Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Learning, Learning

I like to learn things. Or at least I think I like to learn things.


Yesterday I had the chance to learn about algal blooms on Lake Superior, from the comfort of my dining room table. 


Including an algal-bloom-coloured pen!



It was an excellent presentation, with representation from both countries, and much useful information about distinguishing potentially toxic algal blooms from (e.g.) pollen, an annual nuisance. 


At a time when communicating science has been difficult at best -- lots of folks blaming messengers, people without appropriate expertise serving as messengers, and the inevitable politicization of good health practices -- this presentation was reassuring. 


The presenters addressed science and technical questions, and the hour included ways your average person, like me, can distinguish between standard algal growths (look for filaments to indicate standard growth) and potentially worrisome algal blooms. The presentation showed what useful information (like photos, and which specific perspectives) to collect if you are reporting a possible bloom. The presentation included safety considerations (don't let pets romp in yucky water, hose them and yourself off after being in a lake) that were excellent reminders. 


Also, hundreds of people were there, a reassuring reminder that lots of people love Lake Superior.


Given my purported "love of learning," there are, however, some things I apparently have difficulty learning. Small silly things. 


A recent example: I shouldn't brush my teeth while wearing actual clothing. If I were a product, I could claim "dripping toothpaste on my sweater for twenty-five years." That was a different time I went out in public with spots on my sweater (and a kind friend suggested brushing my teeth earlier in the "getting ready" process). I thought I had learned since then. And yet.


At least I can look forward to a future in which there will always be something new for me to learn.