Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sunrise the day before my 72nd birthday - 11/29/41 

I failed to complete my thank you’s to some of the people who helped in the Ukiah presentation last month – my apologises.

To: Jenny, Shelley and Tamara at UPT and to Susan, Chandler, Maureen and Jeanette for helping out front – thank you!

My cousin (Erik) "Erk" Harkna at the helm of his boat.

This is my cousin Erk. He was one of the “boat people” in our escape from the Soviets during WWII. True to Estonian tradition, he too loves the sea. We don’t see each other often but I have had some great times with him over the years – his spirit is pure Viking!

The "boat kids", me at top left, Erk, his sister Ari and my bro Peter

I had my 72nd birthday on the 29th of last month. What can I say but that I feel strong, spiritually in tune with The Great Mystery and am looking forward to another (10th) season with my whale family. January 1st of 2014 I will have completed my 5th year here in El Cardonal as the only full time gringo resident in the pueblo – I am honored to be part of this community. Never have I felt "more at home"!

My daughter Kersti at The Monterey Bay Aquarium (she and husband Bill are also "whale divers").

Kersti sent me this photo and wish on my birthday.

“Happy Birthday Dad. Sending love and light and wishing you another amazing day.”
And this is the spirit I see within her. She has been a treasure in my life.

Ironically I got sick that day and just coming out of it now – thought it was Dengue Fever, no, just “Gripa”.

Speaking of Kersti I would like to take this moment to honor the work she has chosen in her life and how much I respect her devotion to helping those in need. As the world becomes more complicated and many people are left without the support that used to be provided by the extended family there is a great need for all types of social workers – those who have chosen to devote their lives to helping others in need.

She was always like this with people and animals as a child, then helping the elders in our family and now as an Occupational Therapist bringing hope and physical rejuvenation to those whose misfortune (in a number of guises) has weakened their bodies and/or minds.

Basically it is a form of therapy for those recuperating from physical or mental illness that encourages rehabilitation through the performance of activities required in daily life.

Occupational therapy interventions focus on adapting the environment, modifying the task, teaching the skill, and educating the client/family in order to increase participation in and performance of daily activities, particularly those that are meaningful to the client.

The origin of this very important work goes back to the ancient Greeks and most probably before. I honor the work that you do Kersti and I am very, very proud of the powerful woman you have become. You are doing The Good Work and I love you!

The Q's heading out to The WZ

My dear Q’s (Jean-Luc/Brigitte) were here for a week during mid November and will return in mid-Feb. for a month long stay with their sons (and my adopted grandsons – Antoine, Tristan and Quentin). As always it was a treat to have them here. When I picked them up at the airport Jean-Luc mentioned the noise the car was making underneath. I thought it might be a loose muffler but it continued to get worse all the way back to El Cardonal. Next day I took it in to Cesar (our village mechanic) and he said it was a bad wheel bearing. Two weeks later I got the car back, good job and once again I realized the value of a life style built on the philosophy of poco a poco (little by little). I considered it good luck that it held out till we got back from the airport, that Cesar could do it, that my lifestyle was not disturbed by it and that now I am mobile again.

I was invited to give my PP presentation to an audience in La Ventana (a town 2 hrs north of me) a week ago. It was held at “The Palapas Ventana” and about 30 people showed up. Great evening, nice folks, some nice donations, a few books sold. A special thanks to Llyod and Lauri, Tim and Jimena and Lana and Dave who made my stay so pleasant. I was pretty sick by then and it took every ounce of my will to go through with the lecture but as always, being in front of an audience wires me up and I felt empowered right till I got in bed – then I was weak as a lamb.

Here are some suggested readings/viewings:

4 stranded DNA

Whales under water  “Sea of Love”

Check this out! 8 Mars orbitals:

This is way cool! I see Kersti in this for sure. 

Matt Damon serves up some REALITY!

MMI's Scott Baker spoke recently at University College Dublin about new research that could help shape conservation measures for North Pacific humpback whales. Dr. Baker said an astounding amount of information can be gathered by combining traditional photo-ID techniques and DNA profiling. A fuller understanding of population subsets will help tailor continued protective measures where needed.

On the 21st of November I saw my first humpbacks for the season. It was a mother and calf frolicking out about a half mile in front of my place. Too rough to go out in my kayak but sure was nice just to watch them play. My guess it was a yearling that will be weaned this season. They are coming!

11/28 - Starting to feel sick!

Next day - my birthday, cosmic joke, hah!

Alan and Marilyn came down for a week on the 1st of December and there was just one day that offered good kayaking. I wasn’t going to go because I was STILL sick and had just given the lecture in La Ventana so needed some rest. NO WAY. I kept looking out to sea and then said, “f**k it”, I gotta get out there!”

I e-mailed Alan and told him I was on my way to launch and would love to have him join me. I didn’t really expect him to show because the conditions were not all that good but there he was. I can always tell it’s Alan because of the way he paddles and the silhouette of his kayak. His company on my excursions out to The WZ have always been a highlight in my life. We went out about a half mile and then just drifted while having one of our far ranging and delightful conversations. The wind started up so we decided to head on in but just as I was turning towards my pull out I saw a breach. Yep, a humpback doing a full breach not a half mile away. Then we saw it blow and it was heading north so Alan and I chose an intercept and boy did Alan nail it! The whale came up just to Alan’s right side not 30’ from his kayak!! We continued in the direction he seemed to be going but didn’t see him again. We were so lucky – of course I choose to think that the whale wanted to say hello to Alan.

Alan making the intercept.

My son Zack was once again fighting for our rights during the anti-TPP demonstration in LA.

 My boy in the trenches!

This is yet another consequence of the SPLASH study that I was a part of between 2004-2007. The first comprehensive genetic study of humpback whale populations in the North Pacific Ocean has identified five distinct populations – at the same time a proposal to designate North Pacific humpbacks as a single "distinct population segment" is being considered under the Endangered Species Act.

The five populations identified in the study are: Okinawa and the Philippines; a second West Pacific population with unknown breeding grounds; Hawaii, Mexico and Central America.
"Even within these five populations there are nuances," noted Baker, who frequently serves as a member of the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission. "The Mexico population, for example, has 'discrete' sub-populations off the mainland and near the Revillagigedo Islands, but because their genetic differentiation is not that strong, these are not considered 'distinct' populations."
The SPLASH program has used photo identification records to estimate humpback whale populations. The researchers estimate that there are approximately 22,000 humpbacks throughout the North Pacific – about the same as before whaling reduced their numbers. Although recovery strategies have been successful on a broad scale, recovery is variable among different populations.
"Each of the five distinct populations has its own history of exploitation and recovery that would need to be part of an assessment of its status," said Baker, who is a professor of fisheries and wildlife at OSU. "Unlike most terrestrial species, populations of whales within oceans are not isolated by geographic barriers. Instead, migration routes, feeding grounds and breeding areas are thought to be passed down from mother to calf, persisting throughout a lifetime and from one generation to the next.
"We think this fidelity to migratory destinations is cultural, not genetic," he added. "It is this culture that isolates whales, leading to genetic differentiation – and ultimately, the five distinct populations identified in the North Pacific."

I gave a shortened version of my PP presentation to The Rotary Club in Los Barriles the other day (12/11). I focused on the lab project and it was very well received. I thank Steve and Barbara for inviting me to speak. All in all, the lab idea seems to be capturing the interest of a number of people and agencies. CID (Centro Investigacion de Biolojia) for Baja California Sur has shown interest and would be a great agency to work with. At this point I believe that this dream will indeed come true and I am delighted!

Here’s a little something to think about when discussing the issue of cancer and the epidemic that seems to be befalling us.

And here’s something at the extreme opposite end of the scale from the above in terms of human potential.

Two lovely ladies visiting: Nantzy Hensley and Susanna Pepperwood

A couple of reminders:

"A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone"
Stephen King in Duma Key

“Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are."

Since I do not engage in the Christmas Holiday anymore I wish you all instead:

                             Happy Solstice ! 
                   May your lives be full and rich 
                             beyond measure!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sunrise the morning after my return.

It has taken me a while to start this post. All is good - so good that I have hesitated talking about it in order to SAVOR it. My trip to California was the best I have ever experienced (more on that in a bit) - yet I was so very ready to come home. Once home, my energy carried me through a week of further good news and developments resulting in many members of the village commenting on my exuberance. But like all things there was some darkness and that I will share too.

First let me catch you up on some very cool things happening outside my own individual reality.

My son Zack has been doing a Helluva job in being a spokesperson for the anti-GMO movement and the return to a healthy, non cancer inducing food revolution. I am very proud of my son, he has been “in the trenches” all his working life and getting few rewards except the feeling of being a warrior for the light – how well I know that role. Here are some recent radio interviews where he speaks his truth and all of us are benefited.
Zack Kaldveer - Assoc.  media director, OCA - my son!

(after 31 min mark)

Another of Zacks greatest "fans" - his sister Kersti

Last post I put up a pic of the first black woman astronaut – well, here is the first Hispanic one – Dr. Ellen Ochoa, mission specialist on two flights and commander on a third, logging 1000 hrs total in Space. She is now Director of The Johnson Space Center – you do know about that place, yes!

Dr. Ellen Ochoa - astronaut +

My resident spiny tailed iguana “Bub” has been a successful parent once again. I’ve got little “Bubs” darting around all over the place.

 Young Spiny Tailed Iguana

Cool new technology: probably only interesting to a very few but has many GOOD possibilities.



Is this wonderful or what? You will need to watch it on the site below. The ultimate in male/female energy in synch.

Just before leaving for California I hit the reef and was gifted with a number of days of super clear water and the beauty of my “Shangri-La” took my breath away.

A day on the reef

Here are some special examples of “my” Mexico:

I needed to pay my car insurance and was told by the agent that I could pay it at the local Bancomer in Los Barriles. When I tried I was told that it had to be paid by check and with an account at the bank – neither of which I had, I thought cash would be fine, right? It could have turned into a long and complicated process until the bank manager said, “you deposit the money in my account and then I will pay your insurance with my credit card”. Try that in The States!

The local cantina proprietor, Alfonzo in El Cardonal, paid extra money so that I could watch The 49er games on Sundays. He also sets up a lounge chair for me, makes me an Estonian style vodka and parts the crowd at the bar so I have a good straight on shot to the TV. Now there are a group of young bucks that come to join me and root for The Niner’s. When it was still hot, the fans going (it is all outside) and thunder all around, I felt just like Hemmingway.

The other day I went to pick up The Q’s at the airport. As always I was way early. I sat down and a group of Mexican hotel hustlers sat down near me for their lunch. They respectfully asked me about myself (one said, “yeah, you look native” – what a compliment!) and soon I was into a full on lecture about whales, climate change, American bullying etc. Fantastic!!

That same morning I went to The Q’s to make sure all was in order for their return – oops, toilet didn’t work. That would be a bummer, no? I go to my neighbor Jose Martin (it’s Sunday morning) and ask for his help. One hour later and 100 pesos (about $8.50) all is good and I can start my journey to the airport with a calm mind.

Some science stuff:

It appears that the comet that struck the earth 65 million years ago was not the only one. There is now clear evidence that another “tear ass rattler” of a comet hit Egypt around 28 million years ago. Some of the stone from that one has been found in an ancient Egyptian broach.

Discoveries in astronomy continue to be just mind boggling!

They have found a newborn planet drifting all by itself 80 light years from earth – meaning orbiting NO STAR!

"It is going to provide a wonderful view into the inner workings of gas-giant planets like Jupiter shortly after their birth." The astronomers stumbled across it as they sifted through a mountain of data produced by the Pan-STARRS 1 (PS1) wide-field survey telescope on Haleakala, Maui.

Also this: 3,000 extraterrestrial planets now known – conservative estimate – 1 billion HABITABLE planets in our galaxy.

Planets in the "Goldilocks" zone

I said in my last post how The French Foreign Legion was one of my three great interests when I was a boy. Well, I just finished reading a book by Simon Murray titled “Legionaire”. It is the true life journal of a young Englishman from good family who decides at 19 to join the legion and actually does it. He serves for the mandatory 5 years  (begins in 1960) and tells of his life in Morocco, Algiers etc. An incredible read – and convinced me that I may have done as he did but I am quite sure I would have deserted at some point.


Had another nice swim with one of The Hawksbill Turtles on the reef just before I left. No picture this time, just enjoyed the moment. They are such ancient creatures!

Here’s a plug for my whale work, needs to be done.

Soon the east pacific humpback and blue whales will return here to Mexican waters to breed and calve. Many have swum as many as 4000 miles to reach the area of the east cape of Baja Sur and it will be time for me to begin monitoring their identities, numbers and general health. It is also time to request donations to assure the continuation of my work. This will be my 10th season with these whales and the research has resulted in an extension of the marine mammal protected zone, the publication of my book, THE OTHERS “The Whale People” as well as plans to develop a marine laboratory here in El Cardonal. My work has also moved more and more into personal and intimate interaction with these gentle and highly intelligent creatures. If you cannot attend my lecture in Ukiah on the 27th of this month please send your donations to: MioSah, C/O Susan Janssen, 106 Canyon Dr., Ukiah, CA 95482.

I am deeply appreciative of the generous donations that have allowed this work to continue – Gracias!

Urmas Kaldveer

This is why my work continues to be relevant and immediate. If we want to keep our whale friends alive they must be able to migrate along the coast – look what’s happening!


Great Pacific Garbage Patch A Serious Issue - The world's largest garbage dump is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. 3.5 million tons of trash make up what is referred to as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch." The patch, also known as the North Pacific Gyre, spans from California to Japan. If you put all the trash floating here together, it would be twice the size of Texas.

OK – on to my California trip. Can you imagine 13 days of EVERYTHING working out even BETTER than you had hoped!! I won’t cover it all but here are some highlights:

First day Frank Denney and I worked out at the gym, met up with Bill Symon and had lunch at the infamous “Dutch Goose” in Menlo Park. We hung out there as teenagers. Then we went to see a movie and it was like 50 years had simply dissolved. I can’t begin to describe what these guys mean to me – we missed the fourth of our “musketeers”, John Erving – he was in Oregon. As I have said before, we have been great and true friends since 4th grade.

 Bill Symon, Frank Denney and me

Visit with my son Zack in Oakland, watched the new “Star Trek”, 49er’s the next day and then a pleasant visit with my dear friend Jeanne who picked me up and got me to Ukiah. That night I stayed at her home and had the great pleasure of sleeping for a while with her wolf “Bonnie” – an absolute delight!!

DMV next day and – NO LINE AT ALL. Renewed my license and out in a half hour. Stayed with my great and generous friends Leon and Nancy for the next three days and treated to loving care beyond imagining. Saw my old friend Ed Keller which was real special – a really good man.

Worked out the next day at The Redwood Health Club, got a new dive mask, took care of all bank stuff and walked around Ukiah saying hi to some folks.

Took a walk in Montgomery Woods with my dear friend Susan Janssen the next day and we had dinner with Bonnie, Leon and Ed while they told great stories of their Africa trip.

Susan lent me her car the next day so I could visit my brother Peter and wife Julie in Danville. Best visit I ever with my bro and it looks like I’ll be joining them in Yosemite in June to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary – I was his best man. They are most generously treating the whole family to 5 days in the valley. I am really looking forward to this! On top of this Kersti and Zack showed up for lunch and we had a real fun family get together.

 My kids!

That evening I returned to Ukiah and was treated to a visit out to my very special friend’s “Shangri-La” by Blue Lakes. The next day was a day of such glorious enjoyment that my spirit is still vibrating. I had the distinct pleasure of spending three days with her – ENCHANTING!

The next day was my lecture at The Playhouse. Everyone was so very kind and generous with their time especially Laura Rewerts and her husband Richard (Doublewide Productions) and their two great and helpful kids. Now one of the dark parts. Though the lecture went well and I enjoyed every minute of it I felt disappointed in the turnout. I should have, and to a degree was, prepared for it but I have to say in all candor, I was hurt. Laura had done a magnificent job with publicity (papers, radio, e-mails, FB etc) and yet only about 40-45 people showed up. I taught in Ukiah for 35 years, became a part of The Greenfield Ranch Community and always felt a great loyalty to Ukiah. More than 6,000 students passed through my classes at the college – I felt I had done right by every one of them. Yet only 45 people show up? I shared this with my son Zack and he very articulately expressed the same disappointment in his constant struggle to get people motivated to recognize and resist “The Matrix”. It was a great relief and salve to have Zack’s understanding and we commiserated on our similar experiences. Even his best friends do not bother to listen to his radio interviews or come to the events that deal with their health and freedom.

His final words to me were poignant:

"So I feel your pain dad. I'm also glad that you, as I did at the event (an event he put together in San Francisco), and again in an interview yesterday, had the gift of getting into the zone, and not about something trivial, but about something so important, and beautiful. WE're so lucky we get to experience that, very, very unique gift." Thank you Zack!

Please do not think that my resolve to protect “The Whale People” and to get a marine lab up and running in El Cardonal has diminished at all. And for those of you who did attend I am DEEPLY grateful – YOUR energy was real and you acted upon it.

"It is of great use to the sailor to know the length of his line, though he cannot with it fathom all the depths of the ocean." -John Locke

The next day Susan Janssen picked me up and drove me all the way down to San Mateo to be picked up by Frank and taken to the airport the next day. Having the quality time with Susan was great as always and we lucked out by finding a sushi restaurant in San Mateo where we had lunch. We had planned on sushi at Oco Time but never made it – another example of just about everything going right.

The second dark part I found out by e-mail that afternoon. A very, very dear friend was diagnosed with throat cancer. My spirit is with him every moment and I know that he knows I love him.

I arrived back home the next day and was picked up by my friends from San Isidro, Chris and Suzie…..and found an army of ants waiting to do battle after my absence - we are now in full war mode.

Is there a marine biologist here?

Some of the kids at El Cardonal's Secondario 26 

As you can see - all together a fine, fine trip with wonderful memories - but Mexico is now my home. Everyone here in the community has been delighted to see me back and looking so happy. I also received news from professor Caneda that the center for biological investigation (CID) in La Paz is going to be involved in the laboratory – as well as Paraguay and Argentina – go figure!

Oh, if you happen to see this online it is a nice video of mother and calf humpback but is NOT a birth.

And another example of “The Whale People” engaging with humans. This is exactly why I swim with the critters and especially the Orcas.

Keep your energy flowing, open your heart, work on it! We are all in this together.


Friday, October 4, 2013

I’m starting this blog with this pic because of two things: one, it is a very cool pic and
two, it is a new and novel way of looking at reality. That is, giving up space and time as fundamental constituents of nature and figuring out how the Big Bang and cosmological evolution of the universe arose out of pure geometry. Does this not remind one of the great Pythagoras (c. 580-500 BC)? And where did he get his IDEAS – Ancient Egypt of course, the birthplace of arcane knowledge. Check out the article for details.

“I do not need to wait until I am removed from the things around me in the physical world to gain entry into the spirit realm. I already exist and live in the latter much more truly than in the former. Heaven does not lie beyond the grave; it is here already, pervading all of nature, and its light rises in every pure heart.”

Johann Fichte, 19th century German philosopher. This guy is well worth reading.

This is not far off either from some of the ideas shared by one of my very favorite scientist/humanists, CarL Sagan. In 1980 I received a personal hand written letter from Dr. Sagan encouraging me to continue my efforts to present the “other side” of science through my institute, MioSah.

Ah Carl, we could so use you now.

“Science is acquired at great expense, by frequent vigils, by great expenditure of time, by sedulous (dedicated) diligence of labor, by vehement application of mind.”
Alexander Neckam 1200 AD

A bit of levity in my day yesterday – a gecko fell on my head. I was hatless so it was a very tactile experience. It was as surprised as I was. It has certainly been a year for The Reptile People – they are everywhere!
On the 8th of Sept. I went out on a very flat day to The WZ. I enjoyed my usual commune with the Sacred Directions and then started back in. About half way in I heard a blow. Sounded like a whale but I couldn’t be sure. I scanned the horizon behind me and saw to the north what appeared to be a large herd of dolphin coming my way. I figured that’s what I had heard so I turned around and started back for an intercept. As I am paddling strongly to the north I suddenly hear the blow again and no question this time, it's a whale!! It is to the south of me but I am on the right track to intercept it also. It is a big whale and damn, it’s a Blue – HOOHAH! So I start paddling towards the dolphins but am focused on a path that will take me in front of the whale. Before the whale surfaces again I am surrounded by about 100 Bottle Nose dolphin and I can’t decide what to do – dive in with the dolphins and have a certain encounter or stay afloat and wait for the whale. I decide to go in – great swim with lots of dolphins but alas I did miss the next surfacing of the whale. I figure it went north so I continue in that direction until I tire and then head back to my haul out. As I come within a ½ mile of my haul out – foosh – the whale blows just north of me and maybe a ¼ mile away. I paddle like crazy and reach the slick left by his dive and continue in the direction I am sure it is going. After about a mile and no whale I have to give up and as I turn once again to head home it blows, but way east. Oh well – great exercise!

Mother introducing calf to human
No, this is not me but I will say this: THREE TIMES I have been in EXACTLY this situation with a mom/calf pair. This close and/or closer – I even wear a white shirt like his when I dive. When I saw this I thought, “who the hell was in the water that day with me to get this shot”. Well, like I said it’s NOT me but I can say with all respect and honesty – been there!! I add that in all three cases the mother stayed on the other side of the calf from me so that the calf and I had a VERY CLOSE encounter. I was/am honored to have been trusted in this fashion.

On the 11th while swimming my laps over the reef I came across this guy – a Spotted Eagle Ray. They are capable of a strongly toxic sting if they get you with the base of their tail – best to stay clear.

Spotted Eagle Ray, I've only seen a half dozen of these guys - beautiful.

I just finished reading yet another Stephen King book ( I thought I had read them all). Oddly enough it turned out to be his first novel “The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower I”. Enjoyable read but nothing, as expected, compared to his later works. Nonetheless a few quotes from the gunslinger himself:

"The greatest mystery the universe offers is not life but size".

"Only equals speak the truth, friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of regard".

"He was lonely but did not find loneliness a bad or ignoble thing".

9/13: on this day in 1992, Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to travel through space. She served as Mission Specialist aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-47. “Good on ya mate”!! Read “The Help”  - Kathryn Stockett – 2009 for perspective. It is not about Mae and yet it is very much so.

Dr. Mae Jemison

And speaking of space travel, check this out. Homo sapiens has sent it’s message into DEEP SPACE – we are on the road. Believe me when I suggest that it is the height of arrogance to assume we are now going to “f**k up” The Galaxy – don’t panic!!

This is a little closer to home – Hurricane Manuel (9/18) as seen from my bluff as it rolled along the mainland side of The Sea of Cortez heading north. We were gifted with rain and were spared the devastation on the mainland.

Pic taken from the patio of Alex and Leslie Cook, my good neighbors

I also just finished Vol. IV of Durant’s epic series (books not TV) “The Story of Civilization”. It was titled “The Age of faith”. It certainly reinforced my belief that Judeo-Christian-Muslim religions have perpetrated more violence, greed and discord in the world than any other factors combined.

“There are few things in the world as unpopular as the truth.”
“Inquiry is fatal to Certainty”.

Will Durant

Bottom line for me!

Some of you may have an interest in the possible past existence of a large island body that sank in mid Atlantic thousands of years ago. Popularly called “Atlantis” and seen by most as simply myth (not unlike the Judeo-Christian-Muslim myths) but by others as a reasonable conjecture if you have any knowledge of plate tectonics, geography, ancient history, marine archeology and economics. This is an article that may be of interest. Do not pay any attention to the website photo, it is photo shopped but this is worth perusing – after all, you don’t even have to go to the library!

Iceland is taking a quota of 154 Fin Whales this year. Almost all of the body pieces are going to Japan – hard to believe.

On a more positive note check out this photo taken by a new friend, Peter, who studies the North Atlantic humpbacks that breed in the waters of The Dominican Republic. He swims with them too, as is evidenced by this picture!!

He called this shot "Whale Soup" - For other reasons than The Japanese might! Notice how the pectoral fins are white on the upper surface - my Pacific humpbacks have the white on the under surface (not 100% though)

Speaking of breeding, here is a shot of the tracks of a female Hawksbill Sea Turtle coming up the beach in front of my place to lay her eggs. I’m not sure if she was successful but I have done all I can to hide the nest from dogs and poachers. These turtles are “critically endangered”.

A few days before I had come across one on the reef and got these shots – could be the same one.

On the 22nd I was doing my laps over the reef and suddenly a single baby Golden Jack started swimming inches from my mask. It stayed with me for the entire 30 laps and didn’t leave until I climbed back up on my kayak. I love it, “All Creatures great and Small”, eh!

There's the little guy!

It’s a good thing I walk barefoot everywhere. The other day I stepped right on top of a Desert Horned Lizard. If I hadn’t felt it, I would have squished it. My foot came up right away and it scampered off before I could get a picture.

Here’s some news on the astronomy front. When I was very young there were two things that really, really interested me: Egypt and Astronomy.......and The French Foreign Legion, so here’s some interesting stuff.

Future Mars explorers may be able to get all the water they need out of the red dirt beneath their boots, a new study suggests. NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has found that surface soil on the Red Planet contains 2 percent water by weight. That means astronaut pioneers could extract roughly 2 pints (1 liter) of water out of every cubic foot (0.03 cubic meters) of Martian dirt they dig up, scientists said. Having readily available water where ever we go is crucial to success in space, so this is GOOD news.

HISTORY IN THE HEADLINES: This week, NASA released images of the first cloud map of any planet beyond our solar system. The planet, known as Kepler-7b, is one of more than 150 exoplanets discovered by the Kepler telescope, and lies about 1,000 light years away from Earth.

Jupiter on the right, Kepler - 7b on the left

A nearby alien planet six times the size of the Earth is covered with a water-rich atmosphere that includes a strange "plasma form" of water, scientists say. Astronomers have determined that the atmosphere of super-Earth Gliese 1214 b is likely water-rich. However, this exoplanet is no Earth twin. The high temperature and density of the planet give it an atmosphere that differs dramatically from Earth.

I assume the right to add just a few words regarding the state of things. I am personally happier than I have ever been since I was 10 so if the following sounds dark, believe me it’s not because I am distressed – just annoyed, ie: the “shut down” etc.

On the last page of my PhD dissertation (available on my website and focuses on higher education) there is a Calvin and Hobbs cartoon set. I considered it apropos of the intent of that dissertation. Here again is Calvin and Hobbs with a very serious message – once again, apropos!

"The soul of another is a dark forest in which one must tread carefully".
Claude Debussy

And finally – that which will make the difference!!

Hope to see many of you at my Ukiah lecture on Oct. 27th .

This is a ticketed event, check with the Playhouse or Doublewide Productions