Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Real Thanksgiving

First, I worked. Yeah, I know what you are thinking: no, they do not in fact celebrate Thanksgiving in France. My friend Evan said, "Yeah, they don't thank people here. They just go on strike." I find this to be true.

I taught a couple of classes, and both went spectacularly well, actually. First one was with the bike activity, and they stuck around after class (during their lunch period!!!) to talk to me about bikes and how awesome Michelin tires are. The second one I taught English expressions to, and they did really well with it. I took a long nap in between these classes, since one was in the morning and one late in the afternoon.

I was supposed to teach our newly formed "International Club" about Thanksgiving, but no students showed. Instead, Evan and I taught the Spanish and German assistants about the treatment of Native Americans in the United States, from Thanksgiving, through the Trail of Tears, and the Dawes Act of 1948, to the shitty conditions on reservations today.

I consider this a patriotic act, telling them that though the history of our country is tainted with stealing land and enslaving people, the ideals that we hold to today aren't half-bad. I gave thanks, in a way, for the way my country has turned out, even if it still isn't perfect.

During the rest of the evening I made some stir-fry, talked to most of my family on the phone, and consumed a bottle of wine. During the consumption of this wine I read articles on white dwarf planets and neutrinos, and worked on an article on the surface age of Triton which should hopefully be up on UT sometime soon (though I will be sure to thoroughly edit it before submitting it).

Speaking of wine and astrophysics, if you want to hear just how informative and clear a description of an otherwise difficult astrophysical topic can be when the person explaining is pretty drunk, check out the last 6 minutes of the podcast Skepticality for October 3rd, 2007. In it, Dr. Pamela Gay of Star Stryder and Astronomy Cast fame – two of my favorite sources of astronomy news – drunkenly describes how we have come to understand Dark Matter. It's hawesome, to say the least, and to hear her say, "We can map gravitational effects of CRAP WE CAN'T SEE," really gets to the heart, in a very direct way, of how we have come to understand Dark Matter as it stands today.

1 comment:

Robert said...

FOR THE RECORD I finally listened to the podcast because I do in fact hang on your every word. The first part about the basic cable parascience show was interesting but I would have much rather have had a whole hour of drunken Pamela Gay. Still, that was a very good piece of audio production!