The Intersection

Thoughts from Kansas

i-0d062edfc992e3ae3fe66c6cfce48169-KSMap-doton-Hays.pngSo: As a result of a dialogue sparked by Josh Rosenau, I now find myself in tiny Hays, Kansas, pop. 20,000, where I’m here to give a talk today at Fort Hays State University. Other than, like, Kansas City, I have never been in Kansas before that I can remember. I flew here in a turboprop. And it’s about time: All too often my travels, especially for talks, have been essentially bi-coastal. There’s a big country in the middle, though, and quite a lot that I’ve missed–including some great people, like the folks from Hays, who I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with a bit already.

So today, I start making up for my previous geographical biases in travel. Up next: Nebraska….I hope.


  1. #1 Jeffrey Beall
    October 15, 2007

    Don’t forget that you were in Denver not too long ago.

  2. #2 CraigB
    October 15, 2007

    Kansas City – the largish town – is in Missouri. Kansas City KS is much smaller and probably not where you were, and not where the Stowers Institute is, where I believe you gave a talk not long ago.

    There’s a lot to be unhappy about with being in Missouri, but we comfort ourselves that “at least it’s not Kansas”!

  3. #3 Brian
    October 16, 2007

    Chris…thanks for visiting us at Fort Hays State, it was a very engaging talk. Good luck in your travels.

  4. #4 Alan Kellogg
    October 16, 2007

    20,000 is tiny? Literature got started in cities of 20,0000, astronomy got started in cities of 20,0000, law got started in cities of 20,000. Civilization got started in cities of 20,0000. Tiny? 20,000 isn’t tiny, it’s 20 million that’s morbidly obese.

  5. #5 Cheryl Shepherd-Adams
    October 16, 2007

    Chris, “we’re so glad you visited us” is an understatement. What an treat for the folks in this area! So far, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews.

    Here’s hoping you and your luggage arrive back home at the same time . . .

    All the best,

  6. #6 Chris C. Mooney
    October 16, 2007

    I guess “tiny” was a weird word to use.

    Anyways, I had a “tiny” audience of nearly 200 last night–all Kansans wanting to learn more about hurricanes! Unbelievable. Thanks Cheryl for being a great host.

  7. #7 Kim Perez
    October 16, 2007

    To provide a bit more on the context of my rather botched question last evening regarding the Mars “dying planet” theory, I would point you to the following links:

    1. a book by Robery Markley on the “Dying Planet”

    2. a wonderful podcast by a colleague in Texas who in episode #1 discussed the reaction to the dying planet theory

    3. discussion of the manifestation of the fear that Mar is dying in popular culture (i.e. the martian invasions!!)

    It seems to me that the 19th reaction to the possibility of a nearby planet dying was markedly more prominent than our reaction to our home planet’s issues. I wonder if it doesn’t have something to do with the status of scientists in each century(more of a position of authority in the 19th century as science professionalized and a waning/questionable authority today due to the media coverage of the debates ongoing within the scientific community)? My reaction to the seeming lack of concern, however, may be due to my rather insular life in the middle of nowhere (you know, you’ve seen Hays!). I was encouraged by your enthusiasm and your assurance that this was not true. Thanks.

  8. #8 Goldstein
    October 17, 2007

    Oh, how wonderful the the great Chris Mooney, with a Bachelors Degree! came to Kansas!

    We are saved!

    Condescending prick.

  9. #9 Jenny Thayer-Wood
    October 17, 2007

    I think it was an about-face type of talk you gave in Hays, Kansas. It may have not been received by all open-mindedly (as per above comment), however, many of us appreciate varying viewpoints–especially from the norm of the area (squeaky wheels). After some Hays residents took it upon themselves to shoot down the windfarm proposal (due mostly, in my opinion, to ignorance), it does not surprise me at all that your views might be held in a controversial light by some rather than as serious food-for-thought. Thanks for “feeding” our brains, Chris Mooney. I hope you can visit us again sometime!

  10. #10 Cheryl Shepherd-Adams
    October 17, 2007

    Jenny, “Goldstein” wasn’t at any of Chris’ presentations on Monday. He’s just trolling. Again.

    And yes, we’re working toward getting more speakers of Chris’ caliber to visit us out here in the boonies!

  11. #11 Brian Bartels
    October 21, 2007


    Be thankful that the Ellis County Board decided not to put up a wind farm in the Hays area. Presently, no regulations exist to govern the establishment of wind farms and they are being set up very quickly to take advantage of this MAJOR oversight. Despite of what our Lieutenant Governor says, wind farms have a negative impact on the environment and biodiversity by posing a significant threat to migratory species of wildlife (bats and birds) as well as increasing habitat destruction and degradation on one of the most endangered ecosystems on Earth…prairie grasslands. Alternative sources of energy are necessary, but at what cost…? Currently, scientists are trying to figure out ways to limit the affects that wind farms have on wildlife species so that proper regulations might be written but that takes time…and wind farm companies are not waiting because they don’t have to. Wind farms are a “double-edged sword.”

    “Green” energy is essential…but we’ve got to look before we leap…I’d hate to crush a bat species or two…!

  12. #12 Steve Nordquist
    March 3, 2008

    Sorry to go on a tangent here, Bri, but:
    Who the hell cares about Regulations about windfarms? The last thing I want as an opportunist or energy company is to screw myself over on ‘information and consent’ reading new regs, or your citationless notes on what gets whacked by turbines. We are leaping.
    If you want to make policy, show the profit motive; if it’s tied up in a rare-species restaurant in the shadows of the turbines, it’s merely separable. You know the entry bar to being a naturalist; get out there and start directing bats and kestrels–tag me when it’s my watch.

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