I started this Photos in InfoSpace thread many moons ago, but in typical fashion it seemed to drop off after a few posts. That dropped thread has always bothered me (it almost made it to my blogmares post) and since coming to the Island I have gotten back into the photo-opps, so...I think I'll try this one again.
One big reason for coming to PEI was the opportunity to get back to the ocean and beach-combing - a great way to unwind and remind oneself that there is more to life than work. On a recent trip to Brackley Beach I discovered a fascinating phenomenon - what I call Winter Sentinels. The image above is one example. The Sentinels are created when the sand on the beach freezes (like just about everything else in Canada in winter) but the sea-breezes don't: they just keep scouring the sand and all else in the area. In this case the wind blows the sand from beneath rocks laying on the surface, sculpting a pillar of sand that can be quite resilient. I had a grand old time, laying on the beach with my camera, trying to catch these sentinels in just the right angle. It's a good thing that nobody else was on the beach that day (it was -15 Celsius), or they would have called 911 immediately. Needless to say it was worth braving the cold to marvel at these miniature sculptures - especially looking down the beach and seeing dozens of them with trailing sand "tails" pointing out the wind's path. This one reminded me of the Enterprise - what a nerd!
In typical nerd fashion I couldn't help but associate the image with Cyberspace (an occupational hazard - or maybe I'm just weird). In this case it coincided with the continuing discussion of Wikipedia and whether it a good authoritative resource or not. The recent ban at Middlebury College in the U.S. had me thinking about it again - what a dumb move and lost teaching moment: let's tell them how bad it is and prevent them from using it, rather than encourage them to understand it. Jeesh...when did university stop being about learning? In this context my 1st image was of the rock on the pillar as Wikipedia, soon to fall. But then I realized a much better analogy is the traditional model of publishing as the rock and the pillar as Wikipedia. The rock will eventually tumble and even disintegrate entirely - that is after all how the famous red sand beaches of PEI are formed. No more rock. The pillar will suspend the rock for a little while, then will gradually erode and lend it's mass to the sand on the beach. Like Wikipedia, composed of the effort of countless thousands of editors, the pillar will not disappear, but will continue to morph and contribute to the surrounding landscape. But I guess that constant change typified by Wikipedia is what bothers some who feel, as the folks at Middlebury seem to, that knowledge is a rock frozen in time, rather than something that evolves. I like that image - with the contribution of many thousand grains of sand you can create just about anything your imagination can conjure - with a rock you have, well...a rock :-)