Thursday, February 12, 2009

Two Centuries Ago...

Once in a while, maybe not quite once a century, a person will come along who will have the Next Big Idea, who will shape the course of history. A person that can change the way people think, and can in fact still affect our ideas today.

Oddly enough, on this day in 1809, two people were born on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean who would come to shape their century. One, of course, was our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln.

The other was Charles Darwin.

Happy birthday, Charles Darwin!

This year is not only the bicentennial of Darwin's birth. He published The Origin of Species at the age of fifty, which makes this year the 150th anniversary of its publication, as well. So as you might imagine, this is a jubilee year for evolutionary biologists. There are conferences going on all month, commemorative articles, magazines and journals, and other fun and celebration. Check out the Darwin Day official website to learn more about what's going on this month and all year!

Celebrating Darwin Day is nothing new; scientists were celebrating him by 1909. This year, of course, is a Big Round Number year, so there are more things going on than usual. Have a very happy Darwin Day!

For your reading pleasure:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I Happen to Like New York

Just a quick trivial post to get myself into the habit of writing again. I'm going to try to make Wednesday my blog day and spend ninety minutes writing. That's not a whole lot, but if I can at least get into the habit of one post a week, I'll have a more regular update schedule. This semester is keeping me really busy (more on that later!) so it's been tough to write lately. 

Anyway, there were two great articles in the Times today that I just had to share. They don't have anything to do with food, politics, natural history, or any of my usual topics. They're just snapshots of New York. Even though I'm still in NYC on a semi-regular basis, I miss living there. 

First article: The Elevator at Fairway. On the one hand, I love articles about how eccentric Fairway is. On the other hand, I wish they would stop writing about it. There are already too many people there! When I returned a piece of cheese to Stop n Shop yesterday (it had been wrapped in plastic for nearly a month! cheese abuse!) I felt a particular pang for Fairway. I don't think any given piece of cheese stays on the shelf for more than a day there. 

Second article: I LEGO NY, by Chris Niemman, the same artist who told us about how much his sons love the subway. Charming, whimsical, and very very funny. Take ten minutes out of your day to chuckle, and if you're a New Yorker like me, to enjoy the sense of superiority that comes with knowing that people in other parts of the country won't get it quite as well as you do. 

PS: The bulk bar -- the best place in NYC to buy granola, dried fruit, or whole grains -- is upstairs, as are the fresh peanut butter machines. Just don't ask me where the elevator button is, I'll never tell.