The Hawks Down the Street

A family of hawks move in down the street. They’re a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

Here’s the link to the flickr gallery:

Here’s mom and dad:


And here’s the nest’s raison d’etre in the early fuzz-ball stage:


Two weeks later, it’s just about done getting rid of the baby feathers and is stretching its wings:


And a week later it’s even more mature looking and making tentative flights. Here it is getting ready to fly:


And after landing in a nearby tree, it take a well-deserved rest:



An open letter to Chuck Schumer

Dear Senator Schumer,

I am profoundly disappointed in your statement rejecting the agreement that President Obama and other world leaders negotiated with Iran on their nuclear capabilities. I understand that the deal is flawed. But I believe your alternative is still more flawed. The US can not unilaterally strengthen sanctions in a meaningful way; do you believe it will be possible to work with with other countries to strengthen sanctions if we single-handedly scupper the agreement in question? Undercutting this agreement even has the potential to weaken international resolve to maintain sanctions at current levels. It certainly diminishes our claims to leadership.

In sum, I fear that if the deal is rejected, it will compromise our security, the security of Israel and our global leadership. It is hard to see how I would be able to continue supporting you should your statement lead to this outcome. Your decision saddens me greatly.

Stupid is as Ted Cruz does

Tamino delivers another fine take down, this time of Ted Cruz and his dishonest/ignorant (you pick) climate denial.

Open Mind

Ted Cruz denies that global warming is even happening.

Appearing on “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” Cruz had this to say:

Many of the alarmists on global warming, they’ve got a problem because the science doesn’t back them up. In particular, satellite data demonstrate for the last 17 years, there’s been zero warming.”

— Ted Cruz on Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 in an interview on “Late Night with Seth Meyers”

Cruz was criticized by California governor Jerry Brown for denying scientific reality. On Sunday Cruz said that “global warming alarmists” like Brown “ridicule and insult anyone who actually looks at the real data.”

Let’s look at the real data.

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A Ramble through Ramen

Tonkotsu ramen at Zutto

I just discovered ramen. Or maybe I should say that I just discovered GOOD ramen. I’d had it before, but was unimpressed: too salty, not very interesting… meh. But what a difference quality makes. My first taste was at Zutto (not one of the marquee ramen properties in NYC, but delicious none-the-less). I had their Tonkotsu (“pork bone”) ramen, which had a rich, but not cloying, broth. The richness of the broth (and the meaty chunks of pork) was well balanced with pickled ginger and scallions. Oh, and a nice amount of wood-ear mushrooms finished it off very nicely. I’ve been there twice (largely a function of its proximity to my usual stomping grounds) and enjoyed it both times.

But that was just the start. Since then, I’ve tried four more places – two in Manhattan and two in Brooklyn. Three of them ARE some of the hotter ramen establishments in the city: Ivan Ramen (Lower East Side), Ippudo (East Village) and chuko ramen (Prospect Heights, Brooklyn). I think chuko was my

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Surface Temperature “Hiatus” Brings No Respite from Global Warming

Wouldn’t it be nice if the “hiatus” we’ve seen in surface temperatures really DID suggest that global warming was not going to be so bad? Imagine that we were not facing rising sea levels, disruptions of our accustomed rainfall patterns (with a high likelihood of devastating impacts to food production) and expanding ranges for unpleasant pests and diseases. What a relief that would be, especially for the scientists who have been so concerned about the impacts of global warming.

But alas, it is not to be. Not only is the “hiatus” not as pronounced as it has been reported to be, but the research indicates Continue reading

The Books of Amitav Ghosh

I just finished Amitav Ghosh’s River of Smoke. Wow. What a book! It’s the second of three books in the Ibis trilogy. The first, Sea of Poppies was every bit as good. And I eagerly await the publication of the third book, Flood of Fire – due in August 2015. Our excellent local, indie bookseller, Greenlight Bookstore, has had readings and signings by Mr. Ghosh for the previous books. I’ll keep an eye out for a repeat performance. (I have the 2nd book signed, if he comes back I’ll get numbers one and two!)

But about the books… they follow a fascinating cast of characters brought together on the decks and in the hold of the Ibis, a merchantman originally intended for the heroin trade but refitted during a lull in the market for transporting “coolies” from Continue reading

Watch this space

If this goes as planned, I will be sharing dribs, drabs and the occasional torrent of the things that interest me. The topics will range widely, as I do. Expect books (especially science fiction in many genres), food, climate change, photography, travel, cleantech  and whatever other topics catch my attention.

As the name suggests, I am an enthusiast. But my enthusiasms are so varied that I can hardly grant them the attention of the true enthusiast. I am at best a casual enthusiast.

I hope you enjoy this project of mine and maybe even find it useful or educational.


Martin, the Casual Enthusiast