Our next installment in the Pioneering Women in the Geosciences is up: Marjorie Sweeting. Like karst? You’ll love Marjorie!
May 30 2013
May 29 2013
The next time some sniveling asshat starts the “But what about teh menz?!” whine, don’t sweat it. Yeah, it’s annoying as shit, and we’ve answered that “patriarchy hurts men too” about five quadrillion-zillion times, and we’re tired of it, but it’s all good. The question has been answered by someone with a masculine voice and a penis who identifies as a menz. All we have to do is aim the sniveling asshat at this video. Seriously. Watch it. Just use caution if you have any medical conditions that make punching a fist into the air and screaming “Fuck yeah!” at the top of your lungs painful. (And remember to say thank you to Mary at Skepchick for finding it.)
May 28 2013
I’ve been meaning to parse and publish this for some time. Remember all the way back when Ron Lindsay published and signed that open letter that wasn’t so much a call for civility as a call to STFU? Remember when people got upset? Yeah. Well. According to the letter, we were supposed to call folks before reaming them, so I asked for his phone number on Twitter. I was pretty shocked when he actually gave it to me, but then, he’d just signed the letter saying people should phone each other, so that bit was fresh in everyone’s mind. We couldn’t come up with a good time to talk on the phone, our schedules being what they are, so we eventually conversed via email. By the time all that was done, the furor over the open letter had subsided, and there was always something more pressing to publish, and most days I forgot Ron Lindsay existed.
Obviously, after his extraordinary fuck-ups at WiS2, my memory’s been jogged.
May 27 2013
Memorial Day… Traditional to remember the sacrifice of soldiers on this day, the battlefield fallen. And we do. But today, let’s also remember those the fallen leave behind.
by Amy Lowell
I walk down the garden paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jewelled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
The garden paths.
My dress is richly figured,
And the train
Makes a pink and silver stain
On the gravel, and the thrift
Of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,
Only whale-bone and brocade.
And I sink on a seat in the shade
Of a lime tree. For my passion
Wars against the stiff brocade.
The daffodils and squills
Flutter in the breeze
As they please.
And I weep;
For the lime tree is in blossom
And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.
And the splashing of waterdrops
In the marble fountain
Comes down the garden paths.
The dripping never stops.
Underneath my stiffened gown
Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
A basin in the midst of hedges grown
So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
But she guesses he is near,
And the sliding of the water
Seems the stroking of a dear
Hand upon her.
What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.
All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.
I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.
I should see the sun flashing from his sword-hilt and the buckles on his shoes.
I would choose
To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover,
Till he caught me in the shade,
And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
Aching, melting, unafraid.
With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,
And the plopping of the waterdrops,
All about us in the open afternoon
I am very like to swoon
With the weight of this brocade,
For the sun sifts through the shade.
Underneath the fallen blossom
In my bosom,
Is a letter I have hid.
It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.
“Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell
Died in action Thursday sen’night.”
As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
The letters squirmed like snakes.
“Any answer, Madam,” said my footman.
“No,” I told him.
“See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
No, no answer.”
And I walked into the garden,
Up and down the patterned paths,
In my stiff, correct brocade.
The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,
I stood upright too,
Held rigid to the pattern
By the stiffness of my gown.
Up and down I walked,
Up and down.
In a month he would have been my husband.
In a month, here, underneath this lime,
We would have broke the pattern;
He for me, and I for him,
He as Colonel, I as Lady,
On this shady seat.
He had a whim
That sunlight carried blessing.
And I answered, “It shall be as you have said.”
Now he is dead.
In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
I shall go
Up and down,
In my gown.
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?
War is a tragedy. War destroys lives and causes unmeasurable suffering. It should never be entered in to lightly: lives are too precious to waste. We forget that all too often.
Every Memorial Day, I hope we remember.
May 26 2013
On the dawn of Day Four, I was about to say, “Sod this for a game of larks – let’s go back and see the bits of the Josephine we missed!” Because, you see, we were headed for Oregon Caves. And I’ve been through caves. And they never let me take pictures. So I end up tromping through all of these spectacular things, and I can’t show you a damned bit of it. Sure, I could purchase other photographers’ work, or find park service photos, or something, but that’s not the same as letting you see it the way we saw it. And that makes visiting caves sort of anticlimactic for me.
But we went, and Lockwood said he’d read that they allow photography, and I squeed. Then they said they allow flash photography, and I nearly screamed for joy. Finally, a cave that is awesome, protected, and that I can show you! I took about nine billion photos, and will show many of them to you when we have a proper write-up. For now, here’s a photo of me providing scale for one of the columns.
So one thing I love a lot about this cave, other than the fact they allow photography, is that the rangers leading the tours talk about the geology thereof. Also, there are bats, so you can call it a bat cave. Although we didn’t see any bats this time round.
The other thing I adore about this cave is the fact that it’s made of marble. Kind of low-grade marble, but marble none the less. And on the walk to and from the parking lot, you can see some pretty spectacular folds in it.
We met some very nice folks working there for the summer who knew lots about geology and were excited to talk about more. The woman who led our tour even let it go over a bit because Lockwood and I were so busy snapping pictures of great geology. She even pointed out the dikes and other nifty geological features that Hiking Oregon’s Geology said the guide would neglect to mention, so that was awesome – great improvement, Oregon Caves! I like it when geology doesn’t get ignored. It too often does, even when the tour in question is touring a geological feature.
Our own Helena has volunteered at this cave, and she’s helped repair bits of it, so give her a thank-you when you go through those spectacular rooms.
After the caves and lunch, we headed north and did some poking round near Riddle, OR, which has a nickel mine and therefore interesting minerals, but we were too busy looking for said minerals to snap pictures of each other. Then Corvallis – at a reasonable hour! – and a nice rest-up for our adventures the following day.
Of course we did Marys Peak – don’t we always, when we’re hanging about town? The thing about Marys Peak is, there’s always something new and wonderful to discover. This time, it was lots of early lilies. Lockwood seems to have had much fun photographing me photographing lilies:
And then we wandered down a trail we’d taken last year. This year, it had snow near it still – and more lilies, although you can’t see them.
Then, when we got down off the peak, it was time to go visit Alsea Falls, which is magnificent – and amazingly accessible. First, you hike through a pretty green forest with a lovely big bridge.
Then you hike down and can stand pretty much right at the top of the falls.
Then there’s a simple trail to the bottom, where you can get a magnificent view of these falls plunging over their lip of Columbia River Basalt, and you can walk right up in to them quite safely, as long as you mind your footing (some of the rocks are slippery).
And then, the end. We returned to Corvallis, swapped photos, and I headed home to Seattle, arriving back at a reasonable (?!) hour. You know what happened next – the novelty of not coming home from a geotrip with Lockwood dead-exhausted sent me out in search of further adventures. And now I’m home with B, and the weather’s improving, we’ll be having many more. Some of which I’m hoping you’ll be able to come along for.
We’ll soon have some in-depth looks at the geology we saw. Stay tuned!
May 25 2013
Going through photos for the next installment, I realized I neglected to mention the stop by the fastest-rising most-westernest bit of the Oregon Coast on Day the Seconde*. Sorry bout that. Here ’tis:
Those holes I’m staring at are places where birds live, carved into this very soft sandstone and conglomerate. That’s at the top of the Cape – the underneath parts are made of sterner stuff. B and I might hike the whole thing someday, given half a chance – he’s the sort of person who looks at the elevation diagrams for various hikes and thinks we should try the challenging ones. I’ll turn him loose on the Oregon Coast and see how much up-and-down it takes before he hollers uncle like Lockwood and I did last March. This up-and-down will be awesome, though, because it’s some of the oldest rock in Oregon. I’ll happily induce suffering in my leg muscles for a closer look.
We found a nice outcrop of some of it that wasn’t inside park boundaries and went after it with hammers. But not the whole time. There was a good bit of staring into a nice serene valley and going “Aww, pretty!”
Right. So that was Cape Blanco. Back to normal chronology…
*For those wondering: I’ve been doing the “Parte the…” thing long before encountering Comrade PhysioProffe and his eccentric spelling habits. I just like faux Olde Englishe sometimes. It amuses me.
May 24 2013
Message from homicidal felid as follows:
Don’t ask me what it’s supposed to mean. I haven’t a bloody clue. Unless it’s to say she wants me to get off her computer so she can have it back…
May 24 2013
Sometimes, science feels like you’ve been given a superpower, because you can see things not many other people can see:
I love being able to pick up an ordinary rock or a plain landscape, and reveal its epic history. I used to think science wasn’t creative. I was so very, very wrong. Science is story, and scientists are storytellers. True stories, far stranger than fiction. I wish I’d know all those years ago. I would have devoted my life to telling those stories long ago, if I’d known how enthralling they were.
May 23 2013
At last, my darlings, I have finished! Our trees are fully cooked, piping-hot out of the oven and waiting for you to savor. Yum!
While you’re here, a couple of outtakes (i.e., photos I didn’t have enough room for):
I didn’t use this one in the main post, because it’s not as obvious, but if you look closely within the scorched zone, you’ll notice how abrupt the transition from burnt to unburnt is. The hot cloud just went woosh up into the air, and while one tree perished, its neighbor was spared. Pretty wild stuff.
Speaking of wild, this was a common scene round my childhood city:
No, the San Francisco Peaks weren’t erupting. Nor was any other volcano. Some stupid bugger didn’t know how to handle a campfire in dry country, and next thing you know, half the mountain’s on fire. It burned Schultz Peak all the way up. My darlings, when Smokey the Bear tells you to be careful with fire in the forest, please be fucking careful with fire in the forest, m’kay?
Thank you. Now, get thee to the baked trees, and let me know how they turned out.
May 22 2013
Y’all have heard about what happened to Moore, Oklahoma, right? You already know an atheist gave Wolf Blitzer the what-for? And there was the good news about the lady and her dog? Coolio. So I don’t have to pitch why you might want to throw some spare change their way.
Lots of atheist orgs are helping out:
Oklahoma Atheists (note “Rebecca Vitsum”)
I’m sure I’ve missed some – let me know your favorites if I have.
Also, Donors Choose is starting a fund for the teachers who will have to put their classrooms back together from scratch – you can donate to that fund here.
Thanks for lending a hand, my darlings!