first thing i did this morning was ride the motorcycle to PRS in cambridgeport to pick up the new videos. i thought it'd be cold so i had on four layers, but it turned out to be warmer than i expected. i came back home, finished up some code, saved out some projectors, then uploaded everything online for alex, who was building installers at home in rhode island. with my father still nursing his bad back, i'm now my parents' goto guy when it comes to lifting heavy objects, so he came by to pick me up so we could go to costco and the restaurant depot for a supply run.
came evening, i walked over to the harvard natural history museum to attend this lecture:
|october 14, "the origins of life on earth: did it all begin in a warm little pond?" origins exhibition lecture by antonio lazcano. in exploring the deep history of life on earth, hmnh's new origins exhibit prompts questions about the potentially broader relationship between planets and biology. with the absence of a geological record of the environment in which life first arose on earth, a major question exists: how did the interaction between those first simple compounds, some 3.5 billion years ago, eventually evolve into the rna-based system that forms the foundation of what we know today as the earth's biota? prominent astrobiologist antonio lazcano, of the national autonomous university of mexico, will discuss several alternative and even opposing theories for this emergence of life on earth.|
i was surprised to see such a large crowd in attendance, 100+ people, mostly elderly folks (i didn't realize the grey haired demographic were so into astrobiology and the origins of life on earth), with a sprinkling of youngsters who look like graduate students. it was a lecture accompanied by a slide show (running off of a titanium powerbook i noticed). it didn't take very long before i started feeling sleepy, harkening to my dark days of collegiate auditorium seating lectures. there was probably 10-15 minute period where i faded in and out of consciousness, but for whatever reason i got a second wind and woke back up. the lecture was slightly technical, weaving the languages of biology and chemistry and earth science into an entertaining and insightful tapestry of life's origins. i felt very turned on intellectually from being presented with so much infoporn, with words like "deoxyribose nucleic acid" or "heterotrophic metabolism" bandied about or tantalizing flashes of chemical structure diagrams. the speaker, antonio lazcano, has a great sense of humor, which made things more interesting while talking about something as potentially boring as primordial soup.
i came home, finished the rest of my baked chicken, then watched some television, nothing noteworthy (a documentary about napoleon on pbs, must be his birthday or something). my father dropped by after work to deliver some chinese tsongtse, and i showed him the new photogallery tool i installed for him on the cafe's website.