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.

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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."

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“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…]

New at Rosetta Stones: On This Day in Mount St. Helens History…

It’s been 35 years since Mount St. Helens woke up. Today’s the day when the earthquake swarm started that let us know the volcano may be in for a rude awakening. Would now be a good time to revisit our Mount St. Helens series? Why, yes, yes it would!

Image shows a snow-covered Mount St. Helens, showing the dome inside the huge crater left from the 1980 eruptions.

Mount St. Helens as she is now. I can’t wait for her next dome-building episode!

Happy Most Special Pi Day of the Century! Have Some Geeky Art

Ohai, it’s Pi Day! This is the delicious day where we can all have a slice of pie and say it’s for the math. Yum! This is the most special Pi Day of the 21st century, because it is 3/14/15, and so perhaps we should celebrate with an extra slice of pie since we’ve got the first 5 digits of Pi right there in the date. And, of course, is should be a la mode.

This year, in addition to pie, let’s celebrate with some wonderful geeky art, shall we?

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Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education VIII: Two Salty Tales of Ocean Origins

My conservative Christian former best friend used to say that too much prayer rots the brain. Earth Science 4th Edition provides clear evidence of this right from the blurb at the start of the “Oceans and Seas” chapter. They begin talking about desalination by saying wow, there’s more people on Earth than ever! Yay! “God didn’t place a limit on how many people should inhabit the earth.” [Read more…]