Sick of science

As a child, Charles O. Handley, Jr. (1924-2000) envied explorers who discovered new oceans, continents, mountains and rivers, and dreamt of becoming an ornithologist. Son of a life-long bird watcher, with every bird he spotted by his father’s side he imagined discovering and naming a new species. But he was born about 200 years too late for that. So instead of ornithology, he studied mammalogy and more than fulfilled his dreams of becoming an explorer; he named many species of lemmings, hares, bats, an armadillo, an agouti, and of course the pygmy sloth. This extremely rare and critically endangered animal is only found on one island in the whole world, and I almost died going there to see it. Almost dying is not the same as dying, so since I didn’t, I can now tell the story.
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Tehlikeli Sevişmeler

kapakTehlikeli Sevişmeler (2015)

Yazan: Nedim Gürsel

Akıllıca ve ustaca yazılmış bir kitabı anadilimde okumanın tadına doyulmuyor. Nedim Gürsel’in ne kadar iyi bir yazar olduğunu söylemem gereksiz; en son çıkan bu kitabı da “keşke bu kadar kısa olmasaydı” dedirtti. Hayalimizde sadece o sahneyi boyamaya yetecek sokak, çeşme, kafe, tavan arası yatak odalarını betimleyip, satır aralarına da, mayın gibi, tek cümlede karmaşık bir ruh halini anlatan tespitler yerleştirip, arzularımızı, zayıflıklarımızı -insan olmayı- okuyanı anın içine çekip o hislerle donatan kısa hikayelerle anlatmış.

“Hayatının kaçak ve tehlikeli sevişmeleri – hani ne derler, bir film şeridi gibi mi?- gözünün önünden geçmedi, hayır, ama en uygunsuz zaman ve mekanlarda tat alıp tat verdiği kadınların, ona bir daha geri dönmeyecek eski sevgililerin yokluğundan kaynaklanan bir burukluk duydu.”


Letters to a young poet

imgLetters to a young poet (1934)

By Rainer Maria Rilke

Kappus is an officer in the Austro-Hungarian army trying to decide if he should stay in the army, or become a poet. He sends an example of his poetry to his contemporary Rilke asking for advice. What results is a series of letters exchanged between the two from 1903 to 1908, full of insights that extend far beyond poetry. Continue reading Letters to a young poet

Waypoints in Portugal

I don’t know what started it all; maybe I read about a cork yoga mat, or maybe I looked at the massive pile of wine corks I collected over the years and wondered what to do with them; but 2014 was the year I was obsessed with cork. I wrote about my journey hugging cork trees earlier; below are some notes from the road that should not be forgotten.

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Chasing Science at Sea


Chasing Science at Sea: Racing Hurricanes, Stalking Sharks, & Living Undersea With Ocean Experts (2008)

Ellen Prager

I have read all of Ellen Prager’s books, and this is by far my favorite one. The book tells short and powerful true stories that address the following questions: Why do scientists go to sea?/What do they do while they are at sea?/How do they do it?

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Slow Food + Slow Internet = Inspiration + Progress

All photos © Derya Akkaynak. Want them? Please email.

Being creatures of habit, we are remarkably good at sticking to routines (even to those may cause us to underperform), because it is less costly to do again what we have done once before than to rethink how we can improve it. Academic workshops/conferences/seminars are great examples of such routines: how well does the current standard format work, confining participants to a classroom 7-8 hours a day, multiple days in a row, to offload technical content on them? Not that well, as a weeklong workshop in Italy reminded me this summer.

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