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Whales mesmerize us not only because they’re big, smart, and playful, but also, as cetacean biologist Roger Payne writes in Among Whales, because they resist modernity. We struggle to keep pace with a light-speed world. Whales couldn’t care less: No matter what happens around them, they just keep swimming and eating at their own unhurried, unhurriable pace. Payne, a kind of new-age incarnation of Melville’s sub-sub-librarian, lectures on the lords of the sea at 6 p.m. at the Museum of American History’s Carmichael Auditorium, 14th & Constitution Ave. NW. $13. For reservations call (202) 357-3030. (David Plotz)