‘What good is a newborn baby?’ asked Benjamin Franklin in 1783 when people questioned his enthusiasm for the recent invention of hot air ballooning. His predictions that the balloons would become significant for transport was unusually wrong. 250 years later, Loon is a balloon system in the news for delivering the internet in Kenya and elsewhere. Balloons are helping transport information.[Read more…] about Uncomfortable Thoughts
To 180 and Beyond
I don’t know that I’ve ever had a truly original thought. That said, this is consecutive journal post number 180. That’s six months of nothing new every day. If journaling was darts …
Caveat emptor: my daily musings may be incomplete and incorrect.
Today’s photo was taken across Dublin Bay through haze this day three years ago. The digital haze clearance and clarity adjustment has introduced an unnatural light effect that is curiously attractive. I had been introduced to the MTO lens the year before and I finally made my way back to the owner with a Canon adaptor. I liked the idea of a 1000mm lens so much that I bought a second hand copy I saw sitting cheaply in Mr CAD Photographic in Pimlico. My MTO-11CA was built in November 1993 from the 1950s design and I’ve already journaled some results from when we lived in London.[Read more…] about To 180 and Beyond
Jetting from London to Houston, with noise cancelling headphones isolating me from both a snoring neighbour and the rumble of our propulsion, I imagined a Bantu throwing a spear at a stork. I also wondered what it was like in 1822 when no one could imagine a White Stork making an annual round trip after breeding in Germany, going south of the equator in East Africa to avoid European winters. At that stage in our understanding, the ancient Greek idea that birds turned into fish for the winter was still popular.[Read more…] about Bird Migration
Beaks and Travel
I was sitting alone in a cold, damp bed-and-breakfast type bedroom in November 1995. It was a dreich Scottish night in Aberdeen and I started to read The Beak of the Finch (1995). It remains a stand-out science read and one of the most influential books I’ve enjoyed. The room was cold enough that I felt the need to wrap myself in blankets pulled off the bed, wishing I was like the Tierra del Fuegans who needed no clothes. Darwin was a great diversion when I was undecided; besides being cold, I couldn’t be sure if I was humiliated or amused.
‘The mind is our beak, and the human mind is ever more variable than the brain’ wrote Jonathan Weiner in The Beak of the Finch.[Read more…] about Beaks and Travel