Exploring the World from the American West
Science, Nature, and History
The Native Trees of Colorado A guide to all native trees of Colorado, with details for easy identification.
History of the Early West:
Reader's Guide to Early Western Explorers
Biscuits, Crackers, and Hard Tack in Early America; The Journal of the Early Americas, January 2011.
Meriwether Lewis's Lead Powder Canisters; The Journal of the Early Americas, August 2012.
Good Recent Geology Books Recent years have seen many excellent non-fiction books about the physical sciences. Here are a few about Earth history.
Designing a Sundial for Clock Time. How you can design a sundial for any location, which gives clock time correct to a minute or two.
A Simple Brick Bake Oven for wood-fired baking.
How to Dress a Turtle: Sources of Information about Colonial American Cooking; September 2014.
Iron-gall ink and Quill Pens: Sources for Colonial & British Writing, up to about 1820: Pens, Ink, and Penmanship; September 2014.
Reader's Guide to Ancient Egypt (to 1995)
Construction of Egyptian Old Kingdom Pyramids. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 1996, volume 6, issue 1, pp. 150-163.
In the 1990s archaeologists and engineers finally gained a basic understanding of how the ancient Egyptian pyramids were built. This is one key report.
The Design of Jules Verne's Submarine Nautilus 2011; published in Extraordinary Voyages, vol. 19, no. 3, June 2013, pp. 1-24; an artist's impression of the Nautilus.
The Boats of Swallows and Amazons: traditional sailing dinghies.
Designing and Managing Successful Projects An overview of some simple principles to help attain success designing and implementing new projects.
Photographer Wier a 19th Century Photographer in the 21st Century
Using Numerical Model Output to Provide Initial Forecasts of Surface Weather (1996)
Quality of Model-based Initial Forecasts: Comparisons to Observations (1998)
The three items above are about my work on using numerical forecast model output to generate values for surface forecasts. This created the initial concepts for what became the NWS computer-generated 'point' weather forecasts online, at any latitude-longitude location, such as the Yellowstone National Park weather forecast.
Weather and Forecasts Online by the National Weather Service and other agencies: Boulder, Colorado, and U.S. weather and forecasts
How did the world we see around us come to be? And how does the world work? Both the natural world and the man-made world. To experience the beauty of the world, and the very best of human creations regardless of age or provenance. With an inclination to adventure and the adventurous in human endeavor, such as sailing and exploration, which aid those other goals about understanding the world and seeing its natural beauty. And with an inherited tendency to design things and create things and build things.
Such are my interests and my motivations. (Who wouldn't care about these things?) Such is how to understand my activities. This is an answer to the question "What do you do?" This is an answer to the question, not "what do you do for a living," but "what do you do with living?"
Like others I have a job, and I am a high school graduate. I had other academic experiences, long ago. I studied the physical sciences; it might have been biological sciences. But I do not define myself by a high school, or by a job title, or by having done time at some university or other. I am happy to say I attended the excellent Wooden Boat School in Maine during two summers. You can say I am a graduate of the Wooden Boat School.
I have done some interesting things. My family has turned out very well, but I can only take perhaps a little credit for that and I thank them greatly. I excavated the grave of a high Saxon nobleman in England. I have contributed to understanding the pyramids of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, my work which shall last the longest. I initiated the first experimental programming to make "point" public weather forecasts from numerical weather prediction model output files, which led to the point forecast tools in the National Weather Service web pages today. I have designed two sail cruising yachts and a day sailer, and built the day sailer. I restored one of Pete Culler's "good little skiffs." I can make good biscuits, and cheese souffle. Ici on parle un peu Francais. I know my way around a few cities and museums in Europe and the US, and I can drive on the wrong side of the road with standard shift. I can recognize and name all the native trees of the southern Rocky Mountains, and know something about the geology there, tho' western geology alone is a life-long dedicated vocation. I have given paid history talks from Washington to Indiana. I like to make photographs, and to write. I have published several papers in history journals, including the Cambridge Archaeological Journal, and I write articles about historical and scientific topics and post some of them on my web site. I can hum the tunes from that infernal nonsense Pinafore.
As for work, I started by making a hash of the career I trained for, being too immature then, and not being smart enough and not driven enough by common ambitions, ever. Since then I worked as a programmer in weather data for 17 years, and in solid earth geophysics for the past 10 years. The sum 27 does not account for everything.
Whom do I admire? Theodore Roosevelt. David McCullogh. James Gurney. James Stewart. John Gardner, possibly a relative. Kenneth Clark. Combine a little of all those to get a small sense of whom I aspire to become. And many others.
What are my "goals?" Duke Ellington had the best answer to that question. Less amusingly, for me there are two books I want to write, one about a narrow, technical topic, and the other in popular philosophy, not counting several other book ideas I will not bother with now. And I really want to make ten or more good large canvases of western scenery. And some travel and boating. And get most of the big chores done at home. And always try to act cheerful. Oh yes, play the washboard in a jug band. And dance the Charleston.
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