Let's say you've got nothing else going on, and you decide to launch a mission to Mars, as you do. Technically, assuming you had the rocket and the launch pad and the range clearance, the time and money, etc, you could do that tomorrow some time. BUT, this is a little like Steven Wright's assertion…Read more Interplanetary Superhighway (Math, Geometry, and Mars Missions)
(Warning: This is NOT a post about COVID-19, not really. It's more about an observation on what COVID reveals. I know we're tired of talking about the pandemic, and I apologize for contributing to it!) It's spring, the weather is suddenly warm, and because the country is deep in "social isolation" as a result of…Read more There’s Something Wrong With Us
If you're under 60 and living outside the tropics, chances are you've only ever seen one kind of banana - the Cavendish. It is the primary banana with mass commercial distribution, and unless something dramatic happens in the next few years, the days of the Cavendish banana may be coming to an end. And, there's no…Read more Not the Bananas!
Spring is here! Around here, the trees are budding, the weather is alternately windy, stormy, and cold - and the birds are returning. Flocks of robins cover the neighbors' lawns, and the ospreys have returned to claim and improve last year's nesting sites. Bird migrations have long been a mystery to us simple humans. We've…Read more Cryptochromes and Bird Migration
By now, I'm sure most people are aware of the effects the ongoing partial US Govt Shutdown is having on National Park services - the new cycles have been filled with reports of vandalism, illegal camping, destruction of property, overflowing trashcans, filled pit toilets, etc. I'm struggling to understand why, in a way that gives…Read more Why Can’t We Have Nice Things?
Humans love superlatives. The biggest, the oldest, the best, or in some cases, the only. It's not hard to understand why we flock to places that hold superlative treasures, why we protect unique examples of nature's beauty - deepest canyons, tallest trees, best views, most endangered animals. But is that enough? I recently came across…Read more Monuments and Minutia
A few months ago, an article published by Slate started to get a lot of attention, for suggesting that the practice of treating backcountry water sources against possible pathogens was built on myth. No doubt it got the buzz Slate was looking for, but I pretty much ignored it at the time. Recently though, I was pointed…Read more To Clean, or Not To Clean – Water in the Backcountry
A year ago, I stumbled eagerly (and ignorantly) into this whole existence I call "Flying Squirrel Outdoors". My mission had nothing to do with blogging, or a social media presence - it was (and is) really about the observation that we are increasingly turning inwards toward things of our own creation. These things are, themselves,…Read more One Year in the Blogosphere – Lessons, Trials, and Tribulations of a Social Media Noob
UPDATE: The public comment period mentioned below has been extended to Dec 22, 2017. If you thought you missed the opportunity to weigh in, you haven't. Make your voice heard. The United States National Park Service has a cash-flow problem, and there don't seem to be any easy ways to solve it. Let me start…Read more How Should the United States Fund its National Parks?
If you've been watching space news lately (and why wouldn't you be?), you may have seen mention of an asteroid named Florence. Florence is a big asteroid - about 3 miles across - and it's passing pretty close to Earth at the moment. A safe 7 million km, but that's pretty darned close. Close enough…Read more The Asteroid Florence, and Rethinking Moons
Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! Today is the day we appreciate those with Irish heritage - red hair, green eyes, freckles, rainbows, gold-hoarding leprechauns, and all things green. All the green provides us with a reminder that spring is just around the corner, and that point is driven home with the ubiquitous symbol - the…Read more St. Patrick’s Day
I was recently invited to preview and write a review for a new e-book by Keith "Fozzie" Foskett, a UK-based distance hiker. Travelled Far is a collection of stories about hiking, both around the block and across the country - a quick read and an enjoyable look, particularly at the English countryside, through his eyes.…Read more Travelled Far, by Keith Foskett