My cousin Myron, the fiery headed math-whiz and overall hot-tempered eccentric went to ground about 6 months ago. We’d speak on the phone once or twice a week about this and that. He was keeping his fingers crossed that Sarah Palin might run, and he would relate in some detail how much fun he would have if the ditz did. When I asked him what he was doing, he would only say he was working on a kit.
We finally got together at a Deli on Queens Blvd. that specializes in lean corned beef. Neither Myron nor I are providing location details yet. When Myron said kit, I had pictured a model sailboat, or motorized airplane or perhaps even a harpsichord, but Myron, being Myron, had instead built a Cray supercomputer —most useful for running huge computer codes in fields as arcane as fluid dynamics or climate prediction. Sure enough, Myron had decided to become a climate scientist and to do more than just speculate on the consequences of global warming.
For the next hour or so, Myron lectured on budgets (of momentum, heat and moisture), on something that sounded like scale separation, and on turbulence—a field so difficult it had brought Werner Heisenberg, he of the uncertainly principle, to his knees. Frankly, I hadn’t seen Myron this excited since he discovered a pattern in the post-positions of the winning ponies at Roosevelt Raceway and went on to make a very large amount of money. Myron has not only gotten the Cray up and running, he’s written a complex computer code and started to get tentative results.
“So how is Mother Earth making out?” I asked half jokingly.
“You know how manned space flight has basically ended this year with the retirement of the space shuttle?” he asked.
“Yes,” I responded.
“Real bad timing,” he said, reaching over for my half- eaten potato knish. “Very, very, very bad timing.”