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An Embarrassment of Riches

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February 20th, 2012

10:17 pm - Steve the Geocentrist
So, I wrote a thing. I've been meaning to write a short piece about what it's like, as a scientist and skeptic, to try to reason with creationists. I also wanted to illustrate the shifting boundaries of reasonable vs. unreasonable beliefs. The more we learn about the world, the smaller the domain of superstition becomes. What we take for granted today - the sun is a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace - mystified and bewildered our ancestors for countless millennia. That the Earth is a sphere, hurtling through space around a star that is, itself, hurtling through space around a galaxy that is, itself hurtling through space... but I digress.

My hope is that creationists, when reading this piece, might find their perceptions shifted, just slightly. They might find themselves sympathizing with Steve's friends, and applying just the tiniest bit of doubt to their own dearly-held beliefs. I won't hold my breath.

This was a fun piece to write, regardless. It's nice to be writing again.

Steve the GeocentristCollapse )

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October 16th, 2010

10:03 pm
Acted sensibly this year and bought my plane tickets way in advance. I'll be in the New England area from December 24th (5:00 pm) through January 3rd (6:00 am). I intend to:

- frolic in the snow
- wear a winter coat
- go snowboarding in Vermont/New Hampshire
- travel to Long Island for a couple days
- show off Zina to all my friends and family, as she's coming along this year
- eat a whole Christmas tree
- celebrate my birthday

You are cordially invited to join me on these and many other activities.

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October 14th, 2010

07:54 pm
I figured out which graduate school programs I am applying to for the Fall of 2011.

Arizona State University
School of Sustainability (SoS)
Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology (HSD)

UC Berkeley
Energy and Resources Group (ERG)
Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM)

University of Delaware
Center for Energy and Environmental Policy (CEEP)
- Energy Sustainability (concentration)

Stanford University
Environmental Earth System Science (EESS)

University of Colorado at Boulder
Environmental Studies

University of California Santa Cruz
Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS)

Deadlines start to hit at December 15. I have a lot of work to do.

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October 11th, 2010

04:56 pm
Another awesome thing that happened recently: we bought a metric shit-ton of peaches. (Note: one metric shit-ton is equivalent to 44 pounds in this example.) Here's what we made:

In front, we have seven (7) quart bags full of frozen peaches in syrup. The pyramid on the right is twelve (12) quart-sized jars of canned peaches in syrup and spices. Most exciting of all, the smaller pyramid on the left is three and a half (3.5) half-gallon jars of spiced peaches in brandy.

Our next project is to figure out what to do with nearly two gallons of boozy peaches.

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October 6th, 2010

07:27 pm
I almost found a new place to live. It was a close thing - the apartments are too small, and there is no storage space, but other than that, it's practically the Perfect Apartment. The place was renovated by a local landscape architect, Bill Tonnesen, and I really dig his style. His approach is to sandblast away exterior paint and stucco finishes (he refers to them as "makeup for houses") and instead lets the materials speak for themselves. The textures and colors of his properties stand out against their beige and teal neighbors. His houses are predominantly rich browns of maple and ash siding, dark gray cinderblocks, aluminum roofing, contrasted with the lighter cement finish of walkways and terraces, along with a preponderance of native plants.

Unfortunately for him, Bill has a really terrible sense of humor. When Zina called him to confirm a time to check out the apartment, his first words to her (in complete deadpan) were "Oh, I only make arrangements with the man of the house, but-" and then she hung up on him. Ten seconds later, Bill calls me to apologize for the inappropriate joke. The whole thing is pretty funny in retrospect, especially because Bill's business partner was in the same room as him at the time of the exchange and immediately gave him hell for losing a potential tenant because of his crappy sense of humor.

I'll follow up with Bill soon, tell him that we've decided to pass on the apartments he has available but that he should let us know if anything more spacious opens up. On Thursday, Zina's going to be meeting a "vegetarian and 50% rawfood/queer/gardener/student" who has a couple rooms available. We'll see what happens.

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September 15th, 2010

07:06 am
A few pictures from last weekend's WIPE ride.

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September 14th, 2010

06:59 am
The WIPE ride ended up being postponed for a grand total of one day, so we rode out on Saturday night and came back Sunday morning. I didn't take many pictures - it was too dark when we rode out for any decent action shots and the videos I took the following morning were accidentally shot in the wrong format, so they look pretty awful. We rode into the campsite around eleven o'clock at night and promptly feasted on fancy cheeses, wine, local beer, chocobaklava, guacamole, scalloped potatoes, chocolate pretzels, and many other delightful things.

Seven out of the eight cyclists on this trip had a Brooks saddle on their bike. That was pretty funny. I also wore my new cycling shoes for the entire sixty mile trip - my knees hurt, again, but I think that switching the arch supports in should fix the problem. I'm also going to grab more arch supports for my other shoes, and a few more pairs of bike socks. It's going to be an expensive month.

A few select photographs forthcoming - check back in a day or two. It's time to get ready for work.
Current Mood: busy

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September 10th, 2010

07:54 pm
Never mind, the ride is postponed. Instead I bought a bunch of shiny cycling and camping gear! I bought my first pair of cycling shoes and pedals, a pedal wrench, a spoke key, some socks, and a foam mattress pad. This has been my first major purchase in a long time, but I think I'll get a lot of mileage out of everything I picked up today.

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03:37 pm
I'm off on a WIPE ride (Weekend Intense Picnicking Excursion) to McDowell Mountain State Park. Shall return with photographs and a sore bottom, probably.

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August 5th, 2010

08:46 pm
I'm coming home for a quick visit. Should be in the NYC area August 15th and 16th, and Boston-ish the 17th through the 23rd.

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