An age of wonders

Welcome to this week's Reno News & Review.

It was only a couple weeks ago that I was hanging around the hostel in the neighborhood behind the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. My friend and fellow student, Catherine, had run off to figure out an itinerary at the main bus station. It was urban hot as I sat drinking the fine Efes beer at the Sultan Hostel in this city of more than 13.5 million souls, and the cool breezes off the Bosphorus Straight whipped the Turkish flags that were suspended on wires above the narrow brick street.

I was eyeing this gray-haired guy seated a few tables away. I'll be honest: I had about a half a buzz going, but I could see by the light in his brown eyes that he had a story to tell. So I bought him a beer, and I engaged him in conversation.

Turns out his name was Jeff Jennings, hailing from Colorado, and he said he'd been attending a climate conference—I believe it was the Climate Reality Leadership Corps—with Al Gore in Taksim Square. He was also the inventor of a perpetual motion machine.

Now, by the time we got to the specifics of the machine, after hours of drinking Raki and smoking hookah, attempts on our honor by beautiful Russian women—or were they Turkish?—and friends and congenial strangers—not to mention the guy huffing shoe polish out of a plastic bag—cutting into the dance, well … I'll just have to admit I'm a little foggy on the details. Something about using gravity and centrifugal force to run a flywheel and generator. (Oddly, they were talking about something similar on NPR only an hour ago.)

I'm generally a skeptic, but I can tell you, miracles happen in Istanbul. And to repurpose an earlier conversation for those in the know: “Except that never happens.” “Only it did.”


Finally, don't forget to vote in our Biggest Little Best of Northern Nevada popularity contest at The ballot comes down on July 19 at 3 p.m., so you'll want to rally the troops if you want to get an invite to our fabulous Best Of party.