Acts of Violence Have Reached Duke University

This is personal. I have been reading the news with growing concern for the last few days. A year ago I spent some wonderful weeks in Durham and at Duke University, and some of my friends still live there. Unfortunately, it is only rarely that we can talk to each other, but I check Duke Today and the Herald Sun of Durham on a daily basis to follow up the latest events in the Duke community.

On Friday, I received an e-mail from the International House (or iHouse) of Duke calling the attention of the international students, scholars and spouses to stay away from Durham downtown. Hundreds are reported to have descended on downtown Durham on Friday to oppose a rumored KKK march. Even though the white supremacists didn’t show up, protesters refused to go home and the whole event ended up in a tense standoff with police wearing helmets and holding batons.

This morning Duke Today publish Duke president Vincent E. Price’s letter sent to the campus community yesterday in which the president announces his decision of removing Gen. Robert E. Lee’s statue that had stood at Duke Chapel for some 85 years.

As President Price explained, “I took this course of action to protect Duke Chapel, to ensure the vital safety of students and community members who worship there, and above all to express the deep and abiding values of our university,”

Even the Washington Post reported this decision of his:

“Duke University removed a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee early Saturday after it was vandalized amid a national debate about monuments to the Confederacy.”

Durham has been one of the focal points of the ongoing debate over Confederate statues after protesters knocked down a bronze statue of a Confederate soldier in front of a government building downtown on Monday. Eight people are charged with rioting and damaging property. Days later, hundreds marched through Durham in a mainly peaceful demonstration against racism before an impromptu rally at the stone pedestal where the statue stood.

I hope everyone is fine. Be careful.

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A Methodologist on a Summer Holiday

It is summertime, so I try to spend my days in a fine mix of working and being on holiday. As sport meaning running has been an essential part of my life for decades, it is quite easy for me to take some time off work on a daily basis. I live in a wonderful area, with mountains rising in the distance… and pretty near as well. Actually, it takes me not more than 10 minutes to get to the hills. On foot! So this is a nice place to live. Cycling, my all-time love, is back again, so after two years of sole running, I am becoming an ironman again. I try to spend as much time on my bike as possible, making even 5-6 hour-long circles at a considerable pace. Training is training and I love pushing myself. On my rest days I can devote myself to work and preparing for the INEM 2017 conference. The outline of my lecture is ready, it is about an interpretation of F53 and the Lucasian island models on an Epistemic Structural Realist basis.

Occasionally I head to the hills, just for the sake of an easy walk and recovery. A severe natural disaster hit the mountains in April. Torrential rain, extremely strong wind and cold. Due to the cold weather the rain got frozen on the leaves very quickly, so the trees needed to bear heavy weights…. under such circumstances it was really easy for the strong wind to uproot an enormous number of trees. Approximately 5-10% of the trees are reported to have been hit by the storm. Small mountain villages were cut off and it took the rescue teams days to get there, to connect these small communities back to life. Above the altitude of 500 m, spring needed to come back again, since due to the late frost all the leaves were frozen… brown and golden leaves were falling. As if Autumn had come back again. As the roads and hiking routes were cloased for weeks, I could re-enter my mountains just now. Here are some pictures what I have found there. Sometimes it was really sad to see such ruined landscapes…