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Jul 09 2014

For Some Reason, This Song Keeps Running Through My Head…

Almost free…

This will totally be me in a few hours:

Image shows a young woman in a pink top and orange and purple skirt running with a billowing yellow flag.

To The Barricades! Image courtesy anoldent via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Jul 09 2014

Name That Business Round 1: Vote Names Off the Island (and maybe some new names on)

All right. It’s hammer time!

Today’s the last day I shall be at ye olde daye jobbe. Tomorrow, due to a technicality, I’m not self-employed. Then we’re going to Oregon for the weekend. And when I get back, I shall be working for the worst boss in the world:

Image shows a younger Misha standing upright with her front paws clutching a red sofa, mouth wide open and eyes glowing with rage.

Rage Cat aka Misha

And the second-worst:

Image shows me in a black cowboy hat, black sunglasses, and black jacket, leaning against a limestone wall and kissing a rock hammer.

Love my hammer! Photo Credit: Amanda Reese. Hammer credit: George Wiman.

And that means I shall have to have a business name. It will mostly be for the non-writing bits: the rocky gifts based on geologic puns, the endless stuff with my images upon it,

Now, some of you have already made suggestions. Some of you made lots of suggestions. Now it’s time for you to pit those suggestions against each other. Ruthlessly eliminate those which don’t meet your incredibly high standards. And, if new ones pop into your head, give ‘em to me. This is an elimination round, but the competition is not yet exclusive!

All right, here’s the list. Cast your votes for the ones that make it to Round 2!
1. Tequila is the Bedrock

2. Rock On

3. The Rock and the Hard Place

4. The Rock and the Soft Place

5. Vucanovia, the Place for All Things Eruptive

6. Gneiss Schist

7. The World is Made of Rock

8. Tectónica

9. Sierra Madre

10. Las Entrañas de la Tierra (Earth’s Entrails)

11. Xisto

12. Granito

13. Marble

14. Pinatubo

15. Lava

16. Quartzo

17. Feldspato y Mica (the composition of granite)

18. Subducción

19. La Presea Azul

20. Thinking Outside the Rox

21. Thinking Inside the Rox

22. A Stone’s Throw…

23. Richter Sales

24. Kitties Rock!

25. Dana Rocks (or Dana’s Rocks)

26. Hunterite Accretions

27. Tequila Rocks

28. Dana Hunter

29. Sewing Unconformity

30. Geology Rocks!

31. Geoveras

32. Hunter on the Rocks

33. Lodestones

34. En Tequila Es Verdad

35. Sedimentary Sentiments

Image shows a penguin diving off an ice shelf, with a bunch of other penguins behind, appearing to push it into the sea. The caption reads, "Suvivor votes yet another off the island."

Jul 08 2014

Which Should I Use?

I’ve got an explosive post coming up on Rosetta Stones for ye on Thursday. But I’ll need your help with it, my darlings. I’ve spent all night playing with photo editing programs to create a single illustration. I ended up creating two, and now I can’t decide which is better.

Reader’s choice time!

Is it to be Diagram #1:

Groovy stellar nucleosynthesis diagram wot I made #1

Groovy stellar nucleosynthesis diagram wot I made #1

Or Diagram #2:

Diagram wot I made etc. #2

Diagram wot I made etc. #2

Of course click to embiggen. Then cast your vote!

Image shows three kittens wearing clothes with ballots in paw, lined up to drop them in a ballot box.

Jul 07 2014

Nature, So Green And Lovely

Did you have a nice weekend, my darlings? I hope you had a nice weekend. Our weekend was spent mostly indoors watching people beat each other up, and it rained on the 4th anyway, so I haven’t got any fireworks photos. And I haven’t got any photos of playing chase-the-little-green-apples with the kitties because I was too busy throwing apples to take pictures. In other words, we attempted laziness and mostly succeeded.

And there was near-constant eating. So. Much. Food.

We did head over to Juanita Bay on Sunday evening for a little light exercise, and I got a few near-sunset images you may like.

I quite enjoyed these tall waving grasses against the wetlands trees. Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 04 2014

Why Fireworks Depend on Geology

America is about to blow up a bunch of stuff for its 238th birthday. I love it! Who doesn’t love fireworks? Well, aside from my childhood dog, who invariably hid under the bed in cowering terror. And people who have had enough of explosions to last them a lifetime. People who don’t like loud bangs. People who are phobic about fire. All right, so there’s a long list of people and other animals and possibly plants who don’t like fireworks. But hopefully most of this audience does, and even if you can’t stand ‘em, perhaps you like geology, chemistry, physics, and pretty colors. Fireworks have got them all.

Fantastic fireworks display, courtesy of Bayasaa on Flickr.

Fantastic fireworks display, courtesy of Bayasaa on Flickr.

Oh, yeah, definitely geology. There’d be no fireworks without geology. Geologist High Maintenance Mom provides a great overview of the science of fireworks, explaining in kid-friendly ways how physics, chemistry and geology combine to create pyrotechnic magic. She’s a great resource to start with if you want to make your trip to see the fireworks show a fun teachable moment for your kids.

    A very gorgeous burst of fireworks by Nigel Howe on Flickr.

A very gorgeous burst of fireworks by Nigel Howe on Flickr.

For a more adult-oriented overview, see this excellent article on Geology.com. Lots of diagrams and nifty information, including this section regarding how geology fits in. Those beautiful colors wouldn’t be there if geologists weren’t finding the minerals that create them:

What Causes the Colors?

Chemistry holds the secrets to the color of a fireworks burst. The colors that you see in the sky are determined by metal salts that are deliberately added in very small amounts to the stars when they are manufactured.

As the stars burn the metal atoms absorb energy, become excited and emit a specific color of light. Some of the metals that produce the colors of fireworks are tabulated here.

Image is a table of colors caused by different metals. Red: strontium, lithium. Orange: calcium. Yellow: sodium. White: magnesium, aluminum. Green: barium. Blue: copper. Purple: a blend of strontium and copper. Silver: titanium, magnesium, aluminum.Go memorize that article so that you can pull a complete geek on your friends. While other people are screaming “Oooo! Ahhhh! Wow!” you can shout, “Titanium! Copper! Strontium!”

Ooo, I know this one! Image courtesy Nigel Howe on Flickr.

Ooo, I know this one! Image courtesy Nigel Howe on Flickr.

Strontium plus copper! Copper! Maybe some sodium!

Speaking of sodium, did you know you can do an awesome flame test using stuff you can pick up at the grocery store? Check out llinois State Museum Geology Online’s “A Burst of Light (pdf)” lesson – this is something you can, with proper precautions, do safely at home or in the classroom. And there’s more information on the minerals and colors in fireworks at this pdf from the U.S. Bureau of Mines.

So take a geology field trip if you’re in the States today and go see a fireworks display. Raise a beer to the geologists whose ability to unearth (ha) minerals made the whole thing possible. And drink a toast to the chemists and physicists and pyromaniacs who also helped.

A golden grand finale. Image courtesy Karen Blaha on Flickr.

A golden grand finale. Image courtesy Karen Blaha on Flickr.

Science: making awesome things awesomer since humans invented it.

 

Originally published at Scientific American.

Jul 02 2014

Yes, I Abandoned You For Franklin Falls

Yes, I posted a lovely picture of it on Rosetta Stones. Yes, I’ll be writing up the geology of that amazing place in-depth soonish. Probably by the end of summer, even! And in the meantime, I shall tease you with photos.

Like this before picture:

Image shows me sitting on water-smoothed slabs of granite, with the river rushing beside me.

Moi on the rocks in the Snoqualmie River.

After’s where it gets fun. And very, very cold. (No, I didn’t fall in.) The hydrogeology buffs will probably squee with joy when I post the photo sequence from this stop along the trail!

I’m out for the rest of the week aside from a pre-scheduled post on the geology of the Fourth of July – all the MMA fights are happening this week, I’m trying to be a good girl and go to ye olde daye jobbe at least a few days before my official end date, and I intend to have some serious lazy time before working full-time for the worst boss in the world: moi. We’ll finish naming the store next week, and I will totally get back to those of you who have asked me bidness-related questions! Until then, go have as much fun as you can endure, and if you’re in a place that’s miserably hot, get thee to the water if you can! See you soon!

Jun 30 2014

What Recent Supreme Court Decisions Have Told Me About My Value as a Woman and a Human Being

I’ve learned so much from the Supreme Court over the last few years:

Corporations are totes people who have the right to put as much money where their mouth is as they want – well, they don’t technically have mouths, but they’re still American people who have every right to talk as much as those mere biological people they’re notorious for trodding upon.

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010) Limits on corporate and union political expenditures during election cycles violate the First Amendment. Corporations and labor unions can spend unlimited sums in support of or in opposition to candidates as long as the spending is independent of the candidates.

(Notice we hoi polloi are thrown a sop in the form of labor unions being able to spend unlimited sums – which would be nice, if it weren’t for the fact that corporations have been busy murdering unions for decades. Hey – does that count as first-degree murder? Because that means we should be able to imprison or execute them, then.)

Corporations and rich people have lots more freedom of speech than people who aren’t rich or corporations. Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 30 2014

Get Your Ideas All Up in My Business!

All right, my darlings, it’s now less than two weeks until the day I hang up my shingle, and I haven’t got any idea what name to put on it. Well, I have a few ideas. You may have better ones. Think!

Image is a black cat in a suit. Caption says, "We need to think inside all the boxes."Think of names for a store selling all sorts of geology-themed thingies. And you know I like a nice Spanish flavor. Something like… Mercado Geológica, f’r instance. Mega Mercado de la Verdad? Give me ideas! I rather suck at naming things. One of you has to be better.

Some of you may want to help out, but come up just as blank as I do on names. No problemo! You know what else you can do? Let me know what kind of products you’d like to see. I’m going to be opening up a store on Cafe Press or Zazzle or Red Bubble or some site like that, maybe more than one – what sort of stuff do you want me to put up there?

I’ll be doing some crafty sorts of things and selling them through Etsy. That store will include things like my scarves, mufflers, wraps, hair wraps, scrunchies, and such. Anyone interested in handkerchiefs or other simple little fabric things? I can do simple bags, throw pillows, pillow cases, and things like that. I’ll also be doing custom work, so if you need something done, hit me up for an estimate. I might be able to save you a ton of money on curtains, for instance. And if you have a bit of fabric needing turned in to something, let me know.

Outside of sewing, would you go in for hand-collected pebbles for fountains, Zen gardens for your desk, rock sample magnets, things like that? Would you like me to look in to what it would take to make and sell coal and rock candy?

I’ll be looking in to getting some necessary items soon, too. If any of you has a used rock tumbler that works well and is in good condition you’d like to sell, let me know.

Now, on to writing, which will be the main focus of this whole enterprise: I am most definitely doing the Mount St. Helens book so many of you have requested! Two, in fact: the one about the May 1980 eruption, and I’m going to also do a geology travel guide. Probably more than one, now I’ll have time to investigate the other roads to the mountain! And I’m hoping to write up the more recent dome-building eruption, too.

I’m also writing a geological guide to Discovery Park, a book on women in the geosciences, and will be collecting and expanding some of the best posts from both ETEV and Rosetta Stones.

I’ve got a ton of other things planned, but your ideas are always welcome, so if there’s a bit of geology (or any other subject) you’ve been wanting me to do a post on, let me know.

All right, I’m off to begin putting the house in some semblance of order. Hit me with all your suggestions and demands!

Jun 29 2014

My Fish, Damn You! A Hungry Heron’s Tale

It’s been one of those weekends filled with fortunate happenstances. B’s household emptied out for a camping trip, so we took the place over. We could do what we wanted, when we wanted, so when the weather suddenly cleared late Saturday afternoon, we buggered off to Juanita for a nice walk and some vitamin D production. It was far less crowded than expected. There was only one gentleman and his dog birdwatching at the first cul-de-sac in the wetland, and one mighty large heron hanging about on a log.

A great blue heron, standing upon a half-submerged log, surrounded by pads that will soon be full of lilies.

A great blue heron, standing upon a half-submerged log, surrounded by pads that will soon be full of lilies.

It really was a tall bird. Here’s some perspective:

A wider version of the above, showing the bit of Juanita Bay where the heron fishes.

A wider version of the above, showing the bit of Juanita Bay where the heron fishes.

And there were red-wing blackbirds, one of whom would later cause our hungry heron some grief. Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 26 2014

An End, A Beginning… and a possible major freakout

Today’s the day I put in two weeks’ notice. Ye olde daye jobe will soon be defunct, and I will be working for the worst boss of all: meownself.

People at work keep asking me if I’m sure. As if trading stability for risk is ever something you can be sure of.

Image shows a cat on a boat, staring at a bird on the dock. Caption says, "Risk vs. Reward. Choose wisely."Of course I’m not sure. I’m not sure my books will sell. I’m not sure the merchandise I’ve got planned will move (although I have a feeling you guys are going to love the stuff based on geology puns!). I’m not sure the economy won’t tank and flush me just as things begin to take off. Can’t be sure of anything.

Except.

I’m sure I can’t play it safe anymore.

I’m sure I want to step off that mountain, even though there’s no way of knowing if I’ll fall or fly.

I’m sure there’s a lot I want to do that I haven’t got time for now: so many books to write, and fun things to design, and adventures to go on.

I’m sure I’ve got the world’s best cheering section (that would be you, my darlings!).

And I’m sure the time is now. Because if not now, it’ll be never.

So I’m all in.

Image shows a squirrel sprawled on a deck with a thick scattering of seeds in front of it. Caption says, "Awl In"Two weeks, and the badge gets discarded forever. I kiss the sweet union-bargained benefits goodbye. I say sayonara to the steady paycheck. And probably panic a bit before I get my footing. Shit’s a little scary, y’know. But I’m ready to take the plunge, because even if I fall, I can manage to land somewhere soft enough. And who knows – maybe this is the day that I fly.

Wish me luck.

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