Feeding the Inner geek

I’ve often wondered how my love for science started. Growing up I was NOT a big sports fan.  My dad would turn on football and I would groan.  “How LONG is this on!!  2 minutes left??  Than can last an hour!!!” (my how things have changed there.) Add to it my 0 for 30 single season of little league (Pastorious Reds right fielder baby!  Never caught a ball either!) and it is easy to see why I didn’t get into baseball cards…

Somewhere along the line, though, I caught the science bug.

When I chose this topic today, I started thinking back trying to figure out when and how I started gravitating to science.  The first thought that came to mind was the infamous tinker toy stick episode.

Anyone my age knows what tinker toys are. They predated Legos.  They were wooden circles that fit together with long and short sticks, and we built whatever we could think of.  For some reason though, one day I was jumping on my parent’s bed with one of the long sticks in my mouth.(I think I was 4 or 5)

I was performing the classic “Stand perfectly straight and fall backwards onto the pillow” maneuver over and over again, (yes with the stick in my mouth).  I distinctly remember wondering, though, “What would happen if I fell forward with the stick?” For some reason I thought it would break.

Like any good young scientist, I knew the only way to find out was to experiment. So, I turned around, clamped the stick in my mouth and fell forward just as mom came in and screamed “NO!!!!”

Yes there was a doctor, and I recall the phrase “No we can’t put stitches in there.” Funny, after that I never saw the long sticks in the tinker toys again…

My science geekness grew from there.  One of my grandmothers got me a subscription to National Geographic for Christmas and kept it going for YEARS!  I would devour the magazine when it showed up in the mail each month!  I read every article, looked at every picture.  I had maps of countries and planets all over my bedroom wall.  To this day, if I am stuck in a waiting room and there is a National Geographic on the table, I will pounce!

Then, one year, I received a Christmas present that was even better…  Yes, Mom and Dad got me an actual chemistry set!  It was cool! Metal stand up cabinet. 30 different chemicals.  Alcohol bunsen burner. Hundreds of cards with experiments to perform. (plus my own when they weren’t looking….) I was in heaven.

Add to this a microscope, brine shrimp (sea monkeys to those of us who are older) and any science fiction book I could lay my hands on, I was a true science geek, never getting less than an A in any science class I ever took from Jr Hi through college.

Fast forward 30+ years and I haven’t changed much (OK OK, less hair, bigger tummy, grayer hair, not as cute) but STILL a science geek.

On a bike ride, I will stop dead in my tracks to check out a unique rock formation.

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At the ocean, I can spend hours looking into tide pools and identifying different critters

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Plus, if a town has an aquarium or science center, we HAVE to stop!

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And I will ponder for hours how a rock formation came to be

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Finally, I admit it, I find science and math jokes hilarious

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Now my most avid readers always know there is a reason for most if not all of my posts.  Why this one you ask?  Well my inner science geek has been on overdrive this week!

In my recent perusal of the interwebs, I read more than on article this week about the impending ice age in 2030. This of course started me doing some more digging and quick research.  My verdict?  No dice. Part of me was a little bummed, as one of my favorite books took place when the earth was starting to cool down (Fallen Angels) I am betting, though, the right wingers will soon use this to argue against climate change!

Then there was an article in the New Yorker that discussed the mother of all earthquakes hitting Seattle. (Read it, and researched afterwards, we WILL have an earthquake, probably soon, but not worried about everyone and everything west of I5 being gone!)

Finally, and best of all, NASA’s New Horizon made a flyby of Pluto yesterday and today and are providing incredible pictures

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I read a quote that said “Every descriptive astronomy text in the world is now out of date because of the pictures from today.” For some, this means nothing, but for those of use who checked out and read every book about the solar system back when we were kids… It is huge!

All of this drove me drove me to do something I’ve always wanted to do, yep I am feeding the  inner geek and I have subscribed to Scientific American.  I want to know what is going on in the scientific world!

Folks, there is no way for me to turn back time and become the scientist I always wanted to be, nor do I want to.  However, the inner geek will NOT be deprived and needs to be fed, so I will continue to follow along with the truly amazing things that are happening around us.

Science never lies!  And the best part is that it can be proven, you gotta love it!

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7 Responses to Feeding the Inner geek

  1. I’m with you on this one. My granddaughter has been staying for a few weeks and we have a rich area with volcanics, limestone, sandstone and more plus rich sea life, meadows and high moorland all with 20 minutes. So we’ve been climbing on all these different rocks, huddling in pools etc., etc. Maybe I should subscribe as well?

    • I read it all the time when I was a kid, it goes much more into detail than than the fluff you get elsewhere. I wont guarantee i will understand it all, but i will enjoy it! PLUS I am hoping for great Pluto pictures!

      And now I have to ask “guddling”?

  2. Whoops meant guddling not huddling! Ah well autotype strikes again!

  3. sarburch says:

    Oh my, you are hilarious! While I appreciate your experimental approach, you are damn lucky that long tinker toy stick didn’t end your biking career way before you ever got to ride a big boy bike!

    Yeah for scientific curiosity, friend. And yeah for that tangerine joke. I love it! 🙂

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