Saturday, December 22, 2012


Recently one of the barristas here was playing a song that perked my ears up... it reminded me of something I'd heard plenty of times, but not for many years- 15 at least. It was driving me crazy. As I've commented before, my oddball brain is something of a hoarder, and the oddest facts and associations will pop up without warning. Sure enough, a few hours later, when the song that had played earlier was no longer on my mind, my internal boombox was still mindlessly mulling over a couple of musical phrases, and it suddenly dawned on me: Oh yes, "When I Dream," by Teardrop Explodes.
Now I had never heard the studio version, and never owned an album by these guys, but as an undergrad, I frequently listed to the BBC College Concert Series, and one Christmas they did a special of their choices for the best selections from the previous year. I decided to record it, and was very pleased I had- the whole set was great. So I've heard this one song from the group multiple times until the early 90's when that cassette disappeared one way or the other. Gotta love the internet. Lost things found again.

Followup: here's the song that played at IZ- totally different song, but I think you'll agree, some of the musical patterns sound awfully similar.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Followup... yesterday's Notpocalypse post. I've found a few more funnies on the theme for Sunday, but for the most part, th-th-th-that's all, folks. Have a happy just-another-day-that-wasn't-the-end-of-the-world.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bring on the Geopocalypse: Accretionary Wedge #53

Bizarro, via Julia Segal's Tumblr

We did get a few intentional submissions, but apparently many were sort of put off by expectation of humor. So I'm going to roll in a bunch of humor from other places, as well as some serious pieces debunking this whole doomsday nonsense- which apparently is de rigueur every few months in our modern society. "Chicken Little" used to be just a silly children's fable- now it appears to be taken seriously by more than a few people. And two or three times a year, my heart breaks, and my credulity strained, as I read about family wealth destroyed, lives ruined- and even ended- because some gullible nitwit believed the wrong hucksters, and paid heed to irresponsible news sources.
Historic LOLs

So let's see. Anne posted a kind of ice-nine scenario of Hell freezing over. "So that got me thinking about what would happen if hell really did freeze over when winter starts. We would be in a winter state all year long because there wouldn't be any ground heat to melt the snow away."

"That is not the action of a fully intact pot"

And Jazinator treats us to a catastrophic tossed salad. "The intense heat from the combination of the impacts and nuclear explosions is expected to cause a fissure along the center of the Earth forcing the Earth to fracture, much like a head of lettuce slammed into a table"
(Image from The Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait)

And mine involves something about broken Higgs Bosons and the earth turning itself inside out. "Now, on the downside, our calculations suggest we will be inundated with something approaching a 340-kilometer deep ocean of molten steel- that's about 210 miles, in English- extinguishing every trace of earth as we know it, not to mention all life on the planet. On the plus side, though, the initial migration of the molten core toward the surface will be even more effective at freeing up 'tight' shale oil and gas than current 'frakking' technology."
 (Image from The Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait)

Finally, and a bit belatedly, Hollis chimes in with a scenario that any card-carrying hippie would find groovy and really far-out, man: "After just a few days, Yellowstone will emit a gargantuan burp of euphoria-inducing gas.  We will all happily swoon and then be peacefully frozen stiff with the onset of a prolonged very cold and very dark volcanic winter.  In other words, I’m an optimistic person."
 (in reference to this)
Now, Phil Plait (linked three times above, to two different posts) and Erik Klemetti, source of the two tweets above, have been doing superb, if exasperated, work in debunking this nonsense. The bits from those two that I would consider their centerpieces are, from Phil, here, and from Eric, here. If you need convincing that this nonsense is, in fact, nonsense, these are very highly recommended.
Narcolepsy Inc.

In a related vein, Dana Hunter has an excellent bit that gets at a central problem in a tangential sort of way, though she starts off pounding the nail squarely on the head:
Please sit down. I have some news to break. It may be very difficult to hear, and it may shake your innocence and trust. But I need you to know the truth.
Are you ready? Have you braced yourself? Okay, let’s have it: sometimes, the media is really terrible at science reporting.
I’m so sorry. But it gets worse: sometimes, they tell you things that really aren’t true at all.
Some people will die because of these rumours, and we are trying our best to stop them.

A particularly depressing- though outstandingly important- site is here. Yes, I rely on humor to combat sadness, and I know for a fact some people think I (at least on occasion) go too far, too soon. I understand, and I'm sympathetic, but believe me when I say you'd like my potential other behaviors less. However, I've spent a lot of time with and around youngsters, and their well-being is always on my mind. I'm much more conservative in language and behavior around them. Scaring a 2nd grader into life-threatening depression is not okay. Got that?
Bits and Pieces

The fact is, there are too many unscrupulous people who wouldn't hesitate to take advantage of fear- however unwarranted- to make an easy buck. And that's especially true in the US, where, apparently, we value money and its acquisition over all else... and I do mean all.
As Callan at Mountain Beltway commented, "Why does our civilization keep believing in these stupid ideas? There are plenty of real things that could disrupt or end a civilization." Well put. There are indeed plenty of things rational minds should fear. Doomsday apocalypse scenarios, whether based on Mayan Calenders, astrology, Biblical "revelations," or any other source, are not among them. On Circulation also recently posted a run-down of potential catastrophes, with a discussion of why none of them constitute the "end of the world."
It's Funny to Me

Which is why articles like this, and the people whose work is to confront such things firmly and decisively, are so important.
La Figa

The fact is, for the foreseeable future, every living entity on earth is going to die eventually. I personally have little fear or problem with accepting that. The fact of my death means there will be resources for someone else, perhaps- I hope- someone better than me. That's why many choose to have children. That's why we struggle to make things better for those around us, despite knowing that, in the end, it's meaningless to us personally. Endings are sad things, yes. But as a wise man once said, "hope springs eternal."

And as moms have said, since, I guess, about forever, "Stop it. You're scaring the children."


Wednesday, December 19, 2012


For the Twitter hastag, #christmascarolswithspiders

Monday, December 17, 2012

"There Is No Place To Hide"

Fair warning: I was not prepared for the heart-tearing intensity this song hit me with today. 45 minutes, and I'm still crying. Kind of embarrassed, but not really. The people who aren't crying are the ones who should be embarrassed.
They're crowded into the smallest spaces
While outside all of nature cries
It's known to be cruel and unfair
But there is no place to hide
Oh I've seen a part of people that I never really want to share
Oh I've seen a part of people that I never really knew was there


Shelter - give them shelter from the coming storm
Shelter - give them shelter from the coming storm

I can't sleep haunted by their faces
The sadness in their eyes
It hurts so much to see them helpless
It makes me want to cry
But still there is so much left unanswered
For so many innocent lives
They close the doors and are letting nobody in
And only the strong will survive


I've seen the anger and I've seen all the dreams
And I've watched an existence torn apart by the seams
And though I may seem helpless
I will do all that I can do
Oh I've seen a part of people that I never really want to share
Oh I've seen a part of people that I never really knew was there


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hate Being the One to Break This News...

Artist's conception of how our home will look next weekend.. (Also see The Weekend Weather outlook! 3 great options for fun during unseasonably warm weather!)
An international group of expert scientists specializing in science announced in a press conference today that mucking around with the Higgs Boson has broken it, resulting in siderophile elements becoming much less massive, and lithophile elements much more massive. "Our results should be taken as preliminary, at this point, and will need to be refined over the coming months and years. Nevertheless, we feel confident that by the end of the week, the earth's core will erupt onto the surface, and the crust will sink to take its place," said lead scientist, I.M. Moran. "Now, on the downside, our calculations suggest we will be inundated with something approaching a 340-kilometer deep ocean of molten steel- that's about 210 miles, in English- extinguishing every trace of earth as we know it, not to mention all life on the planet."

"On the plus side, though, the initial migration of the molten core toward the surface will be even more effective at freeing up 'tight' shale oil and gas than current 'frakking' technology. That, combined with what is expected to be an unusually low-demand heating season, means that consumers can look forward to steep drops in energy prices. From a scientific perspective, we eagerly anticipate an opportunity to examine the properties of the core directly for the first time. And from an economic perspective, we expect that the abundance of platinum and other precious metals thought to be concentrated in the core may trigger an economic expansion like none since the late forties and fifties."

Asked how people should be prepared, Moran replied, "Well, the usual, you know. Have plenty of extra water, a gallon per person per day, enough for a week or two. Non-perishable food with minimum preparation requirements- peanut butter, for example. Practice and drill escape routes, have a meeting place planned if you get separated somehow. Nothing really out of the ordinary."

When queried regarding other scientists' skepticism about his results, he scoffed "Ivory tower types! What do they know? I have an associates degree in dental assistance, and it was extremely rigorous. They don't even know what I'm talking about."

In related news, US gun sales have surged to new highs. NRA spokesman Charlegun Hasgun says "Our members are fully armed and eager to take on any ocean of molten metal that dares to threaten them, their loved ones, or property."

Dick Cheney, commenting from an undisclosed location, declined to comment.

(This will an entry for AW #53, so be aware THIS IS NOT TRUE!)

Sunday Funnies: Only Five Shopping Days to Armageddon Edition

Bits and Pieces
Bits and Pieces
 Funny to Me
What Would Jack Do?
Via 90% Unrelated And the converse of the latter is that the remaining 50% is other letters, eh?
Tastefully Offensive
Senor Gif
"First day of graduate school" Geology is Hard
Funny to Me
"When my PI reads my proposal" What Should We Call Grad School?
"Every morning, 'Please don't go'" Yeah. this happens with Bif, too. Senor Gif
I Hate My Parents
"When that one girl brings her hair straightener on a field trip." Geology is Hard
Funny to Me
Surviving the World
Tastefully Offensive
Funny to Me
Medium Large- "20 Unusable Gift Tags." Full collection here.
Sober in a Nightclub
Sober in a Nightclub
Bits and Pieces
Bits and Pieces
Tastefully Offensive
Well, there's a surprise. Criggo
"Grumpy Cat Joins the Dark Side." Cheezburger
90% Unrelated
Funny to Me
Funny to Me
Historic Lols
Fake Science
"Thinking I'm ready for my geochem final." Geology is Hard
 Sober in a Nightclub