User Profile

Derek Caelin

Joined 2 years, 4 months ago

Seeking a Solarpunk Future

Climate Feminist | Biodiversity | Open Source Software | Civic Tech | Games | Justice | Regenerative Ag | Green Energy | He/Him/His.

This link opens in a pop-up window

Derek Caelin's books

Currently Reading

2024 Reading Goal

7% complete! Derek Caelin has read 4 of 52 books.

Nick Groom: Tolkien in the Twenty-First Century (2023, Pegasus Books) 4 stars

What is it about Middle-Earth and its inhabitants that has captured the imagination of millions …

If the War of the Ring can be considered a just war, there are nevertheless important caveats. First, the allies of the West use the Rangers of Ithilien as masked and camouflaged resistance fighters to ambush troops on the move, which could equally be considered terrorism - as suggested by Kirill Yeskov's novel The Last Ringbearer (1999), a rewrite of The Return of the King from the point of view of the Orcs.

Tolkien in the Twenty-First Century by  (Page 274)

I read this line and turned to my wife with all the fury of a man who received a B+ in "The Fundamentals of International Law" in undergrad.

"Terrorism"? The Geneva Conventions, to which Gondor is a signatory party, clearly state a lawful combatant is i) commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates, ii) has a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance, iii) carries arms openly, and iv) conducts operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war. Mordor is going to claim terrorism because Captain Faramir, leader of a military unit with a clear chain of command, each of whom bears the sigil of the tree of Gondor, hid in some bushes before they attacked an occupying force?

Any credible judge would laugh that claim straight out of court. Absurd.

Nick Groom: Tolkien in the Twenty-First Century (2023, Pegasus Books) 4 stars

What is it about Middle-Earth and its inhabitants that has captured the imagination of millions …

I appreciate how this book catalogues the effort of writing The Lord of the Rings. The constant revisions - Frodo was originally Bingo, Bilbo's son! Aragorn was once a Hobbit named Trotter with wooden shoes! - reveal how much the work was produced by feeling a story out and constantly revising it. Combined with the extraordinary overcommitment of Tolkien to his job as an academic, his own health and his wife's, and the numerous publications he either authored or edited, I am flabbergasted LotR was ever finished. There was just so much to do, and no efficient way to do it. I've tried much more modest writing projects and ended up curled into a little ball.

Deb Chachra: How Infrastructure Works (2023, Penguin Publishing Group) 5 stars

A new way of seeing the essential systems hidden inside our walls, under our streets, …

My friend Helen Macdonald's writing about the natural environment has influenced how I think about infrastructural systems. A forest is home to trees, plants, fungi, and lichen, as well as to birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, small and large mammals, and more, each of which is in an ongoing ecological relationship with the others. Every forest is a hyperobject, an enormously complex environment that's shaped not just by its location, landscape, and climate but also by the history of humans in that place. If you go on a walk in the woods, what you see depends on the season and the particular path you take through it. More than anything, though, what you see in the woods depends on the eyes that you are seeing it through. A birder, a hunter, an entomologist, a soil ecologist, a real estate developer, and an artist will all see different things. Helen introduced me to Richard Mabey's idea that the natural world can only be understood and appreciated as a re- sult of careful, knowledgeable attention. Without the ability to describe the differences with detail and specificity, a meadow of native grasses and the pesticide-soaked monoculture of a golf course that replaces it are effectively indistinguishable.

How Infrastructure Works by  (Page 15)

Helen Czerski: Blue Machine (2023, Norton & Company, Incorporated, W. W., W. W. Norton & Company) 5 stars

A scientist’s exploration of the "ocean engine"—the physics behind the ocean’s systems—and why it matters. …

This was a beautiful book. It describes the ocean as a collection of systems. I appreciate the author's humanistic style and interest in capturing the beauty of the Blue Machine. I finished the book at a point where I needed reminding of the importance of changing systems, not individual behaviors. Worth the read.

avatar for DerekCaelin Derek Caelin boosted