Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Reading Karma

I believe there is such a thing as reading karma. If you read widely and whimsically, picking up things that just sound interesting at the time, you will be rewarded when, seemingly out of the blue, something that you wouldn't have known if not for reading that book or article will be needed, either to answer a question or to enhance your understanding of something.

It happens to me all the time.

Most recently, I read an article about the discovery of the deepest known volcanic vent ever discovered. I have an interest in the ocean, especially the deep ocean, and black smokers are incredibly cool. Karma comes in with the arrival of a book called Sea Legs: Tales of a Woman Oceanographer. Imagine my delight upon reading the book to discover that Kathleen Crane was one of the people who discovered the existence of undersea volcanic vents in the first place.

Sea Legs is really episodes from Crane's life: how she came to study oceanography, her education and experiences as a woman in a predominately male field, the importance of oceanography to world climate and environmental health, and the politics and prejudices that make it difficult or even impossible for oceanographers, especially women oceanographers, to do their jobs. Fascinating stuff.

So cast your nets widely, my friends--you never know when a little bit of knowledge will come in handy.

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