Book Giveaway: Curiosity – Once Maligned, Now Celebrated – Gets Its Own Biography. It’s Free to Three of Our Readers

Curiosity, as we all know, killed the cat. It is also responsible for humankind’s fall from paradise (thanks, Eve), for the spread of evil all over the world (great job, Pandora), and for the humiliations suffered by Goethe’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Our culture and vernacular are full of ancient warnings against inquisitiveness, but most of us no longer believe in them. On the contrary: Over the past few hundred years, curiosity has gone from an affliction born, supposedly, of vanity and lack of piousness, to a virtue that is celebrated in everything from space exploration to family movies (Hotel Transylvania, The Croods).

British author Philip Ball chronicles this journey of liberation in his 2013 book, Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything.

Ball doesn’t hesitate to remind us that religion-inspired fear and false notions of humility-before-God contributed to keeping humankind in the dark much longer than we should have been:

The central problem with curiosity was that it was thought to be motivated by excessive pride. The accumulation of pointless learning ran the risk not that one would become another Lucifer, but that one would primp and preen rather than bow one’s head before the Lord.

The imperative of pious humility was what commended wonder to Augustine at the same time as it indicted curiosity. There was nothing frivolous or hedonistic about wonder. It instilled awe, reminding us of our powerlessness and insignificance before the glory of God. That is why wonder in the face of nature’s splendour was seen as the educated response, and a willingness to believe in marvels and prodigies was not only praiseworthy but virtually a religious duty. Curiosity, like scepticism, was a sign that you lacked devotion and faith.

I can’t help but think that this attitude, while no longer nearly as popular today, still carries over in the way that believers often talk about atheists. We are still seen as “arrogant” and “hedonistic” for being openly curious and challenging about how the world works — rather than, hat in hand, praising a Creator for the existence of the firmaments and everything within them.

Ball’s witty book, which celebrates the investigative spirit of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, and other heretics, is both an eye-opener and a page-turner. I liked it so much that we’ll be giving away three brand new copies, offered at my request by the good folks at the University of Chicago Press.

If you want one, all you need to do is leave a comment of fewer than 200 words below, truthfully describing an episode from your life (good or bad, profound or funny) in which curiosity played a major part. Please tag your submission with #curiosity. Other comments are welcome too, but they won’t qualify for a free book. Winners will be chosen using scrupulously scientific criteria — namely, my own oddball tastes. I’ll announce the winners later this week.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • steve pollei

    Curiosity didn’t kill the cat, it was framed by ignorance.

  • Mommiest

    About ten years ago, my 5-year-old son came up from the basement with a worried look on his face. He said there was something spooky going on downstairs. I asked him to show me.

    The townhouse we were living in had lots of storage, including a closet-within-a-closet arrangement under the stairs. “Look,” he said to me, as he pulled open the closet door in the hallway. The door on the inner closet likewise swung toward us, as though opened by a ghost.

    I explained that opening the door next to us had caused a drop in air pressure next to the inner door, and that had caused it to move toward us. At least I think that was the explanation.

    It gave me the chance to utter the words that every child should hear: “It isn’t spooky, son, it’s Science. And Science is cool.”

    My son programs robots now. Thank you, Bill Nye.

    #curiosity

  • Mario Strada

    As a kid (and likewise as an adult) I could not pass up a chance to read anything put in front of me. I was a voracious reader and to prove that point, I was once scuba diving with my uncle and my Dad off the coast of the Giglio Island (very close, as far as I can remember to where the cruise ship came aground some time back).

    While exploring the depths off the coast I saw a newspaper on the sea bottom and I decided to go down and retrieve it (even back then I hated trash). As I grabbed it, I realized it had an interesting article about something (forgot what) and I started reading it until both my Dad and my Uncle caught me. It has been part of family lore ever since: reading the paper 40ft deep.

    #curiosity

  • lololol

    > CHRISTmas season
    > Be 8 years old
    > “Hm, I bet I know where my parents are hiding my presents…”
    > *Checks closet*
    > Find a receipt for Sonic II
    > “Sweeeeeet…”
    > CHRISTmas morning
    > “To: Anon; From: Santa”
    > *opens package*
    > Sonic the fucking hedgehog…
    …Afterward…
    >what’s the difference between Santa and God?
    > Learn about other religions that require faith/obedience; learn gays aren’t that bad; find godhatesamputees; notice believers are tortured/hidden in basements/raped/; slavery??; READ THE BIBLE
    losingmyreligion.mpg
    #curiosity

  • Joan Opyr

    When I was seven, I decided to perform an experiment with my sister’s baby bottle. I filled it with water, put the nipple on, and then dripped water onto a hot light bulb. It took ten drops for the bulb to explode. When my mother discovered the soaking wet socket, I went on to do an ethnographic participant-observer study of corporal punishment. Was it worth it? Yes. I constructed my later experiments more carefully and learned not to reveal too much to outsiders in the early stages.

  • NOGOD

    As a child ~6-7 years old I found myself alone in the school yard for reasons I can’t remember. It was winter in Canada. I had heard that if you touch your tongue to a metal bar it would stick, a metal flag pole was nearby. I conducted an experiment to test the theory and discovered it was absolutely true, and dammed difficult to get off too!

    #curiosity

  • skyblue

    As a kid, my friends and I used to dumpster dive behind the school. We found all kinds of cool stuff: cans of paint, giant gym light bulbs to smash, etc. When we found batteries, we would set them on the ground next to the dumpster and, in what was surely not a parent-approved activity, smash them with rocks to check out the insides. Hey, look at that silver stuff! Cool!

    One thing that stuck with me was that when you smash a 9-volt battery, you find that it contains 6 smaller batteries: sometimes a vertical stack of 6 cells, sometimes a 2 by 3 arrangement of long thin batteries.

    Years later, sitting in a college physics class and listening to the professor talk about how batteries hooked up in series add voltages together, it dawned on me: small household batteries are 1.5 volts, and 1.5 x 6 = Oh…..heh, cool!

    #curiosity

  • Guest

    Little boy + razors = OUCH! Right now a lot of my life is geared towards getting ready for my oldest son’s wedding (which is next month), and so I’ve been thinking about when he was a little boy, taking little trips down memory lane so to speak. One instance of curiosity occurred when he was about one and a half. We were just starting to work on potty training and one afternoon I left him sitting on his little potty chair while I ran to the other room to get his baby brother. When I came back he was standing next to the tub with the most horrified look on his face. While I was out of the room he had taken my razor off of the edge of the tub and tried to “shave” his private parts. No permanent damage down but oh my goodness the trauma!
    #curiosity

  • Guest

    #Curiosity… how is it different than wonder? It is what moves me, what keeps me alive and will carry me to my death. From childhood to present, everyday I wake up curious what the new day has in store for me, wondering what new discoveries I will make, what new challenges will test me, and what new mistakes will I make and learn from. It motivates me to try new things, different combinations, mixing colors, traveling to new lands and cultures. I joined the Marines after high school and after computer training in Quantico, Virginia, I and my peers in my platoon were asked where we would like to be stationed. Given a choice, my peers choose to stay at home in the States, I had always been curious about the world, I choose to go to Okinawa, Japan. It is here where I met my wife (A native Okinawan), we got married and had kids. Curiosity continues to drive me in my inkblot artwork, I throw ink down, and watch Rorschach like images appear. Curiosity drives my music, art, and poetry… What will I create and do next? I’m curious as to how I will change the world.

  • bob1217

    “What would happen If I……?” When young, this question often leads to problems. I decided to see if I could make a rocket using crushed sparklers as fuel. What I discovered is that it works really well at spreading flames everywhere and that the resulting brush fire was not popular with my parents or neighbors. #curiosity

  • http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q Kevin_Of_Bangor

    The day I discovered masturbation.

    #curiosity

    • prustage

      When are you going to discover how to spell?

      • http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q Kevin_Of_Bangor

        You do know to much masturbation causes blindness, correct?

        • flyb

          And can make typing a bit tricky.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    What happens if I add the baking soda to the vinegar in the pill bottle, and then screw on the lid really tight?

    #curiosity

  • allein

    A bag of mixed Halloween candy at Target made me think of this a couple weeks ago. When I was a kid we used to take the big Atomic Fireballs and put them in a dixie cup of water, to dissolve off the hot outer layer. After a while we’d have a ball that was half smooth and half cratered like a little tiny moon. I never did figure out why that happens… #curiosity

  • GrandmaGotRunOverByCuriousity

    Curiosity killed the Santa Claus (and consequently made me highly sceptical).

    Christmas Day, when I was six I announced to my mother that there was no Santa Claus.

    I’d like to say it was because I’d had some huge unselfish epiphany like ‘how come Santa couldn’t bring starving kids food’ or ‘how does Santa manage to get everywhere all in one night’? Like many six year olds growing up in a world where the internet was still for academia only, I was pretty self-centred and we actually did have a chimney (every time it got swept I got all excited because I’d seen Mary Poppins too many times).

    Over previous years I’d observed chopped carrots (for Santa’s reindeer, supposedly) thrown into our bushes, biscuit packages going back to pre-Christmas Eve size when I’d seen them be put out for Santa and with my curiosity piqued I had snuck out of bed with my torch and examined the labels on my Christmas presents. The ones that said ‘from Santa’ and the ones that said ‘from Mum’ had exactly the same handwriting. Barely legible. Also my mum had only just gone to bed, yet both sets of presents were there – the biscuits had gone back in the cupboard and the dish outside which had held carrots was empty.

    The thing my child brain took from that was that even if something appeared to be magical, chances were you weren’t seeing the whole thing. And that adults were utter liars.

    #curiosity

  • SansDeus

    When I was four years old my grandfather showed me how to burn things with a magnifying glass. Immediately hooked, the very next day I pulled newspaper from the trash and proceeded to concentrate the tiny white hot dot on the paper. Well the wind picked up and immediately transformed the smoldering piece paper to a flaming inferno. The wind continued to blow, it ended up carrying the engulfed pile of paper directly towards my grandparents house. I panicked and froze in place. My grandmother burst out of the house in her moomoo wielding a shovel, she jumped down the patio stairs in a single bound. She immediately shoveled several piles of dirt on the fire. Once extinguished she took an exhaustive breath, turned and calmly told me “You need to be more careful.” I shared that story at her funeral and my parents told me afterwards that she never ratted me out.

    #curiosity

  • Fishmouse

    When my daughter was 4, a cow died in the neighbor’s pond. She found the decomposition of the creature fascinating. Being the indulgent parents we are, every week or so we would walk her over there to observe from a safe, upwind distance. She even kept a notebook to make drawings! This was apparently a defining moment in her short life, because now at the grand age of 7, she has a rapidly growing collection of skulls and dried animal parts, and the #1 thing on her Christmas list is a model “squishy brain.” Grandma is so proud. Raising this child is going to be an adventure.

    #curiosity

  • islandbrewer

    When I was 7, my pants leg caught in my bicycle chain, I went over the handlebars, and ended up skidding on my chin a foot or so. The impact numbed my chin, and I went and put a wet washcloth with ice on it. After a bit, I went to look in the mirror and saw two slivers. Realizing it was bone, I started poking at it, fascinated by the fact that my own flesh was layered with different tissues, just like the chicken we ate for dinner.

    Then Mom came in and freaked out. Took a while to calm her down and have her drive me to the emergency room. I wound up majoring in biology, and did my PhD in a developmental biology lab.

    #curiosity

  • Brian Mathieu

    I’m an atheist, but I’ve always been fascinated by mythology and other religions. One time I had a pair of Mormons knock at the door. I was a little bored, and a lot curious, so I invited them in. I honestly didn’t know much about their beliefs beforehand, but it turns out I knew more than they did. I have to hand it to them, their pitch was well-rehearsed. When I started asking them questions, I could tell that it was outside the realm of what they were trained on, or even what they knew. After a couple of hours we thanked each other for the time we had spent. In retrospect it must have been quite the letdown for them…I can imagine them going weeks without getting invited inside. I think that was the day that I realized that an atheist could actually know more about a person’s religion than they themselves do.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    When I was about 10, I was convinced fairies were real because mushroom circles, in all the books I read, were also fairy circles.

    I was curious about mushrooms because of this and checked out some books from the library to read up on how they work. And I was very sad to discover that mushroom circles are wholly natural phenomena that do not, in fact, lead to any magical realms under the hill. However … mushrooms are really, really cool. While I didn’t wind up becoming a biologist or mycologist, I still want to learn everything I can about everything, because the more I understand something the more fascinating and just cool it becomes.

    #curiosity

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, TOWAN

    when i was ten, a snake was in the woods. my sister and our dogs were playing, somehow the snake got stepped on and the tip of its tail got struck off. i felt so bad for it. i put a band aid on it, hoping it would heal. it was so cute, and i just couldn’t bear the thought it was in pain.

    • allein

      I remember when I was 4 we went to Florida with some family friends to visit for Christmas. They had little lizards (chameleons, I think) all over the outside of the house. My brother, who would have been 6, tried to pull one off the wall by its tail, which of course came off. I don’t remember what happened to the lizard but my brother freaked right out. :D

  • Coolred38

    #curiosity Raising my 5 children, there has never been anything that strikes curiosity in me as strong as when the regular chaos and noise suddenly hushes and I can’t hear a thing from them. In that silence, great things are discovered by them…and I get the opportunity to reaffirm once again that I love them no matter what.

    No matter what. *sigh*

  • Feral Dog

    I was nine years old, and my dad took my sisters and I to Leavenworth, WA (a Bavarian-themed tourist town). We went into a novelty shop that had lots of open jars, and little bowls of pretzel sticks. Some of the jars contained fancy jelly, or fancy butter, fancy other kinds of dip, and I ran around dipping those and eating them. They were delicious! Then I ran to a different table, same set up but with hot sauce. I love spicy food, and did even back then. These jars and bottles had the usual provocative names and imagery that novelty hot sauce labels are famous for. One had a sexy lady devil on the label, the only one with a female character on it that wasn’t crying and/or tied up and/or farting flames. I thought to myself, “Cool, I wonder how the sauce tastes?” and dunked the pretzel from top to bottom and ate the entire thing. At first, all was well. My first thought was “Wow, this is tasty! I’m going to see if I can get dad to buy some!” Then the hell fire sensation kicked in. There was nothing in the store for people who’d made this mistake, and dad picked me up and ran me across the street to the cafe, where the staff took one look at me and rushed me a free cup of chocolate milk (apparently they kept a supply on hand for exactly this sort of thing.)

    On that day I learned that while spicy food is a friend, hot sauces are not to be trusted.

    #curiosity

  • Divizna

    Paper

    “You can’t draw on the kitchen wall!” Mum was angry.
    “Why?”
    “It’s not right.You can only draw on paper.”
    “What kind of paper?”
    “Any paper.” She opened my tiny desk full of green recycled paper, unpunched computer cards, little squares from the notepad by the phone, dot matrix prints, irregular scraps od coloured papers, even a few rare and precious sheets of white office paper. I picked a piece and immersed in serious art.

    “Dad,” I asked when he was putting me to sleep, “what’s this thing behind the bed made from?”
    “It’s a reed mat. It’s made of reeds.”
    “And that pine in the living room?”
    “That’s a wallpaper. It’s a large paper with a picture printed on it, glued to the wall.”
    “Uh-huh. And these?” I pointed to the pattern on the wall.
    “Just paint. They’re painted with a roller. Please, sleep already.”

    It was a masterpiece. The pine branches were colourfully decorated like a Christmas tree. Only pity I couldn’t reach higher.
    Mum was furious. “How come you’re drawing on the wall again?” she yelled. “Didn’t I tell you –”
    “It’s paper!” exclaimed I. “You said I could draw on paper!”

    For once, I wasn’t even spanked.

    #curiosity

    • islandbrewer

      I don’t think this is “curiosity” so much as “lawyering.”

  • Grace

    In the eighth grade, I was curious to see what would happen if I said “f*ck you, god,” over and over again while I prayed. And what happened? I aced a math test the next day, got the part I wanted in the summer musical, and have basically lived a wonderful, lightening-bolt-free life. #curiosity

  • Canadian mom

    As an atheist mother, I have always struggled how much information and when to share that with my children. I felt comfortable being an open atheist in our Canadian community however, when my daughter was in grade two my comfort was challenged. My daughter came home in tears. She had been given a birthday invitation and later in the day it was withdrawn from her playmate as my daughter wasn’t “Christian enough”. Apparently, my daughter had let the girl know her mom was atheist when asked what church our family went to. I was frustrated but was fairly confident that the teacher would address this with the child’s parents and there would be an apology. To my surprise, the parents were supportive of this form of prejudice and bigotry. From that moment on I began to educate my children, ignite their curiosity, and support them to respectfully question what to them is “not right” or “questionable”. To this day, they are positive leaders, outspoken supporters of human rights and injustices(I am so proud). Curiosity to me is the wonderful ability to question, investigate, and to continually learn. Without it, there is no change.

  • timgorichanaz

    I never did sports as a kid—until I was 18, I never actually ran a mile. There’s no explanation besides curiosity, then, for why I’m now an eight-time marathoner. The marathon distance is 26.2 miles, and somewhere I’d read that marathon runners never actually go that distance in training. How can you be sure you’ll finish in the race, I wondered, if you never actually try it first? How could that be possible? I was fascinated, and so I decided to try it for myself. After a summer of rigorous training, though having only gone as far as 20 miles in one bout, I lined up for the 2011 Chicago Marathon—and I finished! Since then, I’ve been working on getting faster and making running easier, still curious as to how I can keep improving.

    #curiosity

    • Obazervazi

      You are superhuman. Go you!

      (no sarcasm)

  • Little_Magpie

    I don’t know if this is what you mean, but…
    Some people never get into reading for pleasure. Some people read for pleasure, but only fiction. (And that’s totally cool!) Me… I’m a book addict. And plenty of it is fiction, mostly SF/F; but there’s a good chunk of my bookshelf that is “Random Non-Fiction that Looked Interesting on the Clearance Table” – which could be anything, from Soviet history, to a discussion of colony collapse in bees, biography of medieval queens, the history of the the Voyager project… and on and on (admittedly, there are some topics I have considerable interest in, and some that it’s a once-off for me to read a book on that topic because “that looks neat.”)

    Why? Because I just want to know more about everything.

    Also I was halfway hoping this book was a “biography” of the Mars rover so named. :)

    #curiosity

    • FTP_LTR

      I’m glad it’s not just me Little_Magpie.

      I have a stack of books accumulated over the years from the last piles of the reduced then marked down then clearance then stickered again then left over books that nobody has wanted. I have a couple that I bought dirt cheap just because I barely believed it existed. (Did you know that countries have horoscopes?)

      • Little_Magpie

        wow, really? how does that work? what is the exact time and place of a country’s birth?
        (okay, some countries, you could make an argument for a specific time: Canada, which turned from a direct colony to a semi autonomous country by act of law, you could say its precise “birth time” is when the law took effect, ie, at 12:01 on July 1, 1867, but I don’t know how you deal with location. Is the location the British Parliament? Or the entire geographic span of the provinces that went into Confederation?)
        Inquiring minds want to know… :)

    • allein

      I have a list of books I plan to check out one of these days on my computer at work. I work with books so I am constantly adding to it as I run across things that look interesting. I list the title, author, ISBN, and subject…one of these days I want to do a little analysis and see what percentage are in what categories… can I say #curiosity again?

      (I am currently reading Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes by Daniel Everett. I just finished Periodic Tales by Hugh Aldersey-Williams, and up next is The Book Thief which I just picked up the other night with my birthday gift card, because the movie trailer keeps reminding me I’ve been wanting to read it.

      • Little_Magpie

        yeah… here’s a mostly unrelated thought… when I was in university and had access to a truly wonderful extensive university library system, it’s not like i had the time to read whatever book I wanted because it was interesting, because I was too busy reading stuff i needed to write papers on. Once I was no longer in university and had much more time to read for pleasure, I no longer have access to the university libraries.

        just one of those annoying ironies about life i guess!

        • allein

          I went to a pretty small college; the library was decent and there was always interlibrary loan…but I didn’t get much reading time outside of class assignments when I was actually on campus. Funny thing is I majored in English Lit and now I read more non-fiction than fiction. I now work in a building where I literally have hundreds of thousands of titles I could go out and grab…but I can’t borrow ‘em :(

  • Barefoot Bree

    About three decades ago, I decided to join the US Air Force. I was young and foolish, and let myself be talked by the recruiter into heading off to Basic Training without even having a specific career field identified. I would have the chance to select one from the open slots once there.

    Well, the day comes for me to decide, and I head to the career counselors. First, they show me and the others in my situation a charming little video extolling the joys of working in the bomb squad, and then the sanitation department. Fun.

    My turn comes to speak with the counselor, and we start to go through my choices. Then, another counselor stuck his head into the office and asked a question about processing a “99105″ (AF careers were designated with those 5-digit codes). After he got his answer and left, I turned to the counselor and asked rather idly, “What’s a 99105?”

    He replied, and I shit you not, “Let’s put you into it and you’ll find out.”

    And with no more information than that, (except that it was NOT bomb squad or sanitation, but supposedly something exciting and secretive), I was shipped off to tech school.

    Luckily for me, it was – if not exactly exciting – at least mostly interesting and engaging. However, it WAS secretive, so if I told you about it, I’d have to hunt each and every one of you who reads this down and kill you, and unfortunately I’m all out of quota for this month. Sorry.

    #curiosity

  • Anastasia

    As a teenage girl, my friend invited me along to a “grown up” party. College kids, mostly. I had never gone to any parties, so I was curious what it would be like. What I found was that beer was really gross and you can’t rely on people for a ride home. Whomever had brought us, did not want to give us a ride back. We ended up hitchhiking our way to town….Curiosity satisfied :) #curiosity

  • Lou Jost

    I noticed I had an odd mosquito bite on my arm, and it kept getting bigger. One day, I looked closely at and was shocked to see a tiny breathing tube bobbing in and out of my arm. I instantly knew this is the larva of a Human Botfly, which lays its eggs on a mosquito’s belly. When the mosquito bites a mammal, the warmth of the victim’s body makes the egg hatch. The little maggot then digs into the mammal’s body and sets up shop.

    No one ever sees the fly. I was curious about it, so I decided to raise my maggot to adulthood. It made an egg-sized lump near my shoulder, always with that infernal breathing tube bobbing in and out of the breathing hole. Bits of blood and pus would leak out, but I made a plastic dome over the hole so my shirts wouldn’t get bloody.

    One night I gave birth. My maggot wanted to bury itself after it emerged from my arm, so I put it in a cup with soil. Three weeks later the adult fly emerged! Of course I took father-and-son pictures of it on my finger.
    #curiosity

    • FTP_LTR

      You incubated an egg sized lump? Holy crap. How long was it between bite and maggot-birth?

      Kudos to you and your curious, inquiring mind, you crazy freak.

      • Lou Jost

        I don’t know how long it was, since I didn’t notice the mosquito bite until at least several weeks later (I got it in Costa Rica but noticed it after I had returned to the US. But it was in my arm for at least six weeks.

    • Obazervazi

      No no no no no how dare you GAH!

  • Tony Debono

    I became curious about how the Christian doctrine of Original Sin jibed with the theory of evolution. The realization that evolution rendered Original Sin (and therefore salvation) incoherent, started me on my journey to doubt and contemplate my faith more deeply, and eventually graduate from it.

    #curiosity

  • kjmajick

    I have Always been Curious! In an attempt to accept what I thought I must, I have read the bible, front to back, different versions, 6 times! It didn’t work & I’m through reading it! I would Love to receive this book as my lack of finances makes purchases such as this difficult!

  • Jenni Frencham

    I used to teach 7th grade English. I observed that my students, when it was raining, would cluster under the covered walkways, but a group of boys would always ask if they could run out in the rain. After discussing with them the inevitable result – they would be wet and possibly cold/uncomfortable in class – I would let them. I always wondered why they wanted to run in the rain. One day I finally asked. “Because we’re thirsty” was the answer. Well, duh.

    #curiosity

  • Starlady

    Back in 1990, I never had chance to look at job adverts in the
    trade magazines like my fellow engineers did. But I got curious when
    they all spent a lunch hour saying, “Did you see that job in the
    Canary Islands?”

    The Canary Islands are part of Spain and a well known holiday destination
    for Brits, but I was the only one who was curious about working for
    the Royal Greenwich Observatory with telescopes. Nobody else from the factory applied.

    I got one of the two jobs, and I went out to La Palma on a six month
    contract.

    I fell in love with the island somewhere between the plane and the
    arrivals hall.

    And then I fell in love with a tall, dark, handsome, local man. He was a
    telescope operator who I met in the Isaac Newton Telescope, under the
    stars in the heart-shaped island. Honestly.

    The island’s capital has a replica of Columbus’s Santa Maria cemented
    into the road.

    Did I mention that it was a six-month contract? I’ve been on La Palma for
    twenty-two years so far, and I plan to leave when the Santa Maria
    sails.

    I’m glad I was curious.

    #curiosity.

  • Anthony

    I was about 5 or 6 years old. I had seen Superman on TV, flying with his cape in the wind. The cape, I figured was the flying mechanism. I was curious to see if that would work for me as well, so I tied a beach towel around my neck, grabbed my bike and headed a few blocks over where the street had more of a hill. I gained some speed and then some more, exhilarated that it just might work … but then my “cape” caught the wheel and I flew over the handlebars and face first into the pavement. Some neighbors witnessed this and came to the rescue. Turns out the cape was not the flying mechanism – or maybe a cape has flight properties that a towel lacks, I’m not sure which.

    #curiosity


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