.. is a good part of what I do in my day-to-day work. As a professional researcher, I often look at data and try to figure out what this data is telling me, and how it connects to other things I know about. In particular, I try to understand how X connects (or influences) Y. That's sort of science in a nutshell--how do things connect?
Here's an example of this kind of connective thinking that occurred to me the other day.
I was walking along a trail that follows the edge of an oceanside bluff in a place that has wind and weather that always comes from the same direction. In this case, the winds always come out of the west, flows over the bluff, and then blows constantly on the trees and shrubs at the top of the cliff. As you'd expect, this causes some pretty serious deformations in the way the trees grow. The tree shown above was especially bent and pruned by the wind, as are most of the trees along this part of the coastline.
As you can see, it leans away from the wind and rain coming off the bluff (which you can barely see falling away into the sea on the far left).
While walking past this tree, I wondered today's Search Challenge:
1. If I want to learn more about such bent and deformed trees, what's the specialized search term that I'd want to use? (Hint: There is a very specific term to describe such trees--that's what you seek.)
And, as I was thinking about that term, I realized that it made a connection to a musical instrument, also made of wood, that uses the same bit of language in its name. The moment I realized this, I understood the connection! This leads to the connecting Challenge:
2. What is the name of a musical instrument that sounds a lot like this specialized term? (Hint: The word for the instrument shares a language of origin and the first 6 letters with the tree-term. This is one of those "you'll know it when you see it" kinds of Challenges.)
I don't think this is too hard, but it's fun to find connections between very different parts of one's life (in my case, a connection between botany and music).
Let us know how you did. Next week I'll talk about what I did to figure out this connection.