Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Friday, February 28, 2003

Wandering conversation


It is strange how a conversation can wander from subject to subject.

As Mary and I were eating dinner tonight (fish tacos from a newly opened Baja Fresh in KC!), I asked Mary if she knew today was the 50th anniversary of Crick and Watson's discovery of the structure of DNA. That's the sort of thing Mary, a virologist, would know.

I knew about the anniversary because I'd heard a news story on the radio about it while driving home from work.

Quickly, the discussion turned to whether there is a genetic basis for the ability to read a map. My guess is there isn't. But, I could be wrong.

In discussing a genetic basis for map reading, I proposed that looking at a lot of art might be a good way to develop, at a very early age, some of the skills of map reading. As I was growing up, I spent a lot of time looking at paintings. Painters spend a lot of time dealing with the problem of showing three dimensions on a two dimensional surface. That's what contours are all about. Maybe looking at all those paintings as a 5-year-old helped me when it came to map reading.

At this point, we were done eating dinner. So, the conversation turned to putting the dishes in the dishwasher.

It is strange how a single conversation can move from DNA to map reading to painting.

posted by Michael | 7:46 PM


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