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I was assigned to clear out a bunch of old paper from the lab, including some of my advisor’s teaching notes from the late 90s. I couldn’t resist decorating my window with these transparencies of the carbon and nitrogen cycles, but the building administrators really don’t like tape on the windows, so I got creative with the other contents of the file drawer.

TomorrowSoon: Photos of mid-80s scientific equipment catalogs.

Where I’ve been

Via approximately everybody on Facebook: here’s a map of the states & provinces I’ve lived in (green), know well (blue), have visited (amber), have passed through (red), or have never knowingly set foot in (white).

I defined everything conservatively: MN, NY, and VA are all blue. I grew up on the Minnesota border and couldn’t count the number of days and nights I’ve spent there, but it was never home. I lived in VA and NY for one summer each, but only saw about as many sights in each summer as I’d now see in a week of vacation.

States and provinces Chris Black has visited, as of November 2013.

Next, of course, you’ll want to make your own.

Kale and chard leaves in water, showing a silver color from the reflective hydophobic interface

When you wash a fresh kale leaf, the epicuticular waxes on the underside make a smooth hydrophobic interface with the water, which reflects light in a kind of dancing, fast-changing way that makes it look silver and is also very hard to photograph.

This is one of my favorite colors.

Vote of Confidence

I work in a fishbowl: My desk is right next to a glass wall that separates the lab from the hallway. Every week or two I look up to find some gaggle of visiting dignitaries scrutinizing the back my head as they get the We’ll Just Walk By The Lab tour.

Today I quit for lunch, turned around, and found my advisor sitting on the hall bench right next to my desk. He was ignoring me and looking at his phone, but sitting in the exact spot that has the best view of my screen.

I stepped into the hallway. “Watching me work, are you?”

My advisor didn’t even look up from his phone. “No way, dude. That’s like watching paint dry.”