Shakespeare on Eclipses

Prepping for tomorrow’s first meeting of my Shakespeare class. In 1598, during Shakespeare’s lifetime, England experienced a total solar eclipse, with the path of totality tracking from Cornwall in the southwest up to Aberdeen in Scotland. As we in the twenty-first century prepare for the Great American Eclipse on Aug 21, let’s look at three of the ways Shakespeare used eclipses in his plays and poems: 1. An eclipse as an ill…

Trump Briefly Glanced at Eclipse without Protective Glasses

Donald Trump’s persona as a man who doesn’t like to be told what to do feeds into the spread of this image of him staring directly at the eclipse without protective glasses. I’ve seen it portrayed as if an aide warned Trump not to do it, and then he immediately did it anyway, on impulse. Naturally I investigated. Recalling the still photo taken of Trump appearing to ignore his own…

NASA: No, The Eclipse Won’t Blind Pets

I once heard a fellow grad student say Galileo went blind because the the Church tortured him, I said no, he went blind because he looked at the sun through a telescope. Turns out both stories are myths. Galileo did go partially blind from cataract and glaucoma in his 70s. “Galileo was well aware of the dangers of direct solar observations and seems to have predominantly used the projection technique…

Predatory Journals Hit By ‘Star Wars’ Sting

I’ve been contacted by editors who would just love for me to publish in international relations journals (I’m trained as an American literature specialist), or write a textbook on pretty much any topic I suggest. I’ve also seen my own web pages reproduced word-for-word, except for the removal of my name, in books other people have listed on their academic resumes. It’s very frustrating for students who find what appears…

The Future of College Is Facebook Meme Groups

Interesting to see how large groups of college students are using Facebook, mostly as a forum for sharing memes. About four years ago I asked students in my “News Writing” class to make memes based on AP style / copy-editing principles, but I don’t think the students particularly cared for the assignment. I dropped the meme thing the next time I taught the class, but perhaps I should resurrect it.…