Wandering Eye: Rising sea levels in Baltimore, Wayne Koestenbaum talks writing, and more

The Union of Concerned Scientists today released a new report, "Encroaching Tides: How Sea Level Rise and Tidal Flooding Threaten U.S. East and Gulf Coast Communities over the Next 30 Years," and the projections for Baltimore and Annapolis are sobering. The study looks at tidal-flooding scenarios in 2030 and 2045, by which time sea levels are expected to be nearly a foot higher in both cities. In Annapolis, where flooding events today average 50 each year, 368 are projected for 2045, by which time parts of the city "would essentially never be dry again" without significant investment in flood defenses. Baltimore is expected "to face more than a 10-fold increase in the number of tidal floods it sees each year," from today's average of 17 to 227 in 2045, so the city has created a "Flood Resistance Area" where "flood-ready design standards" can be applied to future development. (Van Smith)


Wayne Koestenbaum, one of the more important and fascinating art writers of our era, was at MICA last week and Kerr Houston, who teaches art criticism, among other things, at MICA wrote a reflection on Koestenbaum's talk as a series of 10 numbered theses, which work through criticism, art, and sex, and end on religion. The most interesting reflections come in a meditation on the use of voice in art criticism and writing in general to, in a fashion, create the self. Houston is himself an interesting writer and it's worthwhile to find him reflect on Kostenbaum's reflections on a career reflecting art into words. (Baynard Woods)


In 1971 a group of eight peace activists went to the FBI's office in Media, Pennsylvania, broke in, grabbed as many files as they could carry, and disappeared. The files revealed a vast domestic spying operation, illegal then as now, against left-wing activists. Stories in the Washington Post and New York Times led to congressional investigations and reform (though just how much reform we got is debatable). Last year the woman who broke the story in the Post wrote a book about seven of the conspirators. They had never again met each other, never breathed a word of their exploits, until then. But the eighth was missing. Now the world knows her name. It is Judi Feingold. She lived for a decade under another name. She was hurt when her friends broke their promise to take their secret to the grave. But now, in The Nation, she speaks. Listen up. "I was going to do the best I could to live the life I wanted to live, a life without surveillance," Feingold says. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

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