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(Repost) “Demolished by Sadness” – Escape Chapter 10: Cathleen and Tammy Marry Merril

It’s December, and Carolyn is back at Merril’s house after completing her fall semester at college. Merril, Barbara, and Ruth took off for Salt Lake City shortly after she arrived, leaving her virtually alone with the 14 kids still at home. Faunita, the only other adult, doesn’t leave her room very often. So Carolyn is free to do chores on her own. There are so many clothes to wash that, although they have to be rinsed by hand and hung to dry, it’s faster to do laundry in the old industrial-sized washer than try to use the more modern automatic washer and dryer. I can’t even bloody imagine the drudgery.

Content note for: Forced marriage, coerced sex

The FLDS has a new prophet, Rulon Jeffs, who took over after Uncle Roy died a few weeks before. While Carolyn cleans and looks forward to cooking for her gaggle of stepkids, Jeffs is busy arranging a wedding for Merril, who’s marrying Cathleen, a young widow of the former prophet. Merril lies to Carolyn and tells her Jeffs had just sprung this match on him with no warning. Continue reading “(Repost) “Demolished by Sadness” – Escape Chapter 10: Cathleen and Tammy Marry Merril”

(Repost) “Demolished by Sadness” – Escape Chapter 10: Cathleen and Tammy Marry Merril

(Repost) Adventures in ACE VI: Vacuous About Volcanoes

People, it took me days to fact-check the 31 (thirty-one) pages of Science PACE 1086. I’m boggled. I have no idea how they manage to get so much wrong. It doesn’t even make sense – I mean, there are several creationist canards, and I know why those are there, but they fail at facts that even Answers in Genesis gets right. It’s like they got their information about rocks from a source translated from French, which was translated from Tagalog, which was translated from a paper written in Pig Latin by someone who’d never seen a rock in their life, but heard something about them once.

Take their inability to get famous volcanoes right. Not to mention their myths about medicine. Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in ACE VI: Vacuous About Volcanoes”

(Repost) Adventures in ACE VI: Vacuous About Volcanoes

Protected: Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education: Wherein We See the Light

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Protected: Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education: Wherein We See the Light

Supernatural S1 E12 Summary: “Faith”

We open with the Impala pulling up to a spooky, run-down house. The brothers dig into the trunk, and Dean pulls out two Tasers he’s amped to 100,000 volts. We find out the boys are hunting a raw-head. This is an interesting monster we haven’t seen so far, but alas, it’s only a brief set-up for our main conflict.

The boys go inside, find two children stored in a cupboard for later eating, and start to take them to safety. The raw-head grabs Sam’s ankle through the stairs, kids scream, Dean shoots his Taser and misses, and the raw-head takes off. Dean tells Sam to get the kids out, so Sam gives him his Taser and exits while Dean goes hunting. The raw-head ambushes him and punches him in the head, which knocks him onto the waterlogged floor of the basement. He’s not knocked out, but he’s clearly dazed, so I’m giving him one o’ these:

What Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy?

Dean: 5

Congratulations, Dean! You’ve caught up to your brother.

The raw-head comes after Dean, who shoots it with the Taser. The good news: it gets fried! The bad news: it’s standing in the same puddle, so Dean gets fried, too. Since Tasers do at least briefly impair cognitive functioning and he got hit with at least twice the normal amount of juice, rendering him unconscious, let’s give him another. Continue reading “Supernatural S1 E12 Summary: “Faith””

Supernatural S1 E12 Summary: “Faith”

New at Rosetta Stones: The Geology Behind the Rio Olympics

At long last (and before the Games are over, even!), I have got the story about the geology behind (and beneath, and over) the Rio Olympics. Rio posed some interesting challenges to the engineers and architects tasked with making the Olympic Village come to life in time for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Go check it out!

New at Rosetta Stones: The Geology Behind the Rio Olympics

(Repost) “Why Did You Kill Nurylon?” – Escape Chapter 9: Tragedy

Despite her terrible marriage, Carolyn has had a decent summer, finishing a summer session at college and exercising a modicum of control over her life. She goes home for a while in August, and tries to spend time at her parents’ home.* Her mother is having trouble caring for the nine youngest kids without Carolyn’s help.

But Carolyn can’t be there all the time, and so it’s 16 year-old Annette who piles 9 young siblings into the back of a pickup, along with Cousin Bonnie and 6 little cousins, and drives out for a picnic.

Content Note: child fatality, rollover accident, descriptions of serious injuries

Continue reading “(Repost) “Why Did You Kill Nurylon?” – Escape Chapter 9: Tragedy”

(Repost) “Why Did You Kill Nurylon?” – Escape Chapter 9: Tragedy

Protected: (Tier 1) “He Knew That He Was Dangerous” – Escape Chapter 25: Turning Point

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Protected: (Tier 1) “He Knew That He Was Dangerous” – Escape Chapter 25: Turning Point

Instant Peril: Flash Floods (and How to Survive Them)

I’m contacting various emergency management agencies to see if I can get a solid response on the car question, but in light of the fact that so many flash floods are going on in the United States over recent weeks (with more in the forecast), I’m going to go ahead and publish this here. An updated version will make an appearance on Rosetta Stones next week. If you have any safety tips to add, let me know!

 

The eleven European tourists exploring Antelope Canyon on a fine summer day in 1997 probably never considered drowning in a desert slot canyon to be a possibility. They may have known that water carved those sandstone walls into fantastical curves and angles. But it wouldn’t have seemed like an ongoing process. Why would anyone be thinking of water, standing on dry sand, with shafts of sunlight spearing through from the narrow opening above? Despite it being the height of the Arizona monsoon season, it wasn’t raining.

It started with the sandy silt on the canyon floor leaping six inches into the air. Tour guide Pancho Quintana and his group heard a roar so loud it drowned out screams. The solid rock walls shook. They began running, trying to find a place to climb out. And then they were hit by a wall of water that filled the canyon to a depth of eleven feet. Bodies were thrown into the walls. People might find a grip for a few seconds before debris or other bodies hit them and tore them away, tumbling them down the canyon. Pancho was the lucky one: despite the water and rock tearing off his clothes and skin, he managed to get a foot wedged in a crevice. The rest of the people with him, his tour group and another, were swept out of the canyon and into Lake Powell. Some of their bodies have never been found.

How? How could water suddenly appear from nowhere and end almost a dozen lives in a few minutes?

People who grew up in the high deserts of Arizona were well aware of the potential for disaster. We were warned about flash floods from the time we were little. We knew that those dry washes and canyons could end up filled with water without warning. We knew that the sun could be shining and the ground bone dry where we were, while a thunderstorm dumping water a hundred miles away could be sending a sudden flood our way. We knew. That knowledge didn’t always save us.

Image shows a metal staircase set into wavy red sandstone.
After the disaster, metal staircases were placed in Antelope Canyon to help people escape if they’re caught in flash floods. There are also warning systems set up, and no one is allowed in if there are storms in the watershed. Credit: Moondigger (CC-By-SA-2.5)

Floods are the second deadliest weather hazard, and flash floods are the deadliest type of flood worldwide. In the United States, deaths by flash flood are increasing, while deaths by other hazards are decreasing. And they can happen in places you don’t expect. Desert denizens are well aware of the potential, but flash floods can happen in urban and suburban environments where more runoff is generated than the infrastructure can handle. They can happen in mountain valleys and streams, especially if rain falls on snow and causes unusually fast snow melt, or if rain falls on a recently-burned area, or where ice jams have backed up water. They can happen in areas that are perfectly flat, if a lot of water gets dumped with nowhere to go. They can happen downstream of dams that partially or completely fail. They can happen in any environment.

And they’re only going to get more frequent and more intense as global warming continues.

With the recent flash floods happening in Arizona, Utah, and Yemen, it’s time for us to discuss what to do. Flash floods are hard to prepare for and even harder to escape, considering they’re defined by the fact they happen quickly. But there are steps you can take that will minimize your chances of being caught in one, and will help you survive if you are. Continue reading “Instant Peril: Flash Floods (and How to Survive Them)”

Instant Peril: Flash Floods (and How to Survive Them)