William DampierThe May Harpers kicks off with a traditional anti-administration rant by Lewis Lapham. In case you weren't already concerned with Bush's record on the environment, get a load of this: in February, Lapham tells us, the Union of Concerned Scientists issued a report stating concerns that these days, if scientific research generates results that are at odds with the government, the government will censor or distort the data. Examples range from stonewalling honest conversations about climate change, lead poisoning and nuclear weapons, to demanding the CDC suggest "a link between abortion and breast cancer on the National Cancer Institute website despite objections from CDC staff."

Gothamist recommends cooling your rage by checking out page 29's "Blow, Winds, and Crack Your Cheeks," an excerpt from Columbia Anthropologist Michael Taussig's new book My Cocaine Museum, which for some reason immediately brings the oeuvre of Eduardo Galeano to mind. The snippet in Harpers remembers British pirate William Dampier's wind maps, and goes on to ponder possible origins of the universal human preoccupation with weather:

The cliché concerning the cliché of weather talk is that we talk about the weather as a way of avoiding talking about anything else, anything that would commit us to a point of view that might threaten the social bond for which weather talk is such a balm. The wild beyond, the weather, becomes hijacked as socializing grease for which grunts and groans might serve just as well. Hence the common observation that everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Weather talk is soft and sweet, acknowledging our alienation from nature no less than from one another, a relic of the superstition that to talk otherwise might rile it.

Taussig's excerpt also shares a page with a tiny article that answers the question, "Why don't we try to destroy tropical cyclones by nuking them?" Wow, great idea, Chuck!