We were lucky enough to spend a week with Dr. David Sands, a microbiologist and geneticist (if those categories are even appropriate for someone so diverse).Â Almost every day we went out on nature hikes and never made it more than a few hundred yards from the main lodge.Â He would stop at just about any plant, pull it up, and rattle off a million interesting facts about it.Â He constantly had Ethan running to and fro to collect different samples and then enter a Socratic mode, helping him to figure out what everything he found meant.
Dr. Sands also brought several suitcases full of petri dishes and a variety of interesting bacteria that have been the subject of some tests in his lab back in Bozeman.Â Ethan and Dr. Sands did a number of experiments when they weren’t out in the field exploring and discovering.
The first time someone photographs a new phenomenon they get to name it, right? I call this a “Steamtrey”. [edit: on Flickr, someone recommended “Treynado”.] Well this shot took forever to get just right… The weather was perfect for the steam to come off the geothermal area and the wind patterns were even more perfect to whip up the steam into a 30-foot high tornado.
All that red in the foreground is a special bacteria that has formed in the super-heated water.
I didn’t change the colors here!!!! Let’s get that right out of the way. 🙂
I came to visit a friend in Yellowstone National Park over the weekend and for a few days next week. He has a beautiful ranch on the edge of the park in Montana and is inviting up a fairly eclectic group of intellectuals, mostly associated around various Libertarian think-tanks with which I am involved. I know it all sounds a bit heady, but it’s one of my fun academic cerebral diversions.
There are daily and nightly TED-like talks from plant biologists, entrepreneurs, geneticists, paleontologists, artists, and yours truly (who is giving a possibly-in-comparison presentation on humans evolving into a super-organism via online games and social networks).
The picture here was taken on the summer solstice in thin-crusted geothermal hotbed of the Norris Geysers. This particular place was not too far from something called the “whirlygig” (or somesuch).
The various colors are made from two merging rivers, each one with a dramatically different temperature. Different color bacteria live in each temperature of water – the red bacteria was over 160 degrees and the green was below 160. If anyone else was there during this same time, they can confirm the quirky nature of these dual rivers running in the same channel! 🙂