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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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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First day with the Olympus EM-1 system

I love photography. I also love the freedom and flexibility traveling light brings. Those two usually conflict. Very often I don’t have the heart to check my camera, lenses and the underwater housings when traveling, because they will get damaged or stolen. The hard cases they go in –even though they are cabin-sized– already exceed the  weight limits on most airlines before I put anything in them. Then I feel like an idiot paying excess baggage fees to airlines like Lufthansa that won’t give in to my bargaining skills. In addition, having too much luggage makes me vulnerable when traveling solo, not to mention ungraceful.

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