Monday, October 22, 2007

Oh, crap--missed it!

Well, my last post announced this year's Earth Science Week, but not until a couple days into the week. I never got around to talking about some events around the country. We did even less about it at work--rather embarrassing, if you ask me. Like they say in Cleveland--Wait 'til next year! Perhaps we can practice on February 12: Darwin Day.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It has already started!

This year's Earth Science Week has already started! It's not too late--go out and look at a rock. Or visit here to see a list of activities going on this week.There's a lot more to Earth Science than just fossils--anti-science groups are just as eager to deny geological evidence of the age of the Earth, environments of deposition of sedimentary strata, knowledge about the occurrence and movement of ground water, and many other aspects of the world around us. Today's newspaper carried an article about psychics. Wouldn't it be better if papers carried articles explaining things that are real, and articles about what we know and how we know it? How can we tell if the world is warming? How long will we be able to pump petroleum out of the ground? Is there enough water available to sustain development at a particular location? Don't ask a psychic, ask a scientist. And geologists are involved in the study of many of these questions.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

How the Internet increases productivity

A person can spend a lot of time diddling around the Intertoobs. How does this allow for greater productivity? For me, it's pretty simple--I have a dialup connection, which means a maximum connection speed of about 44 kbps. However, lately I get connected at about half that. The Cable did not make it this far down the road, and DSL is not available here.

So here's why I can be more productive. First, while waiting for the dialup to connect, I can go wash the dishes or vacuum the living room. Then, while waiting to connect to some site of interest, I can mow the grass or change my oil. Best of all is if I wish to view an offering from YouTube; I can go downtown for dinner and watch an opera.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

How to recognize a hole in the ground

I saw a suspicious area on the edge of a cornfield. I got out of my car to look, and immediately realized it was a sinkhole, even before I saw it. How did I recognize it? First, I saw the flies. I don't understand that, because once I was battered by the stench, I could not understand how I smelled nothing as I got out of the car. This might be a good sinkhole to use in my investigation of ground-water flow in this area, but there is something aesthetically unappealing about pumping water into a sinkhole with a ripe dead cow barely covered over in it. I guess many people still do not understand where their drinking water comes from (on-site wells in this area) and find it easiest to dispose of trash and dead animals in ready-made holes. This seems to be standard practice in many karst areas. This farmer is lucky--his house is upgradient. His downgradient neighbors are not as lucky.

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