My career, and my broad interests in science, were inspired by America’s race to the moon. Between 1961 and 1972, I grew up watching the space missions of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. The astronauts were my heroes and I loved the technology. As a kid, those were magical times and they taught me to believe in the impossible. I’ve been a scientist now for 40 years and it’s hard to underestimate the power of those heady days to inspire my career trajectory.
We once lived in a world where, despite our great prosperity, skies were covered in brown smog, suds came into our sinks, trash carpeted our landscape, and poisons permeated our streets and our foods. But yet, despite insurmountable odds, we changed all of that. Now we are faced with a slow, insidious extermination of many key ecosystems and must take action to stop it.
Most science fiction movies are based loosely on science. Usually, this means they make a few technical or impossible leaps to move the plot forward but generally adhere to the basic laws of science. But in most cases, filmmakers are forgiven for their science-defying sins as long as the story makes up for it. In contrast, Endless Descent (aka The Rift) seems to delight in making so many impossible and incredulous scientific leaps, that they grow to a level of absurdity that transcends the believable.
There is a legend, spawned deep in the mysterious kelp forests of southern California, of the killer abalone. On extremely rare occasions, conditions align with a violation of the abalone code that triggers the rare spawn of the trio of terror in the abalone universe: the red, the black, and their offspring, the pink abalone. So it was during the El Niño of the early 1980s that such an event occurred, much to the detriment of all those involved and future world peace.
Congratulations, you survived one of the most grueling intellectual rites of passage in modern society: you have your Ph.D.! Now what? Well, I’d like to say that the world lays before you, screaming for access to your higher intellect and many talents. But the reality is now you are faced with one of the toughest…
As an undergraduate student at Cal Poly (SLO) in the mid-1970s I was educated in the shadow of the giants before me, Gary and Richard Brusca. My advisor and zoology Professor Dave Montgomery never hesitated to mention the near-miraculous accomplishments of the mythical brothers that preceded us as undergraduate students before getting their PhDs: how they knew this, or studied for that, or memorized thousands of scientific names; feats us mortals would be lucky to even approximate