p10009671I’m currently in Shanghai, China. The city is undergoing a truly amazing amount of construction as it prepares for Expo 2010 (a version of the world’s fair I believe). Everywhere there are young trees and new landscapes growing up along roads still being built and building from ancient times that are being refurbished in a frenzy of labor.

20 million people in one place; it is amazing. There are the negatives: exceedingly aggressive beggers, horrible smog, frightening traffic. But at the same time there is an awesomeness to the sheer scale of humanity at this high a density.

ShanghaiI’m here to see the July 22 Solar Eclipse. In Chinese lore this is a Dragon consuming the Sun. In pre-modern times, people would bang pots and launch fireworks and otherwise make a fuss and a commotion to get the Dragon to give the sun back.

The image of an eclipse ending in a dragon essentially vomiting the sun is a bit disturbing, but it is still one of my favorite non-scientific explanations for what is going on.

In a few hours I’ll be boarding a cruise ship, the Costa Allegra, to head out to sea. Here is to clear skies and hungry dragons.