Monday, September 25, 2006

things that go scribble in the night

My mind meanders manic - especially during the night. So I keep a pencil and little pad of paper within reach to jot down my big ideas and little dreams.

This morning I woke up to this:

Any idea what the heck this says?

Sunday, September 24, 2006


This week’s wanderings landed me at the world famous Newton Free Library where I had the chance to meet noted author and Professor emeritus of astronomy and physics, Chet Raymo.

T’was a bit more than chance though.

1. I recently finished reading a book called Coming of age in the Milky Way by Timothy Ferris. It’s an eloquent 1988 account of how our species came to discover its place in the universe.

2. Last week I met the founder-director of the Center for Naturalism in Boston. After sharing my philosophy and interests with him, he suggested a website and blog called Science Musings.

3. On the blog, one passage really stood out… It was a Timothy Ferris quote that read:

"Our ignorance, of course, has always been with us, and always will be. What is new is our awareness of it, our awakening to its fathomless dimensions, and it is this, more than anything else, that marks our coming of age as a species."

This just happens to be one of the quotes I had already circled for future reference of my own.

4. I also notice somewhere else on the blog that Professor Raymo made reference to the “gall wasps.” This is significant because for the past few weeks I’ve been trying to hatch wasp larvae from galls for an upcoming blog entry of my own.

5. And lastly, I noticed he happened to be giving a talk at the Newton Free Library. So just had to go and check it out.

I’m currently reading Chet Raymo’s Walking Zero. It’s an excellent stroll through cosmic evolution.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Ask and ye shall receive...

...well sort of.

In a previous post I "lamented" the wholesale spending of a gazillion billion on AIDS research. Well it appears that Bill Clinton and Richard Branson have been reading my blog.

In reality, Branson has pledged $3 billion in estimated profits from the Virgin Transportation Group toward environmental causes via Bill Clintons "Global Initiative" (A bit ironic but still good news).

No sooner did I learn about this that I overheard MSNBC's Tucker Carlson criticize the deal by saying something like "that money would be better spent on cancer and AIDS research" he went on to justify it by reasoning that Global Warming is a problem that probably can't be solved...Probably cant be solved! Get with the program TC - how about some long term vision. If global warming isn't solved, and the planet becomes uninhabitable, then certainly cancer and AIDS are no longer a problem. Doh! Am I the only one that thinks like this?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A thick pitching lip

As Hurricane Florence exits the scene, I'm feeling sore...and lucky. Over the last few days she had churned her way up through the N. Atlantic, delivering some epic surf to the coast of Maine.
It's been a while since we've seen it this big - and I mean BIG - so most of us were a little rusty. As I drove up the coast on 1A, the place was a zoo. All the usual spots were crowded with all sorts of surfers so I kept looking. I found a new spot and paddled out to where there were just a few dudes - mostly on longboards. I can't tell you where this place is, but I can tell you it was going off! The guys out there were super friendly and we all felt encouraged by the hootin and hollerin.

But as the tide dropped, the wave got steeper, hollower, rockier, bigger, and meaner. It transformed from a friendly wall of fun into one of those waves that suck up the water from in front of it, pitch out a thick lip, and explode onto an exposed pile of rocks.

It was a scene kind of like this but quite a bit bigger:
So to make a long story short, I dropped in a little late on what felt like a monster. I probably should not have gone but with all the hootin and hollerin I felt invincible.

That's when I got reacquainted with the awesome and brutal power of the ocean.

I remember seeing seaweed covered rocks, free-falling, barely making a bottom turn, and hearing this hollow roar behind me. Next thing I knew, I was skipping effortlessly, gracefully down the face of the wave - on my back. I had gotten lipped in the face, hard and high. I then got swept back up the face and sucked over the falls. It was curtain-call extraordinaire. The impact in the pit sent me ragdolling along the bottom. The roar was replaced by a strange and scary sound I had never heard before. It sounded like a rock-slide except deeper and...thunkier, like a car crash. With my chest firmly pinned to a big rock, I realized I was getting hit by boulders all swirling around me. This was the sound I was hearing. I opened my eyes for a second - bad idea - then hunkered down, protected my face, and hoped for a minimal pummel.

It's probably a good thing I was pinned against the rock. If not I would have been swept along, helplessly bouncing around with the rocks until one hit me in the head. I just conserved my breath and tried to stay calm until the violence subsided. My leash broke and I eventually washed ashore disrespected, exhausted, and completely humbled. It was awesome.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The plan

Of all the stories ever told, it is my belief that the most interesting, most inspiring, and most personal, is the one told by science. It also happens to be the one that equips humanity to cope with circumstance, act with compassion, and reach full potential. I believe a life without this story is barely lived, because one just can’t appreciate what is at stake or even what is missed.

I think Brian Swimme tunes in pretty well here:

So I enrolled in a graduate program called “Science and the Public.” Over the next two years I will work to refine and communicate the story told by science… wish me luck.