Belated, Guilt-Ridden Science Saturday

auroraOn Saturday night, I dreamed that I could see Saturn’s rings.  Hard to tell where I was standing—on Saturn itself?  on a nearby moon?— but the rings appeared as shimmering curtains, like the Aurora Borealis except in blues and purples and yellows.  Last night, I dreamed that I was on some scientific adventure, driving with a crew in the back of a station wagon along a dusty road.  I was handed a paper cup that contained a large insect, as tall as a praying mantis.  It had buggy eyes and long brown wings.  Someone broke off the legs and handed them to me.  I put them in my mouth, started to chew, and when no one was looking, spit them out the station wagon’s back window onto the dusty road.

Maybe my science dreams are telling me I’m feeling guilty about not re-starting my Science Saturday blog posts?  I had every intention of posting a link to a Columbia Journalism Review essay that chided (rightly so, the BSJ grad in me says) science writers and bloggers for lifting quotes from press releases, particularly those from university science departments, without attribution.  I was going to write an apology for my own bad habit of not attributing quotes appropriately and beg forgiveness as an amateur blogger who just happens to like science but doesn’t know a damn thing about any of it.  Instead I tried to clean up the yard (amid wind and spritzing rain) and put away the planters before snow fell; I cleaned the washer and dryer, and watched an old movie (The Enchanted Cottage), and took a nap.

I did think about fractals all weekend, after watching Nova’s “Hunting the Hidden Dimension,” which I had stored on the DVR.  All weekend, I looked at our trees and traced the fractal patterns in the branches.  They were there, in plain sight, except for those birch limbs I had pruned in spring, the ones a buck in rut had violently rubbed his antlers against.

Last night, we had our first snowfall of the season.  Fractals everywhere.

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