Parable of the Party

For those earnest riders to the rescue.

My, what a busy life you’ve got. You haven’t been able to keep up on the goings-on amongst people you hang out with, not for years. Always something, innit? You’ve exchanged hellos, and occasionally caught a little bit of the ne ws. You’ve heard there’s been some bad shit going down, but you’re not quite sure what it is – just seems to be upsetting a lot of people. Well, y’know, it’ll probably sort itself out. You all go to the same university, so it’s not like disagreements could get that serious, amirite?

So there you are, some free time at last, and just in time for a party! Well, you’re gonna be late, but you’ll totally be there. Fun times ahead!

But when you get there long after it started, you don’t find people partying so much.

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A Landscape in a Hand Sample: To Settle

We began in fire. Let’s quench that fire with a little water. Sedimentary rocks don’t always form in water, mind, but many of them do.


Cobble of the Astoria Formation from near Otter Crest and Devil’s Punchbowl, Oregon.

I’m cheating a little bit. This isn’t just a very nice piece of sandstone, it’s one with some apparent Liesegang banding. But that’s the charm of sedimentary rocks: while some of them can look quite plain, others have lovely patterns, either formed by the sediments themselves or later chemical and mechanical weathering processes.

So what’s a sedimentary rock? I’ve a bit of the philologist in me, so let’s look at its root: the Latin word sedere: to sit, to settle. (Don’t even talk to me about -ment, which comes from mentum, which means “chin.” How the word for chin ended up becoming a suffix that forms nouns is beyond me. Guess I should’ve gone to college for that philology degree after all.) Right, so we have something sitting, settling. Which is what sediment does best. Whether blown by the wind or carried by water, it eventually settles down: sand, silt, clay, mud, pebbles, gravel – even boulders – sediments all, come to rest. Given time, some pressure, and perhaps a nice bit of stuff like silica or calcite to cement it, sediment will become sedimentary rock.

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How Many Fires Should the Arsonists be Allowed to Set?

So there’s this thing a lot of decent people (and isn’t it remarkable how they’re almost always men?) have been doing. It happens in public with people like Lee Moore and Michael Nugent playing at being peace brokers; it happens in private, with friends and respected colleagues comparing the harassers and the harassees to the USSR and America. Sit down at a table, they say. Air grievances, they say. Come to an agreement, they say. Give and take is what’s needed here, they say.

They never do get that there are some situations that can’t be resolved by dialogue, some people with whom negotiation is impossible. I’m reminded of Methos trying to talk sense into MacLeod, speaking of a person whose only goal was death and destruction: “Kronos didn’t torch those villages for a few coins, he torched them to watch them burn.” What can you offer to someone whose only desire is to cause damage (and be lauded by the upper eschelons while doing it)? Nothing except capitulation. So what, we hand Kronos a torch and say, “Go to it”?

Firing Match by Vomir-en-costard, via Flickr.

Firing Match by Vomir-en-costard, via Flickr.

I’ve been struggling to find the proper analogy to describe how bloody stupid this is, but it clicked in place today, and perhaps it might help a few of the peace brokers understand what their pushing for peace looks like to those of us who have had their houses set on fire:

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New at Rosetta Stones: Something Old (and, Remarkably, Less Boring Than You’d Expect)

So I’m still wrestling with Franklin Falls, I’ve 10,000 things to distract me, and I’m sadly behind on pretty much everything. But some of the stuff from my old days is going to be new to some of you, so what the heck – let’s share the ETEV love with Rosetta Stones. I shall show you why reading geologic technical pamphlets that go with geologic maps is actually quite fascinating. Believe it or not, this stuff can be rather dramatic. Go find out how!

Mystery Flora/Cryptopod Double Header: Light & Dark

Lots of mysteries lately, I know. I’ve been dealing with the mystery of Franklin Falls. It’ll be easy, sez I. Snoqualmie Batholith and some hornfels, sez I. Nothing simpler, sez I. Then I had to go and ask the question, “Well, what was the hornfels before it was hornfels?” And this is where my best laid plans for a sweet and simple geology post went gang aft agley. Of course they did. They always do. Because I keep asking questions and haven’t got answers until after a long chase through ninety-seven thousand pages of search results.

Anyway. Coming soon. In the meantime, mysteries! Here’s a little delight from our Franklin Falls trip.
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Bodacious Botany: Wicked

We found two versions of wicked botanical denizens of the Pacific Northwest when we walked the Old Snoqualmie Pass Wagon Road Trail (the trail is shorter than its name) on Saturday. That trail makes a nice loop out of the Franklin Falls hike: it doesn’t add much distance to your trip, and you get to see the forest. Which is full of fallen trees, and sliced up by streamlets, and makes you think that having to run a wagon trail through there must have been a ginormous pain in the arse.

I wouldn’t even have known about it if it wasn’t for Evelyn. She sent me 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Seattle for Christmas. B and I have been putting it to excellent use. The authors didn’t know rocks – they’re description of Franklin Falls is “gray and reddish rocks…” “black and reddish rocks…” and there they give up. I don’t blame them, necessarily. Those rocks are bloody hard to sort out if you’re not a professional: I’ve been at it all day, trying to figure out just what, precisely, we’re dealing with. I mean, it’s all well and good to know the black and reddish rocks are hornfels, but what kind? I know the gray rocks are Snoqualmie Batholith granodiorite, but what’s its story, morning glory? And now I’m getting punch-drunk from searching through dozens of sources. And – oh, my, where was I?
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Three Posts that Should Be Required Reading for Ron Lindsay

Greta Christina has gone and said about all I could have said about this situation, and so much more. Ron Lindsay is a fool if he doesn’t read, then seriously contemplate, both of her posts.

A Blatant Misrepresentation — And An Insulting One: The Content of Ron Lindsay’s WiS2 Talk

He Treated Us With Contempt: The Context of Ron Lindsay’s WiS2 Talk

Afterward, he would be a raging dumbass not to head over to Jon Scalzi’s blog to see how a proper apology is done (h/t PZ).

Presidential Statement on the SFWA Bulletin, June 2, 2013

I don’t hold out much hope he’ll be capable of processing any of these, but one never knows. There they are, Ron. They might help you mend a few of the bridges you burned.


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