That Breezy Feeling

There are more three dozen offshore wind farms in the world, many with the potential of producing more than 200 megawatts of electricity. Most are in the United Kingdom and Germany. One is in the United States.

Located a few miles south of Rhode Island, the Block Island Wind Farm is pretty modest. Its five turbines have the nominal capacity of 30 megawatts — enough to power all of Block Island, which has begun decommissioning its diesel generators.

A few weeks ago, I traveled with almost two dozen other journalists to the wind farm to learn more about the project and to see the monster turbines up close.

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Student Life

Who knew a fellowship could keep a person so busy? When I re-started this blog, I thought I’d easily be able to post several times a week. And at first I could.

Then classes started.

Technically, as an auditor, I’m not required to do the homework (or “problem sets” as it’s called here), take quizzes, or tests. I suppose I don’t even have to do the readings or show up, but then what would be the point of “taking” the class?

But as a matter of course, I do do the problem sets. I read the material. I attend class. And as a result, I’ve been way busier than I expected. (To be clear, I’m not a masochist. I’m not taking the quizzes or tests.) And I’m doing this for the five or so classes I’m currently taking. Mostly.

Here’s a quick rundown of each course and what I’ve taken away so far: Continue reading

Class Shopping and Hallway Wandering

At Harvard, you don’t just sign up for classes. You shop for them. Indeed, the first week of the semester is actually known as “shopping period,” where you can drop in and out of classes as wish and ask (to yourself), “Is this topic interesting?” “Is the professor engaging?” “Can I get up this early?” If the answers are yes, you sign up. No? Keep looking.

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Catching Wind with Audio Storytelling

Radio pros make it seem so easy. Their voices sound confident and friendly — like a buddy telling you about his or her day. After spending a weekend learning what they’ve mastered, I’m reminded that when someone makes something looks easy, it’s usually because they’re pros, not because it really is that simple.

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Down Time

Following our visit to Salem, the fellows had enjoyed a week “off” before we reunited for a three-day audio storytelling class. For most of us, the open days gave us time to take care of personal business — registering cars, unpacking apartments, etc. It also meant free time, which I used to take sailing lessons at MIT and visit friends in Maine. Continue reading

Sun (and then none) in the Salem Seaport

One of the first things Cyn noticed when we got to Boston was the sound of sea gulls. “Oh, I’ve missed them,” she’d say every time one would holler overhead. D.C., of course, is too far inland to have a steady supply of gulls (though I think several have followed boats back to the downtown marina) and circle over the fish boats.

Still, being on the sea means gulls are regularly in the area. Never more so than on our trip to Salem.

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Taking It In

Life is full of paradoxes. The more afraid you are of death, the less you’ll be able to enjoy life. The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know. The more time you have, the less you’re able to blog.

Ok, that last one might not be true, but that’s how the past week has felt. After meeting the other fellows, our schedule has been jam-packed with activities both fun and bureaucratic.

The fun started with a tour of MIT. Like many large urban research institutions, MIT’s campus sprawls through town. Its buildings represent an eclectic assortment of brutalist, avant-garde, modern, and classic architecture styles.  Continue reading

Ready, Set, MIT

This post is, in a sense, seven months late. Were I more transparent and possessed better writing habits, I would have written in January about the process of applying for journalism fellowships. That would have followed in March and April with posts about interviewing in Ann Arbor, Cambridge, and via Skype for said fellowships. And this space certainly would have featured a post on my birthday in May about receiving one of them (much to my shock and delight). Continue reading