Write about what you care about

Liked Clamsplaining (Clamsplaining)

I’m Dan Killam. I’m an environmental scientist studying clams, climate, pollution, and conservation.

And if that’s clams, please do name your blog Clamsplaining and share #clamfacts 😍 I think anything can be interesting if the person talking about it cares.

Getting Shit Done Mental Health

Rethinking time to build happiness

Listened A New Way to Think About Your Time | Ashley Whillans by Ten Percent Happier from Ten Percent Happier

What if one of the keys to happiness is how intentional you are with your time?

Ashley Whillans is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School and author of the book Time Smart. Her groundbreaking research has led her to radically reevaluate how she spends her own time. Her goal is to help you move from time poverty to time affluence.

In this conversation, we talk about:

how to do a time audit

funding time, finding time, and reframing time

the surprising extent to which prioritizing time over money predicts happiness–and what to do if you usually do the opposite

how to handle time confetti

the value of canceling meetings

Decision conflict (?) when you feel like you should be doing something else

Time confetti — social media and tech notifications break up our time into little pieces instead of a longer chunk

Be careful not to let yourself fall into a rabbit hole of meaningless activities like cleaning out your inbox — set a time limit

Find or fund time (pay someone else to do activities that aren’t meaningful to you), or reframe activities to find meaning

Do a time audit to figure out what activities are sucking up your time

Time affluence — feeling in control of how you spend your time

Optimal target = using but not straining skills

Look for ways to give back to make your time feel more meaningful

Block time for meaningful activities, plus a quick planning session early in the week to figure out how you’re going to spend your time

Build breaks into your day to make up for the breaks that have disappeared in the world of virtual meetings where you switch context rapidly with no transition time

Set an intention of what you want to do that day in the morning

Place physical reminders of meaningful activities you could do / to act with intention in places around your house

People who value time over money tend to be happier

Pay attention to when your default activity is work

Also important to incorporate your values outside of work, even when it’s meaningful (like spending time with family and other leisure activities)

“Time Smart” by Ashley Whillans

Romance Science Fiction

Read Blown Away

Read Blown Away (Cyborg Force, #1)

Breeze O’Day
Windswept, sandblasted Sajave isn’t every astrogeologist’s dream assignment, but it’s been my safe zone from a dangerous past, and now I’m about to announce a game-changing discovery. But on the way to finalize my research, my hovercraft gets caught in a violent sandstorm and crashes. Unfortunately, my rescuer is Tack Grayson, an ill-mannered, bad-tempered mammoth of a man who’s made it perfectly clear saving me is a huge imposition. Well, no worries. I’ll soon be on my way to finish my top secret project, and our paths need never cross again.

Tack Grayson
If I had wanted company, I wouldn’t be living in a cabin hundreds of miles from nowhere. But I’m a cyborg with C-Force and rescuing people is what I do, even if they are idiots who should know better than to venture out in a sandstorm. Now I’m stuck with Breeze O’Day until this storm blows over.

But as I learn more about Breeze and her research, I begin to worry our association won’t end anytime soon. She’s in danger. Serious danger, and she’s going to need my help.

Heroine and hero’s tough romantic histories allow them to connect and trust each other. Always love a scientist heroine. Cyborg has some interesting abilities, like turning his epidermis into armor.

Trust fast to build but I was fine with it. Climax a little underwhelming, though that is probably linked to me watching the progress percent, and since there’s a preview of the next book at the end, the percentage appeared that there would be a lot more story. Would read more in this series.

First person past tense alternating POV. Some voicey direct thoughts indicated in italics.

History Science Society

The same scientist created fertilizer and TNT

Watched The Scientist Who Killed Millions and Saved Billions by Geoff Barrett from

Fritz Haber is the scientist who arguably most transformed the world.

And chlorine gas as a chemical weapon for use in the trenches.

And a poisonous gas used on the Jews in the Holocaust (after his death).

And from the concept of harvesting energy from broken or formed chemical bonds, used for TNT, only another twenty years till nukes (my connection so may be factually incorrect)…

But his discovery of a process to extract atmospheric nitrogen into usable form allows four billion more people to live on Earth than it could otherwise support.

So how should we think of him?

I both like and dislike Derek’s framing at the end to consider the inventor irrelevant, that someone else would have done it if he hadn’t. I appreciate the thought of not creating a hero or villain out of ordinary people who don’t know what their research may yield. I also like pulling back to the perspective that other scientists were working on the same problem, so even if he hadn’t found these, someone else would.

Yet, I’m wary of absolving responsibility for our creations. This goes straight back to Frankenstein, not wanting to deal with his monster. But in the real world, I hold Truman responsible for dropping the atomic bomb, even if it could have been FDR if his health endured. And I hold the scientists of the Manhattan Project responsible for their creation. Taking responsibility is the first step in repairing and recompensing harm, and excusing those who actually made or did something bad feels like denying any move towards restoration. It is possible to do harm without the intent; you are still responsible for the harm you cause, even as we can grant more grace for mistakes when they are admitted.


Read The Love Hypothesis

Read The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding… six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.

Compelling but infuriating. The heroine’s horrific self-esteem problems, refusal to recognize reality, and habit of doing things that make her unhappy that she thinks will make others happy adds up to drawing idiotic conclusions, not listening to her friends, and general obnoxious self-sabotaging and unwarranted self-sacrificing. She’s stated to be 26 but I think she reads younger.

I get very frustrated when the story problems are rooted in miscommunication. The hero was so cautious and indulgent with her, but if he had been willing to push back on her proclamations at all they might have avoided so much misunderstanding and suffering.

It might have been tempered if we’d also read his viewpoint? Though I don’t think it would have worked for the story as is to give him a POV.

I didn’t like the setup of grabbing a stranger and kissing them – er, sexual assault much? – but it did make for an entertaining pile-up of events after the hero goes along with her cuckoo banana plan. I liked their growing affection and there were some very cute and funny bits. But really hated the lie the heroine told midway through the book.

I thought the ending was only going to involve one of the two bad things it did.

I liked the secondary romance and would have liked it to be a bigger part of the book to add some levity to the angst of the second half.

Also the sex scene was uncomfortable and bad. She’s made out to be demi-sexual, but acts like that is a bad thing and she owes the male character whatever sexual acts he desires, and that if she withholds whatever he desires he will no longer like her. This is bad ace representation.

Romance Science Fiction

Re-read Freeing Luka

Read Freeing Luka (Clecanian #2)

Luka has spent his life researching fertility in the hopes of discovering a cure for the Clecanians’ low birth rates. After years of working tirelessly with little progress, he becomes enraged when he uncovers a sinister plot to abduct compatible species from their home planets. But before he can tell anyone what he’s discovered, he’s captured, drugged, and thrown in a cell.

It’s just Alice’s luck that when she finally begins to get her life on track, she’s kidnapped by reptilian creatures and forced into a cell with a fierce incoherent alien for some kind of breeding experiment.

Even though they aren’t able to communicate, Alice and Luka find solace in each other’s company. As the days drag on, it becomes harder to keep her heart locked away, until she can’t help but wonder what a life with Luka might look like outside their dark prison. When an opportunity to free herself, Luka, and the other human prisoners presents itself, Alice takes it.

Once free, can Alice and Luka’s tenuous relationship survive on this planet? Will the evil men that held them prisoner ever see justice? And can they play a part in the rescue of the other women being held captive around this strange new world? Alice knows only one thing for certain—her life will never be the same again.

I feel like there’s a mismatch between the first half of the book and the second half. The hero is drugged in the first half, so you don’t expect him to act himself, but also he seems like a totally different person that she wouldn’t necessarily like anymore? I guess that’s played up by how he acts unintentionally like a dick due to some cultural misunderstandings at the midpoint of the book.

Always love a scientist main character, especially an ecologist. (His reasons for studying ecology seem a little contrived but sure, I’ll go with it.)

It’s weird that in a society where so few men are able to find a partner, there aren’t more bi or gay men? (Any?)