My cat, Grisito, waiting to be let out. Photo credit: Beatrice Carletti
Back in high school, I read a poem called “The Prize Cat” by E.J. Pratt. As a cat owner and lover, I delighted in Pratt’s descriptions of a pure blood domestic tabby cat with a soft-mannered, musical purr. “The ribbon had declared the breed, Gentility was in the fur.” Essentially, Pratt muses about the tamed majesty of the now-domesticated feline. And then, a flash of instinct:
I saw the generations pass
Along the reflex of a spring,
A bird had rustled in the grass,
The tab had caught it on the wing:
Behind the leap so furtive-wild
Was such ignition in the gleam,
I thought an Abyssinian child
Had cried out in the whitethroat’s scream.
I think that was the first time I considered the predatory instincts of my beloved pet and, though it was unsettling, I didn’t think about what outdoor cats might be doing to bird populations on a wide scale.
In her recent article for the New York Times, Natalie Angier offers a bird’s eye view. Although Angier definitely editorializes—describing cats as bored, carnivorous tourists and recreational, subsidized hunters—she raises some interesting points.
The many macs of the UBC School of Journalism. Let's try to hold on to them for a long time!
“Waste is shipped here because nobody–meaning nobody in Europe or the United States–wants it in their own backyard”
~Mike Anane, Ghana-based environmental journalist
Do you ever think about e-waste? Do you wonder where your discarded cameras, cell phones, and computers go when you decide you want something spiffier?
In 2009, A team of UBC grad students tracked the trails of e-waste to three countries: Ghana, India and China. They did this as a part of the school of journalism’s international reporting course.
The students probably had no idea that they would end up discovering serious instances of cybercrime (which even put sensitive US government documents at risk) as well as exploring extreme human health risks in underprivileged communities.
Rather than re-hash their findings, I encourage you to watch their compelling documentary, which was created under the leadership of our professor, Peter Klein.
Click here to watch “Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground”
The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. ~Mark Twain
There are many words I can’t define. This is disconcerting to an aspiring writer. When I come across an unfamiliar word, I pause and decide whether or not to ignore the confrontation. In fact, I used to think there was shame in not knowing but, as the saying goes, the shame is in not finding out.
I now share a recent list of words that I needed to look up, a list that I will update as often as I come across new words or remember old ones that once baffled me. Perhaps you will join me in my attempt at growing a grandiloquent vocabulary?
Click the links for pronunciation. All definitions from http://www.thefreedictionary.com
All images in this post are originals
The short answer: I’ll be responsible for finding that out. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have a beat. For the next while I’ll be learning all there is to know about the sprawling expanses formally known as the University of British Columbia.
With this daunting task in mind, I went on a very long walk today. But it wasn’t just any ol’ stroll—I touched furry plants and sniffed funny-looking flowers, I spoke to strangers and collected pamphlets, I snapped pictures and poked my head in offices. Essentially, I combed over a good deal of this campus with all five of my senses.
Although I’m exhausted, I am very very far from done.
I still have many questions lodged in my brain (it’s quite painful, really, so I have to get them out!). You see, the thing about talking to people is that they’re not always so sure that what they’re telling you is true. Is there really going to be a giant whale skeleton up for display soon? Can young women (16-26) really test a new HPV vaccination and then put it on their resume as”volunteering”? (And should such recruitment be done on campus?) Are there really three hidden labyrinths at UBC?
Stay tuned as I discover the answers to these questions and more!
HEY UBC! If you know of an under-reported story on campus which you’d like to see covered, why not comment on this post and let me know what’s on your mind?
I’m cleaning out my digital closet and I’ve come across a few useful notes.
A while back I read a book called Crucial Conversations: Tools for talking when stakes are high. Indeed, figuring out how to effectively communicate sensitive messages is a vital skill (if we ever hope to get past the flushed cheeks and beating hearts).
Anyway, for what it’s worth, I thought I’d post the notes I made and spark some interest in the book and/or its raison d’etre. The notes are by no means complete–and they’re much less powerful out of context and without examples–but I think this short list still contains some useful information. Happy conversing!