29 JULY 2017 #33 HUMPBACK WHALES RETURN TO NEW YORK

NUMBERS NOT SEEN FOR 100 YEARS Humpback whales have returned to New York Harbor and other New York waters in sizable numbers not seen in 100 years. (In the photo a humpback skyhops off Rockaway Peninsula with the Empire State Building and Manhattan skyline just behind.) Why have the whales come back to New York? Improved water quality (thanks to the Clean Water Act of 1972) has caused algae and zooplankton to multiply. This provides food for menhaden – a small fish that whales like to eat. Boats do sometimes bump into the whales in New York’s busy harbor, but nobody seems to mind very much – just watch out for the whales. Humpback  whales were taken off the Endangered … Read More

9 JULY 2017 #32 ARE WE ALONE?

ARE WE ALONE? WHAT IF WE’RE NOT? SETI — the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence —  has been going on for awhile. SETI looks for planets that could support life … maybe intelligent life … and listens for messages aliens might try to send us. METI – Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence —  is now getting started. METI scientists are not just listening for messages from aliens, they are devising messages to send to aliens. This means sending radio waves in regular patterns intelligent beings could recognize as deliberate attempts at contact, not just radio noise. Until recently, an  answer to a METI message sent to the far reaches of the universe was not considered possible for another 50,000 years. But this year, … Read More

10 JUNE 2017 #31 SEATTLE, THE EMERALD CITY

SEATTLE, THE EMERALD CITY Seattle and its surroundings are full of greenery the year round. That’s why it is nicknamed The Emerald City … and it is altogether a wonderful city. In L. Frank Baum’s fantasy,“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy followed the yellow brick road to the Emerald City. My path to the real Emerald City won’t be made of yellow bricks. It will be an All Nippon Airways Dreamliner flight from Delhi to Tokyo and Tokyo to Seattle. I’ve completed my four-year Peace Corps service in Kyrgyzstan and a visit to my India home town, Khajuraho. Now I’ll get resettled in my American home town … get reorganized … and continue writing my next book, FUTURE CHRONICLES, to … Read More