Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
Do I tag this with "astronomy?" I guess I should; they're the ones who will enjoy it most.
Another "outcrop" that I posted a while back is not one that I would like: a bit too much of the femme fatale in this one for me to feel comfortable. In fact, the first time I watched it, this video made very, very uncomfortable, and I remembered it as about twice as long as it really was. If you are a geology person and a mountain climber, you will love this. If you have an issue with heights or balance, be ready to click pause or close the window. I just had to track down another copy- the version I had embedded has apparently been disappeared by the internet police. So I had to watch it again. You know what? It still makes me woozy. But the rocks are very cool.
The location is El Caminito Del Rey, "The King's Little Road," in Malaga, Spain. Part of the nerve-racking aspect of the video is that the photographer is fearless and nearly jogs through the mess. So here are some still photos that are less stressful. Massive exposure of vertical bedding is a serious turn-on to most geologists.
See that little line three quarters of the way up the picture? That's the pathway. EEK! And those little tiny dark spots at the left side of the path? Yep, dem's people up dere.
The pathway was created to allow workers to move back and forth more easily between a pair of hydropower projects, a little more than a century ago. I don't know if the above picture shows the process of constructing the path or what workers used before the path was constructed.
Dignitaries touring the path after its completion- see now, that I could deal with. I'm glad to see from the Wikipedia entry that Andalusia is hoping to restore it; it is (or was, before it fell into disrepair) an amazing piece of engineering. I would love to walk this path if, you know, it had railings, and if it was mostly there.
Now all these are great outcrops, but it's mostly the scale of exposure that makes them appealing; I can't really tell if the rocks themselves are all that amazing. Perhaps the most amazing, yes, orgasmic, outcrop I've ever seen wasn't all that big, maybe 150 feet along the Klamath River in northern California. It was a somewhat overgrown roadcut, so exposure was not great, though not terrible. In that 150 feet were 1) Ultramafic rocks cooked to serpentine, talc and chrysotile asbestos; 2) Seafloor basalt cooked to a fairly coarse amphibolite schist; 3) Seafloor chert; 4) Calc-alkaline rocks representing slightly metamorphosed sandy limestones; 5) More or less unaltered greywacke. The environments represented are, respectively 1) slightly metamorphosed upper mantle 2) heavily metamorphosed ocean crust 3) deep ocean oozes (far from land, no land-derived, 'terrigenous' sediments) 4) warm shallow marine, close enough to shore to have sand. 5) near shore, heavy sedimentation, probably associated with mountain-building on shore. So, in other words, a transect representing maybe 10 to 15 miles vertically, and at least hundreds, possibly much more, horizontally, all accordioned into an exposure you could walk through in seconds.
It's the kind of thing that can make any red-blooded geologist swoon from heart-stopping passion.
"Chuckie" Taylor, the son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor has beenOK, so now I'm waiting on news regarding "Georgie," the son of former US president...
sentenced by a US court to 97 years in prison for committing torture.
Yeah, right. I know, I know... but I'm entitled to my dreams. And the irony is painful:
A Liberian minister told the BBC the verdict sent a message that nobody -
regardless of how powerful they were - could get away with unspeakable
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
In the story, Torrance is secluded with his family in a snowed-in, isolated hotel, where he hopes to complete a novel. Later in the story, his wife Wendy discovers that the entire manuscript is composed of the aphorism "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," repeated over and over.
Now New York artist Phil Buehler, who describes himself as "a big fan of StanleyBuehler limited himself to formatting that could be created with a typewriter- none of the graphic tricks that a writer/artist can pull off with computers. Predictably, at a certain point he was having a hard time coming up with novel formats for additional pages. He got to about page 60, out of an intended 80, and ran into writer's block (layout block?).
Kubrick and Stephen King", has self-published a book credited to Torrance,
repeating the phrase throughout but formatting each page differently, using the
words to create different shapes from zigzags to spirals.
"I hit writer's block about 60 pages in, and I had to get to 80 - that went onIf I had been that poor woman, I'd have been out the door, out of the city, and out of the country in flash, screaming like a banshee.
for about a week." His fiancée, who had neither read the book nor seen the film,
became a little concerned about his actions. "I finally showed her the movie,
and she realised I wasn't really losing it," said Buehler.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
Italy did for retirement financing what President George W. Bush couldn’t do inI remember gleefully explaining to a grad student in science ed (where I was an instructor) four years ago that Bush's statement, that he'd earned political capitol and intended to spend it on "individual retirement accounts" to replace Social Security, was essentially going to destroy his second term. His desire and attempts to undermine SS basically did trash his second term (though the Terri Schiavo Fiasco later on certainly pounded a few more nails into his coffin, and the ongoing fiasco in Iraq didn't help matters).
the U.S.: It privatized part of its social security system. The timing couldn’t
have been worse.
I hadn't realized Italy made this mistake. My heart goes out to them. Please take this lesson to heart, people. (Full article, again from Krugman, here.)
Now, from the Telegraph (UK), is an article suggesting that even if Livermore's NIF fails to advance practical fusion power, the technology therein may still pay off big in terms of creating conditions of deep planetary interiors. This could lead to a better understanding of the earth's core, and even cores of giant planets such as Jupiter. The diamond anvil has been a useful, but limited investigative tool. I never imagined that our attempts to make fusion a commercially useful technology would provide tools to investigate geology. Stars, I might have guessed. Earth? Cool!
There are reasons to remember Nazi Germany; this kind of hyperbole, oddly enough, only causes people to forget the lessons they should remember, and makes our continuing efforts to fully understand the human capacity for "evil" more difficult
So no more Nazi references this year. 'K?
Sunday, January 4, 2009
However, I will highlight one thing that has been particularly positive about the past year: taking my first steps in participating in the blogosphere. It's huge, it's fun, and whatever interests you or engages you, someone is putting stuff up that you'll love. I hope to update my blog roll to more fully show the (literally) 283 bloggers and sites that I follow daily- and that's not including the inumerable side links I click on each day. In particular, I'd like to send a shout-out to the geoblogosphere, a bunch of rock geeks who are as infatuated with the earth as I am, and by and large know a lot more than I do. I consider myself well-rounded with respect to geology (evidence of fluvial transport), and the way I got to that point was a willingness to learn and a willingness to ask (often inane) questions. The geoblogosphere was apparently created for me.
I also appreciate the vast number of other science blogs, humor blogs and sites, political and economic commentary and analysis, and what I have classed in my RSS folders as "This 'n That:" bloggers whose stuff is all over the map. I never know what to expect from these people, but I'm always well pleased. I put my own blog into that folder (not because I need to read it again, but because I want to see what it looks like in RSS, and as a further opportunity to catch and correct typos and grammatical errors).
Since I love to laugh, I'll preface my simple request with a simple problem: (From Talk Like a Physicist) The key quote from this post is "So the search for simplicity is guided by what Einstein taught us : 'Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.'" Which, oddly enough, was echoed in a post today from Cosmic Variance (front page here), one of the astronomy blogs I follow. The post in question is called "Blogs That Should Exist." It is basically a simple request that if you don't blog, would you please start? I hearby echo that sentiment. They offer a list of suggested names, one of which is "But No Simpler."
Whether your interests are astronomy, geology, stuff to make you laugh... whatever, there's a crowd out there that shares your interests, and wishes they could hear from you. It takes some time, first to actually do the blogging, second to connect to others, and third to actually establish some friendships. There are a number of people who visit my blog often and leave comments; I try to return the favor. Close friends? No, but they're people who would miss me if I went AWOL, and vice versa. I have only met a few of my fellow blogospherians IRL (in real life) so far, but I look forward to meeting more, to putting faces with names and personalities that have made an impact on me.
And did I mention it's simple? It is. And it's free. As I noted a while back, I showed my nephews how to do a post; later I helped them start their own blogs. These guys are grade-school aged, and if they can do it, so can you.Kris, at Just For Fun. My sister sent me a class project he did on Neptune last fall, and I'm glad to see Kris posted it. His writing is better than many college-age students.
Garette, at My Life as a Garette. Kris and Garette's posts so far have been mostly funny YouTube Clips, and I am trying to encourage them to write more. I never really learned to "keyboard," (which I guess is a verb these days) but as a result of much writing and computer use, my fingers just seem to know where the keys are. It's obviously very tedious for these two to compose on the computer, and it's almost painful to watch the ideas slip away as they struggle to peck out, letter by letter, the words to express their thoughts. But only through practice will they get better, and I look forward to hearing from them over the years as they become more fluent with the written word. (And Callan, note the prominant placement of your "Geology Rocks" Sticker. Hardly a day goes by that someone doesn't remark on it.)Kris and Garette got a Wii for Christmas; I suppose within a few years there will be some new-fangled technology that does for typing what Wii has done for bowling and boxing. That's their dad, my brother-in-law, Frank, in the back. (Is it just me, or does "Wii" sound like toilet humor aimed at kids?) But in the meantime, guys, typing it is.
And as long as I'm on the subject, a friendly "Thanks!" to the folks who follow my blog; I'm pleased and honored. Please understand that you have provided me with many hours of entertainment and education... and what more could one ask of the blogosphere?
Dr Monkey Von Monkerstein
See? If you started a blog, you too could be on this list! Wouldn't that be fun?