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Every year in my environmental-science class, I have a sort of review where I go around the class and each of the students can ask any question they want — maybe something we haven’t covered, or that they were confused about, or just always wanted to know. It’s usually fun and interesting, and in my last class, which ended early in December, I got a question I wasn’t expecting — “What’s up with this Mayan apocalypse?!” Everyone laughed, but the student said she wasn’t joking, she really wanted to know, and it led to an interesting discussion.
Anyway, the Mayan deadline has come and gone, and here it is, 2013! The year that wasn’t supposed to arrive.
A lot happened, naturally, since my last post in July. I taught a summer field course about the Geography of Narragansett Bay, which was a lot of fun, since we were outside exploring, every Friday for six weeks. The students and I started in Waterplace Park and worked our way around the Bay, from East Greenwich to Prudence Island and Newport, talked with a lot of people, and learned a lot. And I taught the Intro to Environmental Science course on campus in Providence that I teach every fall semester.
I wrote a bunch of stories for our local colleges and universities, and got to interview lots of amazing scientists and lawyers doing interesting work, from geology and biology to mediating high-tech patent disputes. I wrote the cover story for Rhode Island Monthly’s December issue, about cosmetic surgery. This wasn’t a topic I had much interest in, but it was assigned to me, and it turned to be fun talking to a variety of doctors about their work and their motivations and to see how they relate to their patients.
I also got to write a travel story in October, for About.com’s Caribbean travel website. I spent a few days at an all-inclusive resort on the beach in the Dominican Republic; it was very interesting, and a different way to have a travel experience! I enjoyed meeting the other writers on the trip, and the staff treated us great. The weather was perfect, and it was a very fun intro for me to travel writing.
Every week I also write and post about six news stories for AVweb.com, the aviation website, plus a podcast, which consists of an interview with someone in the news. I gripe a lot about doing the podcasts, because they are hard to schedule and time-consuming to produce, but I do enjoy talking to all of these newsmaking individuals. My favorite one recently was a chat with Col. Joe Kittinger, who held the record for highest skydive for more than 50 years. He flew to above 100,000 feet in a balloon and then jumped out, to help test pilot-ejection gear for the Air Force. Then last year, he helped Felix Baumgartner to finally break that record. He’s 85 years old, and barely stopping to catch his breath before moving on to his next project!
I’ve also started to write more frequent posts for the Rhode Island Monthly online blog. These are fun to write and I get to choose my own topics, and do them on my own schedule, so it’s a fun outlet to have. Here are a few of the stories I’ve done recently:
- Breakfast with Curtis indie film premiere in Providence
- Hurricane Sandy‘s impact on Narragansett Bay
- The secrets of Scituate Reservoir
- Cub Scouts get a first flight in a small airplane, at Quonset
- Remembering the lost ship HMS Bounty
Then of course there were festive holidays, winter snows, hikes and parties with friends and family, drawing at the museum, the days and nights of life here on the edge of the Bay, and the moments to reflect on how improbable and lucky it is for each of us every day to wake up again to another day on Earth, and another night to watch the Moon and planets wander across our skies.