Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for January 14th, 2023

A fourth installment of icicles

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On December 25th I spent nearly four hours photographing icicles hanging from a cliff in Great Hills Park just half a mile from home. In posts on December 28th, December 31st, and January 8th, you’ve seen how I tried out various approaches, both with and without flash. Now here are more icicles from that productive session.



The shattered dead tree in the second photograph was an Ashe juniper, Juniperus ashei. The ice-framed alcove below struck me as a sort of shrine, with the ice at the bottom reminiscent of the accumulated wax from candles that have burned all the way down.



Below, I worked at catching a drop of meltwater just as it was about to separate from the icicle’s tip.





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We often hear that the United States has become highly polarized, with roughly equal numbers of people in camps that for convenience might be called “progressive” and “conservative” (though within each of those camps beliefs also vary). Confirming the polarization is the fact that many recent key elections have been quite close. Members of the Senate and House of Representatives are almost equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, which are labels that serve as proxies for people with progressive and conservative views.

Now, human traits like musical ability, athleticism, and intelligence, occur according to what scientists call a normal distribution. Here’s what it looks like for IQ scores:



The distribution is symmetric. Most people cluster in the middle: a little more than two-thirds of the population has IQs between 85 and 115. As you go farther from the center in either direction, the number of people tapers off. A few people with very low and very high IQs are at the extremes.

Political leanings are independent of intelligence. Some progressives are highly intelligent; others lack intelligence. Some conservatives are highly intelligent; others lack intelligence. Given that reality, you’d expect progressives and conservatives to be about equally represented among college professors. The reality is strikingly different.

The Summer 2018 issue of Academic Questions included an article by Mitchell Langbert titled “Homogenous: The Political Affiliations of Elite Liberal Arts College Faculty.” Look at this chart from the article that reports the results of a study that included 5,116 professors:



To the right of each blue bar is a number that gives you the ratio of registered Democrats to registered Republicans for professors in that field. For example, the first row in the chart shows that among professors of engineering in the elite institutions surveyed there were 1.6 registered Democrats for each registered Republican. Among professors of history there were 17.4 registered Democrats for each registered Republican. In English departments the ratio was a whopping 48.3 to 1. And in the fields of anthropology and communications not a single registered Republican could be found!

Someone who wanted to be sarcastic might say: Well, Republicans aren’t very bright, so that’s exactly what you’d expect. Obviously that’s not the reason. In fact Republicans are most represented (though still way underrepresented) in intellectually demanding fields like engineering, chemistry, and mathematics. (And now I’ll be sarcastic and point out that any dolt can be an English major but it takes brains to do calculus.) Furthermore, if you go back say 50 years, you didn’t find hugely lopsided ratios like these, and surely the distribution of human intelligence hasn’t changed in half a century.

No, the heavily skewed distribution in the 2018 study (and it must be even more so now, after the pandemic of disease and delusion that struck in 2020) reflects the way leftist ideology has taken over almost all of academia. Many departments just won’t hire an applicant whose work goes counter to the prevailing orthodoxy and who has too much dignity to genuflect and swear the required oath of allegiance to the triune academic gods of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion*, hallowed be their names.

You’re welcome to read Mitchell Langbert’s article and also the January 11th one in Quillette that alerted me to the older one: Elizabeth Weiss’s “A Report From the Stanford Academic Freedom Conference.”



* Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion often goes by the initialism DEI, which appropriately is the Latin word for ‘gods.’



© 2023 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 14, 2023 at 4:27 AM

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