Thursday, October 29, 2009

Small World

Now and then you cross paths with someone from a long time ago.

That happened to me a lot this past weekend, but you expect it at a high school reunion. I didn't expect to see NPR interviewing one of my favorite teachers from college:

SARAH GARDNER: Well, laugh all you want, Sam, but old, dead tree stumps are actually clues to climate past. Listen to this:

SCOTT STINE: These stumps tell us that California is capable of experiencing droughts more profound and more persistent than anything that we've seen during the last 150 years.

GARDNER: Now, that's paleoclimatologist Scott Stine. He looks at past climate to help figure out future climate. And scientists are really interested in this kind of work because, if they can understand climate shifts in the past, the hope is that that will help them more accurately project what may be in store for us this time around.

Scott was a lecturer in Environmental Science when I was an undergrad at UC Berkeley. His class on Bay Area Environments was memorable for many reasons, not least of which was Scott himself. He was like a walking encyclopedia of natural history for the area, and it's nice to see that his ongoing research on Mono Lake and other places is still paying off for him.

Check out the slide show linked from the NPR page. Hearing Scott's narration was fun, and it brought back lots of memories from taking his classes. Coincidentally, I had been talking about Scott this weekend with one of my high school friends who also took his class in college. Small world, indeed!

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