Wednesday, March 30, 2011

La Mer

This is the sea, as I have understood it, sailing on it, swimming in it, and diving beneath its surface. The essence is dynamism, not fixity except in the larger scales of tidal motion;

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Stars Appear

Funny that when the stars come out, we go in, and sleep, and dream...sometimes of the stars or of impossible distances, or of near-infinite energies, or of other infinitudes. Then, as the stars are winking out, we wake and step outside, the lit sky blocking our view and thoughts of a larger universe.

I recently read an interview with an engineer who worked on the Channel Tunnel; 'We just didn't know what we were doing,' he admitted, 'I mean, yes, we were engineers, but we were making it up as we went. We had to plan well, but you had to have a sense of humor and just get on with it.' This was a British engineer and it seems to me that all of British history is encapsulated in that faintly offhand--but not entirely cavalier--remark.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


"We are swimming in solutions" to myriad technical questions and objectives; and evolution has 3.8 billion years of field testing, generating myriad solutions. Great talk by Janine Benuys, author of the foundational text 'Biomimicry';

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Must We Breathe?

Do people have to inhale with the lungs to get oxygen to the tissues? No. It has been proposed more than once that, for various reasons, oxygen could be directly entered into the bloodstream (which is where it goes, anyway, through alveoli in the lung tissues) by various methods. Interesting concept.

Frog larvae (tadpoles) are herbivores that eat algae with small teeth while the adult frog eats invertebrates with a specialized tongue; the tadpole locomotes in the horizontal plane by undulating a tail while the adult includes a vertical dimension of movement by activating muscles fixed to a rigid skeleton; the tadpole's main sense is olfaction whereas the adult frog's is vision...and other transformations...What can we learn about these phase-shifts that can feed wisdom? More than we can imagine, I imagine.

When polar explorer Borge Ousland first reported swimming across gaps between frozen sea ice in the Arctic--taking his example from the polar bear--everyone said he was mad; today, nobody goes up there without an immersion suit because swimming across is infinitely better than trying to paddle across atop an unstable sled full of equipment. In the 1830's one scientist toyed with the 'crazy' idea of using gravitational assist to fling spacecraft through space; today the Galileo probe is visiting the moons of Jupiter coutesy of half a dozen gravity assist maneuvers, allowing it to carry 60 times less fuel than if it did not use gravity assist.

'Crazy' ideas must be given room to breathe!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Extraterrestrial Life?

I won't be able to print, read, and contemplate this for another couple of weeks...but what a thing it will be to sit in the morning at the cafe and devour the evidence: NASA Scientist Claims Evidence for Extraterrestrial Life.

I will have to wear a sign around my neck while reading: 'Do Not Disturb' !