Saturday, April 3, 2010


Souixsie and the Banshees, Wheels on Fire:

The Smiths, What Difference Does It Make?:

Icehouse, Sister:

My Inner Canine

Wants to pee on this door.
“If you voted for Obama,” says the taped-up sign, “seek urologic care elsewhere. Changes to your healthcare begin right now. Not in four years.”

Perhaps it was just a matter of time before the partisan rancor surrounding health care found its way into patient care. Civil rights law prevents discrimination based on sex or religion, but experts say that political differences are not specifically protected — consider it a pre-existing condition that can still be used for patient filtering.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thank You For This

This is a most informative blog post. I studied it for my college classes in university where I go. It is a very useful to blog. So thank you for this. (Bend Bulletin; I suspect this will be a pretty short-lived post.)

Badger Badger Badger

Not the Badger Badger Badger you were looking for? (photo from Blackadder)

Harmonic Tremors

It sounds like a name for a rock band, but "harmonic tremors" are associated with subsurface magma or gas movement. From the Wikipedia page, the diagram below illustrates different kinds of seismograms.I was first introduced to the term 30 years ago today; the first weak harmonic tremors were recorded at Mt. St. Helens on April 1, 1980 (no fooling!), and stronger tremors were recorded on April 2. According to my (not always dependable) memories, this was seen as further confirmation that magma was moving around under the mountain. From the summary of pre-eruption events at the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, a section of a siesmogram from April 2:
LinkHere in the PNW, spring days are often completely cloud covered, with nary a break in sight. April 2 1980 was one of those days. But an energetic and enterprising volcano can still make its presence abundantly obvious. (USGS photos courtesy of Dan Miller. )
1. First appearance of explosion as steam-rich portion of plume penetrates cloud layer.
4. Darker, more ash-rich portion of plume penetrates cloud layer. (The other three photos in this sequence can be seen here) In other news of the day,

April 2 - At least 12 plumes of steam and ash were observed above the mountain. One reached an altitude of 20,000 feet. Light ashfall was reported in Portland and Vancouver. At least one explosion threw out chunks of ice that fell to the west of Spirit Lake.

There were 63 earthquakes larger than magnitude 3.0, including 5 larger than 4.0 (the largest was magnitude 4.8). A stronger burst of harmonic tremor was recorded between about 7:35 and 7:50 AM. The 2nd would turn out to be the most active day for earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 3.0 for the entire month of April.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


It seems like there is so much I would want to react to over the last couple of days, but I'm just not very inspired to make the effort to assemble my thoughts. Meh. Maybe tomorrow. So here's Nancy Griffith an John Prine with "The Speed of the Sound of Lonliness."

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Not That This Will Sway the Climategate Cranks

Via everywhere, but this clip is from the NYT:
LONDON (AP) — A parliamentary panel investigating allegations that scientists at one of the world’s leading climate research centers misrepresented data related to global warming announced Wednesday that it had found no evidence to support that charge.

But the panel, the Science and Technology Committee of the British House of Commons, did fault scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit and its director, Prof. Phil Jones, for the way they handled freedom of information requests from skeptics challenging the evidence of climate change.
For anyone who's actually been paying attention to a variety of sources, and not depending on Faux News or Watt's Up With That, this should be no surprise. But color me skeptical that anyone arguing "global warming is just a scam" will be swayed by mere evidence. You know, it's a badly under-reported bit of information that the amount of money going to climate research totally dwarfs the profits of Exxon-Mobil.

Wednesday Wednesday

Wednesday: May I have the salt.
Morticia: What do we say?
Wednesday: [sternly] Now.
Quote from IMDB, Picture from Photobucket.

Pre-Eruption St Helens Chronology

From the NW, March 30, 1980 (USGS photo archive), showing the summit graben, the north-side bulge, and an on-going steam eruption. Note the dark gray pulverized rock falling on the south side of the mountain. Below, an annotated version of the photo: north and west sides of the mountain are marked; a curved arrow shows the continuing movement of the the north side bulge; dotted lines show the approximate edges of the summit graben; double-headed arrow illustrates extension across the graben.I actually was not intending to post one of these retrospectives today, but I found a great resource I just have to share with anyone else who might be interested: The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument has a terrific day-by-day chronology of the events leading up to the May 18 eruption... sort of like what I was aiming to do with these pieces, but better researched! Here's the front page, here's the section with today's entry, and here's today's entry:
March 31 - Both craters enlarged as explosions continued. A change in wind direction brought ash to the Kelso-Longview area by noon. To date none of the ash from these explosions has come from new magma, but rather pulverized bits of older rocks that make up the summit.

The frequency of earthquakes has decreased but the number of larger earthquakes has increased, so the total energy release remained about the same. Among these were two earthquakes of magnitude 4.6. Explosions and earthquakes triggered two avalanches of snow and rock near the Goat Rocks dome.

Cowlitz County Commisioners declared a state of emergency in an attempt to obtain assistance from the Washington National Guard in staffing roadblocks. According to a report in the Longview Daily News, Colonel Val E. McCreary (commander of the WA National Guard) announced that 300 troops, 50 trucks and 3 helicopters were on standby in case Governor Ray ordered evacuations.

The Washington Department of Emergency Services (WADES) pressed the Clark County Amateur Radio Club into service as a backup communications network should the primary network maintained by the USFS fail.

Public response to the activity varied. The Vancouver Columbian reported that USFS personnel had fielded calls from frustrated citizens who could not access their cabins within closed areas while members of the press had been allowed in.

Other calls ranged from gamblers requesting the number of explosions in the previous 24 hours to those blaming the volcano's restlessness on the desecration of Indian graves in the area.

Harry Truman began his climb to media folk-hero status due to extensive coverage in newspapers and television. He is the only person who has refused to leave his home on the south shore of Spirit Lake.

A Longview Daily News article quoted Harry as saying, "I think the whole damn thing is overexaggerated ... Spirit Lake and Mount St. Helens are my life ... You couldn't pull me out with a mule team."

I did and do have very mixed feelings about Harry Truman, but I'll save them for another post. I was trying to figure out when the first juvenile lava was detected in an eruption, as opposed to pre-existing powdered rocks. I seem to remember that brand new lava was detected before the big eruption, though I haven't found confirmation of that yet. It may very well be noted in the chronology above, but I was so thrilled to find it that I've only read the block quoted section above.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Today's Mt. St. Helens News... 30 Years Late

I hope to continue occasionally coming back to this series of what happened when 30 years ago this spring. Partly because I so vividly remember how amazed and excited I was by the unfolding events, and I hope to share those feelings, partly because everyone knows about the big eruption May 18th, but I suspect few are aware of the precursors. And finally, because no one, to my knowledge, really came out and said that an eruption of this magnitude was possible, let alone likely. We learned a great deal from this eruption, but the event itself seems to have taken everyone, even the experts, largely by surprise.Continuing phreatic (steam) blasts opened an even larger crater than the one opened March 27, 1980 (behind and front, respectively). Though I probably didn't understand at the time what I was seeing, it is now blatantly obvious to me that this is tensional fracturing as the north side of the mountain bulged out (view above is to the west). Reduced to simple terms, perhaps too simple, a slab on the north side of the mountain is hinging upward and outward as a magma body shoves toward the summit. The rock, ice, and snow of the summit is being pulled apart between the "stable," more-or-less fixed, mountain block to the south, and the outward flexing, unstable, slab on the north face. Below, you can't see the structural details, but you can see the ominous black coating of pulverized rock on the south slope, and Mt. Rainier in the northern distance. (Both pictures, dated 3/30/80, from the USGS photo archive.)
I took a couple of minutes to scribble up a geo-cartoon to more clearly illustrate the activity discussed above with respect to the first photo:As I said in the previous St. Helens post (first link above), I was enthralled. It's hard to remember, 30 years after the fact, how much I really understood at the time. I had had an interest in geology since childhood, and a fairly weak earth science class in high school, but from my current point of view, I was pretty much geologically ignorant and naive. But I was interested and I was paying attention. And that's a very good position to start from.

The piece that reminded me that I wanted to return to this retrospective of what we (I) knew and when, was another retrospective by Mike Beard in today's Oregon Live recalling how he just happened to be in an airplane watching the mountain the day it had its first blasts, March 27.
The "scoop heard 'round the world" wasn't the result of hard-nosed journalism. It wasn't because the reporter was especially tenacious. It wasn't even the reporter's best work -- far from it. No, the scoop occurred because, frankly, the reporter happened to be in the right place at the right time. I know this because I was the reporter.
Our small plane lifted off from Pearson Field and burst through the heavy cloud cover to emerge into a sunny sky. It was almost immediately apparent to the pilot and me that something unusual was occurring -- St. Helens' snow-covered cone was darkened as if by a cloud. Minutes later, as we drew closer, we realized with wide-eyed excitement that we were witnessing an erupting volcano; a crater had opened, steam was venting and ash was drifting down the pristine, white slopes. Best we could tell, we were the only ones in the air. Because of the low cloud cover, no one on the ground could possibly see what we did.

I grabbed the two-way radio and called the station, only to be greeted by silence. Erickson was at lunch! Eventually, the disc jockey turned down the Beach Boys and answered the two-way.

"Stop the music! Put me on the air," I hollered. Instead, he summoned Erickson from the cafeteria. Via two-way, Erickson asked me to describe what I was witnessing. Then he asked me to repeat myself, slowly. "You'd better be right," he said, suggesting that I'd be looking elsewhere for work if I wasn't. Signaling the DJ to break into the programming, Erickson had the presence of mind to speed-dial the local Associated Press bureau. "This is Erickson at KGW. Turn on the radio," he said, slamming down the phone as I began describing the scene unfolding just below our small plane. The AP transcribed the report directly off KGW's airwaves, simultaneously flashing the story into newsrooms around the world.
Some guys have all the luck.

Tuesday Tits

Inspired by Pygalgia's Friday Boobies and Demeur's Friday Beaver, I hereby institute a new feature: Tuesday Tits. This is from a post at Tree Hugger called "Help Protect Great Tits, Fight Global Warming, Scientists Say (with Pictures)." This is indeed a Great Tit.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Geology Rocks

Yesterday I came across a Tumblr Blog I hadn't seen before, by the name of Geology Rocks. Not only is that a phrase I'm fond of, I'm quite fond of the picture choices there.(titled "Geologists Have Rocks for Brains")Sometimes, as with the first picture, there is little or no background or location information. For other posts, the description is extensive. For the above, the description is
Rhodochrosite is a cousin of calcite, but where calcite has calcium, rhodochrosite has manganese (MnCO3).Rhodochrosite is also called raspberry spar. The manganese content gives it a rosy pink color, even in its rare clear crystals. This specimen displays the mineral in its banded habit, but it also takes the botryoidal habit (see them in the Gallery of Mineral Habits). The crystals of rhodochrosite are mostly microscopic. Rhodochrosite is far more common at rock and mineral shows than it is in nature.
I haven't been paying attention long enough to vouch for its accuracy, but the blog's author is clearly enthusiastic. As far as I'm concerned, this is a keeper.

Popeboy's Easter Bunnies

I haven't nor will I say too much about the current round of accusations regarding pedophilia in the Catholic church. I don't want to look as if I'm out to bash others' faiths, I'm frankly disgusted and sickened by what appears to be institutionalized abuse and cover-up, and it's just not something that I'm inclined to pay close enough attention to or think about to say anything of import. But that doesn't mean I won't poke fun when the opportunity arises. The Far Left Side.
Posted with the hover text, "Don't forgive them, for they know EXACTLY what they do."

I Have to Laugh

Sometimes words don't mean what you think they mean. From Der Speigel, here's the lede:
The EU's trademarks authority has permitted a German firm to brew beer and produce clothing under the name "Fucking Hell". It may be an expletive in English, but in German it could refer to a light ale --Hell -- from the Austrian town of Fucking. Whether it will be brewed there is another question.
The closing paragraphs offer some other titillating place names, too.
It is likely to heighten Fucking's fame, which is something Meindl, the town's mayor, isn't happy about, given the trouble the name has caused it over the years. "Twelve or 13 town signs have been stolen. We've taken to fixing them with concrete, welding and rivets."

The Bavarian towns of Kissing and Petting have the same problem, as does the eastern German town of Pissing. But so far, there are no plans to name a beer after them.
I wonder what location names as pronounced in English are obscenities in other languages...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Funnies

Welcome to the latest installment of my weekly column...Hacked IRL
Pongdrian from The Daily What
Hacked IRL
Non Sequitur
Oddly Specific
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
The Daily What
palestinian protester
see more Political Pictures
parabolic antenna
see more Political Pictures
Friends of Irony
Sober in a Nightclub
demotivational posters
see more Demotivators
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures... I can soooo relate to this.
Bits and Pieces
Non Sequitur
political pictures for your blog
see more Political PicturesDarius Whiteplume's Tumblr
Nature abhorring a vacuum- Let There Be Blogs
Misery Loves Sherman
Very Demotivational
The Warehouse
Sober in a Nightclub
Friends of Irony
gun vendor
see more Political Pictures
funny pictures of dogs with captions
see more dog and puppy pictures
Cyanide and Happiness
The right to bear arms, Bits and Pieces
Engrish Funny
Lucky strike spares. Bits and Pieces
M Thru F
Criggo- I went and looked this up, and it was my first guess: California with 23. My back up guess was Virginia.
Kwi-Chang Cat. EpicPonyz
Totally Looks Like
The second comment is "This picture is almost as old as the internet." Yeah, but it's still funny.
It's squinty, but the logic is unassailable. Blackadder
Bits and Pieces
Bits and Pieces
Posted with the title "Please Don't!" Oddly Specific
Darius Whiteplume has learned that I'm a masochist for painful puns. This gives me a photoshoppery idea: Brontesaurus, anyone?
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
demotivational posters
see more Demotivators