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"One of the highest compliments that can be paid a piece of literature is to call it timeless. The story of what animals do is necessarily timeless. The natural histories that weren’t good have disappeared, continually replaced by classics. Every bit of animal behavior is rich with history and possibility."

As far as I know, biologists need not write with eloquence. But when they do, it is fascinating. Thanks for not just telling us of your experiences, but for taking us there.

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Thank you for the lovely compliment.

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Gorgeous writing, Heather, poetical yet also somehow precise.

It’s very interesting to me that your and Bret’s ability to find “pattern amid chaos” is what has catapulted you into your newfound career, and that your sense at the time that these inquiries would not lead to the curing of diseases, you were mistaken. You are both in the process, now, of finding the cures for the diseases wreaking havoc in our cultural, political and ideological domains, along with many other deep seers who are also expert at creating stories -while also actively trying to falsify them- in order to come to some real approximation of truth. It might seem baffling at times, but you two were “made” for this adventure… thank you for taking it on

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"Captivated by great literature all of my life, I was frustrated, in college, to find the opinions of literary theorists dictating which stories were valid, and which were not."

I, too, have been a voracious reader my entire life, and was extremely fortunate to have an absolutely solid experience during my undergrad degree in English lit and creative writing. My experience shifted, though, once I entered my graduate courses in publishing a year later, and mirrors what you described - we were lectured in seminars on what makes a book worthy of being published, which routinely centered on considerations of race, sex, gender identity, sexuality, the author conveying the "correct" politics, etc. In the case of fiction, we were explicitly told that special "care" should always be given towards how the characters' identities are portrayed, and that sensitivity readers should be involved in the editorial process in the case that POC characters, LGBT characters, etc were featured to ensure that these characters were positively represented.

Needless to say, I abandoned my dream of working in book editing because I do not subscribe to such artless, regressive practices.

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Agreed. This “new” approach is regressive and condescending, and could be a significant portion of what causes the Western culture to go extinct…

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Robert Louis Stevenson was not considered literature for a long time because his books were so popular. I would challenge anyone to read Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and not consider it literature even knowing how it turns out which removes the surprise.

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I just bought the hardcopy for summer reading. Really looking forward to reading outside again!

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I very much regret not having any experience in exotic wildernesses. I have always felt more at home among the trees and critters than in any building. An agoraphile rather than a claustrophobe. I enjoyed The Hunter-gatherer's Guide so much that I will look for "Antipodes" even if it is not available on Kindle. I'm not too cheap to buy a hard copy, it is just that immediate gratification is hardly quick enough!

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Apr 3·edited Apr 3

Mention of ocean currents piqued my interest. Britannica actually has a concise explanation and map for the Mozambique Current and the Agulhas Current. The former at the top, then scroll down for the latter. The Agulhas Current has a top speed of 5.8 MPH off the coast of South Africa!

https://www.britannica.com/place/Mozambique-Current

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