New at Rosetta Stones: Fools for Fool’s Gold!

It’s April Fools’ Day in many countries, and to celebrate, I’ve finally remembered to do up some research on pyrite! But it turned out so unbelievable, I decided I’d better not publish it today. So we’ll start with some famous fools fooled by fool’s gold. We’ll get to the really wild stuff I found out next week, when you might be more inclined to believe me!

And thee shall have a picture of lovely dolomite, pyrite, and quartz to boot.

Image shows a white and transparent rock with beautiful bits of pyrite shining in it.


“Quartz with Pyrite inclusions and Dolomite.” Image courtesy Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education IX: In Which We Read a “Research Paper”

Did you think sea level would be a topic even Christianists can discuss without controversy? Ha! HA, I say! O ye of little faith in their ability to give the simplest subjects a bizarre religious twist. Of course they can make sea level controversial! Earth Science 4th Edition certainly delivers. And you are going to choke on your tasty beverage when you see what their idea of a quality research paper is, so I advise you spit-take proof your machine right now. [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories Excerpt: Biblical Family Values Parte the Thirde: Erecting Phallic Symbols

XIX

Biblical Family Values Parte the Thirde: Erecting Phallic Symbols

(Genesis 35)

I would ask all of you who’ve ever giggled uncomfortably while watching Hindu priests oil up Shiva’s penis statue on the National Geographic Channel to pay close attention to the following section.

After Jacob’s sons pissed off the entire area by murdering a whole town full of dudes, then stealing all their stuff (including their women and children), the whole clan has to go. God tells Jacob to head back to Bethel and make an altar to him. So Jake makes everybody get rid of their strange gods, clean up, change clothes, and go. Traveling through the territories of all the cities who’d heard of their mass-murdering ways might have been a little fraught, but God jammed his divine finger into the terror centers of the residents’ brains, so they were too shit-scared to attack. How thoughtful (Gen. 35:1-5).

After they’ve got settled in and built the required altar, God decides to bless his favorite scummy cheating dirtbag with the mass-murdering sons. He delivers his usual pitch, telling them to have more babies, father nations and kings, have the same land as Abraham and Isaac, etc. Also, God bestows a sniny new name on Jacob. Jake, now Israel (although the Bible writers keep forgetting God renamed him), is so impressed by this that he sets up a pillar of stone right there where they talked (Gen 35:6-14).

Image shows an outdoor temple with a black lingam stone, which is shaped like a dildo.

Lingam stone at Wat Pho, Bankok, Thailand. Photo by Aimaimyi. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

And then he poured wine all over it. Then he oiled it up (Gen. 35:14).

Image shows an old bearded holy man in salmon-colored robes pouring water from a jug onto a black lingam stone.

Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (Gurudeva) pours a libation over a lingam stone. Photo by Himalayan Academy Publications, Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii. (CC BY-SA 2.5)

Yeeep… So, yeah, you’re never allowed to laugh at other cultures and their phallic religious statues again.

So Jacob Israel takes this fruitful-and-multiply order seriously, and promptly knocks Rachel up again. God sorta forgets to bless her, so she ends up having her labor go catastrophically wrong. The midwife says, “No worries – it’s gonna be a boy!” Which piece of great news somehow fails to save Rachel’s life. With her last breath, she names her baby boy – the one she’s dying for – Benoni. You might think a man would respect and cherish his beloved wife’s very last word, but Jacob promptly renames the kid Benjamin, because he’s a patriarch and that’s how he rolls. But at least he erects a penis pillar on his dead wife’s grave (Gen. 35:16-20).

Jacob Israel keeps right on traveling, until the clan reaches the countryside past Eder. He pitches his tent, and the next thing he knows, his son Reuben’s sleeping with his concubine, Bilhah. Shtupping Dad’s own sex slave. The nerve of some kids, let me tell you (Gen. 35:21-22).

For some reason, right after that, the Genesis writers decided to give us a list of all twelve of Jacob’s sons, both his wives, and his two concubines – but left out the daughter, because it’s not like girl children matter, even if you have committed genocide for them (Gen. 35:23-26).

Nice little traditional Biblical family there, innit?

I Shall Now MALL NINJA!! Your Sunday

This is one of the most epic trolls I’ve ever read. It says something about our unhinged gun culture that I wasn’t sure it was a troll at first, rather than a man with a very rich fantasy life. Content note for the usual kind of sexism, fat-shaming, toxic masculinity and so forth you’d expect to find in forums full of gun-obsessed people.

Before we get to the excerpt proper, let our host ‘splain what a Mall Ninja is: [Read more…]

Neufchâtel Cheese Geology: Look! A Fossil!

Those of you who follow me on G+ know that on occasion, I would sometimes post pictures of my Greek yogurt and talk about the geological features therein. (You also know I post an inordinate number of photos of my elderly cat. Sorrynotsorry.) I don’t eat as much Greek yogurt as I used to, so there hasn’t been any Greek yogurt geology of late. But I did discover that Neufchâtel cheese also is a useful food item for illustrating geological concepts. Look at this amazing fossil it made when I was eating cheese and crackers before bed: [Read more…]

Sweet White Cliffs: Chalk Stories

I remember being pretty shocked as a kid when I found out there were entire cliffs made out of the same sort of stuff our teachers used to write on the blackboard. Oh, yes, I’m that old. We actually mostly had greenboards, but it was chalk all the way. I’d get thoroughly excited when I was allowed to clean the erasers. The smell and dryness of the dust whispers learning to me. I still love the click-tap-scrape of chalk on a chalkboard – it’s one of my favorite, most soothing sounds. Until, of course, you get that hard bit in there and it goes screech, which is really terrible. [Read more…]

A Volcano Changes Everything

We focus a lot here on geology (this being a geology blog and all). But the thing I love about science is how you can start with one and end up visiting most of the rest as you explore. For instance: take the Mount St. Helens eruption. It’s a hell of a geology story, one which isn’t nearly finished – but that dramatic geologic moment caused a cascade of other events that have scientists of all stripes sitting up and taking notice. [Read more…]

AdoraSquirrel!

Mah feets get itchy when the weather’s nice, so I took a lone walk to North Creek on a warm spring afternoon. The ducks there have gotten rather insistent about feeding. They pull awful guilt-trips if I show up empty-handed, as you’ll see in a future post. I try not to feed them too often, but I did take along a bit of food that day, so as to pay my respects and stop disappointing the poor little buggers.

This time, the ducks weren’t the only ones begging. We had two crows show up instantly, although they were too wary to actually partake of the feast.

Image shows two crows, both looking over their shoulders to the right, perched on a branch.

Interested crows.

And there was the most adorable squirrel in the universe. [Read more…]

Reveal that Metazoan! Adorable Snail Onna Tree Edition

We’ve had a very mild winter, even verging on ridiculously warm at times. Even the gray days haven’t been horribly cold, so B and I would sometimes wander about even if it was gloomy. Thus, this January baby snail on a paper birch I shall now show you.

Image shows a very small snail woking its way down a paper birch trunk. It's on a white bit of bark, headed for a buff-colored freshly-peeled part.

Awww! It’s so little!

I had to stop and take twelve million photos, of course, because it was totes adorbs.

[Read more…]

Moar Voting for Really Terrible Bible Story Illustrations!

You good people did me a solid and helped me select the most fucked-up painting suitable for my forthcoming book, Really Terrible Bible Studies. Thankees! Franchescini won, but it was a close-run thing, and some of you almost tempted me with your alternate selections. What, have you been talking to snakes in gardens or something?!

I need your help once again. I have found three excellent candidates for the really terrible Jacob family values. Which should I go with? [Read more…]