"The Industrial revolution was proving that not all man-made advances were perfect and many could be awful. (...) Nature by contrast seemed pure and bewitching. The great travelers turned away from civilizations and went to explore the wild world. Fascination with what man could create gave way to the question of how man was created and what if anything distinguished humankind from the rest of the natural world.
The Victorians were tireless name-givers and classifiers, and they set out to categorize the living diversity they were finding on other continents. At the center of this enterprise was the locating, indentifying, and classifying of orchids, the greatest of all plant families. As modern living became chaotic and bewildering, the Victorians looked for order in the universe, an outline that could organize their knowledge of every living thing and maybe at the same time rationalize the meaning of existence."
from The Orchid Thief : A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean
I saw Master And Commander: The Far Side of the World
last night and loved it. Didn't expect to. But the movie is MUCH more than what the previews lead to believe. It's reconstruction of the period, including the depiction of Brazil, historically correct, is amazing. But, just for the part filmed at the Galapagos
it's worth more than $10.25 (yep, the cost of movies here in NYC)