Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: Uncooperative Little Barstard

Mystery Week continues! I know there’s a lot of awful and outrageous stuff going on, but I don’t have the spoons to write about it right now. Need a breather. If you need my occasional sharp commentary on various breaking news, however, you can click this little button right here if you’re a Facebook denizen:

And then you will be able to follow me as I fume. I also post a lot of pictures of cats.

Anyway. Some of you may remember our little trip to Frenchman Coulee a few weeks ago. While we were there, R and I were serenaded by this little delight. [Read more…]

This Atheist Has Lots to Be Thankful For

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the USA. For those celebrating, I hope you had a reasonably good time with the minimum of irritations and indigestion. For those who were protesting, I hope you got a good response. It pays to remember that our history is complex and quite often not very nice.

Thanksgiving has often been a day filled with family and friends for me, but it’s also frequently a holiday where Misha and I take the opportunity to celebrate alone. This year, we were going to entertain a friend who’s just had surgery, but her caretaker decided to stay in town and they had a quiet feast of their own. I didn’t know for sure until the last minute, so I declined plans with another friend, and by the time the day rolled around, I was feeling like having an introvert’s Thanksgiving, so I turned down an offer from my housemate to tag along to another gathering. I had everything I needed for a feast. I had a ton of editing to do. I was happy staying home alone! All of this to say: don’t worry a bit that it was just me and my kitty and Facebook. We love our solitary holidays.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. [Read more…]

Your Occasional Reminder: All My Social Media Presence!

There’s going to be a lot going on round the cantina this holiday season, my darlings. So much! In fact, I may be so busy that I have to cut back on blogging a bit. Never fear – there are plenty of places where you can get unfiltered Dana and keep up on All the Things. And I have collected all the social media links into one easy page for you, so that you can follow the social media feed of your choice! [Read more…]

Mystery Flora/Cryptopod Double-Header: Flowery Sprays

Mystery Week continues! In this edition, I’ve got some lovely flora and fauna for ye. Well, lovely as long as you love sprays of flowers and the occasional insect.

Our selections today come from Juanita Bay, where in early July we had many loverly flowers blooming, and lots of insects buzzing round.

Image shows a spray of tiny white flowers dangling from a tall plant. There's a long, narrow brown insect dangling upside-down from it.

Mystery Flora/Cryptopod I

I think we may have had this white one before, but I don’t honestly remember. There are enough new folks round the cantina we can have another go with it anyway. But the most essential part of this photoset is the wee little brown beetle.* [Read more…]

Cryptopod: Latvian Lovers

Hello and welcome to Mystery Week at En Tequila Es Verdad! Thanksgiving is coming up in the USA, I’ve got a book to finish and publish by Friday, and there’s enough Serious Stuff going on that I feel like maybe a break would do us good. So we’re going to have nothing but mysteries and pretty pitchoors!

Let us begin in Latvia, where RQ photographed some absolutely marvelous cryptopods over the summer. [Read more…]

Pregnant? Don’t Go to a Catholic Hospital Unless You Enjoy Risking Your Life for Other People’s Religious Beliefs

Imagine going to a hospital, and being told that although they could fix the problem that brought you there quite easily, they won’t do anything for you until you’re dying. Imagine lying in a bed, in pain, terrified, begging to be treated, and being told no. Not until your condition has progressed to the point where you’re gravely ill and at risk of losing your life. Then you can have the simple procedure that could have prevented all your suffering and ensured your survival. Maybe. If the doctor isn’t so terrified of losing their job that they wait until it’s too late, and you die before they get round to treating you. In which case, if you haven’t had the proper magic water sprinkled over you, you’re assumed to be burning in hell for eternity for the crime of having a medical emergency.

This is basically the situation when someone having a miscarriage goes to a Catholic hospital for treatment. Let me tell you what one of my abiding fears is: it’s that I’ll have a crisis in my ladyparts, and the only hospital within a hundred miles is Catholic. Allow me to show you why.

Content Note: description of medical crises and interventions, pointless suffering, medical torture, treating a doomed fetus as more important than a born human being. [Read more…]

Autumn Color Pops at Stratigraphy Viewpoint

Funny Diva and I got very lucky on our October trip to the south side of Mount St. Helens. The autumn colors were out in force! It’s getting to the gray part of the year in the Northern hemisphere, so a little splash of color will do us good. Let’s have a look at the wonderful ways the deciduous trees and bushes enhanced our views at Stratigraphy Viewpoint.

Image shows a length of the cut bank at Stratigraphy Viewpoint. Red-leafed trees and bushes are visible amongst the evergreens at the base of the bank and on its top.

Stratigraphy Viewpoint Fall Color I

One of the more botany-oriented folks in the audience will have to tell us what’s causing all these luscious fall colors. I suspect maples of some sort, but I dunno. We didn’t get across so I could inspect leaves.

Image shows a zoomed-in version of the previous photo, showing a particularly vigorous red tree. The bank is shades of pale gray, cream, and yellow-tan.

Stratigraphy Viewpoint Fall Color II

Speaking of botany, do you see that fluffy green bush trying to get all up in our stratigraphy? The nerve of some plants!

There are more fall colors splashed about in the photo set, if you want to go explore them. I shan’t overwhelm you with slight variations upon the theme here. Instead, let us turn to a stratigraphy photo that didn’t make the cut at Rosetta Stones, but which I love. First, you have to see it complete with the maclargehuge tree topping it like a birthday candle on a cupcake:

Image shows a tall portion of the exposed bank with a very tall lodgepole pine rising far above the surrounding trees.

Neato stratigraphy I

Look at that magnificent giant surrounded by short younger trees! It must have been there watching while Mount St. Helens went all asplodey and hurtled mudflows at it. And it was strong enough to endure the whole thing. Hats off to that tree.

Now, you may want to drool all over the bank it’s growing on.

Image zooms to the bank, which is a slice through tan, gray, pale brown, and yellow layers.

Neato stratigraphy II

How gorgeous is that? If you zoom in on it, the individual layers become fairly distinct, even though we’re shooting late in the day from across the wide river channel. You can even identify many of those layers yourself! Use this photo for reference. How many did you spot?

Say Their Names: Murders of Trans People Skyrocket in 2015

Most of them are trans women of color. Most are young: almost all are under 40. They’ve been shot, stabbed, beaten, and run over. They’ve been killed because society treats them like trash, and their killers get the message that they’re disposable.

This is why I have no patience left for so-called “good” people who won’t acknowledge that trans women are women, who buddy up with the people who vilify them, deny their womanhood, and work to get legislation passed that discriminates against them. It’s why I won’t tolerate slurs and derogatory jokes about trans people in my presence. Every bit of bigotry, no matter how small it may seem, adds to the danger and prejudice they face. And I am not willing for my trans siblings to suffer anymore. They have as much right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as my white cis self does. Every single one of them was a beautiful, valuable human being. Every single one of them should have had a long, rich, and fulfilling life.

That, my cis friends, is why we must use our privilege to do all we can to end the social and legal violence done to them. And when you find it hard to do that work, there will be a list of names that should shore up your resolve.

Say their names: [Read more…]

New at Rosetta Stones: We Get to Visit Stratigraphy Viewpoint at Last!

Whelp, it’s taken me a lot longer to get here than expected, but I’ve finally got the Stratigraphy Viewpoint at Mount St. Helens displayed for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy! And sometime soon here, I’ll have more photos up for you including all the spectacular fall color we saw there that day. You will love muchly!

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XX: Wherein Creationists Misrepresent Secular Scientists for Jesus!

Oh, joy! After a fallacy-filled introduction featuring a two-faced jackass, Earth Science 4th Edition is gonna teach us all “geology.” After they’re done with us, we’ll be able to “explain the dangers of viewing the history of the earth as very old and as the product of natural processes.” We’ll also be equipped to “exercise dominion on God’s specially created earth.” And wow, look at this… interesting… history of geology right here:

People have been studying the earth for a long time, probably since right after the Creation and Fall (see Gen. 4:22).

O-kaaaay… so do tell us how a verse about a woman having a son who was good at making metal stuff proves people studied the earth in a systematic fashion.

After the Genesis Flood, people needed geology to identify new sources of metals and building materials.

Oh, yes. Creation myths are great science texts. Such proof. Much evidence.

They also seem to think there was no geology in Medieval Europe, as Renaissance folks had to discover that science from other people’s writings. So I guess that means they didn’t need any building materials, then?

Image shows facade of St. Giles' Cathedral, a large, gray-brown stone cathedral with many spires, arches, and buttresses.

St. Giles’ Cathedral, built in the late 14th century – positively medieval! Image courtesy Carlos Delgado (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Oh, my.

Well, but surely nobody in the Middle Ages was in the market for metal. [Read more…]