The Intersection

Cornell Road Report

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In essence, it went like this: Getting to and from Ithaca was a !!%$^# nightmare.

But once I got there, the talk went extremely well.

I won’t bother you with all the details about how my flight to Ithaca from LaGuardia, and my back-up flight to Syracuse, were both canceled. About how I then decided to rent a car and drive the 234 miles between New York City and the Cornell Campus. About how I met a vicious snow storm/flurry along I-81 N somewhere in the Poconos between Scranton and Binghamton that forced me off the road–I couldn’t see two inches in front of me. About how I then found a Holiday Inn, walked through the door and said, “Where am I?”

“Gibson, Pennsylvania,” was the answer, and man did it suck. On my way to deliver my first talk about weather, weather had seriously whupped my butt.

Nevertheless, I managed to get to Cornell the next morning, once the roads had been cleared. I met with lots of folks and then delivered my new talk for the first time, to an audience whose size amazed me. I didn’t know what to expect, really. I’d long since learned that the “war on science” could be a sexy topic, but hurricanes and global warming on a freezing day in upstate New York…that’s a subject whose popularity I wouldn’t have bet on.

Nevertheless, the seminar room kept filling until all the seats were taken and people were arrayed on the floor in neat rows. There were over 100 present, we estimate. I couldn’t move much near the podium lest I step on someone.

I have decided not to make an online version of the talk itself available yet, for a variety of reasons (logistical included). However, suffice it to say that the audience a) laughed (including when I didn’t expect them to); b) learned something about hurricanes; and then c) launched a long discussion about how scientists can better communicate their findings in politically fraught areas. Smart questions abounded. Some comments on the blog give a sense of what was said.

I was thrilled by the opportunity to deliver this first presentation about Storm World and gratified by the reception. Again, I’d like to thank the Cornell Department of Communication, as well as the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, the Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, and the Ethical, Legal, & Social Issues focus area of New Life Sciences Initiative.

And then, I headed to the Ithaca airport where my flight was delayed, causing me to miss my connection….

Comments

  1. #1 ivy privy
    January 27, 2007

    In essence, it went like this: Getting to and from Ithaca was a !!%$^# nightmare.

    Ithaca is centrally isolated.

    About how I met a vicious snow storm/flurry along I-81 N somewhere in the Poconos between Scranton and Binghamton that forced me off the road–I couldn’t see two inches in front of me.

    And just why did you think that your two flights were cancelled?

    I’m sorry i couldn’t be a part of that amazing crowd, I had an important meeting of the mind-numbing sort.

  2. #2 ivy privy
    January 27, 2007

    of New Life Sciences Initiative.

    You’ll love this: a business incubator which is part of the NLSI and which is slated for space in the Life Sciences Technology Building (now under construction) is named the IDEA Center.

  3. #3 SLC
    January 27, 2007

    Re New York City to Ithaca

    I made that trip several times a million years ago, when a graduate student at the Un. Of Rochester, in driving from Rochester to NYC. My recollection is that the distance was more like 150 miles. Apparently, Mr. Mooney took the Cooks tour. My route was NYC to Route 17 (Southern Tier Expresway) via the New York State Thruway. Route 17 to Route 96 which is past Binghamton. Route 96 to Ithaca. Of course, in a snow storm, driving thru the Catskills isn’t any better then driving thru the Poconos.

  4. #4 bigTom
    January 27, 2007

    Reminds me of my last trip to NY state maybe 10 years ago. Two days of interviewing at IBM, the second day I was to drive up to central NY
    (I keep thinking Fishkill -or was it pokipsee(spelling???). The second morning weather channel warned of freezing rain, but it was rapidly to warm to 50F -so I went anyway. Got to the interview, and all the IBMers
    had called the day off due to the weather. Guess I showed that people who live in the New Mexico mountains can handle winter weather better than New Yorkers.

  5. #5 Joe Blough
    January 28, 2007

    Off topic, but there is an interesting article about Canadian global warming deniers in today’s Tiranna Star: In denial Who’s still cool on global warming?

  6. #6 ivy privy
    January 28, 2007

    Route 17 (which is turning into I-86) winds around a bit. I-80 to I-380 to I-81 to 79 is more direct. Distance is over 200 miles, driving time is probably 4 hours, +/-, if weather is not a factor.

  7. #7 Big Head Rob
    January 28, 2007

    Do you think Mother Nature is pissed that you’re knocking on her door so much — thus forcing you off the road? Maybe she likes global warming, kid.

  8. #8 Deech56
    January 29, 2007

    Chris, it could have been worse. I was an Upstate NY’er for 27 years and made the home to school commute between Buffalo and Ithaca several times a year. I can tell you lots of wintertime horror stories (pushing a dead car through Geneva, NY during a snowstorm while church let out – priceless). Then there was the North Campus to Collegetown bar walking commute on weekends! Glad you made it in and out in one piece.

  9. #9 Dark Tent
    January 29, 2007

    That’s nothing.

    I spent the first 22 years of my life in Ithaca — and a good part of that buried in a snow drift. Back in the old days, when Ithaca got real snow storms, the snow piled up so high that they eventually had to ship it out on UPS trucks, greyhounds and other dogs just so they had a place to put the new snow from the plows.

    One time I had to spend a week at Top’s supermarket because my car got buried when I went in for a bag of chips . It wasn’t so bad, though because they gave us (all 300 of us) free room and board (and their fried chicken is very good — and no they didn’t pay me to say this).

    Man, those were the days. Damned global warming has ruined everything.

  10. #10 llewelly
    January 29, 2007

    Uh, Dark Tent, I’ve known 4 different people who grew up in Ithaca, and they’ve all told me that same story, word for word …

  11. #11 Saheli
    January 30, 2007

    You’re the kind of person who manages to find the comical farce in even the most awful personal situations, aren’t you? It’s a rare story-teller who can elicit smiles and sympathy at the same time.

    Glad the talk went so well!

  12. #12 Dark Tent
    January 30, 2007

    llewelly: ” I’ve known 4 different people who grew up in Ithaca, and they’ve all told me that same story, word for word ..”

    What were their names? I may have spent the week with them at Tops supermarket.

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