It was my fifth day in Gloaming, Nevada – an unincorporated township skirted on all sides by scorched barrenness. I had never been this far west before, and so the craggy, acacia-dotted desert was dazzling to my senses. I remember wishing that I could extend...

I think therefore I am. RenΓ© Descartes originally wrote those words in his book entitled Discourse on the Method, and I believe they make for a fitting epigraph to my current predicament, which I will get to shortly. But first I want to discuss the nature...