Anyone who knows me reasonably well – and by reasonably well I mean in an eyeball-to-eyeball, meatspace-not-MySpace kind of way, naturally – know that I have a bilateral, Oreo-cookie kind of personality. Not the sort where I’m calm as a Hindu cow one moment and raving hysterically with my eyes rolled back in my head the next. Fortunately for all of us. I mean more in the avocational sense. I mean, I’m a writer by profession, but– for some reason I feel like I need to whisper it – I really, really like science. There, it’s out. Ah, sweet catharsis. To most people, this is something of a paradox, albeit an extremely anticlimactic one. I’ll admit that it often makes me feel a rather like a vinaigrette salad dressing: all oil and water, constantly in need of a good shaking. There are not many benefits to this strange condition, as you might imagine. One of the very few – though I probably won’t be written into Heroes anytime soon – is that I’ve got double the normal capacity for finding extraordinarily boring stuff interesting. A few cases in point:
1. The Crittercam turned 20 last week.
2. Mathematically speaking, chances are better than even that we are all virtual computer simulations being run for kicks by our superintelligent distant ancestors. Personally, I’m okay with it.
3. Next weekend, the Leonid Meteor Shower will either rain interstellar destruction down on us from above (odds: marginal to low) or pass completely unnoticed by 99.99 percent of the earth’s population (odds: bank on it). I will be among the other 0.001 percent freezing their asses off somewhere outdoors in the middle of the night, battling hypothermia and grass stains.
4. The earth’s climate is warming, and we’re the reason. (Have you heard about this?)
5. Carl Sagan is one of my all-time biggest heroes.
6. Fuck being a fireman. I want to be a molecular nanotechnologist when I grow up.
7. Failing that, I want to be a Bishop in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. (Blessed be His noodly appendage.)
9. When I was a kid, I played Dungeons & Dragons. A lot. (Okay, not so much evidence of a paradoxically bifurcated personality as of being a friendless loser as a child. But still.)
10. What, you want exactly ten cases in point? Why? Because our mathematical system is predicated on the arbitrary fact that evolution has supplied us with 10 fingers instead of a different number? Would you be expecting 12 bullet points here if things had turned out differently and we had six fingers per hand and our maths were all based on a duodecimal system? Probably. There’s no satisfying you people, is there? (One cool upside of that, of course, is that all the volume knobs would go up to 11.)