Our Mount St. Helens Epic Adventure: The End of a Quest!

Suzanne and I went up to Mount St. Helens yesterday on a rather spur-of-the-moment whim. The weather wasn’t as clear as we’d have liked, but the clouds stayed just high enough to make things interesting without obscuring the vital bits, so that was a little bit of all right. And at the end of the day, we had a most spectacular moment of success, one that brought a years-long quest to a close. Come join me for a whirlwind overview before I go pass out!

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New at Rosetta Stones: What’s the 2015 Illapel Earthquake Got to Do With Charles Darwin?

As Chile recovers from its monster 2015 Illapel Earthquake, I got to thinking about another Chilean earthquake and a rather famous geologist-turned-biologist. Charles Darwin experienced a very similar quake in Chile during his voyage with the Beagle, and left an exquisite account of it. I bring you that story, plus some useful links about the modern quake. You’ll see that Chile’s had earthquake preparedness down for centuries, and that Darwin is top-notch at earthquake reporting. Enjoy!

Image is a grayscale engraving showing the toppled walls of a cathedral. Nothing is recognizable. Rutted streets pass by it.

“Remains of the Cathedral of Concepción” by John Clements Wickham.

So a Muslim Kid Builds a Clock, and Atheist “Leaders” Lose Their Shit

The freakout over Ahmed Mohamed’s innocent clock-building project is an excellent example of Islamophobia in action. Iris Vander Pluym has an excellent post showing how too many people in this country freak the fuck out over black Muslim kids doing safe, simple science, while having nothing but praise for white boys who create literal nuclear reactors. Had Nuclear Kid been brown, black, Muslim, or some combination? Poor child probably would’ve been in Guantanamo by the end of the school day. [Read more…]

New at Rosetta Stones: It’s the Eve of Destruction

Our third edition of In the Path of Destruction live-blogging is up! This one takes us right up to the seconds before the eruption. Some of the things that happened will leave you sputtering. Some of it will leave you wishing for a TARDIS so you can get people the heck outta Dodge.

Image shows a bearded Dave Johnston sitting in a camp chair with his feet up, smiling at the camera. A forest stands behind him.

David Johnston at Coldwater II on May 17th, 1980. Image courtesy Harry Glicken/USGS.


Bald Blue Jay!

You all did a superb job identifying Ken’s poor molting blue jay in our last UFD extravaganza. I promised you a few more shots of it, and I have at last returned to the intertoobz to deliver.

Image shows a blue jay with a very bald head, in 3/4 profile facing away from the camera. Only its wings are the spectacular blue-jay colors - everything else is either a cloudy gray or missing feathers entirely. Its entire head is bald.

Ken’s bald blue jay. Used with permission.

That’s so sad, rather. It makes me wonder how ridiculous the feathered dinosaurs looked whilst they were molting. [Read more…]

Pipa Be Attackin’ the Mechanical Hamster

Arrgh, it be Talk Like a Pirate Day! And Pipa be clearing the vermin from the ship.

Aye, good dog!

That scurvy camera o’ mine will be walkin’ the plank for not catching the moment where Pipa bit the varmint’s butt on command. O’ course, might be it was my fault, so if it behaves, I’ll belay me own orders.

Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: Midwest Moppets

A bit ago, I put out a call for UFDs, and our Ken responded with some stunning photography. Even if you’re all like, “Oh, pfft, Dana, these are simplicity themselves!” you are still going to love them.

Here’s our first UFD. Ken manages to make it look lovely despite its poor bald head: [Read more…]

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XVII: Wherein Mountains are Laid Low by Ignorance

I hope you’re prepared for mountains of bullshit, my darlings. This week, our Christianist textbook Science of the Physical Creation is delivering enough to fertilize the entire Willamette Valley.

Right off, as we get into SPC’s explanation of mountains and volcanoes and earthquakes oh my, we see we’re in for a whole lotta Godtalk. They don’t start off talking about what mountains actually are, as you would expect one would in an earth science textbook. Instead, they wank on for a very long paragraph about how mountains existed before the Flood because Genesis 7:19-20 sez so, but maybe they weren’t all that “tall, steep, and rugged.” They say “the Bible seems to indicate” God remodeled during the Flood, and that is why we have deep ocean basins and really massive mountains.


Image shows an orange and cream doggie lying on a couch with a very dignified yet skeptical expression. Phrases in various colors surround it: So science, Very Peer-review, Much research, Wow.

Then, finally, they start talking about types of mountains. [Read more…]

Read Tony’s Excellent Article on the “Perfect” Rape Victim. Support Him if You Can!

In this episode of “What Fuckery is Rape Culture Up to Now?” Tony takes on a victim-blaming assclown. Once you’re done with the article, please click his “Donate” link if you can spare some cash. He’s about $500 short for the month, with no employment prospects in sight. Let’s keep him fed, connected, and housed so he can continue delivering the deserved smackdowns.

And this one is really epic. Here’s the three paragraphs that everyone who’s ever told a potential or actual rape victim what they should do/should have done to avoid being raped needs to print these out in 100 point, bold font on contrasting paper, and tape them to several surfaces in the house, such as on the bathroom mirror and the television. They need to have people randomly pop in with a copy and read them aloud until the words are indelibly etched upon their brains.

What advice are women and girls supposed to take in order to protect themselves from being assaulted when they can be raped no matter what they’re wearing, their level of sobriety, their location, the amount of sex they’ve had, or the people they associate with? The reason none of that advice works to reduce the incidence of rape, or afford women and girls protection is because men who rape do so under all manner of circumstances. And again, that’s why *men* need to be targeted [by rape prevention campaigns].

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Dear “Religious Liberty” Brigade: You’ve Lost. You’ve Always Lost

I’m so sick of this script:

“Traditional marriage and religious liberty are under attack all across the nation,” writes former Harris County GOP Chair Jared Woodfill.

No, Jared and all the other crybaby cons. Not a bit of it. Traditional marriage is just being asked to share its sandbox with others. It gets to keep all its toys. It’s still got plenty of room to play. Nobody’s kicking sand in its eyes, or telling it to go home, or borrowing its bucket and shovel and not giving them back. If traditional marriage can’t play nicely with the other kids, that’s its problem, not theirs. It can learn to share the space, or go home to sulk, but nobody’s attacking it. [Read more…]