Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for July 7th, 2022

Closer looks at mountain pinks

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A post late last month revealed the largest colony of mountain pinks (Zeltnera beyrichii) I’ve ever seen. In that case the plants came up vertically in a field of caliche. Mountain pinks are also known to emerge horizontally from the faces of cliffs and roadcuts, which is what you see above from Fireoak Dr. on June 24th. Before the huge colony interposed itself last month I’d been planning to show the closeup below, from Hidden Hills Lane in Cedar Park on June 12th. It looks no worse for the delay.


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Two days ago I posted an excerpt from Carl Sagan’s pro-free-speech speech to the Illinois chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union in around 1987. That speech appeared on July 1st in Quillette, which a week earlier had published an article by Colin Wright that also argued for free speech and inquiry and against censorship: “I Got Thrown Off Etsy and PayPal for Expressing My Belief in Biological Reality.” The tag line was “Apparently, selling mugs and shirts that glorify violence against ‘TERFs’ is just fine. But ‘I 💜 J.K. Rowling‘? That‘s hate speech.” Here’s how the article begins:

If readers recognize my byline, it’s because I’ve spent the last few years arguing strenuously for the (apparently controversial) positions that biological sex is real, that there are only two sexes, and that the differences between males and females matter in some policy contexts.

My views are hardly out of the mainstream. Indeed, we are now seeing a pronounced (if belated) pushback against activists who’ve insisted that biological sex is some kind of transphobic mirage. But for several years, those activists have controlled the commanding heights of many universitiesNGOs, and even political parties. This is one of the reasons why I left my career as an academic biologist in 2020: I was tired of researching science in a subculture whose gatekeepers demanded that I repudiate basic scientific facts about human beings.


I invite you to read the full article in Quillette.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 7, 2022 at 4:30 AM

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