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…]

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…]

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…]

God’s Old Earth Curriculum Chapter 3: In Which Minerals and God Aren’t Mixed

We’ve seen quite a lot of Christianist nonsense lately. I’m here to tell you, it’s about to get worse than you ever expected. We’ll be seeing the young earth creationist idea of a “research” paper next, and I’m afraid ya’ll are going to rupture yourselves laughing. It’s too much concentrated derp following the inanity that is ACE. So let’s cleanse our palates with a visit to the Old Earth section of our Christian educational explorations! Turn to Chapter Three with me, and we’ll see what’s in store.

I can hardly believe my eyes. Every chapter thus far has begun with a blurb about God. Here, that perfect record is broken. The pattern, it is unraveled. My psychic abilities, they do not exist. How could this be?

Image is a demotivational poster of a gray kitten with round blue eyes and one paw resting on its mouth, looking perplexed. Caption says, "You perplex me. I like it."

[Read more…]

“The Future of Our Planet is in Peril in Part Because of Those Who Deny Its Past.”

You know, creationists wouldn’t bother me a bit if they were like UFO chasers, or Bigfoot hunters, or any of a number of other (mostly) harmless groups with odd beliefs. I wouldn’t bother debunking their bloody stupid textbooks if they were a small bunch of powerless doofuses running around babbling about a really old book, and talking nonsense. They wouldn’t trouble me. But they’re brainwashing hundreds of thousands of kids. They’ve got political power, and have an entire party dancing to their reality-denying tune. They’re useful idiots for the Koch brothers and corporations who would prefer to pollute without all those pesky regulations. And it’s not just an anti-evolution, delusions about the age of the earth problem. These folks are happy to let the planet burn to death, because they’re certain it’s all according to their asshole god’s plan: [Read more…]

Mystery Flora: Salmon-Hued Beauties

Picture a temperate February day that is more like spring than winter. The sun is shining gently, its rays occasionally obscured by passing clouds. Birds are singing lustily all about. A delicate breeze stirs the awakening life. The groundhog was dead right about the rest of the country, but here in the West, we are absolutely not suffering six more weeks of winter. Sorry, people who had to dig out of several feet of snow!

I’d walked down to the office to pick up Misha’s high-calorie supplement paste, and spotted an absolutely fabulous flowering bush as I emerged. [Read more…]