Demons Inner and Outer

Adam Kirsh: “Almost seven years after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, readers still display a surprising hunger for the definitive ‘9/11 novel.’ The acclaim that greeted Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland earlier this year was a sign of this appetite: Critics outbid one another to welcome a book that might make sense of the always receding, ever-present horror. Clearly, the more deeply committed one is to the moral possibilities of literature — the more one believes that, even in a mediatized age, the novel can still be D.H. Lawrence’s ‘bright book of life’ — the more is at stake in the emergence of ‘the’ novel about the attacks. If fiction cannot cope with the biggest event of our lifetimes, then its long-prophesied death is surely at hand.” (New York Sun)

The Descent of Men

“Wilco Van Rooijen, a Dutch mountain climber, managed to survive the debacle this week that took the lives of 11 others in Pakistan on K2, the world’s second-highest peak. Describing the chaotic events that ensued when a pinnacle of ice collapsed and swept away fixed ropes that climbers from several expeditions high on the mountain had counted on to aid their descent from the summit, Mr. van Rooijen lamented: “Everybody was fighting for himself, and I still do not understand why everybody were leaving each other.”

Himalayan mountaineering is an inherently dangerous pastime, and climbers are always at risk from the unexpected. But mountaineering has become more dangerous in recent decades as the traditional expeditionary culture of the early- and mid-20th century, which had emphasized mutual responsibility and common endeavor, gave way to an ethos stressing individualism and self-preservation.” (New York Times op-ed)


Chile Volcano Erupts With Ash…

…and Lightning:

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“The mingling of lightning and ash seen above may be a ‘dirty thunderstorm.’ The little-understood storms may be sparked when rock fragments, ash, and ice particles in the plume collide to produce static charges — just as ice particles collide to create charge in regular thunderstorms.” (National Geographic via julia)