February 3 2016

As Chicagoans, today, February 3, we are celebrating the anniversary of the creation of the Territory of Illinois in 1908 by the 10th United States Congress. The Territory of Illinois included what is now the State of Illinois and parts of states to the north of us. Illinois didn’t actually become a state until 1818. Chicago itself   has been around a long time, its recorded history began in the late 17th century, but it wasn’t incorporated as a city until 1837.

This morning, we started out to go bird watching in Jackson Park, on the South Side of Chicago. Not too many birds at this time of the  year, but it’s fun to get out and walk around and look for the winter birds anyway. There is a small birding group that goes out every Wednesday morning (well, almost every Wednesday morning, depending on the weather). Departure is from the south end of the parking lots east of the Museum of Science and Industry, at about 7:30 am. All are welcome! And afterwards, we often go over to the Bakery in the 55th Street shopping center for coffee and pastries and conversation.

Another enjoyable activity on Wednesdays in Hyde Park is at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Wednesday is a day of community gathering at the Divinity School, and Wednesday Lunch is a Divinity School tradition started many decades ago.  At noon on Wednesdays when the quarter is in session a delicious vegetarian meal is made in the Swift Hall kitchen by the student chefs and lunch crew.  This is followed by a talk, sometimes on a religion-related topic but not always, and sometimes by a musical performance.  All are welcome (you do not have to be a Divinity School student or faculty or staff to come).  Cost is a modest $5.  Lunches are in the Common room on the first floor of Swift Hall, located in the main Quads with a street address of 1025 E 58th St, Chicago.

For dinner tonight, we had a delicious Indian meal of palak paneer, with creamed spinach and cheese, and beans, and rice. The conversation turned to how potatoes and wheat products are frequently on the menu in the western hemisphere and northern Europe, but rice seems to be by far the predominant starch in much of Asia. And it takes a lot of water to grow rice. But severe water shortages are anticipated in our planet’s future, Accordingly it would seem to be wise to somehow attempt to bring about changes in Asian diet, by switching away from water-intensive rice.

Here’s  a thought for consideration:  Among the toys of today may be the precursors of the inventions and technologies of tomorrow.

I’m still easing into writing a blog. Bear with me!

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Caroline Herzenberg

I'm an old grad from the University of Chicago. Born in New Jersey in 1932 (Wow! That long ago!), grew up in Oklahoma, undergraduate at MIT, University of Chicago PhD physics 1958. Various academic and research positions. I've been retired from Argonne National Laboratory for over a decade now. I haven't been engaged in any recent professional work in physics, but have been exploring other interests during retirement.

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