Saturday, October 31, 2009

Clever Disguise, Silly Caption

Original image here. The following struck me as an amusing mash-up; I'm pleased it worked out so well.
And the gratuitous LOL caption:

Happy Halloween!

Dedicated to the easily frightened, easily amused, and easily excited child in each and every one of us.
The Catholic Church’s All Saints’ Day ( "Alholowmesse" in Middle English) was called All-hallows and the night before, All-hallows Eve, which became the word Halloween.'s Fact of the Day for today.
Scary, for sure, from Kikko's House, via Pygalgia
Halloween in Saturn's neighborhood. RedOrbit

Monsters meet such innn-teresting people!
Prepare to be eaten alive (invert the colors of this image to see the purposeful ambiguity of that statement: it's Heidi Klum wearing chocolate sauce... and nothing else)
Brilliant costume from Julia Segal's Tumblr
Skull Swap

The Monster Mash
David Bowie Goblin King Costume, via Great White Snark
Darius Whiteplume's Tumblr
In Brampton, Ontario, but hopefully nowhere near a school... The Daily What
Cannibal pumpkin from Buzzfeed.

As I commented when I posted this guy's clip of himself, storming Normandy, he would be so shot if he tried to pull his pranks in the US.
Whaddya mean, you're vegan? Is that supposed to make me feel better? Oddee, 15 cutest baby costumes
Recently discovered: the world's largest orb-weaver, at nearly 5 inches across. Ugly Overload
"Neither Bird Nor Dinosaur" (but very cute!). Bend Bulletin
Cerberus as a puppy, from TYWKIWDBI.
Hot Rage

Don't go in the kitchen... from Julia Segal's Tumblr, Skull Swap.
Or into the basement. Joshua Hoffine, horror photography... 19 more pictures at the link. Many creepier than this one. Seriously.

I may have posted the following before, I'm not sure. Smile!

Emma Watson is Pretty... Urp...

Darius Whiteplume posted this picture on his isn't Photoshop, but it's a useful little app, and it's free.I can't say whether this is funny or nauseating. Or both. Either way, the resemblance is uncanny.

Short Take

OregonLive's weekly feature: reader comments on current events in 35 words or fewer:
Oxymorons of our times: friendly fire, peacekeeper missile, bipartisan Republican, Fox News
Thomas W. DeJardin, Southeast Portland
More here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

48 Years Ago Today

The Soviet Union detonated the single largest blast ever created by mankind... Tsar Bomba.
The original U.S. estimate of the yield was 57 Mt, but since 1991 all Russian sources have stated its yield as 50 Mt. Khrushchev warned in a filmed speech to the Communist parliament of the existence of a 100 Mt bomb (technically the design was capable of this yield).
The radius of the fireball (seen above) was 4 km, or a diameter of five miles. The energy released in the blast was roughly equivalent to ten times the entire firepower unleashed in WWII- including the two US fission bombs.

Yeah, that could ruin your day. (Hat tip to More Words, Deeper Hole)

Accretionary Wedge #21: Geological Outreach

Note: This wedge has been accreted at Magma Cum Laude. Head over to learn how other geo-types help people get down to Earth.

This month's AW topic is geological outreach: communicating geologic knowledge and understanding to the broader public. I've been having a hard time with this one; it's hard to find an organization and/or theme. Here's the issue: I have done a lot of stuff that would qualify as outreach. And I mean a Lot.

The first field trip I led was in spring of 1982, to look at the sea-floor basalt, subsequent turbidites, and a gabbro sill, on nearby Marys Peak, for a local Sierra Club group. The weather, predictably, was lousy, and after a dozen or so stops, we were near the summit parking lot, looking at a hornfels outcrop above the gabbro. There was literally 3 inches of snow on the southern side of the Noble Fir trunks... but it wasn't sticking to the ground.

And the four-year old son of the woman who had organized the trip and drafted me to lead it (also my boss at the time), tugged her hand, looked up at her and said, "Mommy, when I grow up, I want to be a Lockwood."
That was one of the proudest moments of my life. That he could find interest in what we were doing, when all of us were so physically miserable, was very moving. And cute as the dickens... not a geologist, but a Lockwood.

At the time OSU had an organization called Experimental College, not-for credit courses taught and taken by people with interest in... whatever. It was purely volunteer; instructors could charge for materials, but not for monetary compensation. So I developed a class called Geology of the Corvallis Area, which was basically an introductory geology course using examples from this area. It ended up being pretty popular, and I typically had 15-20 students each term. The Marys Peak trip became a standard option for people who were interested, and I also used the opportunity to develop a couple of coast trips, and a field trip to Quartzville (which I have mentioned in a previous AW post).
Due to interest and student requests, I started offering a follow-up class called More Geology. I didn't get as many students, but I got a lot of returns. I would pick some topic for the first class, then brainstorm with the students and come to a consensus on topics for the rest of the term's subjects. I tried several times to get them to let me do a class on geophysics, to no avail. I do think that topic could be approached without heavy math.

In 1992 I finished my MAT (Master of Arts, Teaching) in Science Education.

Quartzville ended up being a mainstay for field tripping. I've done in the neighborhood of 30 trips with groups ranging from middle school, to families, to elderly. It's not the best place to communicate basic geology, though it's not bad, but due to all the fun minerals, and dramatic changes in degree of alteration, it's a great place to spur interest and excitement- what's called "affect" in the education biz.

Of particular note was a double summer-session series where middle school teachers received science certification by attending over the two summers. The second year, we spent a week in the middle of the term camping near Yellowbottom, and teams carried out group research projects. Some brought their families along, and one family had never been camping before; I'm pleased to report they had a great time, and planned to make camping a regular part of their summer.

The majority of the trips to Quartzville have been with middle-school-aged groups through and organization called Saturday Academy. Saturday Academy also provided the means to do extended trips- 4 to 5 days- with high school students. The one I've done most often is to Central Oregon, to look at volcanic landforms and geology-ecology interactions. Stops typically included Newberry Volcano and the obsidian flow, Lava Butte, Lava Cast Forest, Lava River Cave, Hole-in-the Ground (a maar, below), Fort Rock (another maar, below), Table Rock (a tuff cone), Picture Rock Pass (site of some neat petroglyphs and the edge of Basin and Range), Crack-in-the-Ground (a structural fissure that extends about six miles), Lost Forest (an expanse of ponderosa pines in an anomoulsy dry environment, surviving on a perched water table), The Dunes (prevailing westerlies have piled up a dune field of- mostly- Mazama ash), and Derrick Cave (another lava tube). And of course, a few stops in transit from the Willamette Valley to Central Oregon.

I also twice led trips to SW Oregon and northern Nevada to look at Basin and Range structure, rocks, landforms, and again, interactions between geology and the biosphere. Those are probably my favorite trips. There is a misperception in much of the world that Oregon is all lush temperate rain forest; the reality is that the eastern two thirds of the state is arid to semi-arid. In Western Oregon, there is a misperception that Eastern Oregon is a desolate wasteland. The fact is, the ranges catch a fair amount of rain, which then flows down into the basins, creating creeks and lakes that have a tremendous amount of life around them. The Malheur Wildlife Refuge is famous among birders. A vast, swampy wetland, it is a crucial link in the western migratory flyway. Just to the south, the majestic Steens Mountain (below, looking westward from the Alvord Desert), and the source of most of the water, rises to just under 10, 000 feet.
I've focused mostly on volunteer or underpaid teaching in this post, but I've done quite a bit of other work with outreach that I don't feel like bothering with. However, there is one more example that mustn't be overlooked: all the participants in this carnival are bloggers. I regularly get comments on my geology-oriented posts saying, in effect, "I learned so much," or "way cool!" I expect many, if not most, of my fellow geobloggers get similar comments, and feel a little glow of pleasure in knowing that we quietly provide an informal source of understanding and knowledge about this amazing and beautiful planet.

This is About Right

Greed:Very Low
Wrath:Very Low
Envy:Very Low
Pride:Very Low
Take the Seven Deadly Sins Quiz

In fact, it's so accurate, I really don't know what to say.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Not Me

I'm not sure about the grass growing across the subduction zone... or are those meant to be trees? And I suppose illustrating the eruptive arc might have been carrying the pun too far. But still, I do enjoy these sorts of shirts. The tee we designed in the Geology Club in the mid-eighties was a line drawing of the Grand Canyon, showing the ancient gneiss in the inner gorge, the tilted Grand Canyon series, covered by the horizontal Paleozoic sediments. The caption read "So many beds... So little time." From the Neatorama Store with thanks to an old friend, Al.

Either GMail or Firefox is warning me in the e-mail Al sent me, "MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from"... the link I inserted above. Neatorama is not a site I know well, so I can neither support nor deny the allegation of fraud. I copied the picture into and saved it, so I'm pretty sure there's no nasties. Nevertheless, caveat emptor.

Double Take

Fair disclosure: I flipped this to put the doggie on the left. Maybe the original was taken in England... and maybe they have different licensing requirements there. Original photo from Skull Swap.

War Trivia

The War in Afghanistan has now gone on longer than the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the Iraq War. It's been over 8 years since October 7, 2001. Next milestones to surpass - American Revolution (8 years 4 months, 16 days) and the Vietnam War (8 years, 5 months, 21 days).
From TYWKIWDBI. Also, too, the war in Iraq has been going on since mid-March 03; if we do a little rounding, that gives us an astonishing 14 years and 8 months of war time. Thanks, George! When you were elected back in 2000, my attitude was that you were clearly not a complete idiot, but that you had no knowledge or interest in anything pertaining to governance, and that in your four years you wouldn't really be able to do any lasting damage.

I stand corrected.

Just think... you're likely to take the record as the US President who started not just one, but both, of the longest-lasting military engagements in US history. Way to go. You'll take number one in March.


Oh, this is too cool! A zoomable flash showing the relative scales of cells, viruses and cellular components, from the scale of a coffee bean (upper left) and a sesame seed, down to a carbon atom. I love these sorts of things! Below is a screen capture from near the beginning of the animation; click over to the site, grab the slider, and pull it rightward- slowly- to enjoy this terrific show.
Consider this a more biologically focused sequel to the famous "Powers of Ten" short film done over 30 years ago. I think there may have been an earlier version; I'm pretty certain I saw this before I graduated from high school.

Getting Into the Halloween Spirit

I've been setting aside some of my favorite Halloween-y pictures and stories over the last week or so; expect a couple of big posts over the next few days. There aren't many entries into the Interzone's Barbie Costume Contest, but there are some good ones; I'll show you after the winner is announced. As I explained last year, if the holiday falls on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, it actually runs all three days. So, in a way, this is All Hallows Eve eve. The following is Clay Bennett's tribute to politics today, from The Chattanooga Times Free Press.The zombie would undoubtedly walk by the freakin' genius who scheduled Halloween on OSU's Homecoming Weekend, too. Sigh. It's going to be a noisy one. On the upside, it's supposed to rain through Saturday night, so hopefully most of the revelers will stay indoors.

James Cameron's New Flick

Looks very, very cool. CGI heavy, but still.
My laptop's speakers can't compete with the din here, so I need to dig out my earplugs and watch this again to hear it. I'm looking forward to the experience.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Johnston's Johnson

You've probably heard that Levi Johnston, Sarah Palin's grandson's father (but not her son-in-law) is going to pose for Playgirl. You probably also know that he's been on an intensively negative rip on Palin for most of this year, and that the popular press and TV have been eager to facilitate this. Continuing the probably-not-news-to-you, Palin and her team have an uncanny ability to say exactly the stupidest thing possible at exactly the worst time possible.

So here's what might be news: in a statement through her spokesperson, Meg Stapleton, Palin sez:
"We have purposefully ignored the mean spirited, malicious and untrue attacks on our family. We, like many, are appalled at the inflammatory statements being made or implied. Trig is our 'blessed little angel' who knows it and is lovingly called that every day of his life. Even the thought that anyone would refer to Trig by any disparaging name is sickening and sad. CBS should be ashamed for continually providing a forum to propagate lies. Consider the source of the most recent attention-getting lies - those who would sell their body for money reflect a desperate need for attention and are likely to say and do anything for even more attention."
You know, in this context, I'm actually inclined to feel some sympathy for and empathy with Mrs. Palin. But when a former beauty pageant contestant and Runner's World princess (alternative link for those who aren't interested in reading the article) makes a statement like "...those who would sell their body for money reflect a desperate need for attention and are likely to say and do anything for even more attention," I have to just give up in disgust. The fact is, they're both dicks.

Leonard Pitts is Worth Reading

No surprise, but I'm glad others are feeling as disgusted and disaffected with both parties as I am. I don't agree with Leonard Pitts on every point he makes in every column, but almost every one of those columns is worth reading. The following passage rings truer than almost anything I've read (at least with respect to politics) in days:
One also wonders if Democrats who exult over the Post-ABC poll might not want to read it more closely. Yes, it finds Republicans down to a historic low of 20 percent. But it also says only 33 percent of Americans call themselves Democrats, a decline of seven percentage points just since March 2008.

So this poll does not suggest an electorate crying, "Yay, Democrats!" so much as one crying, with apologies to Shakespeare, "A plague on both their houses!" Consider: a Rasmussen Reports poll last month found 60 percent of Americans saying "neither" party has the answers to what ails this nation.

Seldom has the need for a viable third party been more apparent.

Unfortunately, we don't have that and won't in the near future. We are left instead with two parties that might better be named Angry and Dopey. One manufactures votes by scaring voters to the polls ("Vote for us or Muslim terrorists will sneak over the border from Mexico and gay-marry your children!"). The other chases legislative power as frantically as Wile E. Coyote chased Roadrunner, but handles it with the same cool authority Barney Fife once handled his gun.
To paraphrase an old Alan Parsons Project song,
Where do we go from here, now all of the grown-ups are children?
And why do they waste our lives, but not one of them lend us a hand?
Continuing, without poetic license,
I don't wanna live here no more, I don't wanna stay
Ain't gonna spend the rest of my life, quietly fading away...

Games people play, you take it or you leave it
Things that they say, honor brite
If I promise you the moon and the stars, would you believe it?
Games people play in the middle of the night

Where do we go from here now that all of the children have grown up?
And how do we spend our lives knowin' nobody gives us a damn?
I don't think this song was meant to be about (national) politics, but it fits all too well.


The Ares 1-X test rocket has been successfully launched. Contrary to a comment I made in an earlier post, the first stage is a set of solid rocket engines, not liquid oxygen and fuel. Keep in mind, the stack that lifts off here is 325 feet tall- over 100 meters! Awesome!

For more information, see NASA's Ares 1-X web page.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pacific Northwest Mess

I've been reading a lot the last couple of days, but I haven't seen a whole lot that has really resonated with me, positively or negatively. A couple of geobloggers have posted this fascinating simulation of a big earthquake in Seattle, so I'll pass it on to my readers who don't follow other blogs that (on occasion) discuss geology.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Rawley printed out my O'Shea Guevara graphic, and used it as a stencil at a pumpkin-carving party last night. Awesome!

Happy Birthday, Mariah

My little sister has a birthday today... just imagine; in a year she'll be old enough to drink legally! Since she married a Canadian, and lives near Toronto, I think she'll enjoy this:From Criggo

Sunday Funnies

Skull Swap
"We Found Waldo" The Daily What
The Daily What:

Buy This: Freudian Slippers.

Q: How many Freudians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: Two. One to screw in the lightbulb and one to hold the penis. Ladder!

Criggo. I sometimes worry that I don't worry enough.
Abstruse Goose
I've posted a number of these before, but BuzzFeed has a nice collection of badly captioned news stories. The above is an exception. That caption is perfect.
lady gaga
see more Lol Celebs
This is totally the answer to the important question, "What would Jesus Drive?" Skull Swap
Bizarro Blog
epic fail pictures
see more Epic FailsSkull Swap

"That’s Not Traumatizing Or Anything" from There, I Fixed It.
A comment on the above is well worth reading:
Fixer JimDawg shows off his lyrical prowess,
“to the tune of “Up on the Housetops”:
“Up on the housetop
Deer with no paws
Out stumbles drunken Bubba Claus
Haulin’ presents with the dead
Looks like Tommy wet his bed”
And the refrain:
“Oh God, no!
Who wouldn’t throw
Oh God, no!
Who wouldn’t throw
Up on the housetop
Santa with a gun
Hide me quick!”

I adored the caption that Julia Segal put on the following:
"And I think it’s gonna be a long long time
Till touch down brings me round again to find
I’m not the man cat they think I am at home
Oh no no no I’m a rocket man cat
Rocket man cat burning out his fuse up here alone."Skull Swap
I'd be willing to bet this is some gospel group. Don't Judge My Hair

Unclear on the concept:

(Note: I work security at a small university. A student approaches my desk.)

Student: “I think someone might have sent me an anthrax letter.”

Me: “Okay, why do you think that?”

Student: “Well I got a letter telling me I might have won some money, but I haven’t entered any contests.”

Me: “Was there any powder in it?”

Student: “No. Just the letter. But it’s suspicious.”

Me: “Companies send those out all the time to market things.”

Student: “I really think it has anthrax.”

Me: “Okay, give it to me.”

Student: “Well, I threw it away in the computer lab.”

Me: “You threw it away in a public trash can?”

Student: “Well yeah, it might have anthrax!”

Not Always Right
The Palin Family: Track, Sarah, Todd, Willow, Piper and Bristol
see more Political Pictures. The one thing that can frighten Putin is when their heads come looming over the horizon.
Terminator V, the shortest in the franchise, comes in at less than a minute long, not including credits. xkcd
funny pictures of dogs with captions
see more dog and puppy picturesr. lee ermey
see more Lol Celebs
nicolas sarkozy totally looks like stan laurel
see more Celeb Look-A-Likes Probably slept with similar numbers of Hollywood actresses, too.
The first part of the first column explains the headline... and is even funnier than the headline. Criggo
Don't Judge My Hair... This is actually easier to do than it might look. When your daughter starts nursery school, but a cardboard box over her head. When she graduates from college, take it off. Voila!
Dad has lost the remote for the last time. There, I Fixed It
Scariest. Halloween. Costume. EVAR. Picture is Unrelated
Won't you be my neighbor? Engrish Funny
Savage Chickens
Skull Swap
amy adams
see more Lol Celebs
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny picturesheene family hoax balloon
see more Political PicturesLuke Surl
I was describing this picture to a friend yesterday, and said "How awesome is a costume that makes part of your mind think, 'Man, I wish I was paraplegic.'" Picture is Unrelated
No Exit
song chart memes
see more Funny GraphsThe Today Show... Medium Large
Darius Whiteplume's Tumblr
Darius Whiteplume's Tumblr
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
Make My Mood I think I may have watched an episode of this show once, but I'm not sure.
Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.netI've always thought flames made vehicles look hotter. Skull Swap
Wise advice. Epic4chan
If it stays on the bottom, it could become sentimentary rock... Probably Bad News
jon stewart
see more Lol Celebs