Tuesday, January 8, 2008

who says scientists don't have a sense of humor?

An article in today's New York Times features the issue of glacial melt in Greenland. Snowmelt drains into natural "pipes" which they call moulins (who knows why?), and glaciologists are trying to map this plumbing system with a specially-designed camera. As I read the article at the bus stop, I laughed out loud at this:
Alberto Behar, a NASA engineer who designed the camera, said some unconventional methods were being considered to chart the flow of such water. “We had ideas to send rubber ducks down and see if they pop out in the ocean,” he said. “They’d have a little note saying, ‘Please call this number if you find me.’”
Part of me really wishes that they had tried that first.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

somebody need a proofreader?

Last night at approximately 11:54 pm, Vanessa decided that we should go grocery shopping. She needed milk (it's like her water), among other things. I was not against the idea, since, while watching the debates, I had seen several times a rather convincing commercial for orange juice. And I must admit that my last trip to the grocery store, made while ill and resulting in things like bread, Saltine crackers, and dehydrated noodle soup, had left my cupboards and my diet a bit lacking. Oh wait, that was my second-to-last trip to the grocery store. The last time I got hint of lime Tostitos, salsa con queso dip, and sugary carbonated beverages. Hm, no better.

Albertsons was closed, so we went to Smith's. I had never heard of either of these stores before I moved to Utah, having grown up mostly with Giant (whose long-time former spokeswoman is, incidentally, from Utah) and Safeway. But Smith's was the closest store to my old apartment, and it became something of a dear friend. We saw each other usually around midnight the day a paper was due, when Claire and/or I decided that we needed caffeine and maybe something like lemon bars or goldfish. I had not been to Smith's since I moved to the new place, and it was sort of weird how a grocery store could conjure up so many memories.

Anyway, getting to my point. Smith's was having a great sale on cereal: 8 boxes for $8. (Vanessa loves cereal. Just ask her about Wheat Chex.) So we got 8 boxes between the two of us. But as I read the sign to see which varieties were eligible, I found this:

Um, I'm pretty sure that's not legal in this country.

Just to be safe, we stuck with Cheerios and Chex.

Friday, January 4, 2008

still thinking about this

According to the search database at lds.org, there are only two branches in all of Iceland. Two! Branches! Now, my experience with LDS branches has been hit-and-miss. Granted, I have only ever attended two, but one was a hit, the other a miss. The first was in Riggins, Idaho, home of several whitewater rafting companies and, well, that's about it. A member of the bishopric sported an NRA* tie and the woman who taught the Sunday school lesson used the term "negroes", in all seriousness, and she had lived in Africa for years! She then proceeded to conduct the hymns, gesticulating wildly and exclaiming mid-verse, "I love this song!" I was so amused and bewildered and appalled all at once, and my reaction was nearly-uncontrollable laughter. Anna-Lisa can tell you how I almost lost it more than once. And Christopher could tell you some really crazy stories from that branch. For now we'll move on. A few months ago, I attended the singles' branch in Hyde Park, Chicago. I loved it. Partly I was happy to be visiting Claire that weekend; partly I was excited to be in a city; partly I was relieved that, after several weeks in a juvenile and very irritating BYU ward, my faith in Mormon singles as a group was renewed. It was nice to attend meetings in which real doctrine was the topic, and to meet several intelligent and friendly young people who go to church because they want to be there, not merely to socialize, nor because their neighbors expect them to be outwardly righteous. So, I guess what I am getting at is that, even if one of the branches in Iceland is terrible, odds are the other is great. Okay so maybe my sample size is not large enough to make that kind of extrapolation. Let's look at more data.

According to a Wikipedia article citing the 2006 census, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints make up 0.06% of the population of Iceland, or 176 individuals. There are at least twice that many living in my apartment complex alone. While Iceland is a place that I would still love to visit, maybe for an extended period of time, I am thinking that at this point it would not be the best place for me to live. I feel that, in this stage of my life, it is important to be near lots of good, faithful Mormons in my age group. Why not stay in Provo? you ask. Well, if you have ever lived here, and you did not grow up here (maybe even if you did), you will understand how it gets old. The place has been good to me, but it is about time to move on. Perhaps, like Claire's father suggested, I should try Santiago.

Well, the winter sun has risen over the Wasatch mountains and I am still awake. Maybe now that Vanessa has responsibilities to tend to in the mornings, her nocturnality has transferred to me. Anyway, good night. It is nighttime somewhere, after all.

*I was going to link to the official website but just glancing at it for a few seconds seriously creeped me out. Enter those three letters into your address bar at your own risk.