Boats, Books & Lab Girl

“My lab is a place where my guilt over what I haven’t done is supplanted by all of the things that I am getting done”Lab Girl

This is as good a place to start as any.

After yesterday’s post, I felt I had done something if only to document what still needed to be done. It didn’t have the effect I had expected, instead of accomplishment, I felt intimidated.

Yesterday’s post was also different in that usually I write a draft, upload the photos I want, then edit the next day, add pictures and post. But yesterday, I was in a hurry and wrote and posted within an hour, with minimal editing, thus you can see how my mood changed even in the course of the writing as evident in the last line.

After a number of bright (only spotty rain), warm (temps in the 60’s) days here in the south and east of Ireland, yesterday dawned like a winter day, dark, cloudy, steady drizzle.  Actually, typical pre-warm frontal weather, the result of an inverted trough, the low pressure system being to the south and the warm front moving in from the ESE.

Dauntless is not my lab, but it is an instrument in that lab. It facilitates me being in nature, good or bad, hot or cold.

The worse the weather, the more I have this need to put my face into it.  Certainly having to go to the bathroom, to pee, every few hours drives the need to go out there and check the elements, though the phrase to hold on for dear life, has no exaggeration at that point.

I’ve been trying to determine the best way to talk, to write about books that have a profound influence over me. I know many of my readers like the boating adventures and may not care about my soliloquys about life. So if you have any suggestions that I can get to work with WordPress, email me. I have made some additional pages, but don’t like the look so far.

Though it seems I have a wide interest in things, that interest really revolves around two main cores, science and history.  Thus my interest in Paleoclimatology, a field that a number of times in my life I considered going back to school to earn a PhD.   The last time about 15 years ago when I had just started teaching, I had attended a symposium at the National Center for Atmospheric Science (NCAR) on climate change. I was offered a very appealing opportunity, but having moved back to NYC for my mother, and having already given up a good job to do so, life prevailed.

But that Fate is what put me here now, writing this. Dauntless and I exploring the world at 7 miles per hour.

During the last month, I have been reading three books, all non-fiction, all three different, but amazing.  All three are fascinating in their own right and I have not finished any of them completely, I think in large part because I don’t want them to end:

  1. Terrible Swift Sword: The Life of General Philip H. Sheridan by Joseph WheelanSheridan

Having grown up near Sheridan Square I had a familiarity with Sheridan, yet realized I knew nothing about him other than him being a Calvary man doing the Civil War.  Then, just before leaving NYC this past March, I realized that the gold statue across from the Plaza Hotel at the SE corner of Central Park was also Sheridan.

So when I came across this book and in the opening pages was captivated by how much I did not know I knew I had to keep reading!  As obvious as it sounds now, Sheridan as Corps Commander, was the first to use infantry and cavalry as a combined weapon.

Also, the insights one learned about other personalities of the war, e.g. How effective Custer was, or how Meade although in total disagreement, when told by Grant to support Sheridan, actually did so, unlike so many other generals of the war who let their jealousies get in the way.

  1. Half Moon by Douglas Hunter about Henry Hudson who explored New York when he was supposed to be searching for the Northeast Yes, Northeast, as in above Russia, with a crew that spoke Dutch and he didn’t, in a boat only 20 feet larger than Dauntless.Hlaf Moon_
  1. And last, but not least, Lab Girl by Hope Jahren. A beautifully written book by, and about, a woman who lives for science. Wonderfully written because of the language she uses and her ability to relate the mysteries and explorations of science in a profound and moving way for a layman.  Thus my opening quote.

Science is about making connections that most don’t or can’t see. Like science, my lists are more than lists of things I must do.  They are maps of things to learn and things to practice. It’s what keeps me awake at night. The puzzle in the sky that is multiple realities, that makes it rain on your side of the hill, but not mine. Or the three prong plug that can run two different lights. They seem different, but are the same.

Thanks for listening.


Amazon links to the above three books:






Author: Richard on Dauntless

I’m an eclectic person, who grew up in New York, lived overseas for many years and have a boat, Dauntless, a 42 foot Kadey Krogen trawler yacht. Dauntless enables me to not only live in many different parts of the world, but to do it in a way that is interesting, affordable, with the added spice of a challenge. Dauntless also allows me to be in touch with nature. As the boat glides through the ocean, you have a sense of being part of a living organism. When dolphins come to frolic, they stay longer if you are out there talking to them, watching them. Birds come by, sometimes looking for a handout; sometimes grateful to find a respite from their long journey. I grew up on the New York waterfront, in the West Village, when everything west of Hudson St. was related to shipping and cargo from around the world. For a kid, it was an exciting place of warehouses, trucks, and working boats of all kinds: tugs and the barges and ships, cargo and passenger, they were pushing around. My father was an electrical engineer, my mother an intellectual, I fell in between. I have always been attracted to Earth’s natural processes, the physical sciences. I was in 8th grade when I decided to be a Meteorologist. After my career in meteorology, my natural interest in earth sciences: geology, astronomy, geography, earth history, made it a natural for me to become a science teacher in New York City, when I moved back to the Big Apple. Teaching led to becoming a high school principal to have the power to truly help kids learn and to be successful not only in school but in life. Dauntless is in western Europe now. In May and June, I will be wrapping up the last two years in northern Europe, heading south to spend the rest of the year in Spain & Portugal. Long term, I’m planning on returning to North American in the fall of 2017 and from there continuing to head west until we’re in Northeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, where we will settle for a bit. But now, my future lies not in NY or even Europe, but back to the water, where at night, when the winds die down, there is no noise, only the silence of the universe. I feel like I am at home, finally.

4 thoughts on “Boats, Books & Lab Girl”

  1. Richard, I just finished Endurance about Lord Ernest Shackleton and his ill-fated Antarctic Expedition and amazing feat of rescuing his 28 men. It’s an amazing story of human endurance that, if you haven’t read, might enjoy. I got it on audible book and enjoyed listening to it while traveling to- from and on the boat. So did my wife!

    Will the weather academics allow you into (or to graduate from) a PhD program if you’re not a believer and follower in the new religion of Human Caused Climate Change? I hear stories of Meteorologists being squeezed out of their positions for failure to toe the line. True?

    1. Of course I read all of his sagas, as well as every Arctic explorer there was. It was required reading on T-3.

      As for climate change, it’s simple:
      the climate changes all the time,
      humans have caused the climate to become warmer in the last 10,000 years,
      the spike in warming is a result of all human activities for the last 10,000 years, agriculture being a big factor.

      BUT my issue, is that the solution, other than to eradicate 6 billions people is not so simple.
      It’s not clear at all if we, humans stopped producing CO2 tomorrow how the climate would react. The climate was already getting warmer BEFORE HCC, so even if humans disappeared tomorrow, I believe the climate would still be getting warmer.

      Therefore, what should we do:
      1. stop saying there are simple solutions when there are not.
      2. Start making plans to mitigate the damage, i.e. when the sea level is 1 meter higher in 100 years, what will we do?
      3. lastly and more importantly, those who fight about Climate Change are in fact just distractors.

      They distract us from the real problems, that we actually have solutions for:
      1. Fishing, There may be no more fish in the oceans in 20 years. Why don’t we control the uncontrolled fishing in the high seas?
      Why don’t we stop bi-catch?

      2. Plastic. There is NOW one ton of plastic in the oceans for every 4 tons of living matter. By 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.

      And yet, we argue about climate change. It’s a distractor.

      40% of all plastic made today ends up in the ocean.

      That’s something we can solve.

      Thanks for asking

  2. Hey! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading through your posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects? Thanks a lot!

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