Emeritus Faculty Association news November - December 2010

Next Meeting:
Friday December 3rd, usual time 10.30 am., - but note the different location for this meeting, 201 Wang Center.
The speaker will be Chris Gobler to speak on "The impacts of climate change on ocean plankton communities: Looking beyond global warming".
Abstract: The combustion of fossil fuels during the past two centuries has promoted increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperatures, trends which are projected to continue in the current century. Global temperatures are expected to increase 2 to 5 degrees C this century while atmospheric CO2 concentrations will increase 3% per year and may reach 800ppm by the end of this century. Ocean chemistry will be further altered by this rising CO2 as levels of both pH and carbonate ions will decline. These simultaneous increases in temperature and CO2 levels and decreases in pH and carbonate may have transformative effects on ocean life. This presentation will present research focused on the manner in which temperature, CO2 levels and pH may collectively shape future ocean plankton communities and will present evidence that the changes which have occurred in these parameters during that past two centuries have already impacted calcifying animals in the ocean.
Bio: Chris Gobler obtained his PhD at Stony Brook in 1999. He is now Associate Profess of Marine Sciences as Stony brook and Director of Academic Programs at the Southampton campus. He has some 68 academic papers and has contributed to two books.

Last Meeting:
The speaker was Nicholas Rzshevsky, Chair and Professor of Russian. For a bio of Prof Rzhevsky see last month's newsletter. His talk, entitled "Contemporary Russian Theater", was based upon his latest book, The Modern Russian Theater: A Literal and Cultural History .
Nicholas related how originally he specialized in Russian literature and did not take the theater as seriously. This was changed on his first Fullbright to Moscow at which time he started a collaboration with the director Yuri Liubinov and acquired active theater experience himself. He came to see that drama had a role no less important than the written word and was moved to embark on the above book, which follows Russian theater from the beginning of the 20 century through to the present time.
The actor and director Constantin Stanislavsky started a new approach in the adaptation of literature to the stage with his 1910 production of the Brothers Karamazov at the Moscow Arts Theater. This became a smash hit even though the performance took two nights to complete. It originated a revolution of sorts which spread to the so called method acting in the West. Unfortunately it was soon followed by another revolution, and although prominent figures such as actor and director Meyerhold and poet and playwright Mayakovsky were originally enthusiastic, they were eventually to become disillusioned and lose their lives over its subsequent course. One way for the theater to distract the censors was to go back to the classics such as Checkov, Dostoyevsky, Gogol, and Tolstoy, (although Dostoyevsky became risky because of his psychological approach). Adaptation of literature to the stage had a mixed reputation elsewhere, but the Russian stagecraft was able to give it new meaning and relevance to contemporary issues. The talk described a number of such productions (although to appreciate these more fully you probably have to get the book from the library! - SB library ref: PN 2724.R97 2009). In this respect the live theater was less easily controlled by the censors than film, where some works of Eisenstein were banned or destroyed.
After the death of Stalin, the Russian theater enjoyed a gradual revival of sorts. One production used a metaphor for the delicate nature of the enterprise, by employing a stage so steep that actors had difficulty maintaining their balance.

in Memoriam:
Mercifully our ranks are un-depleted this month.

Election News:
News: Representative banished from chamber for lying about his opponent in the election! ! !
Not News: This happened in another country, not here. See: http://http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/nov/05/phil-woolas-ejected-parliament-election
Not Really News: The role of "tea party" adherents leading up to the recent election has been portrayed as something new. Yet similar viewpoints have without doubt been common in declining empires throughout the millennia. For example, this from 1892 :

"When Britain really ruled the waves in good Queen Bess's time,
the House of Peers made no pretense, to intellectual eminence,
or scholarship sublime.
Yet Britain won her proudest bays,
in good Queen Bess's glorious days.

When Wellington thrashed Bonaparte, as every child can tell,
the House of Peers, throughout the war, did nothing in particular,
and did it very well.
Yet Britain set the world ablaze,
in good King George's glorious days.

So if the House of Peers withholds its legislative hand.
And noble statesmen do not itch, to interfere in matters which,
they do not understand.
Then bright will shine Great Britain's rays,
as in King George's glorious days."
(Earl of Mountararat)