Carl Wernicke

IHMC

With the recent news cycle being dominated by coverage of the five-year anniversary of the BP oil spill, it pays to take a few minutes to reflect on it. While the fear of those early days of fouled water and stained beaches has faded, there’s one thing we should never forget: it could have been worse. A lot worse.

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I’ve always been told that the so-called Golden Years are, well, golden. But as I creep increasingly near the senior citizen classification, some of what I’m finding doesn’t seem like gold. It’s more like pot metal.
   It’s bad enough that over the weekend I wandered all over the house looking for my sunglasses, only to find that they were on top of my head. Or that after several minutes of looking for my reading glasses, I found them hanging from the collar of my shirt, right in front of me.

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It’s possible that the architecture in your town needs a tune up.

That’s what Leon Krier talked about recently in the Evening Lecture Series at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. Krier is a leading proponent of what’s being called “New Urbanism” in architecture and community design. He sat down with IHMC Communications Manager Carl Wernicke.

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Several years ago my wife and I visited Budapest during a trip to Europe.  The city is one of the many crossroads of history that dot the European landscape. It is a history of constant strife, from pre-Roman to modern times, sweeping back and forth across the region as rival powers rose and fell, the one constant being the suffering inflicted on the people caught in the middle, simply trying to live their lives

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While riding in the procession from the church to the cemetery last week for the funeral of J. Earle Bowden, I noticed what I have been told is a unique Pensacola tradition: cars all along the route stopping to honor the deceased.

Now, I myself have stopped many times for funerals, but it has been a long time since I was part of the procession to the cemetery. I can tell you that from the inside, it is a very moving tribute. People didn’t just pull over to the side of the road, many of them simply stopped where they were, in the road.

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Much has been said in the last few days, by myself and others who worked with him, about J. Earle Bowden. The longtime editor of the Pensacola News Journal died Sunday, and is rightfully being remembered as a dominant figure of his time in Northwest Florida.

At a certain point it becomes difficult to come up with new insights, as certain themes naturally recur in remembering someone as unique as Earle.

I think what might come closest to summarizing Earle’s life and career is a simple fact: it was easy to see who Earle was because he wore it so plainly in his daily life.

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Roger Smith, who lectured recently at IHMC on his work rehabilitating injured birds of prey, made a comment during an interview with me that could not be more true. He said that to fully appreciate what is going on in nature, you have to understand it.

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When most people think of Florida, they don’t think in terms of change of seasons. It’s palm trees and summer all the time. But one of the many advantages to living in Northwest Florida is that we get winter as well as summer, but not too much of it. As the latest snowy blizzard blows through the northeast, it’s a comforting thought.

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I’ve talked before about the value of staying connected to what’s happening locally, something that grows in importance as traditional media suffer from shrinking budgets and staff. But staying connected isn’t just about local news media; it includes a wide variety of community organizations.

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Sunday morning I went for a walk down our driveway, which is lined with woods that stand mostly untended by human hands. The day was gray but the sky was brightening with wisps of blue showing through the low clouds. A fierce storm had blown through in the early morning darkness, a wind-driven rain lashed by lightning, the kind of storm that always makes me feel glad to be tucked into a warm bed.

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