The first image you see of the habitat is a golf ball sliced in half, stark white and naked against a windswept barren lava plain. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. A tiny speck on the side of a giant blackened volcano, emerging from the mist. We drive the shuttle up, up, up through the clouds on a winding rocky dirt road until we land safely.

It’s surreal being here. Just hours ago I had been going insane, isolated with my six roommates in a tiny apartment. Stuck in the same routines like a skipping record.

I signed up for…

what to do with this wild precious life
it’s only at the edge of courage that you begin to feel
the days when you go dancing
when you race and run until breathless heart churning
you collapse into dreamless sleep

when a ship goes out to water
they bring yards of sail
because they know that to be pushed by the wind
means that at some point your canvas will break

they always save a bit to sew up sailors
who get buried at sea

tattered and torn, we stitch ourselves up
each with only enough to make the trip up…

i hope you find a good dance partner
not a clumsy oaf with two left feet
someone who learns to follow your lead
who knows how to properly cross the street

i hope you find an aquarium
and fill it full of fish
with time to paint and stay up late
and eat whatever you wish

i hope you get to travel
see if australia is really upside-down
with the world all topsy-turvy
that you find reasons not to frown

i hope you get cool ink
dye your hair in rainbow hues
find all sorts of thrift store steals
and that you get…

The image of the author reminding himself that he’s often a dumbass

Details matter

I needed a picture of a ribbon on a finger for this picture. But it wouldn’t be right to just pull some clip art, that’s not a good look, so I went searching for a red ribbon. I found a red ribbon around an old candle. Cutting the ribbon off the candle using my grandfathers’ old pearl fishing knife felt right. It was slightly sparkly and I hate glitter. The herpes of craft supplies. Perfect for a self-effacing image. It couldn’t be tied in a bow, because that isn’t my style. I was the kind of kid who…

I’m playing around with practice. Messing up the artform. Experimenting and seeing what happens. Test, measure, repeat until it explodes in your face, then laugh it off and try again. Gradually tweaking my craft so that this consistency of writing is working towards something, building me up.

It’s wild to see time zoom by. A year ago I was a completely different person. Right around now I was freaking out about the pandemic, trying to get a COVID diagnostic company off the ground. With eyes on the prize of saving the world, I had blinders on to the ways that…

Mastering the Art of Continuous Improvement

I’ve been working a lot with my team on professional development. Many of them are still students and trying to figure out what to do post-graduation.

I’ve had a number of similar conversations about consistency working toward lifelong goals so I think it’s worthwhile writing down the points I’ve made.

It’s quite easy to attempt many things. It’s quite challenging to do a few things well. That’s why it’s important to limit your focus to a few really important daily habits and constantly improve on these routine tasks.

This is called Kaizen, or continuous improvement. It is a Japanese business…

  1. Survive
  2. Make
  3. Share

Survive. Stay alive by whatever means necessary. You’re only done when you give up.

Make. Create every single day and you’ll cut through inaction like a hot knife through butter.

Share. Whenever you have surplus, give it away. Don’t hide you creations. They’re living things and need light to survive.


I’m having trouble telling this story.

It’s one that he already knows. I start and stop. Stuttering and tripping over the uncomfortable multisyllabic truths.

He interrupts — “you’ve met someone”

Am I that transparent? Does he know me that well? Can we see through each other like strips of cellophane? Like ice?

It’s hot even in October but I get goosebumps.

He brought pumpkins to carve. Has a weird goatee thing going on. I look anywhere but his eyes.

My roommate comes home briefly before heading out to a Halloween party. We can barely talk the same way anymore.


loneliness is a symptom of the human condition
of realizing that you have thoughts that you cannot share
of experiences that you cannot speak
of truths that to everyone else are untrue
the unreality of how your experience
will not register on the vast untold millions
the solipsism of sitting on a subway
not saying not moving
the entire ride
then getting off at your stop
walking home
brushing your teeth
and going to bed

michael collins was all alone
when buzz and neil landed on the moon
he orbited around the dark side
in the quiet
away from all communication he sat in…

Spira works with a network of farms in the developing world to create replacements for petroleum and animal compounds in the supply chain using algae, but we’ve never talked much about our story.

Here’s our story full of twists-and-turns directly from our founder, Elliot Roth:

I’ve been curious about biotechnology since I was 14 when I tried to make glowing tadpoles for my friends based on Roger Tsien’s 2008 Nobel Prize for discovering GFP. I emailed 100s of labs to see if I could get access to equipment and mentorship but I never received a response. Luckily my high school biology teacher enabled my creative research, and I planned out the entire…

Elliot Roth

Founder @spirainc - creating photosynthetic tech to tackle global challenges, starting with local production of industrial chemicals. @thatmre

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