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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Sunday
Jun102012

Offensive Driving

I've decided Bangalorians' version of safety in driving school revolves around "offensive" driving versus "defensive" driving. Let's say Car 1 is ahead of Car 2. In the U.S., Car 1 usually checks to see that it's not going to hit Car 2 behind it. Sometimes, it may signal its indication to turn via a lever on the side of the steering wheel which makes a light start blinking on the tail light of the direction it wants to move. Still, it is up to Car 2 to maintain a defensive posture to avoid crashing.

It's a little different in India. In India, Car 1 has no absolutely no responsibility to tell Car 2 its intentions. It's a free-for-all. It's understood that Car 1 will be going wherever the hell it wants to go- slipping through cracks between two buses, veering into oncoming traffic, slicing into the gravel of the non-existent road shoulder... Car 2's only responsibility appears to be honking. If Car 2 is coming up on Car 1, it has to honk, repeatedly. In fact, the horn may be the most necessary component of the entire vehicle. That's why I'm calling it offensive driving. Car 2 honks and slips ahead wherever it can.

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Friday
Jun082012

Made it to Bangalore!

After a 7-hour flight from Amsterdam to Delhi and a night in the Delhi airport, Megan and I have arrived in Bangalore! Our first experience at the Delhi airport was mostly alternating between walking to various food stands figuring out what was safe to eat (found: American-style sour cream and onion chips, a bounty bar and one chocolate brownie) and sitting in a cafe watching Indian news.

I slept for a few hours on the flight to Delhi but didn't sleep at all on the 3-hour morning flight to Bangalore, mostly because I've been unsuspectingly hooked on the Hunger Games trilogy. These books are seriously cutting into my sleep. But I haven't read a book I couldn't put down in a long time and it's a good break from a year reading about black holes and tube worms.

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Thursday
May312012

For the Love of Guinness

At the end of my first work tour, instead of heading back up to the frozen tundra of Wisconsin, I decided to go east. To the land of my long, long looooong ago relatives: Ireland.

That’s where I fell in love with travel. And Irish people. And Guinness.

(It’s also where I met my current travel companion. But more on that gal later.)

If NASA screwed up my college plans, Ireland blew them out of the water. Before Ireland, my only international experiences had come from a 2-hour 8th grade bus ride to Tijuana (with my parents) and two fishing trips to Canada when I was 9 and 18. Crossing the pond was a whole new thing.

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Wednesday
May302012

India... We Have a Problem

I like to think I’m an explorer. My parents can attest. It probably started when I was about three and they gave me a Big Wheel—the little bikes kids get before they graduate to the tricycle (see below).

My Big Wheel explorations were mostly just me trying to escape the clutches of my (very patient and loving) parents. I wasn’t very fast at first, especially before my legs could reach the pedals and my dad had to attach wood blocks to them so I could reach. But they humored me, let me escape just far enough before reigning me in and I got to explore the neighborhood.

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Wednesday
May302012

Indian Summer

I’m going to India for the summer to write about the Indian space program. When I tell people that, most first say something like, “wait, India has a space program?”

(Actually the first response I got was: “wait, don’t they poop in the streets there?”)

Yes. Yes, they do have a space program (I can’t comment on the latter… yet). India plans to become the fourth nation on Earth to send a human being into space and they’re about four years away from doing so (after Russia—which was the Soviet Union at the time—the U.S., and China). Their space efforts in 2012 might be akin to the American space program of 1957, four years before Alan Shepherd became the first American in space. Except, NASA wasn’t even founded until 1958. And the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has been around since 1969.

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