Ramblings about what I encounter within the realm of the geosciences, as well as the occasional rant about nonsense.

27 November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving


Every time we get round to this time of year, I usually am reminded about Ben Franklin wishing the turkey was the national bird rather than the eagle. I rummaged around the internet and found a source of this story. You can read the whole thing here, but I clipped all of the excerpt from the letter they were citing.
"For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

"With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country . . .

"I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America . . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."
Frankly, I agree with him. I think the eagle is overused and unoriginal as a national bird. Plus, I like the symbolism of eating the icon of our country on a national holiday. Also, after meeting both wild turkeys and bald eagles in the field, I think turkeys are WAY more entertaining.

23 November 2008

Unskilled and Unaware

Yet another blog post that is only tangentially pertinent to geology. My advisor recently assigned this article [subscription to Journal of personality and social psychology required] to the new crop of grad students (it subsequently made the rounds to the rest of us, the title itself is enough to evoke interest).

"Unskilled and Unaware of it: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments. "

I bring this up because appropriate examples have been cropping up around the internets recently. P. Z. Myers and Eric have both brought up the same iconography of "debating" these individuals. Both of them have come to the same conclusion that these individuals play an "intellectual" version of Whack-A-Mole. (Personally, I prefer to compare it to Playing Chess with Pigeons, but that is just me). Essentially, someone says something so off-kilter that we can't resist responding to them and correcting their world-view. This leads the original nut to think that they touched on an actual weak point in some theory (why else would a scientist get so angry). They then continue to reiterate the same point over and over, drawing more scientists into the growing vortex. Each time a scientist beats a point down into drivel, the nut reiterates the point from the beginning claiming that the scientist "dodged" the issue rather than addressing it. Eventually, the scientists involved get fed up with the ignorant horde and depart the conversation. The original idiot then claims victory. [note: the instigator is not NECESSARILY an idiot, they may have garnered marginal success in some unrelated field (thus they have a false sense of confidence). Just look at celebrities opposition to vaccinations].

Though, in light of this article, the individual only claims victory as a product of their own incompetence. The article makes the point that it is an individual's inability to understand a topic (their ignorance) that impedes their ability to recognize their own ignorance. Unfortunately, the only way to cure these individuals of their inability to recognize their ignorance, is to teach them about the topic (which they won't submit to, because they can't recognize their own ignorance).

In other words, it is a Catch-22. You can't teach them, because they think they know more than they do (and are unwilling to hear out a scientist, who is part of the "conspiracy"). And you can't get them to realize they are ignorant, because they ARE ignorant (so they don't realize they are ignorant). Kinda gets the head all spinning just thinking about how to break this infernal web of ignorance. Before they can be cured of "the stupid", they need to be made aware that they are ignorant, which requires that they aren't full of "the stupid" to begin with....It ends on an optimistic note though (kinda), this study did successfully educate several individuals about their incompetence. In subsequent runs, they demonstrated that they were no longer incompetent, and they could realistically evaluate their performance. Unfortunately, the problem still remains, the incompetent don't realize they are incompetent (and continue to crap all over the chess board).

Cited:
Kruger, J. and Dunning, D, 1999, Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 77, no. 6, p. 1121-1134.

21 November 2008

Glacier Photos II: The Snowfield Strikes Back

I realize a disproportionate amount of my posts recently have been a part of memes. So I am going to continue uploading some of my Glacier National Park Photos. Here is Part I, Part III, and Part IV.

This evening, when I needed a break from thesis-ing, I took a gander out the window in the grad office. It had started to snow. This looks like it might be the first snowfall that will stick around more than a couple of minutes in Bozeman this year (I kid you not, it was 72 F just 2 days ago). So this comes as somewhat good news. Good if you like winter activities, and don't like summer droughts/fires. Bad if you don't like driving on the roads where they usually "forget" to put down gravel. Hell, walking around campus can be a tricky affair as they tend to zamboni the walkways when they should be plowing them.

Why this brief aside from Glacier? Because last winter looked like it would lead to a dry summer as well. What ended up happening, as I mentioned in my last post, is Montana got a lot of late spring snow. This resulted in Going to the Sun Highway to remain closed until the day we got there. Here is a shot of us driving on the just-opened road up to Logan Pass (uh... car side mirror for scale). Keep in mind this was July 3rd.
The rest area at the top of Logan pass provided some spectacular views as well.
This is an arete that dominated the view from the rest stop. Well, most people were absorbed by how high the snow was. But I was suitably impressed by the rocks.
This little guy was running around and making quite the fuss at all the big dumb people wandering around what had been (until a few hours prior) his family's home. I dubbed him Rodney.This is a nice shot of a small snowfield just below the parking area. It overlooks a beautiful U-shaped valley which looks a little something like this:
I particularly like the misfit stream running down the center of the valley. I think that will be all for this set of photos. Knowing my somewhat sporadic posting habits, it shouldn't be too long until I realize I have nothing to post except for Glacier Photos III the Search for Rock.

I'm a Mechanic?

Also saw this one floating around the blogosphere. Over at Adventures in Ethics and Science and over on Silver Fox's Looking For Detachment. The site is here.

The gist is the same as astrology. Arbitrary data input being interpreted as meaningful information. And like astrology, it doesn't work (except in the quick "I'm bored, hey wonder what this site does" sort of way).

According to this site address, I am a mechanic (the description doesn't really describe me at all, I think):
The Mechanic

The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.

The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.
I do work well on my own, but that is because I tend to be easily distracted. And anyone who actually has met me knows me in a highspeed pursuit is not likely.

Further evidence as to the whole fullishness (keep in mind I still found it good fun). I have another blog (sorry my eyes only) that I use when I want to play around with html coding (make sure everything looks right). And when I put in that address, I get....the duty fullfillers. I find this hilarious as the content is mostly identical, so I figure it must take the url and throw that in a generator. Anyway, this doesn't describe me either, but it is a tad closer to the mark:
The Duty Fulfillers

The responsible and hardworking type. They are especially attuned to the details of life and are careful about getting the facts right. Conservative by nature they are often reluctant to take any risks whatsoever.

The Duty Fulfillers are happy to be let alone and to be able to work int heir [sic] own pace. They know what they have to do and how to do it.
Though this is fairly antithetical to what I got previously. I am a risk-taker who doesn't like to take risks.

In summary, good fun for when you are bored. But, like I have to tell anyone actually reading this blog, don't expect life-changing revalations... Unless you try and typealyze the typealyzer site. I can apparently read Thai fluently, and that changed my life.

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Addendum: When I put in my profile webpage I also get a completely different result.
The Guardians
The organizing and efficient type. They are especially attuned to setting goals and managing available resources to get the job done. Once they´ve made up their mind on something, it can be quite difficult to convince otherwise. They listen to hard facts and can have a hard time accepting new or innovative ways of doing things.

The Guardians are often happy working in highly structured work environments where everyone knows the rules of the job. They respect authority and are loyal team players.
So, three personality types. One person. I am totally tri-polar. Unless you start analyzing individual posts you put up, then I run the entire gamut of personality types (which I think is far more representative of reality).

20 November 2008

I think I could survive longer than that

Mainly because I don't think being chained to a bunk bed with a pile of Cretaceous bones is much of a threat. Saw this over on Dinochick's Blog. And since I am a sucker for stupid online quizzes, I figured I'd give it a go.

I could survive for 1 minute, 28 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

Created by Bunk Beds.net

14 November 2008

Orbs and rods...pseudoscience meme

Eric has raised the issue of perhaps a pseudoscience meme. And I agree, there is very little that is more fun than poking fun at modern mythology represented under the guise of science. One of the less well known "branches" of "pseudology" is the "study" of "orbs" and "rods" (wow, that is a lot of "air-quotes", and they shall pervade this post). "Orbs" and "rods" are supposedly ethereal beings who live their entire lives in mid-air (though some argue they are ghosts, aliens, or undiscovered animals whose body's decompose instantaneously after they die, or live in a dimension that partially intersects our own).

On a side note:It is always fun to note how readily "cryptozoologists", or as they are nowadays called "fortean zoologists", invoke the existence of the giant squid as a success for their "science". Of course they ignore the fact that we came across dead remains of giant squids from time to time (that is how we knew they existed, we had actual evidence).

Here's what "Rods" and "Orbs" are, and here is where any wackaloon reading this should get out a piece of paper and take note, they are a trick of poor photography (optics messing up, or something slightly out of focus, or something passing through the frame too fast for the camera to pick it up, or something moving through the frame out of focus... etc.). There are numerous ways to make a "rod" or an "orb", and none of them involve a papa rod or a mama orb (unless you work for the center of fortean zoology... please don't click on the link unless you have properly braced yourself for the burning stupid).

Some examples:
At first glance this is just a really crappy picture of a doorway. I mean it is dark, not much going on. Compositionally it is even poorly balanced. Truly an example of epic fail. Upon closer inspection....

you will notice TWO (count em, two) balls of dust or drops of moisture on the lens. This is what people with little imagination (who want to be experts in photographic fakery) call "orbs". The third circle (which looks like a reflection of light, or something moving across the frame [since it is dark the exposure time was probably quite long, so an insect catching the light as it flew past is quite withing the realm of possibility]). But this is what is "interpreted" to be a "rod".


Here is a GIANT PIZZA (seriously it was ~30 in). But if you notice, behind the surprised looking fellow known as "Chad" (who truly deserves his own branch of pseudoscience, except he actually exists).....
it's another "ORB"! Now, I took this photo, and there was no "orb" on the curtain when I took it. However, I failed to clean my lens before the photo was taken (oops on my part). But there it is, an "orb").

What's more, this "rods" nonsense (seriously bad nonsense, at least Nessie is an entertaining product of the imagination) has made it onto news broadcasts. It is even complete with the full-on nonsensical cut-aways (Unit 13? really?).

And here is someone who rather sensibly showed how this phenomenon is easily reproducible without invoking imaginary flying "jelly-worms".

12 November 2008

Haikus and the Permian Extinction


Greatest test of life
the Permian extinction
a river preserves

This is in reference to the R.M.H. Smith article that came out a few years ago (available here via LANL). Essentially, he looked at the fluvial deposits in the Karoo foreland basin that span the Permo-Triassic boundary. He noted that the fluvial architecture changes at approximately the same location as the boundary. He goes into some potential causes for the changing styles across the boundary, including both climatic and tectonic controls. However, he stops short (thankfully) of claiming that rivers changing caused the extinction. Instead, he takes a more agnostic position on the cause of the extinction, but points out that changing fluvial styles can contribute to an extinction/extirpation event. (note: I think extirpation is the right word, animals are just forced to leave a habitat because they aren't suited to it, but I could be wrong on this).

So the dicynodonts leaving the Karoo basin may have been prompted by the changing fluvial styles , but they may not have become extinct at that point (which allowed the invasion of the Lystrosaurs into the area). Or they may have gone extinct in the Karoo basin, but we don't have sufficient stratigraphic resolution to confirm this. Either way, I thought it was a very good article.

Others involved in the meme: Suvrat (the instigator), MJC rocks, Lockwood, and Kim.

Citations:
Picture from: http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~rcb7/globehighres.html, retrieved on 11-12-2008

Smith, R. M. H., 1995 Changing Fluvial Environments across the Permian-Triassic boundary in the Karoo Basin, South Africa and possible causes of tetrapod extinctions. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, and Palaeoecology. v. 117 no 1-2 p. 81-104.

10 November 2008

Journal Citations and Flux Capacitor

While perusing the literature (Okay, checking out my vast, and growing, backlog of google reader...) I stumbled upon this study (sorry, subscription required).

First off, this isn't strictly speaking (or loosely speaking...really) a geology paper. It does have some interesting implications for people publishing research though.

The main thrust of this article is: As researchers increasingly use electronic search engines (like georef or geoscienceworld) the body of cited literature becomes far more condensed. Essentially, people aren't citing papers published pre ~ 1990 (or when the earliest journal is available online). Apparently, we are too entranced by Christopher Lloyd driving a flying, time-traveling train to look further back than that.
The author views this as neither a good thing or a bad thing. It is just a thing. Though, he seems to advocate that researchers should stay cautious. Mainly, because this gives the scientific community appearance of reaching consensus much quicker than it used to (whether it has or not). This can, potentially, stifle new research into competing hypotheses.
By enabling scientists to quickly reach and converge with prevailing opinion, electronic journals hasten scientific consensus. But haste may cost more than the subscription to an online archive: Findings and ideas that do not become consensus quickly will be forgotten quickly.
He also states that it is removing our respective links to the past. Our research is becoming much more obsessed with what is going on now, and we are tending to (unintentionally) ignore the old mainstays of our respective literature.
As deeper backfiles became available, more recent articles were referenced; as more articles became available, fewer were cited and citations became more concentrated within fewer articles. These changes likely mean that the shift from browsing in print to searching online facilitates avoidance of older and less relevant literature.
There is also a bit of musing about if this might have any link to the style of research being done (especially by grad students).
Modern graduate education parallels this shift in publication - shorter in years [I contest this point:ITV] more specialized in scope, culminating less frequently in a true dissertation than an album of articles.
He comments on old monographs (notably Origin of Species and the Principia) being the way research used to be published. Now (as I am sure people have stumbled upon) some of the most tantalizing titles in a search result are only abstracts from conferences. To me, this seems to make a tentative connection that the technological ADD that seems to persist in our culture today is infecting science to some extent.

He doesn't discredit the good these online search engines provide (most notably, the open access to the literature for the general public, regardless of location or time of day). Though he does have an interesting tid-bit about online article availability
Provision of one additional year of issues online for free associates with 14% fewer distinct articles cited.
It is one thing to find a paper quickly online, it is another thing to look through the stacks (in search of your elusive quarry) and happily stumble upon something completely unexpected. This can lead researchers to further focus upon their (evertightening) area of expertise, and inadvertently ignore potentially complementary research, thus narrowing the scope of individual scientific endeavors.


Cited:
Evans, James A., Electronic Publication and the Narrowing of Science and Scholarship. 18 July 2008 Science v. 321 no. 5887 p. 395-399

09 November 2008

Eppur si muove!


I watched a documentary on Galileo the other night (The Nova one which is also based partially on Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel). And they were talking about Galileo's book "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems".

This got me to thinking... "I wonder if I can find a copy of that". It seems like it was written to be the first book we would now consider to be "popular science". It was written in the vernacular, instead of latin. It was written as a conversation being held between two people (the more famous seems to be Simplicius, who advocated the church's view). And it was quickly banned, like books worth reading tend to be.

So I set to my task, thinking it would probably have been published on its own as a part of a classics collection or something like that (it is one of the five books in "On the Shoulders of Giants", but I don't like cumbersome books like that). So I did a quick Google search (and I mean quick). The first hit was the full text online!!! Now all I have to do is print it out (I don't like to read from a computer screen). And the best part is it is all FREE. Go ahead, read about how Salviati intellectually mops the floor with Simplicius.
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On a side note: Eric is valiantly playing the part of Salviati in his Expanding Earth post comments section. He posted this in Feb. and the ignorant horde have been assaulting him ever since (most recent was a few weeks ago).

08 November 2008

Brian Switek Meme

I have heard that Laelaps' own Brian Switek is up for a $10,000 scholarship. I found a letter over at The Dispersal of Darwin, and on Dinochick Blogs. Here is a reprint of it.
From Brian:

I'm as surprised as you are. For my work on Laelaps (http://scienceblogs.com/laelaps/) I have made it as one of 20 finalists in the 2008 Blogging Scholarship. That means I have a shot at winning $10,000 to help finish my undergrad degree and pay off my student loans! The next part of the contest is based on votes rather than content, however, and I need your help.The first favor I ask is that you head on over to the voting page and cast your vote for me;

http://www.collegescholarships.org/blog/2008/11/06/vote-for-
the-winner-of-the-2008-blogging-scholarship/

The second, if you would be so kind, would be to tell your friends or post a link on your blog (if you have one) asking others to do the same! There's no way I can win if I don't get enough votes, and I'm going to need a lot of help to beat the political and sports blogs that are already pulling ahead. I need all the help I can get, and anything you can do to help spread the word would get me a little bit closer to winning.

Let's get that man some money.


Glacier Photos

While rummaging through my hard-drive, I came across a folder of photos from my trip to Glacier National Park from over the summer. I had meant to upload them to Facebook, but I kept receiving errors when I would try and upload them. I decided I would try it later and promptly forgot about it. So here are some of the more scenic views I captured while driving on Going to the Sun Highway. Parts II, III, and IV are now up.

When we arrived, it was the first day that Going to the Sun was open (July 3rd on this particular year. We had plenty of late snow. Bozeman was getting snow in June). So some of the distance shots will appear hazy, the cloud cover did break later in the day though. Above is a picture of a cirque, which is a result of the parks namesake. I took several pictures of them as we went along. What else would you expect from a geology student in GNP? Pictures of their "loved ones"? I think we all know the answer to that. In fact, I took this picture of my parents in front of the same cirque, my parents are out of focus (but the cirque is crystal clear). In my defense, I couldn't tell on the little display screen that they were out of focus. I remedied it later by taking pictures of them in focus.
My dad likes the engineering aspect of geology. So this is a picture for him. It is impressive how we have tunneled through a rock face while clinging to its narrow precipice (which we also carved out for ourselves).
Here is the Weeping Wall. Nothing much for me to comment on. I thought it was pretty.
This is a cirque I took a shot of while we were nearing Logan Pass. Below is the same cirque, but now we are looking down it instead of up at it. I figured this would be something interesting to show students at some point. Mainly because every time a cirque is diagrammed in a book, it is from (more or less) the same perspective. When, in lab, we asked students to identify a cirque from a different perspective, everyone seemed to have a hard time with it. So here is an example that can hopefully get students to start thinking about geology as three dimensional (well four dimensional when you throw stratigraphy at them)

That is it for this batch. More will probably pop up later, when I am trying to think of something to write about. Continued in Part II

07 November 2008

Animal meme

Most of my field animals are cattle. I come across the occasional snake, but after the quick startle, I usually forget to snap a photo. I try every once in a while to take a picture of a passing hawk, but they don't turn out so nice. Anyway without further ado, are several of my laughably poor attempts to take photos of the wildlife I encounter.
I named this fellow "Dwight" (no particular reason). I was hiking across a field, and noticed several burrows. At the end of the day I got a shot of this prarie dog. The noble prarie dog, how you amused me...briefly.

I also came across some of these happy-go-lucky individuals (though this particular one was on my porch). Orb spiders are fairly common, and about as poisonous as a bee. Though, the first one I saw I couldn't readily identify it as anything other than a spider the size of a quarter. Orbie (as I called this one) kept on collecting moths and what-not until the first snow came. Then, come spring, a good wind carried the next generation away from my patio (good thing too, I don't know if I had enough space for multiple Orb spiders to live happily).

And finally, the most dread animal ever to come across in the wild.... my sister's West Highland White (that's right, WHITE) Terror... I mean Terrier.
She was astoundingly cooperative in this photo. Usually she blinks when the photo is taken (I kid you not, I have one of her squinting) or she turns around and refuses to be photographed.

04 November 2008

As promised

Obama's speech basically summed it all up. Tonight was a great victory, but it wasn't the end goal. There are still all the problems he mentioned in his speech that need to be overcome. Honestly, he is probably the guy to do it to. I found a hypothetical survey from SurveyUSA back in Nov. 2006, imediately after the democrats swept in and took the legislature. As chance would have it, they asked how people would vote if the next presidential election came down to Obama and McCain (not so much chance as they were hitting all potential combinations they could think of). Here is what the electoral map would have looked like according to that poll:

(I'll put up this election map as soon as several states are declared... C'mon MT go blue...)
(MT went pink... dammit....)
The only things Obama wins (in the hypothetical 2006 race) are Illinois, Hawaii, and DC. Everything else, squarely in McCain's pocket. Even though there were extenuating circumstances (you know, trifling problems with the economy and what not). Obama managed to change the opinion of a majority of the country. He even won the election BEFORE the temptress of Florida was declared for either side. Hopefully, Obama will make good on his promises and start to turn this country around.

I was also impressed with McCain's concession speech. It was perhaps the most relaxed I have seen him give a speech this entire campaign. He also didn't have the look of manic desperation in his eyes (which added a quality to him). Maybe now that he doesn't have to pander the fundigelicals, or the neo-cons, he can rediscover his own principles.

On a side note, one other good thing to come from this election. Apparently Alaska lost its village idiot. Well we finally cornered her (after chasing her all across the country, with some narrow misses where Gibson and Couric let her slip away while they were stunned at her answers). She wound up in Arizona. Don't worry Alaska, she is safely on her way back to govern your state... Good Luck with that.

YES!!!!!

That is all I have to say
CA OR WA all closed and went for Obama!!! Meaning he broke 270 and is the next president of the USA (44th or 43rd depending on how you count Grover Cleveland)

Hot Damn!!! insulting posts (at the Reps expense) to pop up later.

Vote!

Just got back from the polls. There was quite the decent line. Lots of people were showing up, but the polling staff was handling it like pros. Even though I couldn't find a place to park on the same block as the elementary school I was still in only in line for about 35-40 mins. Of course, there were ample voting cubes and pencils and paper ballots. It is situations like this where I wonder: Why on earth do we need electronic voting machines? I just fed my paper ballot through a scan-tron like apparatus and it counted just as fast, and I have a paper trail should I say "Hang-on. How did my county go for Nader?".

Go Vote...now... Even if you think your ballot will be canceled out by your spouse/room-mate/significant other (seriously, while volunteering, this was one couples excuse why they weren't voting)... honestly if you are reading this, you should already have voted and be wearing a sticker (unless you voted early/absentee. If you did that, you should dip your finger in blue ink as a sign of democracy spreading to the USA).

And if you needed more inspiration...Voting makes Karl Rove cry... make him weep.

03 November 2008

Book Meme?

Hello,

PZ Myers over at Pharyngula is having his readers list which books should be considered essential (i.e. a must have) and popular reads that all bookstores should stock their shelves with. The goal is to have a list in hand that can be presented to bookstores to help them develop a decent science section. The science section would include books that the public would enjoy, and/or books that contain the fundamentals of various scientific fields. So scientists do the "leg-work" on helping bookstores have a science section worth reading.

I was perusing the comments section (to make sure I didn't copy someone else with my suggestions, fortunately several people beat me to some of them) . So far the geo-list includes (there might be others, but they weren't tagged geology):

Geology:
Annals of the former world by McPhee
The Map that Changed the World by Winchester
Volcano Cowboys by Thompson
La Catastrophe by Scarth
Prarie by Savage
The Eternal Frontier by Flannery
The Man Who Found Time by Repcheck
The Seashell on the Mountaintop by Cutler
Snowball Earth by Walker
Principles of Geology by Lyell

Paleontology:
The Dinosaur Heresies by Bakker
Wonderful Life by Gould
Your Inner Fish by Shubin
Gorgon by Ward
On Methesuleh's Trail by Ward

General Science (includes geosciences though):
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bryson
Demon Haunted World by Sagan

If you want to add to the list (or expound upon what is here), why not make a quick post about which geo-book you think should be on the list and why (maybe a quick one on PZ's message board, or one for your own blog).

I figured Principles of Geology (the abridged version would be fine) should be an essential item on the list. It reads very well, and is a contempory of (hell it was partially the inspiration for) Origin of Species. Plus, you find some tantalizing hints at "modern" concepts springing up here and there (well, before they became mainstream). True you also deal with some archaic terminology, but it is still a good read that became the basis of modern geology.

02 November 2008

Belated Halloween Post

Hey! Here is a belated post for Halloween. A friend of mine and I were trying to keep our costumes under wraps, and a couple of the grad students in the office know of my blogs existence, so I figured I would delay the post of my costume.
I'm on the left. We won $25 each at the costume contest held at a local bar yesterday.

Disclaimer

All the Latin on this page is from my vague recollections from High School. There are mistakes in the text. I just was trying to get the point across

Between Los Alamos,NM and White Rock, NM

Between Los Alamos,NM and White Rock, NM
The photo of the travertine spring was taken in the small opening in the center of the image.

Lectio Liber