(Courtesy NASA https://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=78617)
For those who don’t know, last summer I decided to switch from the PhD program in geophysics to a masters. I will be starting in the PhD program in the communications department here at Cornell come August. It’s a less jarring change than it might seem at first glance; I’ll be studying science/risk communication and working on the same projects as before – earthquakes and energy development – but I’ll do it by looking at how people understand, learn about, and respond to seismic risks.
I spent much of last summer thinking about where I saw myself going with my current program, and the answer kept coming that, well, I didn’t. A large part of the clarification came from a couple chances to get out of the lab (in a non-hectic, non-racing-through-Oklahoma capacity) – a field trip to Wyoming with the Energy Institute at Cornell, and a quick trip to Italy, returning to the field school that I went to as an undergrad for a few days to help out as a staff member. On the Wyoming trip, in between visiting Yellowstone and uranium mines, I remembered some of what had always drawn me to geology in the first place. It was more of a classical geology trip than I done since early in undergrad – stopping at highway-side roadcuts and scrambling up outcrops, puzzling out relationships between layers and formations – and I loved it, but it showed very starkly that the things I like about geoscience aren’t really the parts that would help me sustain a research career.
Illustration for a story at: The Earth Story.
Michael Flatley performed at Inauguration. More accurately, Michael Flatley had his troupe from Lord of the Dance perform at one of the Inaugural Balls.
If you aren’t part of the Irish dance world, you might think of Flatley as a respected and talented performer, at least on par with Three Doors Down (in the rare event that you think of him at all, of course). If you are a dancer, your feelings are probably mixed. Sure, he jump-started modern Irish dance into the stratosphere with Riverdance in the ’90s, but since then his shows have tilted too far towards cyborgs and shirtless floor crawling to be taken seriously. Once you think about it, it really shouldn’t be altogether a surprise that he supported Trump; they do after all share a similar taste for understated, minimalist aesthetics, spray tans, and diverse roles for women (We come in two types: blond and dainty or brunette and slutty).