August has been a whirlwind month — I burned out a crucial part of the automatic transmission of my car, requiring major repairs and scuttling a camping trip I had been planning. Then we got a rare East Coast earthquake, followed by a glancing blow from a storm named Irene.
Fortunately, the brick walls of my condo building weren’t cracked, the lights have come back on, and I got my wheels back from the transmission shop (a small-but-expert business operating since 1968). And we have turned the calendar page into September.
Lately I’ve been working on two feature articles for Optics & Photonics News, and if you’re an OSA member, you’ll be able to read them soon. The October issue will contain my article titled “Light in Flight: Optical Applications in Civilian Aviation.” The article that’s tentatively scheduled for November will have a more “spacey” theme — I shall divulge the topic as the publication time approaches.
In other news, I now have a Facebook page that’s devoted to interesting topics in science. Most are things forwarded from other Facebook pages, but still, reposting them there is faster than switching over to WordPress. Here is the link:
If I can get 25 people to “Like” me on Facebook, I can customize the URL for the page, I believe. Anyway, please do check it out! I’ve got some optics news up there, and everything else from helium-poor stars to Ned Kelly’s bones.
Additional note about the East Coast earthquake
One of the most knowledgeable writers about last month’s earthquake — which I felt while sitting at my desk a few miles northeast of Washington, D.C. — has been Callan Bentley, a geologist who blogs for the AGU. Check out this entry for an interesting blend of hard science and personal experience.
Back in March, I visited the town of Mineral, Va., to attend an event at Louisa County Middle School. I remember Mineral as a small town, way off the interstate, so when I heard where the temblor’s epicenter was, I instantly recognized the location. I can’t seem to find a permanent link to the video of the Louisa County High School ceilings falling down (shown on CNN recently), but if I recall correctly, the middle school is right next to the high school complex. Even though I was only with an organization that was renting space in the middle school for a day, I feel a certain connection with the people of Louisa County.