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
May132012

Explore. Serve. Create. Inspire. Defend.  

Why those words under my name on this site? Why didn’t I pick “Cower. Laze. Manipulate. Indulge. Sabotage”?

Well, that came in a close second. I picked the five words I did after several years of failure at becoming a gypsy in order to read my own future and cast a net of success forward in time to capture all that is sweet and worthy and satisfying in what we call the American Dream. 

How do you plan for happiness in life? It’s a simple question but no two answers are the same. Maybe some people know this intuitively. Not me. I don’t claim to know it very well now but I do know it starts with a quote from a very smart guy who figured this out long, long ago:

“Know thyself.” -- Socrates (who was most likely quoting an earlier Greek sage, most likely Thales)


Damn. How could a guy get famous over just two words? I’ve got five. That probably means I’m destined to a life of relative obscurity and grave verbosity. Oh well, that’s the best I can do.

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Friday
Dec232011

MIT Science Writing: Fall 2011 Summary

My first semester of grad school at MIT was a whirlwind. After the gut-wrenching decision to leave all my friends and colleagues at NASA for the year to come to Boston (note: there was no gut-wrenching involved with leaving the city of Houston), adjusting to a new lifestyle in a strange city took me back, almost to the same feeling as studying in another country. The program I'm in is the Graduate Program in Science Writing, and it's a one-year Master's program designed to give students tools to write about science, engineering and technology for general audiences.

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Saturday
Dec172011

Battle of the Best Men



When my friend decided to get married, he couldn't choose between me, his best friend for 24 years, or his only brother to be his best man. So he decided we'd both be best men. Only... that didn't sit right with us. How could there be TWO best men? Didn't the word 'best' by definition mean there could be only one? So we set out to determine who between us was most worthy of claiming the ultimate title: BEST MAN.

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Saturday
Sep102011

The Heart and the Fist 


I recently finished the book, The Heart and the Fist, by Eric Greitens. If there's anyone on the planet I've ever read about who makes me feel incredibly lazy and inspired at the same time, its Greitens. He's a Rhodes and Truman scholar, boxer, has a master's and PhD from Oxford, has worked as a humanitarian in Rwanda, Cambodia, Albania, Mexico, India, the Gaza Strip, Croatia, and Bolivia, and on top of all that, facing prospects of six-figure salaries or a privileged life in the halls of academia at one of the most prestigious universities on the planet, Greitens chose to become a Navy Seal. Why? Because he saw firsthand the limits of humanitarian aid when it meets horrible atrocities and the unrelenting evils of dictatorship.

This is the story of how he decided that sometimes it IS right to apply force to fix moral wrongs on this planet, and that it is imperative that good people are inspired to make the toughest of moral decisions.

As he says, "Warriors are warriors not because of their strength, but because of their ability to apply strength to good purpose."

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Wednesday
Aug102011

Why I Like Stars

 

I just picked up a book that has sat on my shelf or in moving boxes for the past eight years: Rocket Dreams, by Marina Benjamin. I don't know why I picked it up. I do this from time to time when walking past my book shelf and I never really know what compels me to do so. Maybe there's an invisible hobbit or leprechaun sitting on my shoulder whispering commands in my ear, I don't know.

I paged through the book, stopping on a star with a circle around it written in pencil next to a paragraph where Benjamin writes about the philosophy of spaceflight, citing french scientist turned philosopher, Gaston Bachelard.

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