The Athena Project

Athena Project


“Land was created to provide a place for boats to visit.” ― Brooks Atkinson

Speed Boat

Speed Boats

The ATHENA team is greeted by a 1965 Riva Super Aquarama suspended from the ceiling of Nino Bianchi’s boat garage in Venice. Riva produced the last of their flagship Super Aquaramas in 1996, but their motor boats, or “moving sculpture[s] in wood,” remain iconic designs and objects of admiration and desire.

The team at Alen Yacht is creating new classics with timeless craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology ― hallmarks of their custom designs. J Craft likens their bespoke process to commissioning a piece of art. Their 42-foot Torpedo is the epitome of luxury.


“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” ― Julia Child


Rib-Eye Steak with Coffee Rub

For rub combine:

  • ¼ C instant espresso
  • 2 T paprika
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 T dry mustard
  • 1 T kosher salt
  • 1 T ground black pepper
  • 1 T ground coriander
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 2 t ground ginger
  • 4 rib-eye steaks

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Preheat a pan (cast iron is great) or your grill over medium-high heat. Brush each side of the steaks with olive oil or canola oil, then rub 1T of rub onto one side of each steak. Cook the steaks, rub side down, until golden brown about 3-4 minutes. Flip steaks over and cook another 2 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet and cook in oven about 8-10 minutes (to desired doneness).


“Claret is the liquor for boys, port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy.” ― Samuel Johnson


B & B (Brandy and Benedictine)

This is a classic and incredibly simple cocktail. Pour equal parts of Benedictine and your favorite Brandy in a Brandy snifter, with or without ice. Try floating the Brandy on top of the Benedictine by pouring it gently over the back of a spoon into the snifter of Benedictine.


A realist, in Venice, would become a romantic by mere faithfulness to what he saw before him.” ― Arthur Symons

Venice Canal


Known as much for its gondolas as for its gelato, Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world. Here are a few stops that offer a true traveler’s tour of Venice:

  • One of my favorite (and my first ever) views of the Grand Canal can be found on the steps of the Santa Lucia train station, a common point of arrival.
  • The Piazza San Marco is the best place to center oneself and behold the beauty of one of the most renowned squares in all of Europe. Along its edges, you will find Doge’s Palace and the iconic Campanile bell tower, a former lighthouse, and the Basilica de San Marco modeled after the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople.
  • Another great way to get your bearings is to tour the city from the water. A ride on Vaporetto #1 is a great complement to a gondola ride through the canals. The Vaporetti serve much like a modern bus system. Number 1 will take you the length of the Grand Canal and offers views that will take your breath away.
  • The interiors of the Quernini Stampalia Museum offer a snapshot of the opulent Venetian lifestyle dating back to the 19th century. This house museum is also home to myriad classical and modern works of art.
  • The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, whose patron transformed a Venetian palazzo in the 1940s, is not only one of the most admired cultural attractions in Venice, but also the premier modern art museum in Europe.
  • The Rialto Market is the center of commerce and on every traveler’s must-visit list for souvenir shopping and a peek into the local culture and color. Adjacent to the market, the Church of San Giacomo di Rialto offers a peaceful sanctuary from the market’s hustle and bustle.
  • And, finally, my pick for the best homemade gelato in town, Boutique del Gelato, has been my favorite for years.
  • SIDE TRIP: The islands of Murano and Burano help complete the Venetian experience and are just a quick boat ride away. In Murano, the Cenedese Glass Factory was established in 1946 and has produced their iconic works for celebrities, royals, and locals alike. Here you can not only watch and learn the Venetian glass blowing process, but visit the gallery to view the final products. Burano is marked by colorfully painted buildings and known for the production of intricate lace. The quality of the lace at Emilia demonstrates the intricate process and their luxurious linens are about as good as they come.


“No one should approach the temple of science with the soul of a money changer.” ― Thomas Browne

Science & Society

Just weeks after THE ATHENA PROJECT was published, the world’s first quantum machine was Science magazine’s Breakthrough of the Year. In September 2014, a group of physicists succeeded in teleporting a photon over 25 kilometers! The rapid advancement of quantum teleportation and other scientific areas raises a wide range of questions and opinions.

  1. What are the potential downstream implications of science like quantum teleportation, in which information is transmitted from one location to another instantaneously? In light of those implications, is science like this worth pursuing?
  2. Test your imagination. Is there an event in world history that could have turned out differently based on the transfer of one bit of information? What is the event, what is the bit of new/different information, and how would it have impacted the outcome?
  3. Finally, which sector should be leading the charge for scientific advancement – government, private sector, or academia? Why?


Click here to see the Book Club Guide for The Athena Project.


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