About Me

I'm an Explorer, Engineer, Writer, Public Speaker, and Entrepreneur. I write about exploration, travel, and science. 

Any views expressed on this site are my own.  

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The Road to Kanchipuram

This last weekend Megan and I went to a town called Kanchipuram. It's not on the main tourist circuit of South India. It's a town of about 150,000 people (barely a speck on the map in India), an hour outside Chennai. It's called the "City of a Thousand Temples" but we only learned that fact after we got there. We went because an outreach program run by the Divecha Center for Climate Change (where I'm working this summer) has installed a solar panel on the roof of a house owned by a sari weaver in a village disconnected from the main power grid. I wanted to understand what it was like to live there. And I wanted to understand the real value of just one lightbulb to the children of the village.

Before I get into the weekend, I wanted to capture what the road from Bangalore to Kanchipuram was like. We hired a driver to take us the 4 hours to the town. I thought about making this into a more formally written account, real legit-like, but ended up just copying my notes directly as I took them while sweating in the back of this non-AC car. I think it works just as well. So, here:

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Eaters of Meat, Tests of Excellence

"Our civilization, bequeathed to us by fierce adventurers, eaters of meat and hunters, is so full of hurry and combat, so busy about many things which perhaps are of no importance, that it cannot but see something feeble in a civilization which smiles as it refuses to make the battlefield the test of excellence." James Joyce



After 9 months and more than 350 million miles of travel, the Curiosity rover just landed on Mars. AMAZING, AWESOME, UNBELIEVABLE... don't even begin to describe the feeling of watching the landing. This is a vehicle the size of a small car, the most technologically advanced robotic spacecraft EVER built, and it's on Mars right now. Here are the first photos I captured from the live stream on my desktop.

"Live stream" is an interesting term here...

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Random thought of the day: 

Do you want to be remembered as the guy who was always the first to buy a round or always the one who glanced nervously at his friends, hoping to avoid it? 

I usually try to be the former, which also usually makes me the first to run out of money. Foolish or honorable? Probably both, but I don't care. 


Howl at the Moon

The other day I was reading on the terrace, watching light turn to dusk over Bangalore... Pigeons want the awning above the window a floor below but my presence deters them. Good. Back off, pigeon. There's a white one with black spots, bigger than the others. I name him Norm, neighborhood barfly. Hawks circle lazily high above the trees. Three cats watch the street from a nearby ledge. Ants crawl along the corner of the wall and the floor. I try to follow their path along a water pipe but can't find the end. Probably our apartment. A spider fights a faint breeze from a thin web between leaves on a potted plant. Car horns beep repeatedly (as they do here), but more subdued than most days. Why? Sunday.

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