Sketch of the dying Keats by Joseph Severn, January 1821. Image and other details from Hanson, Marilee. “The Final Months: John Keats on his deathbed”, February 22, 2015

Two hundred years ago today, one of the great poets in the English language died of tuberculosis at the age of 25. One hundred years ago, this loss was reflected upon in The Nation magazine by Mark Van Doren, in his essay “John Keats: 1821–1921.” Van Doren had become a professor of English at Columbia University the previous year, and was just 26 when he penned his essay. He later became a legendary teacher for whom an award at Columbia is named, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet. …


Cancel culture’s victims in the South, from eji.org

Donald Trump. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Josh Hawley. We are told that because of being blocked on Twitter, or being accused (correctly) for being linked to QAnon, or losing a Simon & Schuster book contract, these three people are victims of “cancel culture.” Like so much else in white American culture, this phrase is an appropriation from African-American culture, according to Merriam-Webster. In that sense, “cancel” means a severing of a relationship, or did. With “culture” appended to it, now it seems to refer almost exclusively to white Americans in power who lose privileges, or who aren’t being sufficiently listened to.


Dr. Paul Crutzen, receiving the 1995 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his work on stratospheric ozone loss (AP)

In which my shortcomings as a research scientist led to a nice e-mail from the only Nobel Prize winner in my discipline’s history

The Who and the Why

Atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen died last Thursday at the age of 87. His passing was international news, because he shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995 with Drs. Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina for their pioneering work that explained how stratospheric ozone loss could occur due to human activity. …


The official Supreme Court portrait of Justice Hugo Black. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Black#/media/File:Hugo_Black.jpg

The topic of the moment in American politics is “originalism,” on public display at the Amy Coney Barrett hearings. For those of us who grew up in the “Christ-haunted” South, the arguments for originalism sound extremely familiar. And I think there’s a reason why.

The Complicated Hugo Black

Many years ago, when originalism was first gaining traction in conservative circles, I happened to be reading Roger Newman’s excellent biography of famed New Deal Senator and then Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. …


The late Nick Cordero, Tony-nominated 41-year-old actor who died of COVID-19 on July 5, 2020 after 95 days in a Los Angeles hospital. He lost function in both lungs and had to have a leg amputated before finally succumbing, after multiple cycles of extreme illness and small recoveries. It took three tests initially to confirm that it was coronavirus, and not pneumonia, that Cordero had contracted. At left are his widow Amanda Kloots and their now-one-year-old son Elvis Eduardo. No, Nick Cordero didn’t have any pre-existing medical conditions, but thanks so much for asking. Photo from etonline

This is what we are bringing down upon our nation by gaslighting a pandemic.

This isn’t the flu. This isn’t an “old people’s disease.” This isn’t just an inconvenience for you. This isn’t a vast left-wing conspiracy to keep you from watching sports in person. This. Is. A. Pandemic.

Younger people as well as older people are dying horrible deaths. This poor man suffered for four months, over three of those months in the hospital. He lost function in both of his shot-through-with-holes lungs, and had a leg amputated before finally dying. Tell his 1-year-old son and 38-year-old widow that his was an “acceptable death.”

This is what our “What, Me Worry?” feigned ignorance in the face of a pandemic is doing.

And has done, and will do even more of…


Found at https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/purity.png

Life in the Purity Cult

I’m a meteorologist. I shouldn’t have to apologize for that. But everyone in my field does at one time or another. I have a Ph.D. from a famed public university. I did a post-doc at a renowned Ivy League university, and worked in an internationally recognized NASA institute. I do research at a major research university that helps your plane rides be less bumpy, and reduces deaths and damage from windstorms. I’m not “that weather guy on TV,” but I have taught people you may have seen on a national network or two.

But that’s not good enough.

It’s not…


With a look back at the first UGA meteorologist, Josiah Meigs

The University of Georgia’s first real president, Josiah Meigs

On the occasion of my receiving the Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professorship, I thought I’d use my 15 minutes-or-fewer of “fame” to shine a spotlight on the person this professorship is named for. It’s also a chance to shine the beam forward across two centuries to the atmospheric sciences program I’m a part of at UGA, to note some surprising similarities and an amusing contrast between Meigs and myself, and to inquire a little about the changing climate of Athens, thanks to Meigs.

Josiah Meigs Comes To Georgia

The Meigs Professorship honors Josiah Meigs


Perfect, Then and Now

You can almost stop reading now. Perfect ACT scores were 10 times more common… an order of magnitude more common!… in 2018 than in 2001. This is after adjusting for the rising number of people taking the ACT. Data from ACT, analysis and snazzy Excel graph by the author.

When I was a junior in high school in 1982, I had a good day on the American College Testing (ACT) standardized test, one of the gateway tests for college admission. I did a little more prep than my friends. I bought a book and practiced a little bit with it. That was unusual in my middle-class public high school in Birmingham, Alabama. There were no test-prep classes that I knew of. No coaches. No online help; this was 1982. …


Jack Weinberg was a 24-year-old (b. 1940) graduate student teaching assistant at UC-Berkeley when he coined this phrase. Jerry Rubin (b. 1938) championed the phrase.

Now that I have your attention — no, I’m not addressing nearly 2,000 misconceptions about the meme and saying of the cultural moment. The list is under ten. And the moment may have already passed, while I was busy professoring and school boarding in earnest this fall. I thought it was still worth saying.

But first, a bit about me.

Who Am I?

I was born two months and two days after the more-or-less official end of the Baby Boom. I am the youngest child (by over seven years) of my parents, who were themselves the youngest children in their respective families. …


The quote that launched a generation of critical scholarship on Keats, it seems.

On September 23rd I celebrated the 200th anniversary of John Keats’s miracle year with a tribute to his life and work and his “perfect ode,” To Autumn.

Tonight I celebrate the 224th anniversary of his birth, as I do each year. This year I celebrate it somewhat mournfully, by continuing the story of my essay and juxtaposing it with the latest critical analysis from the literary lions of our day. …

John Knox

A geography professor and meteorologist at UGA in Athens, GA. I write about news, sports, weather, climate, education, journalism, religion, poetry, the South.

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