Natural History/ History of Botany/ History of Science:
Yesterday I looked at the German history of Botany site – I’m still chewing on his terse, simplistic [dismissive?] treatment of the Middle Ages:
5 Plant Zones
Had coffee with Carolyn Dodson yesterday. (Mountain Wildflowers of the Southern Rockies: Revealing Their Natural History. Carolyn Dodson and Willian W. Dunmire. University of New Mexico Press. November 2007.) She brought me the western USA map of plant provinces, apropos of an earlier conversation we had about how fabulous it is to be a botanist in this area–at a point where 5 provinces meet. [Dot laughs: 6 Flags Over Georgia. Places where geopolitical boundaries intersect. Northwest Georgia. I said, I think there is a second place where that also happens. ]
Night before last, I read the introductory chapter in Sandra Knapp’s sprawling, delectable coffee table book: Plant Discoveries. Go back — re-read & take some notes. Have been carrying around E. O. Wilson’s In Search of Nature in hopes of taking notes on Sharks and Ants.
Finish reading the reams of material on Barn Swallows from the Cornell site. (How long do they live? Do parents improve & hone their skills over a couple of years? Do they come back to the same nest, or to the same general area?)
Science Went into Decline
Like the intellectual equivalent of a re-encroaching ice age. Is that really possible? Or did the prevalence of oral culture mean we’ve just lost track of what they knew?
Gloria: When I said I was frustrated with the short treatment of the “Dark Ages” by the German history of Botany site, said… so what was the tipping point from “The Dark Ages” to the Renaissance? This vexed me, since I took so much European history in college (1978, 78, 80…) I fumbled around: increasing trade, Italy, the rise of the city state [the rise of the middle class, the Crusades, the Arabs & Constantinople, the zero, movable type, the Protestant Reformation ?!] We got out James Burke’s Connections. And read about water clocks, monks, the midnight bells and sundials not working so well in cloudy northern Europe. But while that was all great stuff, it didn’t answer the question. Google: Richard Hooker’s Backgrounds to the Italian Renaissance.
Also his page on Humanism. Was quite interested in his NeoPlatonism, but the printer died so I didn’t get that one.