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So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

The Profile

Age. 37
Gender. Female
Ethnicity. that of my father and his father before him
Location Altadena, CA
School. Other
» More info.
The World

The Link To Zanzibar's Past
This is my page in the beloved art community that my sister got me into:


Extra points for people who know what Samarinda is.
The Phases of the Moon Module
Croc Hunter/Combat Wombat
My hero(s)
Only My Favorite Baseball Player EVER

Aw, Larry Walker, how I loved thee.
The Schedule
M: Science and Exploration
T: Cook a nice dinner
Th: Parties, movies, dinners
F: Picnics, the Louvre
S: Read books, go for walks, PARKOUR
Su: Philosophy, Religion
The Reading List
This list starts Summer 2006
A Crocodile on the Sandbank
Looking Backwards
Wild Swans
Tales of the Alhambra (in progress)
Dark Lord of Derkholm
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
The Lost Years of Merlin
Harry Potter a l'ecole des sorciers (in progress)
Atlas Shrugged (in progress)
A Long Way Gone (story of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone- met the author! w00t!)
The Eye of the World: Book One of the Wheel of Time
From Magma to Tephra (in progress)
Lady Chatterley's Lover
Harry Potter 7
The No. 1 Lady's Detective Agency
Introduction to Planetary Volcanism
A Child Called "It"
Is Multi-Culturalism Bad for Women?
Americans in Southeast Asia: Roots of Commitment (in progress)
What's So Great About Christianity?
Aeolian Geomorphology
Aeolian Dust and Dust Deposits
The City of Ember
The People of Sparks
Cube Route
When I was in Cuba, I was a German Shepard
The Golden Compass
Clan of the Cave Bear
The 9/11 Commission Report (2nd time through, graphic novel format this time, ip)
The Incredible Shrinking Man
New Moon
Breaking Dawn
Armageddon's Children
The Elves of Cintra
The Gypsy Morph
Animorphs #23: The Pretender
Animorphs #25: The Extreme
Animorphs #26: The Attack
Crucial Conversations
A Journey to the Center of the Earth
A Great and Terrible Beauty
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Dandelion Wine
To Sir, With Love
London Calling
Watership Down
The Invisible
Alice in Wonderland
Through the Looking Glass
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Host
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Shadows and Strongholds
The Jungle Book
Beatrice and Virgil
The Help
Zion Andrews
The Unit
Quantum Brain
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
No One Ever Told Us We Were Defeated
Memento Nora
The Name of the Wind
The Terror
Tao Te Ching
What Paul Meant
Lao Tzu and Taoism
Libyan Sands
Sand and Sandstones
Lost Christianites: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
The Science of God
Calculating God
Great Contemporaries, by Winston Churchill
City of Bones
Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne
Stranger in a Strange Land
The Old Man and the Sea
Flowers for Algernon
Au Bonheur des Ogres
The Martian
The Road to Serfdom
De La Terre � la Lune (ip)
In the Light of What We Know
Devil in the White City
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Red Mars
How to Be a Good Wife
A Mote in God's Eye
A Gentleman in Russia
The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism
Seneca: Letters from a Stoic
The Juanes Module

Juanes just needed his own mod. Who can disagree.
Proposals of the Future
Thursday. 1.7.21 8:56 pm
Right now we are writing a couple of proposals, and hopefully at least one of them will be funded.

One involves going to Mexico to take images of a volcanic cone with a spectrometer. Apparently the closest town is a beachside town right on the Gulf of California. (Heck yeah)

The second one involves returning to our field site in the Argentinian altiplano and bringing a big meteorology station and time-lapse cameras to watch the landscape change in response to the wind.

The third would be a modeling task using a global climate model to simulate the effect of a large volcanic eruption on the modern Martian climate.

Writing a proposal is kind of like a formalized process of saying what you would do if you win the lotto. The chances of winning are higher, but as a trade off you have to actually do something that the sponsor finds useful. I hope they'll find some of these things useful!

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How Science Works
Thursday. 1.7.21 1:03 am
About a year ago, I reviewed a paper from a hotel in Argentina right before I deployed to the field. At first I thought the paper sounded good, and I wrote back that I had a few questions about things but that otherwise it looked publishable. I also pointed out that if the findings were actually true, it was even more important than the authors had even said, because it could explain two recent extraordinary findings that had come out of the same region.

Unfortunately (for the authors) I read the paper again much more carefully when I got it back, and realized that they were wrong about their central observation. The way that they interpreted some low-resolution data was valid, but high-resolution data of that area existed which they had failed to look at or include in their manuscript, which showed quite clearly that they were wrong in their original interpretation.

I spent a LONG time refuting their work. I provided figures, I did analyses... I practically wrote a "counter paper" to what they had written proving them wrong. Due to my hard work (all done in my free time), the journal rejected the paper, and I got an award from the journal for "excellence in reviewing".

But a few weeks ago, what should I find online? They had submitted their paper to another journal, and less careful reviewers had just accepted it. They had included my original suggestions that it explained the other sensational features of the region, thereby increasing its impact. It was splashed across the news, from space.com all the way to the New York Times.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how science works.

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Ron Paulbo
Monday. 1.4.21 2:55 am
A while back when the government shut down, the government was trying to make everything as painful as possible for everyone involved so they shut down the national parks and forests. In the mountains nearby my house, this basically meant stopping cleaning up trash and cleaning the toilets.

As a citizen, I felt that it was my duty to help by helping clean the trails myself, and I soon found a group of Libertarians that shared my view and had organized an event around this theme.

After meeting up with this group of strangers, we walked the trail and cleaned up as much litter as we could, finally ending up at the bathroom. None of the Libertarians could stand the smell of the bathroom and decided that, given that they were volunteers after all, they would skip them (hence proving in miniature that a society run by Libertarian volunteers wouldn't actually work and paid state employees were actually necessary).

The best part of the day was when one of the volunteers misheard my dog's name as "Ron Paulbo" instead of "Juan Pablo". They thought that this name for a dog was so hilarious and apt that I didn't have the heart to tell them it wasn't really his name.

In the end, I cleaned the bathroom by myself.

"Ask not what your country can do for you," after all... "ask what you can do for you country" (even if the answer is cleaning toilets).

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Sunday. 1.3.21 6:42 am
I think I will make a resolution to write in here every day this year. How hard could it be?

Today I messed around with some software to try to download an image mosaic the Chinese made of our lunar crater mission target near the south pole. The Chinese data is actually amazing. They are getting pretty great at Moon missions. In early December they returned samples from the Moon robotically--- something that's been done by only one country before (USSR), and not since the mid-70s.

Later this year they're supposed to land a rover on Mars. Nobody except for the USA has ever successfully landed on Mars. (We have done it 8 times and we'll be trying for our 9th in February).

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Moon Wave
Sunday. 12.6.20 7:00 am
I started on a new Moon mission. This mission is called Moon Wave, and the principal investigator is one of my best friends. I am her deputy principal investigator. It is pretty fun working with someone so smart. It's also fun to be in the deputy position instead of the head position this time.

I'm trying to be for her what I'd wished someone would have been for me during my Moon mission push-up.

This proposal is less intense-- just 25 pages and due at the beginning of February.

The mission is meant to land in Schrodinger Basin, one of the youngest large basins on the Moon. It is close to the south pole on the far side of the Moon. Our mission is called Moon Wave in homage to Schrodinger's famous wave equation. Our instrument suite uses electromagnetic waves, in the form of spectrometers, to investigate the deep layers of the Moon's crust that are exposed in Schrodinger's central peak ring. We'll also be looking for little permanent microshadows that could shelter water ice deposits.

If our proposal gets selected, they'll let us know in May, and we'd fly to the Moon in 2024. It's a ridiculously short development cycle, but rather exciting.

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Don't Miss Your Life
Saturday. 11.28.20 6:19 am
So the guy, Ben, from a couple of entries ago... we got married!
We've been married for almost two months now. We're practically old-ly weds. Best decision I've ever made.

In other news, recently I started thinking about how I never have time anymore for all of the things I used to do, like write on this site, or think of weird stories about dragons or what-have-you. I guess I sort of figured that now that I'd grown up and gotten a job at NASA and everything that I was just too busy exploring the universe and organizing people and going places to do all of the more 'introspective' things I used to do.

But the more I thought about it, I started to realize that I had effectively no free time to do anything I used to do, including writing, drawing, reading... thinking....?

And it had nothing to do with my schedule, or my workload. I used to be insanely busy when I was in high school and college, too.

It had to do with social media.

I used to do all of the above-mentioned activities when I was bored, and ever since Facebook came along, I never got the opportunity to get bored. I was entertained 100% of the time. Waiting in line at the airport... in a meeting... riding in a car....
In many ways, my life improved because of it. I'm rarely ever impatient anymore, because while I'm 100% entertained, the minutes slip by unnoticed. I don't mind being kept waiting. Neither does anyone else. Our cell phone are our pacifiers, and by them we are easily pacified.

Thus far I'd seen social media through that lens--- it was a waste of time, but it passed the normally wasted time more pleasantly.

But I realized recently how much of my not-normally wasted time it was wasting. I would come out of the grocery store and check my phone before going home and an HOUR would disappear, the sun would set, my frozen goods would start melting, and finally I would snap out of it and head home, just to get buried in it once I was home.

My phone was like that scarecrow in Zelda's Majora's Mask who would talk you and cause the time to pass--- horrifyingly quickly. Your whole life could slip by you that way.

So I've been trying to detox myself a little bit. I gave up 9gag cold turkey. That place had always been a mix of toxic and funny, leaning ever more toxic and less funny over the years. Facebook is a harder addiction to kick, and I haven't kicked it completely. But I've been letting myself get bored. I watch my mind wander from my tasks and I catch it by the back of its shirt just as it attempts to exit to social media.

And what do you know--- my boredom has brought me back here.
It's nice to be back.

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Miami is Freezing
Saturday. 12.7.19 6:59 pm
I am in the Miami airport for an extremely long layover (7 am to 3:45 pm). I had planned to get a bunch of work done, but it turned out that the airport is ABSOLUTELY FREEZING, and I can barely animate my fingers to type. So I bought an expensive cardigan and a scarf, and I am wearing the knit bag that came with the cardigan as a hat. Apparently I would have learned this fact about the Miami airport if I had read the report on SleepinginAirports.net, the world's most reliable source of airport information.

Miami, of all places. Freezing. The one time I decide to put my winter jacket in my checked luggage because I am flying through Miami.

I am on my way down to Salta, Argentina, for some geological field work in the high altitudes of the Andes. My next destination on the way to Salta is Lima, Peru, where apparently people tend to get their cameras stolen out of their checked luggage in transit, which is why I decided to carry on all of my cameras and check my coat.

All travel-related problems aside, I am looking forward to relaxing in the timeless summer days of snow-white Land of the Yardangs, the most peaceful place on Earth.

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Contemporary Zanzibar
Thursday. 4.11.19 8:11 am
On Sunday Ben and I went to the Huntington Gardens, a beautiful botanical garden with plants from all over the world. We strolled around in the garden and admired everything, and then we lay on the grass in the shade of a tall skinny palm tree. Every few minutes the shade of the palm tree would move on, leaving us in the sun again, and we'd have to roll over a few times to catch up. Mostly we just lay in the grass and stared into each others' eyes. Younger Zanzibar would have considered such an activity to be a useless waste of time, but contemporary Zanzibar found it to be exceedingly worthwhile.

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