Things inspiring me recently

Some teenagers in Spain who made a high-altitude balloon with their science teacher:Poseidon:
Those images above are from the website www.boston.com.
Here are some more of mine:
A proud Robin

A solitary Red-tailed Hawk

A curious chickadee

Some pre-historic Sandhill Cranes

Comfy Cat

Some great pals

Wise people around me

Our new art museum


Next stop, Boston. A revisit, this time in bright spring, not gloomy fall... wish me luck! Remember?


The littlest birds!

Good days go by, it has been beautiful out. The bikes I've kept in storage all winter are out in the living room, getting more and more use. I recently have been riding a lot of bicycles, my friend Matt said he likes to lean over the handlebars so that he can't see any parts of the bike and imagine he is soaring over the ground. He and I soared last night, it was the end of a long day punctuated by both successes and confusion, and some funny parts, too.

Every other week this semester I give presentations on some concepts in evolutionary genetics. Specifically, I learn how body-parts evolve, how species come up with new appendages, new ways to solve problems encountered in their environment. So the evolution of the creation of new traits, if you will. I think its a really great new field, people are making a lot of discoveries because we have so much more information about animals' genomes and even about individual genes. How genes interact, where they interact, the confusing webs of activation, deactivation.

I thought of an analogy: imagine a huge switch board with many light bulbs at the edges, and there are so many switches, turning the switches on and off in a variety of combinations results in maybe one light turning on somewhere, or turning off, or dimming. Now in trying to create an arm or a leg or an antenna, the precise combination of switches (genes) have to be turned on in the right way at the right time... and that's just one step. People are beginning to see these patterns, to learn how genes act on each other. I presented yesterday about developmental drift, in which two species (or even two populations) might have similar traits and similar looking body parts, but the way they arrive at the creation of that perfect adaptation, they may actually go through two completely different genetic processes. So a homologous/analogous instrument actually happens in a new way and only now with studying the individual genes in these pathways are we seeing that things happen very differently than we thought. Its like taking two different routes to arrive at the same place, or using different switches to get the same light bulb result.

I am going on a birding trip this weekend, and I hope I think about some of this stuff. Expect photos! I leave you to think about these now:

The analogies of evolution are very appropriate sometimes.


I know why Forrest Gump ran

He ran because he had lost something. Though he was such a simple person, it was beautiful how huge he felt all of the time. Some say that the reason people learn about other people with mental disorders is because they tell us something about ourselves, us "normal" people. Forrest Gump told me something about myself, about why I was running so hard today, I ran so hard. I ran through the trees on the unpaved trails, in my new running shoes, crisp white right through the spring thaw, through all of that mud, with the new red-winged blackbirds and mallards and even a great blue heron around me, I ran as hard as i could, sliding and sloshing, i couldn't stop. and although they are muddy my shoes are not ruined. nothing is ruined, Forrest new that he just had to get it out.

And I just learned, today, that I also need to get it out, to run, in a way. I need expression, i need to channel anger, because i have a lot of positive anger in me, i think that i am a passionate person, i've learned that i am turning into a man, that I can make mistakes and the mistakes i take credit for now will not have to come out in the future. because right now hurting or disappointing myself makes me stronger. i also learned that mediums of expression i've used in the past won't necessarily be right for me today, i've learned that there are many things to explore about my capabilities, i've learned that i have marketable skills in many areas, that i CAN get a job and do it well, that i am not as stupid as i previously thought, i learn quickly and i have a lot to show for that. i love myself today. I can do it.