Five Boro Bike Tour

Yesterday, I did the TD Five Boro Bike Tour again. As I said to my wife the night before, I often feel lucky to participate in this bike tour, and there’s simply something magical about the opportunity to ride your bike through the streets of NYC, the FDR, uncontested over the Queenborough Bridge, and my favorite, the gauntlet of the BQE. However, I only wish that I actually cycled anytime during the preceding year. Aside from a brutally cold winter, I scaled back my riding time to being a daddy. This is a trade-off I’d never give up, except that I feel like I was hit by a truck, as my entire body hurts. But, I did it, and I’ll do it again next year.

Couple of side notes: 1) Thanks for the mechanic team on Church and Reade streets at the beginning of the tour. My chain (albeit rusted to the core) unhinged itself on the subway, and they were able to realign it about 5 minutes before our group started. 2) I also pulled a cramp on both legs going up the Pulaski Bridge, and a second momentary panic – thinking the tour was over for me right there.

My chariot (and the little car that took her to the tour). I especially like the add-ons to the frame. I lost my water bottle and holder, as both snapped off on last year's during as I approached the Pulaski Bridge. Speaking of Pulaski, I suspect there's a superstition about to become enshrined about that spot.
My chariot (and the little car that took her to the tour). I especially like the add-ons to the frame. I lost my water bottle and holder, as both snapped off on last year’s during as I approached the Pulaski Bridge. Speaking of Pulaski, I also pulled a cramp on both legs going up the bridge, and a second momentary panic – thinking the tour was over for me right there.
Atop the Queensborough Bridge
Atop the Queensborough Bridge
Generic view of crowd and green helmet bibs on 6th Avenue.
Generic view of crowd and green helmet bibs on 6th Avenue.

Superfans!

Something less academic… on April 12th, my little group of superfriends were unashamedly superfans, as we attended a solo performance by Glen Phillips in Bay Shore. Aside from my typical music preference, albeit becoming more eclectic as I age, there were two styles that resonated since my young: one which is clearly evident, and the other less so. For the latter, it managed to evolve from a little group from Santa Barbara to a maturity in lyric and song. Enjoy!

As Gandalf said to Pippin upon their first meeting with Denethor, my wife often reminds me of the same when is comes to those I admire, 'Listen carefully: Lord Denethor is Boromir's father. To give him news of his beloved son's death would be most unwise. And do not mention about Frodo or the Ring. And say nothing of Aragorn either. In fact, it's better if you don't speak at all.'
As Gandalf said to Pippin upon their first meeting with Denethor, my wife often reminds me of the same when is comes to those I admire, ‘Listen carefully: Lord Denethor is Boromir’s father. To give him news of his beloved son’s death would be most unwise. And do not mention about Frodo or the Ring. And say nothing of Aragorn either. In fact, it’s better if you don’t speak at all.’

More Microaggressions!

Back by popular demand, good friend and stellar lady, Dr. Gina Torino, will deliver the last Science Colloquium seminar on ‘Asian-American Migroaggressions’. Be there or be square.

When: Tuesday, April 22nd
Where: Metro Gallery (Room 544); 325 Hudson St., Fifth Floor, NY, NY 10013-1005
Time: 5-6PM

As seen on a Sussex Directories Inc site

An Awesome 2014 Field Season

We’re not totally done yet, but we’re certainly winding down to the remaining field season days. Our crew is out-and-about on the Audubon Eco-cruise, and combing the field sights in NYC. It’s been a busy time for all of us, and I meant to post this earlier. On March 9th, we’ve seen the most seals ever on one trip (39!). Incidentally, the numbers were increasing leading up to this trip, and overall, we’ve seen more seals this season than our previous four. Enjoy.

Always a favorite shot of mine - seals on Swinburne Island, looking north towards Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and the Manhattan skyline. In a surreal way, it just let's you know about the amazing fauna in our backyards.
Always a favorite shot of mine – seals on Swinburne Island, looking north towards Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and the Manhattan skyline. In a surreal way, it just let’s you know about the amazing fauna in our backyards.

P.S. – It’s been tight-lipped, but I can’t help but let this slip. Keep an eye out for C-SPEC. That’s all I have to say.

The New Frontier of Diversity

All around awesome guy, Dr. John Rowden from the National Audubon Society, will present the next Science Colloquium talk entitled, ‘Changing the Face(s) of Conservation in America’.

When: Tuesday, 03/18
Time: 5-6PM
Where: Metro Gallery (Room 544), 325 Hudson St.

See you all there!

One Word: Bluegrass

Dr. Mark Miyake, SUNY ESC – Hartsdale Unit/Hudson Valley Center, will present his talk on ‘The Discourse on Race in the Bluegrass Music Community’ for the next science colloquium. His discussion will focus on his latest work, and forthcoming book.

When: Tuesday, 03/11
Where: 325 Hudson St., Fifth Floor, NY, NY (Room 544)
Time: 5-6PM

Urban Environmental Studies Residency Keynote Speaker: Jaime Stein

We’re thankful to have Professor Jaime Stein from the Pratt Institute be our Keynote Speaker for our Environmental Residency.

Jaime Stein is a professor, sustainability consultant and urban researcher with a proven and successful record of community engagement, sustainability planning and environmental policy analysis.

Her more than 14 years of experience in advocating for sustainable communities ranges from public health assessment in West Africa to policy analysis for New York City Environmental Justice communities. Currently, Stein directs the Sustainable Environmental Systems program at Pratt Institute, a Master of Science in Sustainability Studies with a curriculum at the nexus of environmental design, science and policy. Her current academic research focuses on systems thinking, green infrastructure and planning for resilience.

Stein is a founding member of the Stormwater Infrastructure Matters (S.W.I.M.) Coalition as well as The Collective for Community, Culture and the Environment.

She serves on the NYC Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Infrastructure Steering Committee and coordinates a professional certificate in green infrastructure within the Center for Continuing and Professional Studies at Pratt.

Please join us for her address tomorrow, Friday, February 28th.

Location: Metropolitan Center of SUNY Empire State College
Where: 325 Hudson St., Fifth Floor NY, NY 10013-1005 (Room 320)
Time: 4-6PM

Cowardly Punks Travel in Packs

It’s official… I will be presenting my talk ‘Cowardly Punks Travel in Packs: Social Responsibility in an Urban Environment’ for the 2nd Moral Sense Colloquium at St. Francis College on Friday, March 7th. Although my mom and closest friends might agree that I lack any sense of morality, the program is excellent – featuring talks and panels by Drs. Kristy Biolsi (SFC), Gregory Tague (SFC), Diana Reiss (Hunter College), Julie Hecht (Hunter College), and David Lahti (CUNY Queens College), as well as students from St. Francis College. I drew the lucky straw, and am appearing last, but will post the official program and website when it is ready. Thanks again to Dr. Biolsi and Dr. Tague for the invitation.

To harness my inner sense of morality, please enjoy the following (apologies to those who may find this somewhat offensive – however, I would encourage you to read Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant?: A Professor and a Punk Rocker Discuss Science, Religion, Naturalism & Christianity by Drs. Preston Wilson and Greg Graffin):

Scenes from Panama

Finally, chance to write about my Panamanian adventures…

First, I’d like to thank Richard Cattabiani from SUNY Ulster for providing me with the opportunity to join their Tropical Ecology course. I’d also like to thank Dr. David Lemmon for sharing his knowledge and experiences, as we worked with students and travelled around Panama. Moreover, David is responsible for organizing the trip, and ensuring that the students experience the biology, culture, and essence of Panama. Lastly, thank you to Roberto Medina for being an excellent naturalist and guide for our trip down there. Roberto is not only an amazing naturalist, but he’s also a stellar dude. For folks who wish to plan trips and tours in Panama, I recommend that you contact him at robertoisland@hotmail.com (P.S. – Roberto was also featured and recommended in the latest Lonely Planet guide; you can pick up a copy, or get more contact details here).

In a nutshell – After an epic flight from LGA, with a transfer in Atlanta, and arrival in Panama city after midnight on January 3rd, we slept for a couple hours to a morning in Gamboa, which is situated along the Panama Canal. Our first three days consisted visits to national parks around Panama City, such as Parque Nacional SoberanĂ­a and Parque Nacional Chagres (the latter of which we visited an Embera village). We then travelled down to Pedasi, and spent the following day at Isla Iguana (with a stopover at a local rodeo). Aside from magnificent frigate birds, black iguanas, and Pacific coral reef, we were able to play a game of football with the Panamanian police, one of whom I managed to help re-injure his calf. Return to Gamboa, and prepared ourselves for an extensive tour. We left for the San Blas Islands, stopping off at Carti, Big Dog (Perro Grande) and Little Dog (Perro Pequeno) Islands, and mingling with the Kuna Yala. Then, was the trek to Chucanti – two days up, and two days down. Back down for an evening in Casco Viejo, and the bittersweet journey home.

We had a wonderful crew of students, and I suspect they may have become friends for life. The trip, not to be too cliche, was clearly transformational for many of us, and certainly one that I hope ESC can continuously be a part of in the future.

P.S. – we saw amazing biodiversity. I’m a terrible photographer, and hence have no great pictures of fauna. Also, in a flurry to pack my gear on the morning that we left, I brought the wrong camera lens, and suffered. Thank goodness for mobile devices – not for their ability to communicate with others, but for the resolution of their built-in cameras. I’ll have to ask the kids or David for some photos.

On the shores of Pedasi, overlooking Isla Iguana and magnificent frigate birds.
Isla Perro Granda – one of the 370+ islands in the San Blas Island archipelago, and home to the semi-autonymous Kuna Yala
Cloud forest atop Chucanti (~4800 meters), on the border of Panama and Darien provinces
Crossing the ridge, and overlooking the trek up to the summit of Chucanti
Fish market in Panama City. P.S. – they have excellent ceviche.
In Casco Viejo – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
There and back again – A biologist’s tale (jaded, but not broken from my trek up Chucanti and back down to the lodge)

The Sound of the Harmonic Generator