Friends, family, and colleagues,[1]

I’m happy to announce that I will be defending my PhD Dissertation on Monday Sept 19, 2016 (10am).  There will be both science and likely poetry about science[2]; followed later by libations, food, and merriment (2-5:30), and eventually beach games & sunset (5:30-dark).

Note:  though not guaranteed, let’s assume I pass the defense  🙂

Schedule (all happening on Monday 9/19 @ Scripps Inst. Oceanography, directions below):

10-11:30    Defense  (Seaside Forum, aka “Bob Paine Scripps Forum”) [3]
2-5:30        Celebration (Surfside, aka “Revelle Student Family Center”) [4]
5:30-7        Beach time (down the steps from the Surfside parking lot)

Thank you for contributing to my success and quality of life as a researcher, student, educator, and human being[5]; I will be ever and unfathomably[6] grateful.  I would be honored if you would join us for the defense, celebration, and sunset (or any combination); though I recognize this is not possible for many of you.[7]

Thanks again for all your support and inspiration; I look forward to celebrating this day[8] with many of you on September 19th!  [9]


(Soon 2B, “Dr.”) Levi Lewis[10]


[1] also distant acquaintances, friends of varying degrees of separation, and friendly nemeses

[2] science will dominate, you know, since that is what this is about,but art will be blended in.

[3] SEAside (defense) DIRECTIONS HERE (aka “Bob Paine Scripps Seaside Forum”)

[4] SURFside (celebration) DIRECTIONS HERE  (aka “Revelle Family Student Center”)

[5] Warning:  first three may interfere with the fourth!

[6] even with the fanciest of high-freq./narrow-beam sonars; it’s “sub-hadal”, to the “inner core”

[7] If you are abroad, however, this is a great excuse to come to San Diego; if local, a great excuse to come to the beach; if you don’t like the beach, a great opportunity for food, drinks, music and wonderful people; if not for celebrations, maybe you’ll enjoy the science;  and if none of this interests you, understandable, but you should probably talk to somebody about it…maybe Tiff.  🙂

[8] The day a doctor of philosophy emerges, transformed, from its dissertation cocoon (more like a beetle than a butterfly, but still altered from my current “larva/pupa/grub = student” phase).

[9] I will be starting a postdoctoral research position @ UC Davis in late-October; however, I’ll be working in San Diego for part of that time!  🙂

[10] Still the same “geek” you’ve always known (not to be confused with a “dork” or “nerd,” CLICK HERE TO SEE THE DIFFERENCE)

Orlando, M16s, and antibiotics

My heart goes out to you, Orlando, and all affected.


Orlando club shooter used AR-15 — the same rifle used in Newtown

     “Americas most popular” AR-15 (M16) assault rifles strike our own people again and again and again. What’s the solution?  Well, anti-biotics will never stop all bacterial infections, but they have consistently and significantly reduced their unnecessary death toll, and with minimal negative side effects.  Food for thought.


     I’m 100% for gun ownership, yet as for gatlings and bazookas and flame throwers and napalm and ballistic missiles, military-grade assault weapons like the AR-15 (M16) (designed to destroy as many humans as possible in the least amount of time) circulating legally and abundantly throughout our society (to the profit of manufacturers), and in the hands of ordinary, untrained, unregulated, and/or unstable (ISIL or other) civilians seems pretty stupid, America.
     To truly limit the circulation of these things would require a coordinated, inter-state and national commitment; otherwise, these prolific evil little beasts will continue to cross borders and pop up, spontaneously at night clubs, elementary schools, etc. in any state, to do exactly what they were specifically designed by Colt (and others) to do: take as many human lives as possible in the least amount of time.

TRUMP – Sources, Videos, Citations

I appreciate debate.  And I do understand the appeal of Trump and don’t deny that he he exhibits some attractive qualities.  He promises to overhaul immigration, pull out/renegotiate trade agreements, bring back jobs to US soil, and “Make America Great Again”; all sound like potentially good things.  Initially, he even espoused some pretty liberal positions on the side of human rights & welfare; some of those have changed 180 deg. (see below).  In fact, Tiff and I were both thinking that Trump might be the best candidate early in the process, similar to other voters.


However, upon listening to him speak, considering his behavior and speech, proposed actions and policies, fact checking his statements, and examining his strategies; I’ve become very wary of giving this man additional power and the reigns to our country…even independent of his political platform/ideology.  It is unnerving to really think about what he stands for as a leader, human being, and role model for the country; also his lack of concrete plans/platform or the ability to speak intelligibly about how local, national and international governing bodies function.  His platform has focused, above all else, on bragging about his personal self-made wealth and brilliance and greatness (all of which are strongly disputed by thorough fact checking).

Below are a bunch of articles/videos that, for the most part, aim to point out facts and show raw video. I’ve included some satire; however, aside from the irreverent nature, these cleverly outline (with reliable fact-checking, raw video clips, and other supporting documentation) many of the issues we should consider.

It’s a lot of information, I’m fully open to you seeing this differently than I–both allowable and understandable.  I know how overwhelming it is, so just wanted to make sure that we all have the available information as we individually consider the merits of the candidates and then challenge (in friendly debate) each other’s views.



Donald Trump (Drumpf)

A short, irreverent, but comprehensive and fact-backed critique of trump.


Wrong, lying or spreading falsehoods 80% of the time.

Only 2/10 (20%) of facts stated by Donald Trump have been found to be truthful (80% were false-mostly false). In contrast, upwards of 7/10 (70%) of facts stated by Bernie have been found truthful (30% were false to mostly false).  Truthfulness is important; some leaders clearly are lacking more than others in this department.  Trump received the “King of Whoppers” title by Factcheck.org.



http://www.politifact.com/personalities/bernie-s/  (Bernie for comparison)


Trump leading multiple debunked “birther” movements to undermine others’ campaigns




Trump leading the debunked “anti-vaccination” movement



Trump siding with folks claiming there is no drought in CA


He is rich, but not nearly as rich, smart, or successful as he claims (his main qualification).




Trump is not even really funding his own campaign


Call for a COMPLETE BAN on ALL MUSLIMS entering US


Public treatment and views of women




Bragging about the size of his penis during a “presidential” debate


Imitating and mocking the handicapped during a speech


Personal insults during debates

Inconsistent beliefs



 Repeated and successful encouragement of violence from supporters


And how peaceful people are being treated at rallies:


AGAINST freedom of speech/press:  will “open up libel laws” to shut down critical press with lawsuits.  Already bullies lots of people with lawsuit threats. 





Trump supports torturing our POWs: and doing “much much worse than waterboarding”


Trump’s Strategies

A complete lack of humility, and continuous self-aggrandizement


Very simple language, but effective salesman tactics.

The basis of Trumps fortune:  inheritance, real estate, risk, self-branding & self-aggrandizement (also many failures)


How media greed (and our ignorance) fuel a Trump candidacy

How Trump may have coopted rage to fuel a movement.


Religious leaders opposing  Trump on moral grounds



Additional satire using real speeches and statements to demonstrate how Trump’s rhetoric is clearly not presidential.


Summary, jokes aside.

Trump has no governing experience, no legislating experience, no diplomatic experience, no military experience.  He doesn’t know how local, national, and international governing bodies function.  He is anxious to attack those who challenge him, to flex our military strength, to commit war crimes, and all without acknowledging the consequences of war and poor diplomacy with respect to human well being domestic and abroad.  On top of that, his facts are 80% false, if not lies; and when confronted with falsehoods, he attacks and dismisses the messenger without addressing his error, ever.  He has no history of governing, legislating, or any form of government service, including military experience.  We can only judge him for what he has said, done, behaved, and promised.

Based on the best information I can find, primarily his own statements & history (not the liberal media), in good faith, I cannot consider supporting this man.


It’s not a sprint…

It’s a marathon.  Rather, it’s a marathon-length obstacle course.  Rather, it’s a marathon length obstacle course throughout which one must sprint (and jump, climb, dive, bleed, cry, swim, crawl…you get the idea).

They say I’m lucky, and I am.  But perspective means everything.

This has been quite a busy 2013:


February:  Maui Research
March: Dissertation Qualifying Exam
May: Maui Research
June: Maldives Research
July: Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Research
August:  Kahoolawe Research
September:  Maui Research

Basically, a lot of this:


Yep, it’s September now, and I’m finally seeing the light at the end of this year’s odyssey.

I haven’t had time to keep up with blogging, or emails, or contacting friends/family, sleeping or breathing regularly.  But this time of blissful madness is coming to an end and I, at last, have time to reflect.

I have a ton of adventures to report on, going back over a year ago.  These will come piecemeal, as time opens up.  I can’t wait to reflect, relive, and enjoy the experiences that have passed.  Some say one shouldn’t live in the past; rather, to live in the present.   Sometimes, however, one was simply working too hard to enjoy the present, so reflecting on the previous presents via images, videos and stories is quite attractive at the moment…

I did mention that I’m seeing the light, but I still reside deep within the tunnel.  So for now, I’ll be mostly dealing with the the present, which remains highly algified (a good thing).

IMG_4208  IMG_4215 IMG_4219 IMG_4225 IMG_4229 IMG_4233 IMG_4200 IMG_4190


Strangely Stoked

I regularly find myself strangely stoked…well…life is good like that.

I’m stoked I’m in Maui again.  I’m stoked that Maui is getting much needed rain.  I’m stoked to be wet and cold, daily. I’m stoked for short intervals of dry/calmness.  I’m stoked my dive buddy has busted butt, though southern storms, sediments, swell, & tigas (sharks).  I’m stoked we survived a Kona shore pound.   I’m stoked we were able to fix my cages.  I’m stoked we’re done collecting heaps of data from all over the island.  I’m stoked the swell was popping today.  I’m stoked I caught two waves before catching my sacred spear/board (Djoubiti) to the face.  I’m stoked I split my forehead and not my eye.  I’m stoked to be surfing again tomorrow.  I’m stoked I tried a new pizza joint to the horror of my Maui mentor.  I’m stoked I have a couple days off to write.  I’m stoked for incessant cetacean serenades. I’m stoked I enjoyed Chasing Mavericks.  I’m stoked my data are sound, but overwhelming.  I’m stoked to be sleeping on the floor.  I’m stoked to have exchanged sleep for hanging out with lab mates, Maui friends, bocces & brews.  I’m stoked for not scratching on the 8 ball. I’m stoked to be driving around like a soccer mom.  I’m stoked to have gone to Maui “salsa” night, which apparently, HERE, is synonymous with “polka.”   I’m stoked to be sore, tired, and feel like I’m living life.  I’m stoked to be stressing over my quals.  I’m stoked to be able to get 7 hrs of sleep.   Strangely, I’m simply stoked.

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

This blog got about 3,500 views in 2012.

Attractions in 2012

These are the posts that got the most views in 2012.


The Grass is Always Greener

Given their warmth, clarity & beautiful corals, Hawaii’s waters certainly have their charm; however, it took only one dive off La Jolla to remind myself of two truths:  (1)  there’s no place like home where (2) the grass is always greener, literally.


Na Hoku

I have recently had the chance to photograph a few rare stars on the reef.

Edmonson’s pipefish (Halicampus edmondsoni)

This was a rare find.  My buddy, Don, spotted a mated pair in Kaanapali and took some great shots.  When he contacted the fish experts in Hawaii to confirm his ID, Don learned that he had the first and only pictures of these fish ever taken in the wild.  It was a real treat for Don to invite me down to see the rare pair in person, and perhaps be the second person to ever film these guys in their natural habitat.

Flame angelfish  (Centropyge loricula)

This is a difficult fish to film.  Not only are they rare on the reef (have only seen one during my 300 dives out here), but they are also great at dancing and dodging into & out of the reef at a rapid pace, seldom holding still to flaunt the beautiful reds, yellows & turquoises their mammas gave them.   Despite their nymph-like agility, patience paid off and I final captured a few decent shots of this remarkable fish.  These are prime targets for aquarium collectors, but I’m glad this little guy has escaped their nets thus far.

Hawaiian Green Lionfish Dendrochirus barberi

Called the Turkey Fish by Hoover (but not Randall), this little guy is related to real lionfish and can provide quite the nasty wound with its venomous spines.  Despite this fact, it’s quite a cute little fish.

Descent/Ascent into/from the House of the Sun

I’m in Maui.

Daily, I hope for nothing less than warm days, beads of sweat on my brow, scuba tanks, warm water, sandy beaches, and tropical drinks with little straw hats.  So it seemed insane to me that my friends wanted to drive 10,000 feet into the sky to scope out a mountain/volcano; beyond the reach of my dearest island proclivities.  Even better, they planned on spending the night, freezing our toes off in a tent.  Apparently, I really like my friends/colleagues, so I decided to brave the cold & hike the Haleakala volcano with them a few weeks ago.

To my pleasant surprise, we had warm, beautiful weather during the days, making for some of the most amazing hiking, camping, & volcano bocce one could ever imagine.
Haleakala means “House of the Sun” and it lived up to it’s name perfectly.  The scenery was stunning, the weather–perfect, and the company fantastic.

We headed 6 mi down “Shifting Sand Trail”, stayed in a cabin, trekked another 5 the next day to our tent camp site, then up “Switch Backs” back to the top.  We spent 3 surreal days in the so-called crater (actually erosional).  We delicately wove our ways through beautiful Haleakala silverswords, navigated through clusters of massive cinder cones, hung out side-by-side with endangered nene (native Hawiian geese), raced the shadows, worshiped the sun, and tossed the bocces around all over the basin.

The story goes that Maui’s grandmother is from the crater and that she helped him wrangle the sun & slow it down, giving us longer days.  Well, Maui, HUGE thanks for that.  But on days like these, the only truly acceptable solar speed would have been zero.

Mala Shark Encounter

We climbed into the water near Mala boat ramp.  After catching my breath from laughing @ Em & Sam beached on a concrete slab, we rounded the corner & descended into a shallow world of massive rubble piles covered in coral.   This is the Mala pier; or what’s left of it after it collapsed in the 1990s.  Among and beneath the rubble is an incredible collection of sealife, making for a really unique & interesting dive experience.  I was stoked to get to experience this with team Maui, my dive shop buddy Rich, and some of the finned kine.