I’m reporting from the Philadelphia suburbs at the moment and therefore enjoying all the news that’s fit to print in the Philadelphia Inquirer each morning. On a couple of days last week, arenaceous topics hit the front page (at least a diversion from the continuing reports of the imaginative uses of expenses by UK Members of Parliament). First, as I’m sure all readers must be aware, the Phillies are the current baseball World Champions and this is an understandable excuse for all kinds of ongoing celebrations; amongst these is the construction of a massive sand sculpture tribute in Franklin Square which, I’m sure, Ben would have admired.
And the beaches of the Jersey shore are gearing up for the Memorial Day weekend holiday, a kind of rehearsal for the summer season. Preparations include sand "grooming" (an activity that I somehow neglected to include in the book) and the completion of the removal of nearly 2000 military munitions that showed up on the shore after recent rounds of beach nourishment (as the article states, the Army Corps of Engineers “swears it has carted off the last of them” – hope they’re right, since just one missed might disrupt the holiday weekend). There’s a lesson there about beach nourishment and sand budgets (see my 13 May post), and the unpredictable consequences of removing huge volumes of sand from where they are supposed to be.
I’m now heading out to California since the Long Beach Aquarium have kindly invited me to give a talk next week (announcement here) and we’ll be making a bit of a California holiday out of it. Plans include the Kelso and Oceano Dunes and some classic tafoni, as well as continuing research into the relationships between geology and wine. I hope to be able to blog from the road, so bear with me. Meanwhile, if you are at a complete loss for something to do, I recently did an interview for the New England Public Radio station, WICN, which can be listened to at http://wicn.org/audio/inquiry-michael-welland, and then there’s always the Goodschist podClast from a London pub a couple of weeks ago in which several of us conducted a rambling discussion of the K-T extinction which somehow or another rambled its way into creationism. And, for those readers in the UK and Europe, the Oxford University Press edition of the book is due out the beginning of August, but can be pre-ordered from Amazon.co.uk at a 50% discount! It has a different title – there’s a story behind that which I might reveal at a future date…….