Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Eating Stars in Austin

Last week I was in Austin reporting a really exciting story for Discover magazine. The main subjects of the piece keep vampire hours, so I had some free time in the morning, and listened in on some fabulous Austin dialogue while prepping in coffee shops. A few lines from one spot:

"Hip hop will never be the same."

"There's just a lot going on and none of it is interesting to me."

There was context to both, but I don't think it's necessary. Another exchange:

"How do you feel about Beck? I feel like there are a lot of Beck haters here."

"I don't feel one way or the other."

"I totally agree."

At another spot, I discovered that the highly skilled barista making the espresso was also a musician. His band is called Auroravore. For some reason my brain associated aurorae with stars, and asked him if his band were star eaters. "No," he said. "Aurora represents the music that exists outside of us and vore is kind of the synthesis."

Or I think that's what he said. And it's a very cool idea, but I still kind of wish they were the star eaters. Although that would make them black holes, which would probably not be a very good name for a band. If you went to a show by the black holes, would you ever leave? Would you disappear? Or become a part of the band, perhaps, as it swallows you whole?

There were quite a few more characters, but none of them matched the scientists. I've never had so much fun while being completely overloaded with intensely complex science - geophysics and astronomy and astrobiology. The story won't be out for a while, but I'll post it here when it's published.

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