Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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“Hello? Dad? Can I borrow your car?”

Image: Dave Rintoul, 12 June 2008 [larger view].

[Includes slideshow]

After I returned from Manhattan, Kansas, I thought of it as a wonderful, magical place where I would always be able to return, to see birds and photograph lots of native wildlife, to find a warm and safe place with my good friends, Dave and Elizabeth. (I am sure all of you know Dave quite well, since his gorgeous photographs are often featured as the “Image of the Day” on this site.) But while I was preoccupied with my imaginings, I was reminded once again today that things can change, and change dramatically in the blink of an eye.

Last night, a tornado raged through Manhattan, Kansas, trashing Kansas State University and killing two people in that state. Fortunately, my friends, Dave and Elizabeth and all their loved ones are doing fine, although they are shaken up a bit.

But the campus is damaged. Even though the biology building, Ackert Hall, where Dave’s office is located, is just fine, sadly, Bushnell Hall, where most of the ecologists are housed, is seriously damaged [see Dave’s slide show]. Additionally, it appears that the English Building where Elizabeth’s office is located is also damaged (both Dave and Elizabeth are professors at KSU). I recognize most of these buildings because I wandered the campus for a few days, photographing it, while absorbing the cleansing and healing atmosphere of a college campus. The damages to the University campus are estimated between $20-30 million. But not everyone is upset since today’s classes were canceled.

If you would like to help the good people who live in tornado damaged areas throughout the states of Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas, including the “Little Apple” of Manhattan, you can donate to the Salvation Army online or call at 1-800-SAL-ARMY. The Red Cross is providing emergency shelter for those who need it in Riley, Pottawatomie and Jackson counties. If you are a concerned family member seeking information about your loved ones, the Red Cross can help you with their online Safe and Well list or you can call 1-800-RED-CROSS.


  1. #1 thalarctos
    June 12, 2008

    I grew up in Manhattan, and my folks still live there (they’re OK). Thanks for posting the link to the pictures, as I’m still a bit starved for news from there.

  2. #2 deang
    June 12, 2008

    I wonder if it ripped through Konza Prairie there.

  3. #3 grad student
    June 12, 2008

    I’m staying at Konza. Tornado completely missed us here. Didn’t even get hail from this storm. Just torrential rains and muddy roads.

  4. #4 web design company
    June 12, 2008

    Call me a snob, but I find this heading intellectually dishonest. *Nobody* (aside from, perhaps, and ONLY perhaps, people who live in Manhattan, Kansas) thinks of fucking Kansas when they read “Manhattan.” I clicked the link confusedly, since I live in the real Manhattan. Fail.

  5. #5 Anony Mouse
    June 12, 2008

    Glad I moved my stuff out of Manhattan not too long ago. Kansas, by the way, is a third world country. 🙂

  6. #6 Albatrossity
    June 12, 2008

    Call me a snob…

    Snob doesn’t quite cut it. I thinking of something like “provincial git”.

    Have fun in your elitist world.

  7. #7 Forest Strnad
    June 12, 2008

    Thanks for sharing the pictures of what happened at KSU. Glad that Dave R. and family escaped injury. I have a nephew in Manhattan but don’t have a phone number to get in touch with him.

  8. #8 Denise
    June 13, 2008

    For the first poster… thought I’d suggest some links for some local news.
    Topeka Station, but good coverage:
    Pictures hosted by local radio media:
    Local Newspaper photo gallery:

  9. #9 halffull
    June 13, 2008

    Who’s the ‘nad who’s bagging on Kansas because he wasn’t intelligent enough to realize what web page he was going to? Geez, dude, calm down and go harass a cab driver.

  10. #10 Bob O'H
    June 13, 2008

    Any chance of a caption competition has been nixed, because Grrl has already won it.

    Good to hear that David R. and his family are OK.

  11. #11 ptownpurple
    June 13, 2008

    For the neighborhood hit in Manhattan, it was devasting.

    My sibling’s family hundled in the basement while the tornado passed over the neighborhood. They were trying to store items to keep the rain from damaging them through the shattered windows when they were forced to leave in the middle of the night. They felt lucky to have walls after shining their flashlight across what should have been their neighbors’ homes.

    Today they worked with their insurance adjust. to determine what they can save. It will probably be years before they realize everything that was sucked out by that powerful force of nature. Can you imagine looking for something in the next year, only to have the answer probably be, “We lost that in the tornado.”

    Their lives are forever changed. Their children are scared; how will their sense of security ever be restored? The parents realize their neighborhood of kids playing basketball in the street, hanging out in the yards, will probably never be the same. Not everyone will return to rebuild.

    Please be generous to the Salvation Army that is on the scene to help out these victims. Open up your narrow mind that cares about mistakenly reading an article about the Little Apple as you thumb through your photo ablums that you take for granted as being there.

  12. #12 Larry Decker
    June 13, 2008

    The idiot who confused Manhattan KS with New York gives New Yorkers a bad name. I am a New Yorker who also lived in the Little Apple of Kansas. I love them both. My heart goes out to all the victims of yesterdays tornado and I wish you a quick recovery.

  13. #13 Grandmother Linda
    June 13, 2008

    My son and his family live on Sunrise Circle, in Manhattan, Kansas.
    Does anyone know if that area was hit? I can’t reach them by phone.
    Worrying Grandmother

  14. #14 Albatrossity
    June 13, 2008

    I’ve put up a map from Google Earth here.

    Sunrise Circle (marked with an X on the lower right) was many blocks awy from the path of the tornado (roughly marked in red).

    My apologies to those of you who are color-blind 🙂

  15. #15 Worrying Grandmother
    June 13, 2008

    Thank you so much for that map. You are a godsend! I am not so worried now, atall! Thank-you, thank-you!
    Worrying Grandmother

  16. #16 "GrrlScientist"
    June 13, 2008

    are you talking about the image caption, or the title of the entry? cuz i did think of both of them by myself — wow! — so this just goes to show you that i am funny .. occasionally, anyway.

  17. #17 Dennis Kelley
    June 13, 2008

    Thanks for the map, Albatrossity. Looks like my old home at Harry & Todd was pretty close to the path of the storm. Glad I wasn’t there, since it didn’t have a basement. Its been 30 years since I was there, but I always thought Manhattan was an absolutely great place to live. Having also been to the borough of Manhattan in NYC, I’ll take Kansas any day, Toto.

  18. #18 msn nickleri
    June 15, 2008

    My son and his family live on Sunrise Circle, in Manhattan, Kansas.
    Does anyone know if that area was hit? I can’t reach them by phone.

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