Oh, Look! An Early Christmas Present!

If I’d been praying, I’d be tempted to believe in a god. No, wait, I wouldn’t – douchebros have a tendency to make their own misfortune, and our own terrible Martin Shkreli, last seen hiking the prices of a crucial drug for immunocompromised patiented by 5,000% and then using a few millions of the profits to buy a rare Wu Tang Clan album (which he could then prevent everyone else from enjoying), has managed to get himself arrested for securities fraud.

A boyish drug company entrepreneur, who rocketed to infamy by jacking up the price of a life-saving pill from $13.50 to $750, was arrested by federal agents at his Manhattan home early Thursday morning on securities fraud related to a firm he founded.

Martin Shkreli, 32, ignited a firestorm over drug prices in September and became a symbol of defiant greed. The federal case against him has nothing to do with pharmaceutical costs, however. Prosecutors in Brooklyn charged him with illegally taking stock from Retrophin Inc., a biotechnology firm he started in 2011, and using it to pay off debts from unrelated business dealings. He was later ousted from the company, where he’d been chief executive officer, and sued by its board.

In the case that closely tracks that suit, federal prosecutors accused Shkreli of engaging in a complicated shell game after his defunct hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management, lost millions. He is alleged to have made secret payoffs and set up sham consulting arrangements. A New York lawyer, Evan Greebel, was also arrested early Thursday. He’s accused of conspiring with Shkreli in part of the scheme.

Ah, such sweet schadenfreude in the morning! Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving fellow. [Read more…]

A Rainbow Splosion for This Historic Fourth

I woke up this morning and realized: this is the first 4th of July we’re celebrating wherein same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. I’m usually all, “Yeah, July 4th, meh, bwhatever” because crowds and noise and mindless patriotism aren’t my things, but this time, I’m all, “America, fuck yeah!” I wish it hadn’t taken the Supreme Court to make my country catch up with the other countries that’re happy to let couples marry even if they happen to have matching naughty bits, but I’m just happy we’ve got it. And the religious right tears have been so damn refreshing during this heat wave!

Of course we’ll need a rainbow fireworks display for this particular 4th! [Read more…]

The Supremes Got it Right! And a Timely Reminder that Elections Matter


I hope you’re satisfied, my QUILTBAG friends.

See, I’d hoped to protect you from this shit. Y’know, like, having to buy a ring, and pop the question, and choose the date, and venue, and get a cake (which we all know can go horrifically wrong, even if you’re baker loves same-sex weddings), and deal with all the family drama what with Aunt Margaret not talking to Cousin Leslie anymore, and then the humdrum ordinariness of married life, and the house, and the kids, and the bills, and the harsh reality of what “til death” and “in sickness and in health” really means. I’d thought you had a good deal, avoiding all that shit. It was kinda like back in the nineties when we thought the military wasn’t accepting pagans, and I was really glad, because I didn’t want any of my pagan friends to die in some bullshit war. I was against same-sex marriage before I was for it, because I figured you didn’t need the aggravation. But, since you wanted it so very much, I changed my mind, just like I did with my pagan friends who wanted to serve our country without having to hide who they are. And I’m getting happily drunk for you right now.

I’m still not sure why some of ya’ll want to sign up for the military when you don’t have to, but I’m old enough now to see why marriage is a big deal, and I’m just sorry it took so fucking long for our country to say, “Oh, hell. If you want it, go on, you crazy kids! Get hitched!”

Even if some of you crazy kids aren’t exactly kids, on account of having to wait so damn long. [Read more…]

Happy 127th Birthday, Inge Lehmann! Google Doodle Celebrates

Oh, look, Google Doodle’s honoring one of our Pioneering Women in the Geosciences! Fantastic!

Image shows the earth split apart, forming one of the Google Os. The core is shining between the halves. The continents can be seen revolving independently on each half.

Inge Lehmann Google Doodle

That is one of the coolest doodles ever. Absolutely fitting for one of the coolest women ever. Have you read up on her? If not, you totally should. She was amazeballs!

Only a year later, an earthquake in New Zealand would lead her to her greatest discovery.

The behavior of certain seismic waves, called P’ (P-Prime) waves, didn’t match what would be expected “if the earth simply consisted of a hard mantle surrounding a fluid or soft core.” Inge considered different models, and discovered an interesting result. “The existence of a small solid core in the innermost part of the earth was seen to result in waves emerging at distances where it had not been possible to predict their presence.”

[Read more…]

ZOMFG, Geokittehs and Rosetta Stones in the NYT!

You guys, something totally beyond belief happened Tuesday – Geokittehs got written up in the New York Times!

Moi with our very first mention in the NYT!

Moi with our very first mention in the NYT!

I wish they’d mentioned Evelyn by name – she’s the one who does all the work – but it was nice to see the author, Jennifer Kingson, spend most of her blurb talking about the actual Geokittehs site rather than focusing on that one Geokittehs post I did on Rosetta Stones. (You know – the one I forgot to mention here, so if you missed it, here tis!).

This has been an astounding day, and I wish I’d thought to have the camera handy when I told B his kittehs had got their names in the Times. Priceless!

Thank you again, Evelyn, for all the heart and soul and love you put into Geokittehs, and keeping it alive when I’m distracted elsewhere. And thank you, my darlings, for the kittehs and egging us on. I’m glad that something fun (and “mildly educational!”) ended up featured in the major national newspaper – but it never would’ve happened without you. Gracias!


Misha helpfully indicates where you can find our blurb.

Misha helpfully indicates where you can find our blurb.

Ding Dong the Wicked DOMA’s Dead!

Now seems like a good time to let my LGBTQ friends know that they can call upon me should they need a writer’s services in crafting wedding-related stationery items. Despite the fact that our Supreme Court is full of conservative shitheels like Scalia who like to stomp all over important rights, most of DOMA is dead. Prop 8 is pretty much perished. The non-bigoted portions of the wedding industrial complex are screaming for joy, while the Jesus-cries-angry-tears-at-gay-weddings crowd is wailing and gnashing their teeth. Same-sex couples, those who may become such couples, and those who support them in their quest for equal rights are cheering. Sweet sounds all.

Marriage = Love. Image courtesy Fibonacci Blue via Flickr.

Marriage = Love. Image courtesy Fibonacci Blue via Flickr.

It’s over. The religious right has lost. There will be a few scattered skirmishes in places where bigoted assclowns good Christians outnumber kind people, but I’m betting on a full defeat of the anti-equality forces within my lifetime. Probably before I’m eligible for AARP membership. And that ain’t that many years away.

About bleeding time same-sex marriage rights were recognized. Long past time, actually, and there are still far too many states that still refuse same-sex couples the right to marry. Let’s get crack-a-lackin on this marriage equality thing. There’s absolutely no reason why consenting adults of the same sex shouldn’t get married, aside from bullshit religious ones. Fuck religion. None of these delusional anti-equality shitlords have a hotline to God (or Allah). Until Jesus shows up in person on daytime talk shows saying Daddy don’t want no gays getting hitched, I’m gonna say that any ratfuckers saying that God hates gay weddings are functionally full of shit and should be shuffled off into a corner to rant to themselves. The rest of us have cake to eat and rice to throw.

The Supreme Court didn’t go far enough, but they opened the door to the clerk’s office. Up to us to ensure all of our same-sex couples get to walk through it.

Happy weddings!

You Can Haz Easter Bunny

Ah, Easter! The time of year when devout Christian folks celebrate an impossible sequence of events, and the rest of us sometimes engage in some of the pagan rituals incorporated into the holiday, especially if we have kiddos. I won’t be hunting any eggs myself, but I got you a bunny.

Wild bunny at North Creek.

Wild bunny at North Creek.

Sorry it’s not chocolate. But it’s cute and fluffy and sweet.

Ducklings have a little something to do with Easter for some reason, don’t they? Excellent. Have the cutest baby duckie I’ve got.

Baby duckie along North Creek.

Baby duckie along North Creek.

I know, right? You’re welcome.

I may celebrate later today by reading the Easter stories in my Skeptic’s Annotated Bible. Or not. It’s supposed to be nearly seventy degrees and sunny. I may just go sit outside with a notebook for a few hours and soak up the sun. I like celebrating life like that. I’ll read what Steve Wells has to say about Easter later.

Have a happy day, my darlings. I hope it’s filled with lots of delicious and fun things, just as every day should be.

I Got You A Wooden Octopus and Some Beatles for Your Birthday

Jeez. PZ makes it another lap around the sun and thinks it’s something special. Piffle. It’s not like it’s his birthday or any- wait.

Well, I’ve had this giftie in the closet for a while. Seems a good time to gift it.

Wooden octopus shelf brace at a little cafe in Depot Bay, Oregon. I have been trained to think of PZ every time I see cephalopod art. I think it's a conspiracy.

Wooden octopus shelf brace at a little cafe in Depot Bay, Oregon. I have been trained to think of PZ every time I see cephalopod art. I think it’s a conspiracy.

I’ve also got this very bizarre Beatles birthday song video thingy. I hope you like it.

No, I won’t pay for your therapy after that. Go cuddle your octopus. Be careful of splinters. Oh, and happy birfdai!

Tuesday Tunes: New Year’s Day

Oh, hai, 2013! Glad u maed it!


Ai tink we shuld taek this srsly. We shuld haev srs tradishunal song. Culdn’t find wun in lolcat, soree. But it’s pritee.

We culd drink to dat! Who haz teh bubblee?

invisible champagne

Furst rool grate drinkin’: start wid champagne an build.

tequila catDunno. Don’t tink moderashun iz here. We’ll have anodder drink while we wait. U culd haev wiskee, if u no like teekeela. Wiskee an a tradishunul sawng. Wi’ bagpipes!

We culd have anodder tradishun, too. Dis iz mai tradishun. Alwayz play dis sawng at Noo Yeerz.

An den I gives u mai favurite Noo Yeerz wish:

“May the best you’ve ever been be the worst you’ll ever see.”

Wuv u, mai darlings! Happee Noo Yeer!

Lol love

An latur tooday, we kin say:

rum gone kitteh

Dat’s how we know it wuz gud partee.

A Triumph for the Mount St. Helens Institute – And You

Not long ago, I received an email from the Mount St. Helens Institute saying they were going to be posting my Prelude to a Catastrophe series as their Holiday Reading series, by way of trying to get to 2013 likes by 2013, and would I be at all interested in helping? And I was both flattered and interested in helping, so I plugged them a bit on Facebook, and was prepared to do a big push here and at Rosetta Stones if they needed a further plug, but it appears congratulations are in order instead:

Mount St Helens Institute reaches 2013 Likes - huzzah!

Mount St Helens Institute reaches 2013 Likes – huzzah!

Congratulations, my darlings, you did it!

So that seems like the right geology-related picture to end 2012 with. It’s been a hell of a year, one in which I went from amateur science writer to really-real science writer who can introduce self by saying, “I blog for Scientific American” – I think I’m saying that without blushing, mumbling, and looking away now. It’s been a year in which I got published in a really-real paper book. It’s been a year in which I’ve gotten to know Mount St. Helens more intimately than expected, and discovered that people will go the distance with you as you engage in a marathon series. It pops up in the oddest places at the oddest moments, like that moment when MSHI told me they’d picked it to help them get to 2013. And that feels good, to have written things that people like, and find useful.

We’re not half done yet. And there’s so much more. There’s so much more to see, and do, and show you, and I can hardly wait. 2013 will be a good year for geology, my darlings. And it’s all because of you. Without you, there would be no such thing as ETEV on FtB, or Rosetta Stones, or Prelude to a Catastrophe/The Cataclysm, or the power to help MSHI make it to 2013. Without you, I’d still be doing geology, but I’d have no one to show it to. No one who would ooo and awww(e) and ask for more. Certainly no one who would ask questions that get me started on finding out new and interesting things. Certainly no one who would teach me more than I ever thought I could learn.

So, if you haven’t yet, and you’ve got a Facebook account and you wouldn’t mind, go like the Mount St Helens Institute so they can go further than they ever dreamed. Pour yourself a toast, and drink to your awesomeness. And come along with me into this new year, during which we will go so much further than we ever have before.