Saturday, February 12, 2011

Oregon's Geyser Geysing Again

...though maybe not for long. About a year ago, there was a report in The Oregonian that Old Perpetual, at Hunter's Hot Springs, just north of Lakeview, Oregon, had stopped erupting. For reasons unknown- though geothermal development and groundwater extraction were suspected- the geyser just stopped in June of 2009.

I first visited the geyser in spring of 1984, I think, on Harold Enlows' petrology class field trip to southeastern Oregon and northwestern Nevada. The geyser was not particularly large, with a plume reaching about 50-60 feet, but it erupted every minute and a half or so. The show was, as the geyser's name implies, pretty much perpetual. So it was with disappointment I read about the feature's apparent extinction.

A report in OregonLive today, however, says the geyser has started erupting again.
(for full-size image and area map, visit the OregonLive article linked above) However, the article warns of the potential for impending projects to negatively impact the geyser and surrounding thermal area. I have mixed feelings about this; I feel strongly about developing alternative energy sources, but it sounds as if this site is unique in a lot of ways. I was startled to read that it is one of the most carefully studied thermal sites in the Americas- though it's so easily accessible, I guess it shouldn't have surprised me that much. But this is the first I had heard of its biological importance:
Even if the water level remains unchanged, heat loss from the re-injected water would "completely wipe out the natural organisms" in Hunter's Hot Springs' 20 geothermal pools and pots, said University of Oregon professor Richard Castenholz.

The 79-year-old professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology has studied the microorganisms there since 1965. He's penned 35 scientific papers on the life forms and discovered a phylum new to science and a waterborne microorganism that grows at the highest known temperature for photosynthesis anywhere on earth, he said.

Hunter's Hot Springs is "one of the classic hot springs of the world," he said, and "the most studied of all the hot springs in the Americas," excluding three geothermal springs in Yellowstone National Park.
Lakeview is remote (though it is on a major north-south route, US 395), out of the way, and unless you're looking for it, the resort and thermal area aren't hard to miss. But I doubt many people have even heard of this spot, let alone visited it. It really is special, and even after a dozen or more visits over the years, a spot I don't get tired of seeing again. If you're going to be in the OR-CA-NV borderlands, it's an especially delectable little morsel in a veritable smorgasbord of tasty geology. It's future is uncertain. I definitely recommend seeing it while you can.

Happy Darwin Day!

The Tree Lobsters contribution to the #chuckdarwin Twitter hashtag; there is also a blank if you're inclined to create your own Chuck Darwin LOL.

Dave Bressan at History of Geology has a dandy post on Darwin the Geologist.

Godless Liberal Homo gives a shout out to The Humanist Society and a video clip with reasons to celebrate Darwin Day.

Wooster Geologist Mark Wilson has also created a Darwin graphic, and elucidated some of his background in geology.

Deep Sea News has a post on the role of how his studies of barnacles helped shape Darwin's formulation of The Origin of Species.

Dr Monkerstein shows a better understanding of evolution than many primates I could name.

And Dana at En Tequila Es Verdad winds it up with a rather glum-looking Darwin "celebrating" his 202nd birthday.

If You Don't Care For 80's, How About Some 90's?

1690's, that is. I went out for a smoke, and Nick was in a conversation about music theory, and pointed out that a lot of pop music is "Louie, Louie." This guy says most pop music is Pachelbel's Cannon in D. Very funny stuff.


The Cars, Bye Bye Love:

Joan Armatrading, I'm Lucky:

Dead Milkmen, Punk Rock Girl:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Five Years Ago Today

Cheney got a gun, from the Bob Rivers Show. There is some uncertainty regarding the exact date of this incident- unsurprising given our former VP's unwillingness to respond honestly to questions of any kind, or to take responsibility for any of his fubars. According to Wikipedia,
The shooting was widely reported to have taken place on Saturday February 11, 2006, based on the public statements of Katharine Armstrong, owner of the 50,000-acre (200 km2) Armstrong Ranch. However, in her written statement to the Sheriff, she said that the shooting happened on February 12.

Harry Whittington, in his only public statement, said that "accidents do and will happen – and that’s what happened last Friday" (February 10). Whittington has not made another statement or issued a written statement about the shooting.
The shooting wasn't publicized for at least a day or two after it occurred, and many of us have assumed that was to give Darth an opportunity to sober up. That accusation has, of course, been strongly denied, with everyone involved insisting there was no alcohol.
Armstrong, the ranch owner, claimed that all in the hunting party were wearing blaze-orange safety gear and none had been drinking, and that at lunch they drank beer, which contradicts her later statement that "there may (have been) a beer or two in there [the coolers at lunch], but remember not everyone in the party was shooting." Cheney has acknowledged that he had one beer four or five hours prior to the shooting. Armstrong said she never saw Cheney or Wittington drink until later at the house, when Cheney had a cocktail. Armstrong did not actually see the incident happen, believing that the reason Cheney's security detail was running was that Cheney had a heart problem, although Cheney described her as an eyewitness in his Fox interview.
So there is standard Cheney operating procedure: multiple conflicting stories, denial of responsibility, no consequences, and a heartfelt apology. No, not from Cheney, you silly person, you: Whittington later apologized to Cheney for getting shot.

Followup: Also, as it happens, Sarah Palin turns 47, and Thomas Edison turns 164. Edison has, of course, been dead for nearly half that time, instead of brain-dead for most of it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Frigga (Frigg, Fricka), Odin’s wife, was considered to be the Mother of all; and protector of children. She spins the sacred Distaff of life, and is said to know the future, although she will not speak of it.
Description from The Norse Gods, image from here.

Why, Yes. Yes They Do.

demotivational posters - ROCK BEATS SCISSORS
see more Very Demotivational


Apparently, a new meme is circulating through the ol' innertubz, and I have to say, I love it.These and many more are at GeekoSystem.
Followup: more examples and some actual Oh'Really statements here.

"We're pinheads all"

They tell us that
We lost our tails
Evolving up
From little snails
I say it's all
Just wind in sails
Are we not men?
We are Devo!
Are we not men?

We're pinheads now
We are not whole
We're pinheads all
Jocko homo
Are we not men?
We are Devo!
Are we not men?
Are we not pins?
We are Devo!

Monkey men all
In business suits
Teachers and critics
All dance the poot
Are we not men?
We are Devo!
Are we not men?
Are we not pins?
We are Devo!
Are we not men?

I got a rhyme that comes with a riddle
What's round on the ends and high in the middle?

God made man
But he used the monkey to do it
Apes in the plan
We're all here to prove it
I can walk like an ape
Talk like an ape
Do what a monkey can do
God made man
But a monkey supplied the glue

Are we not men?
We are Devo!
Are we not men?
We are Devo!
Are we not men?
We are Devo!
Are we not men?
We are Devo!

We must repeat
We must repeat
We must repeat
We must repeat
We must repeat
We must repeat
We must repeat
We must repeat
O.K. let's go!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday Wednesday

From The Thought Experiment.

Oh, How I Miss REAL Winter Weather


Thanks to Doug_H for sending me the link... much more pleasant to see in video form than IRL.

It's been topping out in the upper 40's to mid 50's the last few days, with mostly clear skies. Cold at night, but the fog sets in, and I don't think it's been getting much colder than freezing. The various clumps of spring foliage and shoots have become much more apparent over the past week, and we're all looking forward to warmer weather. Even those of us who are spoiled by the mild climate of western Oregon.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Tits

Rufous-naped tit, Parus rufonuchalis, from Oriental Bird Images, photgraphed and ©, Manjula Mathur.

A Sweet Valentine's Day Tale

Alright, not so much. But one of the funniest first-person stories I've read in a long while: The Interview Thong, at Adventures in Nerdliness.

Food Fears

Following up on his NYT column on crop failures and climate change yesterday (and the apparently unrelated report on the same subject at The Guardian Saturday), Krugman notes:
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization issued an alert Tuesday that a severe drought was threatening the wheat crop in China, the world’s largest wheat producer, and was even resulting in shortages of drinking water for people and livestock.
He links to to the full NYT article here, and concludes, "If China has to import wheat, too, that’s seriously ungood."

Nope, tell everyone it's Obama's fault, and if we just cut taxes and dropped the socialism, free market forces would encourage crops to be more productive. That makes it doubleplusgood!
Followup: He also has a good post on how gradual climate change can lead to a comparatively sudden increase in extreme events... nothing new, I guess, but a nice, lucid explanation.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Gravel and Cobbles

There are days when it feels like there is an unusual amount of geology and earth science related stuff in my reader. Today was one one of those days. Calamities of Nature
Introduction to Volcanolgy, G411, from Bug. (Click to enlarge)
So CSM, could you, say, qualify that a little more carefully? For example,"Apophis asteroid will likely probably almost certainly not smash into Earth, unless it does, but that's doubtful, say most scientists, at least those we talked to."
funny pictures history - Yes, but how do we  get it on a ring?
see more Historic LOL. I really enjoy seeing people wearing rocks as decorations- that is, jewelry. I can't really wear it myself because I tend to smash things- not so much clumsy as forgetting that bumping into that wall may not hurt me, but it'll play havoc with the bracelet/watch/ring. And oversize jewelry can be a fun and attractive tongue-in-cheek joke. But this is a bit much.
demotivational posters - ROCK SMASH
We've seen this flick before: in rock Vs. car, rock wins. see more Very Demotivational

And there's some serious news, too!

Oobleck could've made all the difference. Why didn't the pin-heads in their ivory towers figure this out? Oh, that's right! They did! Saving BP all the tedious hassle of figuring out how to deal with deep water spills, and making sure the profits went to the right people.

The Earth... for Physicists. The BIG events in earth history, via

Krugman is shrill again... crop failures and climate change? Followup- forgot I set this aside a couple of days ago: The Guardian paints an even gloomier and scarier picture than Krugman.

A bit behind the curve on this one, but it's mostly because I assumed those who might be interested had already seen it elsewhere; some conversations today and yesterday indicate I'm mistaken in that assumption. The Kepler orbital telescope has identified over 1200 candidate exoplanets- that is, each will need to be confirmed by further observations, but it's believed that most will be confirmed. This effectively triples the number of known exoplanets!

The sex life of anchovies. Isabella Rosselini was, half my life ago, what is known in the male biz as "hawt." (see, for example) And here's the thing: in my experience, once you've decided someone is beautiful, they always will be. Over the last few years, she has been getting quite a bit of acclaim for her work describing and popularizing the sex lives of various creatures. And this is relevant to earth science how? Sex and evolution are inextricable, and biological evolution is one of the major narratives (to some, the major narrative) in our planet's history. Plus, I have to applaud an iconic sex symbol using her fame to promote science education.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

National Anthem

As if I need one, here's another reason to take a miss on the stupor bowel:Of course, as is often the case, Laurie Anderson put it best.

Sunday Funnies

Internet's being pissy again... I'm just going to post what I've got for now, and hopefully get back for the rest at some unspecified point in the future. Tired of the fighting.AmazingSuperPowers
So Much Pun
Gonzoblair's Imgur site, via Alphaville (quite a number more at the link)
High Fin... Oh Wait... Sorry Bro Gif - High Fin... Oh Wait... Sorry Bro
see more Gifs
job fails - Bacon Water? WHERE!?
see more Monday Through Friday
Wil Wheaton's Tumblr
The High Definite
The High Definite
The High Definite
political pictures -Dick Cheney
see more Political Pictures
funny dog pictures - Rare events in Dogdom Febuary 1, 9:34 a.m. pacific time           Pepper is not barking
see more dog and puppy pictures
Sober in a Nightclub
Married to the Sea
Savage Chickens
Balloon Juice
Sofa Pizza... "There will be a bloodbath of sugary refreshment."
Surviving the World
Sober in a Nightclub
funny celebrity pictures - PORTLAND  The final frontier.
see more Lol Celebs
funny celebrity pictures - 7 of 9 has been upgraded
see more Lol Celebs