Carl Wernicke

Carl Wernicke is a native of Pensacola. He graduated from the University of Florida in 1975 with a degree in journalism. After 33 years as a reporter and editor, he retired from the Pensacola News Journal in April 2012; he spent the last 15 years at the PNJ as editor of the editorial page. He joined the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition on May 7, 2012 as Senior Writer and Communications Manager.

His hobbies include reading, gardening, hiking, enjoying the outdoors and wildlife around his home on Garcon Point and watching sports, especially the Florida Gators and New York Yankees. His wife, Patti, is a senior vice president at Gulf Winds Federal Credit Union.

Carl is a regular contributor to WUWF. His commentaries focus on life in and around the Pensacola area and range in subject matter from birding to downtown redevelopment and from preserving our natural heritage to life in local neighborhoods.

IHMC

With all the concern about climate change, it’s no surprise that energy production is so much in the news today. It’s a big change for a society that basically assumed that energy came from the light switch, while food came from the grocery store. 

And just as the sustainable food movement has prompted a much-needed understanding of the real costs of cheap food, the energy crisis has opened our eyes to the real cost of all those lights your kids forget to turn off when they leave the room.

IHMC

It’s heck getting old. Younger listeners hearing these words won’t understand that for awhile, and older listeners already get it. Or will soon be getting it.

Perhaps the first real hint that being old is not the same as being young comes as your memory begins to slip. You forget things, you can’t remember other things, and your mind meanders down all sorts of false trails.

Former astronaut Bill Shepherd is a veteran of three Space Shuttle missions. He also commanded the first expedition to the newly constructed International Space Station in 2000, leading a crew that included two Russians. He recently spoke at the Evening Lecture Series at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition about that expedition and the space station. He spoke to IHMC communications manager.

IHMC

We love college football in the South. I know I do. On the fanatic scale I lie somewhere between the casual fan and the all-in crazy who already knows which junior high school players his team is recruiting.

What I have most loved about the game is its ability to make me forget everything else. Stress at work? Worldwide financial crash? 20 extra pounds to get rid of? All banished at kick-off.

IHMC

Watching last week’s great flood from out of town was unsettling. We had been in Pittsburg for a nephew’s college graduation, and on that Tuesday night found ourselves on a plane circling Pensacola.

The pilot said heavy rain over the airport was delaying our arrival, but don’t worry, we have plenty of fuel. 20 minutes later he said there was still a nasty storm cell over the airport and he was waiting for it to move.

IHMC

One of the happiest research findings in my lifetime was the discovery that, contrary to popular belief, most animals in the wild spend more time relaxing than working. The vision of animals on a round-the-clock quest for food turned out to be wrong. And we learned that some animals seem as inclined as humans to engage in social interaction, including play.

IHMC

Food is so plentiful that getting enough to eat seems assured. But because of the low quality of the diets and food so many people consume, most of us are deficient in at least some critical vitamins and minerals. As a result, the body, faced with shortages of key nutrients, quietly sacrifices long-term health for short-term survival. The result is age-related diseases like cancer, heart disease, immune dysfunction and cognitive decline.

IHMC

I try to enjoy the small things in life. Because if you can only enjoy big things, or the expensive things, you spend a lot of time not having a good time. 

Unfortunately, losing the ability to be easily entertained is one of the downsides of growing up. As children we are easily amused; armed with little more than a good stick and my imagination, as a child I could play for hours. And, to be truthful, I still think a good stick found in the woods is a treasure, although most other children seem to have grown up and moved on.

IHMC

We lost a good man with the death last week of Reubin Askew, Pensacola’s favorite son and maybe the greatest governor in Florida history.

IHMC

A valuable lesson I learned over years as a reporter in writing about the environment is that to see is not always to understand. Crystal clear water can be severely polluted, and verdant woods can be a tree farm that bears little comparison to a healthy, diverse forest.

To understand what’s really happening, you need research. And what such research reveals can be spectacular. Especially when you realize that because of nature’s amazing resiliency, great damage done to ecological systems can sometimes be undone through relatively simple steps.

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