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Sunday, September 24

Tales from John Batchelor's magical attic

[brushing aside a cobweb and setting the candle-holder down, as I struggle against the rusted hinges on an aged steamer trunk] Let me see what's in here. [rooting around in the books stacked inside] Hmmm. Shall I try tales from the 10th century, or the story of -- what's the name? Humboldt. Alexander von Humboldt. Never heard of him. 

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) was the most famous scientist of his age, a visionary German naturalist and polymath whose discoveries forever changed the way we understand the natural world. Among his most revolutionary ideas was a radical conception of nature as a complex and interconnected global force that does not exist for the use of humankind alone. In North America, Humboldt’s name still graces towns, counties, parks, bays, lakes, mountains, and a river. And yet the man has been all but forgotten.

I see from more of the review that he was also quite an adventurer -- indeed, a veritable superman.  

All right, this calls for chocolate chip cookie dough and a glass of milk.

[returning shortly with the sustenance and settling into listening to the podcast of John Batchelor and a historian bringing history alive again.]

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World by Andrea Wulf. Part 1 of 4.

Part 2 of 4.

What a great story! Welcome relief from the day's news! I can't wait for Part 3, which I hope will be aired on Monday night.  

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