The incrementalist’s guide to owning the world

In property law, there is a distinction drawn between two processes which can redraw a shoreline or riverbank and, consequently, redraw the geographic lines separating two pieces of property, or one political jurisdiction from another. The two processes are accretion … Continue reading

Cold as forever

It’s well-documented that time is like a river. But rivers freeze this time of year. Penumbras of ice appear at first around the waterlines of rocks, and the heavy water becomes more and more stubborn, turning each bend with less … Continue reading

The hurricane’s eye and the centeredness of being

A cyclone of wind and rain is hurtling past the Bahamas towards Florida. This convergence of atmospheric fluids has not only a meteorological identity but even a personal name: Hurricane Irma. It therefore has the quality of selfhood, a quality … Continue reading

In search of the geographic discount factor

Economists have a handy tool known as the discount function, which attempts to capture the preference of individuals to have something now rather than something later. The weight which an individual places on present utility compared to future utility is … Continue reading

Complexity, simplicity, and cultural evolution

Recently I’ve been reading through review literature in geography and anthropology on human adaptation to the environment, and on how these disciplines have in the twentieth century absorbed an ecological view of sociocultural patterns. I found that, by and large, … Continue reading