM

  6. Like the second one very much

    Best regards


    July 16, 2021 at 3:37 AM

  7. Lovely, tiny beauty! Seed pods always interest me. It’s as if nature provided protective wrappers for the seeds.
    I always appreciate what you have to offer here, Steve.


    July 16, 2021 at 4:49 AM

    • Yes, a lovely, tiny beauty. And speaking of wrappers in a different way, this is another of those pea-family plants with compound leaves that wrap—i.e. fold—up when you touch them. Always fun to play with.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 16, 2021 at 7:24 AM

  8. I’ve not seen many of these little yellow puffs, but I remember that when I found my first, I thought it was an odd variation on Mimosa strigillosa. Not quite! This is a terrific photo of a ‘plant in process’ — the three colors really sing against that dark background. The seed pod brought to mind a catboat with tanbark sails.


    July 16, 2021 at 7:07 AM

    • Ah, ever the nautical associations.
      This species has been spreading in Travis County. Years ago I took botanist Bill Carr to see some I’d found. I understand how initially you could’ve mistaken one of these for an odd Mimosa strigillosa, even to the touch-sensitive compound leaves. A closer look would soon reveal many differences.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 16, 2021 at 7:21 AM

  9. […] an update regarding an incident I linked to in my July 15th post. Women at the Wi Spa in Los Angeles were upset one day in June when a 6’2″, 200-lb., […]

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