Understanding Dante’s Inferno

At the end of our journey in CC 102, all first year Core students walk with Dante down through the inferno, up to purgatorio, and finally end in paradiso. The Divine Comedy, written in the early 1300s, is master piece full of things too awful and too beautiful for the author to describe.

Though many Core students claim that these three books are some of their favorites from the Core, unless the reader is incredibly knowledgeable of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and Florentine politics in the time of Dante, it is easy to get lost in the endless references and subtleties each book contains. Thankfully, this interactive diagram of the inferno is here to help our readers!

In a Prezi-like style, this website breaks down levels of the inferno, the characters the reader meets in each section, and where they are referenced throughout the book. The link can be found here:https://www.alpacaprojects.com/inferno/en/

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HT: Boingboing: https://boingboing.net/2019/01/02/explore-dantes-inferno-as-a.html

Machiavelli, Man of the People

We’ve known our share of allegedly misunderstood literary figures (lookin’ at you, Nietzsche). But is Machiavelli one of them?

In The Prince, Machiavelli argues that leaders shouldn’t be objectively virtuous or truthful, but rather effective at preserving their reign. Hence a just end can excuse a leader’s horrendous acts, or “the ends justify the means.” But in this article, Sam Dresser claims that Machiavelli only appeals to powerful leaders in order to protect the people, since “Satisfying the desire of the people to be secure in their lives, families and property is and ought to be the end or purpose of government.”

Aw, Machiavelli, ya big softy! He was just looking out for the little guy all this time.

10 Recommended Reads on Anthropogenic Climate Change

1. How to Change Minds About Our Changing Climate by Seth B. Darling and Douglas L. Sisterson

This book addresses 15 common arguments against climate change and backs it up with some science, using illustrations and humor to bring a comprehensible case to supporting reform.

2. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

Elizabeth Kolbert takes a look at how humans have impacted the Earth in a way no other species has before, through an interdisciplinary lens that ties together the previous and impending mass extinctions and the role humans have to play.

3. Climate Change in Human History: Prehistory to the Presentby Benjamin Lieberman and Elizabeth Gordon

This work looks not only at the impact that humans have on the environment and climate, but how they in turn affect human societies, starting all the way back at early humans and moving towards present day.

4. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate by Naomi Klein

Connecting negative climate impacts with other ethical problems facing the human population, this book makes the case that while climate change is a human-caused problem, working to solve it will help fix both our political and economical systems.

5. Enviromedics: The Impact of Climate Change on Human Health by Jay Lemery and Paul Auerbach

Taking a medical perspective on the impact of climate change, Lemery and Auerbach inform the reader of the consequences of climate change on human health in an effort to stimulate change.

6. Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change by Elizabeth Kolbert

In another of her earlier works, Kolbert lays out current issues resulting from climate change, from tar sands to acidic rain, and frames it in a way that reminds us of the challenges that are currently affecting us today.

7. Climate Change and the Health of Nations: Famines, Fevers, and the Fate of Populations by Anthony J. McMichael

This book takes a historical lens to the issue of climate change, reviewing previous transformations in climate throughout time and how it has impacted human civilizations, all with the aim of teaching us howimportant our Earth is to us now.

8. A Global Warming Primer: Answering Your Questions About the Science, The Consequences, and The Solutions by Jeffery Bennett

A simple outlined look at what climate change is and what it is doing, framed in way that thoroughly breaks down all parts of the debate over climate change and the benefits of working to resolve it.

9. Lukewarming: The New Climate Science that Changes Everything by Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. Knappenberger

With a typically dichotomous population, a new group of people are entering the climate change conversation: lukewarmers. This book examines this new perspective on what climate change is and what our part we are believed to play, and how it reflects our actions to change current behaviors.

10. The Long Thaw by David Archer

Archer takes a straight-forward approach to the topic of climate change, presenting the harsh factsof what it is, how much of it is due to human impact, and what the long term reality is for our planet.


Opinion: Go Get That B

I dare you to get a B in this class.

That’s what Adam Grant is telling straight-A students. Pushing back against the “cult of perfectionism” cultivated around education, Grant claims that students who aim for perfect transcripts often avoid taking risks, miss opportunities for failure and growth, and neglect emotional and social growth.Advisors and parents warn them not to jeopardize their prospects for no reason- why struggle with Latin conjugations or the Twin Paradox if it’s unrelated to your major and will tank your GPA?

But grades cannot measure creativity, leadership, or emotional intelligence. We here at Core pride ourselves on the academic successes of our students, but we’re also proud of their creativity, humor, and the community they have built (and we certainly wouldn’t kick anyone out for getting a B in a class that tackles philosophy and physics all in one).Go forth, you risk-takers,and go get that B!

Festivities at the Core!

Decompress at this end-of-the-semester reception with cookie-decorating, card-making, arts-and-crafts and refreshments in abundance. Friday 12/14, 3-5 PM at 141 Carlton Street. Hosted by Word & Way; open to all Core students and alumni and their guests.

A New Scene in Bosch’s Earthly Delight

Monk Seal eel

Garden of Earthly Delights


Scientists are alarmed about an trend among endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals where the juvenile seals have taken to getting entire eels stuck in their noses. As strange as this may be,researchers have nothing to worry about. After all, Hieronymus Bosch understood the oddities of the natural world completely. Why else would he fill his 1510 masterpiece The Garden of Earthly Delights with anthropomorphic birds eating humans, a pig in a nun’s habit, or a fish using his opposable thumbs to read a book? Looks like this little seal is just trying to return to the biologicalparadise he once knew.

On The Matrix…

…and Plato’s allegory of the cave.

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Here we see Professor Roochnik introducing Allen Speight’s lecture on Plato’s Republic– including, among other things, a comparison of The Allegory of the Cave to the film The Matrix. And who says core texts aren’t relevant?

Don Quixote is the only book you have to read.

No seriously, the book has been around for hundreds of years and is still relevant today. A large chunk of our Western entertainment is based off of Don Quixote, especially its humor. Obsessed with chivalrous ideals, Don Quixote wrestles with the idea of chivalry, nobility, and happiness. Don Quixote also pokes fun at the romance that the time period obsessed over. In the different realitiesportrayed in the novel, the reader “sees both sides of each situation they find themselves in romantic versus grounded.” Everything a reader needs in life is therefore included in ‘Don Quixote.’


Say Goodbye to the Big K

Or Le Grande K, if you will.

For years the kilogram was defined by the weight of a metal cylinder kept under the strictest lock and key in Versailles, France. That little cylinder is affectionately called ‘Le Grande K’. However, despite the cylinder’s vacuum sealed climate control storage and the six clones kept in other parts of the world, the weight of this metal cylinder always varied ever so slightly, to the dismay of the scientists. This meant the kilogram measurement itself, one of the base SI units, was not entirely dependable. In fact, before recently, all other SI units are based on fundamental constants of nature, which means they are unchanging. But now, as of Friday, 11/16/2018, the Conference of Weights and Measures met in Versailles to agree, the kilogram will not be defined by the Big K any more.

After years of research and work, scientists have agreed base the kilogram on a fixed Planck’s constant, rather than basing Planck’s Constant on the kilogram. The kilogram now joins the other SI units as independent of any real world object.

As Confucius would say, “If I was made governor, the first thing I would do is rectify names.” Now we have rectified the kilogram and there is no more uncertainty in all our scientific modes of measurements.

Farewell Big K, you’ve served us well.

P.S. If you’re wondering what the pound is based on; fundamentally, it’s a ratio of the kilogram. So in one way we do use the metric system!

Color in Ancient Sculpture

To complement our current study of the Parthenon and trips to the MFA, here are a few videos on the coloring of ancient sculptures. For more information on this topic, visit the Tracking Color: Ploychromy of the ancient world website here.