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17 April 2019
The Dragon Behind the Glass, by Emily Voigt
A whole book about aquarium fish? Yes, it’s possible, when the fish is the Asian arowana. The subtitle of Emily Voigt’s The Dragon Behind the Glass is “A True Story of Power, Obsession, and the World’s Most Coveted Fish.” The arowana is a fish that can be found in the Amazon (sometimes called the ‘water monkey’ there for its habit of jumping out of the water) but another species can …
14 January 2019
A tale of three iguanas
As noted last week, I spent the week spanning New Year’s Eve in the enchanted isles of the Galapagos. The previous week (over Christmas) my family and I were in coastal Ecuador. I saw a total of three species of iguanas in the two locations, and they offer a neat little story of evolution. Let’s take a look. First, let’s introduce the key players: The green iguana, Iguana iguana (coastal Ecuador, …
29 October 2013
Sailing Alone Around the World, by Joshua Slocum
One thing I got out of reading (listening to) Atlantic, by Simon Winchester, was a recommendation to read a classic story of adventure: Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World. As you might suspect, it’s an account of Slocum’s solo trip sailing his small boat, the Spray, around the world. He was the first person to accomplish this feat. The book, I was delighted to find, is in the public …
5 September 2013
Strained stylolites at Foamhenge
One thing that’s 100% worth doing if you find yourself visiting Natural Bridge, Virginia, is to pop in for a visit at Foamhenge, an art installation a few miles away. Foamhenge is a full-scale replica of Stonehenge, made of styrofoam (covered in gray latex paint). It’s a few years old now, so it’s begun to weather a bit: You’ll notice that classic orange soil and that there are also outcrops …
20 June 2013
Well, it’s that time of the year again. Tomorrow morning, I pack up the car and head west. I’m giving myself five days to drive out to Bozeman, Montana, with three stops along the way to see people I like and talk about interesting stuff. Next week, my family flies out to join me. It’ll be Baxter’s first plane ride! We’ve rented a condo in Bozeman for a month, and …
15 May 2013
Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux
The week before last, on the flight home from Texas, I finished reading Dark Star Safari, Paul Theroux’s 2004 account of traveling overland through Africa from Cairo to Cape Town. I’ve enjoyed Theroux’s traveling writing very much over the years, and although he’s written some great novels (I’m thinking of Mosquito Coast), most of them don’t appeal to me as much as the travelogues do. I’ve been reading a lot …
11 January 2013
Friday fold: Hoerikwaggo Trail 5
We wrap up our week-long odyssey along South Africa’s Hoerikwaggo Trail with a look at something we look at every Friday: folds! In this case, we’ll be examining folds in the bedding layers of the Table Mountain Sandstone.
9 January 2013
Hoerikwaggo Trail 3: Joints, veins, and Liesegang banding
Callan continues his week-long recounting of his five-day backpacking trip from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Town, South Africa, along the Hoerikwaggo Trail. Today, we examine the jointing, oxidizing and reducing fluid flow, and the emplacement of ore veins.
8 January 2013
Hoerikwaggo Trail 2: the Table Mountain Sandstone
Callan continues his week-long recounting of his five-day backpacking trip from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Town, South Africa, along the Hoerikwaggo Trail. Today, we examine the Table Mountain Sandstone.
7 January 2013
Hoerikwaggo Trail 1: the hike
Callan begins a week-long recounting of his five-day backpacking trip from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Town, South Africa, along the Hoerikwaggo Trail. Today, we examine scenery and logistics of the trail.