I wish there had been more than one woman’s signature at the bottom of the letter I posted a link to earlier. At least there was you, Linda B. Buck. According to Wikipedia, “She was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Medicine along with Richard Axel, for their work on olfactory receptors.” That’s Richard on the left.

Isn’t that interesting that her work has to do with the sense of smell. It’s a curious, and important sense, isn’t it?  I read two books around the same time that opened my eyes (haha) about our sense of smell:  A Natural History of the Senses, (the chapter about smell is just astounding) and the novel Perfume.

Since then I’ve had a healthy respect for the power of scent.  Every day, before I leave the house, I spritz myself with a cologne that smells exactly like lemons.  It’s not sweet, it really smells like lemons, and for whatever reason this makes me happy.  The smell disappears in about a minute, but going off into my day with a whiff of lemons is like starting the day with an aromatic pep talk.

They Should Be Like Rock Stars

From the Open Letter to the American People, signed by 61 Nobel laureates:  “During the administration of George W. Bush, vital parts of our country’s scientific enterprise have been damaged by stagnant or declining federal support.  The government’s scientific advisory process has been distorted by political considerations. As a result, our once dominant position in the scientific world has been shaken and our prosperity has been placed at risk. We have lost time critical for the development of new ways to provide energy, treat disease, reverse climate change, strengthen our security, and improve our economy.” [Boldface and italics mine] 

This is Charles H. Townes, who was awarded the Nobel in physics  in 1964, “for fundamental work in the field of quantum electronics, which has led to the construction of oscillators and amplifiers based on the maser-laser principle.”  I wanted to put at least one face to that letter.  I chose Townes at random.

He looks like everyone’s 1950’s, distant dad (no offense Townes).  But that was the official photograph, and those were the times.  Here’s a more fun shot from the 1955.  That’s him on the left and James P. Gordon on the right.  They are posing with a maser, which eat people’s brains. There was a lot of controversy that year about awarding the Nobel to an evil scientist, but …  okay, I’m done.

Oh, here’s an interesting fact from Wikipeidia.  “He considers that ‘science and religion [are] quite parallel, much more similar than most people think and that in the long run, they must converge.'”  My, my! I also see a reference to him and SETI.  Another my, my.  Now I want to talk to Dr. Townes.  I’ll bet there are great stories behind every name on that list.

I wish we were all as familiar with the names at the bottom of that letter as we are with names of all the actors on tv, and I say that as someone who LOVES tv.  Nothing wrong with tv.  I’ve been mulling this over for my next book, and it’s all starting to coalesce, although I wish it would coalesce a little faster.  A girl needs to make a living.

I Had Nothing to do With This

I went back to the 99 cent store to look inside and it was out of business.  This is the same one I photographed just a week or so ago.

Plans for the day:  Undecided.  I really want to read the book I was just finishing up (Gateway) but I left it uptown.  Oh.  I think I might be going to the movies today with Jonathan.

I Watched and Holy S**T, I Feel Better

Here are me and Finney, resting easier now. 

I ended up creating a place on Echo so we could all watch and comment on the debates together, and it helped ease my extreme anxiety. I feel a lot better now.  For people whose minds are made up of course, they will love McCain’s condescending “doesn’t understand” refrain, but I think enough people will see it for what it was, and his total lack of graciousness throughout the debate.

Obama, on the other hand, was gracious, polite, informed, and kept on point about the problems and what he would do. McCain spent more time dissing Obama than offering solutions. I would have liked to see more moments like Obama’s response about the bracelet, and his response to the liberal comment, but those were great, and at moments he soared, especially towards the end.

So yes, Obama could have done better, and I’m sure he will now. I feel a lot less anxious about the second debate.  We were coming up with responses to all the “don’t understand” comments, and I liked one person’s suggestion of, “I understand very well, but I disagree.”  With how you just characterized, etc.  

Speaking of “characterized,” I think that was the word Sarah Palin was shooting for, not caricature.