Lamont Weekly Report, February 18, 2011

As someone who thinks Saturday Night Live reached its apotheosis when Lorne Michaels offered the Beatles $3,000 to reunite on his show, it was a bit of a chore to sit down last Saturday night and wait for the promised appearance of a Lamont icon. I'm talking, of course, about one of our classic Sprengnether smoked paper seismographs, which appeared in a skit entitled "A Spot of Tea" just after the Weekend Update segment. Our instrument just about ate the scenery, as the saying goes. As I expected, Belushi, Aykroyd, Radner et al need not fear competition from the present SNL cohort. Kudos to John Armbruster for training the prop masters at 30 Rock to be seismologists for an evening. I hope he got cast autographs on the smoked paper. Make sure it's shellacked, John.

We received word from the Vetlesen Foundation that they would like to support another Vetlesen Prize in 2012. The Prize is considered one of the most significant in the Earth Sciences, and the award ceremony - in the Low Rotunda - is a great event. We have just started to identify potential members of the Award Committee: it's harder than you would think! In any event, it's not too early to start washing up and getting your evening clothes cleaned and pressed. Info on past
Vetlesen awardees is at:

We are well aware that the morning buses are near or at saturation: we discussed this at Wednesday's OMG meeting. Many of you have made very helpful suggestions about riding protocols and scheduling, and we are looking at a number of options. However, I'd ask those of you convening special events, seminars, or workshops that could produce
extra ridership to work with your DA's and make appropriate plans for additional transportation. At a minimum, please make sure that Pat O'Reilly's office knows about your event beforehand. At best, please consider budgeting for special transportation if needed. (By the way, the same holds for alerting the cafeteria, security, and other campus services.)

The Red and Tan is an alternative for some. I take it on mornings when I need to get in early, when my car is unavailable (blowouts!), or when I can't get to one of our morning shuttles. The 9A leaves the GWB bus terminal at 7:10, 7:40, and 8:10, with a full schedule thereafter. The 8:10 arrives at Lamont about the same time as our 8AM shuttle. You can
take the "A" or the "1" subway lines to the terminal. The morning outbound runs are consistently on schedule, even in bad weather, and are rarely more than a third full. (Getting back into town on time is another matter.) The fare is $5.85. If you ask for "Palisades" you'll pay an extra buck, because our bus stop is actually in New Jersey. Ask the driver for "Stateline,"  "Upper Alpine" or "Zone 80."

There. My first post about the bus. I'm sure it won't be the last.

All of you should have received a memo from Jeff Sachs and me about the Lamont Director Search Committee. We want to make sure that we understand any and all concerns Lamont folks might have about the search. Please write or speak to me directly about any issue. I'm evaluating some software that will enable community online input and discussion: this will be part of a search website now under construction. We'll have to make decisions about login privileges and
confidentiality, of course.

Finally, congratulations to Amelia Paukert, who is this year's winner of the Sara Langer Book Prize. This is one of those awards with special meaning, because it's all about expanding our sense of community. Great work, Amelia!

On my schedule for next week: the beginning of a round of divisional meetings to discuss the search and other interim issues, a few seminars, delivering a lecture to SIPA students, hosting visitors from the UK, and Emily Brodsky's colloquium. The Executive Committee will meet on Friday morning, so please get discussion items to your Associate
Director or Excom rep by Wednesday.

Tina Fey, in her recent New Yorker piece, wrote that motherhood is like a "tap-dancing recital in a minefield." (Maybe I should pay more attention to SNL alums.) Parenting and directing have elements in common (especially when it comes to the bus), so I can empathize.

Enjoy the good weather while it lasts.