“In like a lion, out like a lamb,” they say, but mostly March was in and out like a bunch of snow.
My reading backlog included a bunch of links about Ebola from late last year, but the panicked craze of media coverage died down long before I was done with all these articles.
Lady just chilling at Dulles in her homemade Hazmat suit pic.twitter.com/Ljlny8t4pr
— Joe Henchman (@jdhenchman) October 15, 2014
Diary: Ebola — by Paul Farmer. “Ebola is more a symptom of a weak healthcare system than anything else.”
Life After Death: NPR interactive presentation on how Ebola affected the village of Barkedu, Liberia.
After November, when it became evident that Ebola was not going to overrun the US and political fortunes were suddenly less dependent on public panic, the coverage simmered down, and other health issues became the focus of the media hype machine.
Our thoughts are also with the measles-ravaged country America. I hope we are screening them before they come to Africa.
— Elnathan John (@elnathan) February 1, 2015
Three narratives of faith that recently caught my attention:
On Fear and Identity. I like Jason’s unique visualization of “Christ lighting the city” as a response to spiritual despair, a redemptive journey geographically superimposed over one’s soul, something akin to prayer-walking.
I Used to Believe Better. From Aaron J. Smith, aka “Cultural Savage.” This is where I’ve often found myself, wondering how I ended up in a nominal state of jaded doubt — I recover daily, but it’s much harder for someone with depression to deal with the climb out of that pit.
Why I’m Coming Out as a Christian. From Ana Marie Cox, once founder of Wonkette. She’s not so much concerned with the predictable reactions of nonbelievers as with the outrage of fellow Christians who cannot countenance that a snarky liberal woman could be a sister in Christ. As a fellow liberal Protestant egalitarian, I countenance this wholeheartedly.
Shortly after RadioShack filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, stores near us closed down and emptied out.
Good time to read Jon Bois’s stories on working for RadioShack through the course of its decline:
- A eulogy for RadioShack, the panicked and half-dead retail empire
- adioS: The end of RadioShack, through the eyes of a store manager
Older article of interest from a former employee: 6 Confessions Of A Former RadioShack Employee (2008) — and a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” thread by an employee as of three months ago.
When I was an introverted and emotionally befuddled third-culture kid who struggled daily with feelings of isolation and alienation while growing up, Star Trek and Leonard Nimoy’s Spock reached me in my confused youth, in ways that gave me comfort, confidence, and hope that I had a place in the world — a place that would involve space, science, and computers. I’m me today because of that, and today is the future in part thanks to him.
Goodbye, Leonard Nimoy, and live long and prosper.
February delivered some good snow towards the end of a mostly uneventful winter; still nowhere as close to previous February snowmageddons and snowpocalypses, but enough to close schools for a few days and make the general landscape look mildly Arctic.
Walking around DC on a Sunday morning after the snowstorm was especially fun since most businesses didn’t bother to shovel or treat their sidewalks till later in the day.
And here’s a snowy selfie.
(Yes, I know, I need a haircut, but while it’s still cold I don’t mind looking like a disheveled hippie if the extra layer of hair keeps me warm.)
On our flights between O’Hare and Narita I’d hoped to get something like Alessandro Merga’s view of the Milky Way, but my plane window long exposures turned out sadly less impressive. I did catch some faint auroras on the westbound flight, though.
The night sky in Puerto Galera, Philippines was mostly cloudy, but the one clear night we had made for some good star photography, stymied just a bit by a full moon and bright resort lights.
On January 10th I was able to capture Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2), visible as a fuzzy green smear just barely shining through DC area light pollution.
A week later I captured Venus and Mercury in the winter twilight. I’d never actually seen the planet Mercury before; it was much fainter than I had expected.
All photos shot with a first-gen Sony NEX3.
I got a Google Glass.
Travel-wise, I went to Florida to visit the Space Coast and hang out in Orlando with my parents. We went to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Visited Chincoteague, twice. Visited Shenandoah, twice. Rode coasters at Hersheypark and Kings Dominion. We finally got to see the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center, which we’d been meaning to do since we moved out to the county in 2009. At the end of the year we went to the Philippines to spend the holidays with my family.
In space, ESA’s Philae landed on a comet, EFT-1 launched and returned successfully, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceshipTwo was destroyed, killing a pilot, and Orbital’s Antares blew up, losing an ISS cargo capsule.
Work has been sending me to NASA HQ a lot; I take photos.
Best selfie of 2014:
(You know, when I wrote 2009 in Review, I said I would start cleaning up and backtagging old entries. Six years later, I still haven’t. Sorry.)
- LHC Reunion
- Snapshots from around Greenhills
- Manila Christmas Morning Sunrise
- Dive Log: Sabang, Puerto Galera
- Christmas 2014 and New Year 2015
The return trip was much less grueling than the flight over: no overnight airport transfers in Japan this time around — though Chicago O’Hare was a pain to transit through, what with the standard bag re-check and a broken airport tram that forced us into a taxi for a terminal transfer.