Progressive? By what standard?

Along the lines of the theme posted in “Left is Right” down the page from here, the current polarization of the world’s politicos and the manner in which they style themselves deserves more than a little scrutiny and critical thought.  The two main groups of combatants-via-proxy, the Republicans and the Democrats,  assign epithets to themselves,…

Jocks for Rocks

High School Physics! What person, other than those who go into science, engineering or medicine EVER uses it?  What average 35-yr-old can explain to you the equation for the force of an impact – probably the most basic of physics equations; or acceleration; or something so mundanely ordinary as gravity. And I don’t mean being…

The Corpse of the Corp

Well it is certainly a busy time for a blogging Earth scientist with a mission to explore human (mis)understanding of the Earth and its systems. In addition to the current desire to put the general interests of the global public weal dead last in the struggle for existence, with protective preference provided to just about…

I’ll Take Mine On the Rocks, Please

There’s a single-minded fascination with glaciers. A sort of atavistic, prickling-behind-the-neck connection people seem to have with the ice ages. In Europeans, it seems to be more a vestigial connection – a sort of cultural memory. Perhaps it’s why the western populace is so consumed with the idea of global warming and the loss of…

Status Quo

You can’t ‘save’ the Earth. At least not in the sense that it should be preserved in its current state – the status quo. That’s what ‘saving’ something is. When we talk about saving the Earth, what we mean is that we should stop changing it – we should preserve it. OK – so is…

Spring Water

I really like the latest “Green” thing in the form of these stainless steel water bottles people carry around with them rather than buying “Spring water” in throw-away plastic. I want to talk about spring water, but first I want to address the bottle issue. These bottles are marketed by Sigg out of Switzerland. For…

Caution: Mountebank at Work

Back in 2009 I was on several pretty long-distance business trips with the result that, in that inevitable state of boredom and frustration one always experiences while burrowing through the labyrinth of store-encrusted tunnels in the many indistinguishable airport stop-overs which are part of every post-modern flight plan, I found myself, inexorably, speed reading the titles…

Here There Be Monsters

Before the age of global exploration the edges of the then known world were annotated on maps with one or both labels: “Terra Incognita” and/or “Here there be monsters.” I really like the optimism of the “Terra Incognita” label. It implied that there were, quite literally “Unknown lands” beyond the edges of the map. Up…

Time and Place

Hesitantly, reluctantly, Helen slipped out of a slim, tight-waisted leotard and stood naked in the moonlight before me. Somewhere a clock chimed three. An owl hooted in the nearby copse. No wind stirred the casement window as she stood in the pale, translucent light on the Persian carpet. A minute passed – then another. Then…

Neanderthal

“OMG!!!! I’d NEVER date THAT guy? He’s positively Neanderthal!” Meaning, I always presumed, oafish, low IQ, bestial, low-brow, crude, illiterate, ill-spoken, boring, cloddish, unmannered, unskilled, unteachable, a loser…. in a word, a dodo. So who were the Neanderthals anyway?  Do (did) they fit the caricature? What do we know about them? Why did they become…

Anthop-obscene

OOOOH!  OOOOOOOOOOOH!!!!  Look at ME!! Call on ME!!!!! Pick ME!!!! The collective bastion of anthropocentrism has pooled its brain power into a tiny puddle of an idea – and not a particularly good idea. In fact, a perfectly foul idea. This is it: We will commemorate humanity, in all our self-loathed glory, by establishing an official Geologic Epoch of the human endeavor…

You are Going to Die

Genetic engineers are going to have to figure out how we can all be born with a ‘best by’ birth mark dated for about 80 years following our nativities. Otherwise, they will be sent to prison for not telling us that we are going to die. Idiotic?  Too stupid to even be worth a chuckle?…

Left is Right

It’s no wonder I decided to study rocks! People are just so frustratingly inconstant. Despite a wide variety of inclusions and accessory minerals, I can be reasonably self-assured that a hand specimen of granite will most definitely contain quartz, muscovite mica and orthoclase feldspar, and that it looks and feel very different than a specimen…

Concentrate, Please!

Why Wind & Solar Power Options Fall Short of Viability   In seeming defiance of the second law of thermodynamics, living organisms on Earth actually organize energy.  More specifically, they concentrate energy and leave it in a concentrated form after they have died. Of course, this is not an abrogation of the second law or anything…

It’s Controversial

At what point does something become an actual, bona fide controversy. In the strictest sense of the word a controversy is essentially the opposite of a conversation. They are two words built on the same two roots: con and versa. When you discuss a topic WITH someone you converse with them; literally, to have a…

Frick and Frac(k)

Ah, Pennsylvania. My glorious home state. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Old Glory, the country’s first oil well,  birthplace of US Steel, Bethlehem Steel,  Portland Cement, Harley Davidson, Martin Guitars, Easter Peeps, and home to that pre-eminent neo-climatologist, Punxatawny Phil.  It is also the hub of what could be the world’s most productive shale…